Monday, May 26, 2008

It's a Thin Line...

This is my 1970 Dodge A-108 Tradesman van, affectionately named "Scooby" based on it's similarities to the mystery machine in the Scooby-Doo cartoons. I bought it in 1999 around this time of year from a gentleman who owns Howard Prairie Resort, about 30 minutes NE of Ashland. I first laid eyes on Scooby when Christy and I were looking for real estate in the late 90's - we still lived in Seattle at the time. We had dropped by Howard Prairie Lake to eat lunch, recapture some of her childhood, and check out cabin properties.

Prior to '99, Scooby had spent the last 10 years as a linen delivery and cleaning supply van at the resort. Prior to that it was a trapped in a barn for the previous 10 years, and was given up to cover a debt that was owed. Who knows what that van had been through previously. I asked the owner if she was for sale, and he said that it didn't run but I could buy it for $600. Even though I knew that it was worth less, I bought it and had it towed to a lazy mechanic in Talent, Oregon. We left town and returned to Seattle that week, but Scooby stayed for repairs. Roughly $1,500 dollars (oy!) of engine work and a week passed before I flew from Seattle to Medford to pick her up and drive her back to Seattle. The engine on this thing is a 318 V8 and it literally sits between the two front seats in what's known as a "doghouse", otherwise known as the devil's cauldron! The radiator is enclosed on the front end and it gets very hot.

The trip to Seattle was brutal. The doghouse seals were broken, so it was like sitting in a closed oil drum with hot air and exhaust all around you. I only made it just south of Portland before calling Christy to tell her that it would be a two day trip. I remember driving it up to our house with that little boy enthusiasm for a new toy. Later at a friend's barbecue, I remember bragging about how cool it was and Christy said, "...Scooby sits somewhere between cool and pervy. You really could go either way with that thing." This is particularly concerning given the van trends of the seventies. For a frightening dose of the vannin' lifestyle check out, "The Van."

Perhaps I was born in the wrong era. No one really appreciates these vans like I do. For 10 years now, I've fought the recommendations to sell it, to put curtains in the windows, to give it away. I even sold it to my friend Tyler for six months and bought it back. Scooby is part of me, and whenever I drive it there's a smile on my face. You complete me. Now, if I can just find the money to convert Scooby to electric power...

1 comment:

Warren said...

"Rut Ro!" Maybe you could put a used diesel in there to appease your environmental conscience. How about a painting party so you can give it some Mystery Mach colors? Also, and just for the record, I vote for "pervy."