By on April 6, 2011

Going to the wrecking yard on a grim, rainy day somehow makes all the junked custom vans seem even more depressing than usual. How much work went into that mural?

The oil floats on the dirty rainwater, as the vans await certain death.

That Mexican restaurant in Redwood City that had a jaunty VW bus as a delivery vehicle? Not so jaunty now.

This Dodge Tradesman lived through the heyday of the custom van, then endured decades of scorn before becoming ironically hip. None of that history matters now; within a month it will be in a smelter in Guangzhou. At least someone grabbed the diamond-shaped bubble windows.

Does anyone remember the Chevy Caravan?

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12 Comments on “Sad Vans!...”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Is that supposed to be Abraham Lincoln in the top picture?  It sort of looks like a cross between him and the Native American gentleman who would shed a tear at the end of those anti-litter PSAs. 

  • avatar

    Hi Dan, unfortunately “Cody” was a fraud, he was actually full-blooded Italian.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I knew he wasn’t Native American but I wasn’t sure on the ancestry.  I turned on the TV a few nights ago and saw Alfred Molina playing a middle eastern gentleman.

  • avatar

    Where did all the Yes-Roger Dean airbrushed vans disappear to?    
    Now that was real car art.     

  • avatar

    I always wanted a van that I could modify and have my own custom paintwork on when I was a student. It would have been great for camping in, ‘sleeping’ in, and carrying crap around in, but a limited budget for fuel meant that keeping one running was always going to be an issue, so I stuck to my rusty Ford Escort instead. Now that I have the money, my significant other refuses point blank to let me have one. “I’m won’t be seen dead in some rusty-arse rapemobile. Buy a proper car.”

  • avatar

    I remember the Caravan…and the GMC Gypsy. I was van savvy back in my single digits! Those two models kinda had the business up front, party in the back ideals. For dad who wanted a halfway cool van, but needed a second row of seats and a few legit’ windows for the family. Now we move on to the Chevy Rally Sport, Dodge Street Van and Ford Cruisin’ Van.
    Maybe I’ll take my camera to the junkyard on  furlough Friday! Lookin’ for a set of sway bars for a spooky handling Ranger.
    Keep ’em coming

  • avatar

    There is something very sad and depressing about wandering through a junkyard on a cold, dismal, overcast day.  Its light out, but there is no sun.  There is moisture in the air, but there is no rain.  There are cars- thousands of them, but they do not run, they are not wanted, other than by the vultures, the low lifes, the bottom rung dung cleaners of society, those willing to pick their bones for the last useful scraps that can be salvaged from their forlorn bodies.  In a while, the reaper will come, and he will bring a quick, violent finality to the rusty remanants of memories.  Then the cycle of life continues.  Metal is melted down to make new metal.  Plastic into new plastic.  Glass to new glass.  Cardboard, foam, and other unrecyclable leftovers will be buried or burned, eventually to return to their base elemental forms.  What Man has created is temporary.  What God has created is permanent.

    I really want a Tradesman.

    • 0 avatar

      “…they are not wanted, other than by the vultures, the low lifes, the bottom rung dung cleaners of society, those willing to pick their bones for the last useful scraps that can be salvaged…”
      I know you are trying to be poetic, but thanks – I really never thought of myself as a ‘bottom run dung cleaner’ as I tear away an old cars aircon system to get at the good bits!

  • avatar

    I spent my lunch hour today tearing the front sway bar off a Dodge pickup (among other parts) at the local Pick N’ Pull.  “bottom rung dung cleaner” is a noble profession, after all.  I’ve got multiple college diplomas and I’m still a regular at the Pick-a-Part.

  • avatar

    I really enjoyed this post for the feeling you imbibed (wrong word , I’m sleepy yet) with both pictures in the rain and the writing .

    And , the responses are terrific too .

    I’m a Junkyard Junkie and always have been since Childhood , my most fun job ever , was running a VW shop / junkyard / sales lot in the salad days of VW’s , in a College town no less .


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