Step 1 – get enormous van

If you want to build a rolling xylophone that a lot of people can play on, you need to start large.

Garage-defyingly, web big-elbowed, fat-assed gas-whale large.

I don’t even want to think of how thirsty this platform is, it’s stupidly gorgeous. Burly rhomboidal lines. Four rows of seating (that won’t last long). Brown/orange “sunset” striping. Eight lugnuts per beefy wheel. Go ahead, click to enlarge the pic. You’ll barf, it’s so large.

This, friends, is our pigheaded American folly.

This Ford Club Wagon XLT began life ferrying alcoholics around Glendale and Pasadena on behalf of a sober-living facility around 1984, hence the mystic weathered symbol on its doors.

After about 70,000 miles of this (but who’s counting) it was bought by a band and used as a tour bus for another 6,000 miles. But the neighborhood it lived in was lousy with parking Nazis, and its owner quit needing it for gigging, and so it became a big, fat millstone – and that’s where we stepped in to get sucked under by its horrific gravitational pull save it.

You’ll see what’s next if you check back here every week or so leading up to Burning Man.

Until then, feast your eyes on its decrepit potential. Potent decrepitude. What is to become of us? It? Everything?

We got a pretty good deal. It’s mechanically sound – motor’s solid, brakes fresh, frame straight, transmission leaking but running fine, the faulty fuel pumps for which the model is known have been replaced. And hey – new skins!

No passenger seat, but we’re thinking of replacing all the seats with a less-thrashed set from the junkyard. Here’s why:

Of course, the kids enjoyed their first day of van membership (for I think we belong to this van – in the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes sense – rather than owning it) squabbling over who gets which filthy, threadbare, beaten-to-death-by-the-asses-of-thousands-of-recovering-drunks bench.

Almost a crime to cover this paint scheme, but that’s in the plans. Let’s just say the color will be rude and brilliant.

Holes and a gash where the spare-carrier once rode. These’ll need some careful banging and bondo.

Thinking of mounting a set of xylophone keys here (among other places) or maybe just a child’s garden of chimes. Sound amplification will be an interesting challenge. We’re going to need an auxiliary battery on an isolator circuit. It’s already got two gas tanks – maybe we should just mount a .50 on the roof and call it a postapocalyptic day.

Flower? Umbrella? Someone’s butt?

Wish I knew more about bodywork – I’d love to somehow french the taillights. Yep. We’re doomed.  Stay tuned.

4 thoughts on “Step 1 – get enormous van”

  1. Yep, should do. The drivetrain is pretty solid (only 76K miles), the brakes and tires are new. And hey, it drove the Germs around on tour for a little while – that takes a certain degree of fortitude. Of course, we need to go buy our little dashboard Jesus (and big Snap-ON toolkit) just to make sure …

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