Question: What Subject Matter Will Go On Your Custom Van's Airbrush Mural?

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
question what subject matter will go on your custom van s airbrush mural

In the ’72 Dodge Tradesman Junkyard Find earlier this week, I referred to the iconic custom-van airbrush mural with “jousting knights battling Aztec kings in a zebra herd at the Mars Base.” All of those elements were seen on the flanks of plenty of Chevy Vans and Econolines back in the 1970s (though you didn’t often see more than one per mural), and— now that we’ve got the benefit of nearly 40 years of hindsight— we can think about what could be done today with the art form of the custom van.

Unfortunately, my custom-van project is a window-equipped Dodge Sportsman, so I can’t get any serious airbrush work done to it (I will get plenty of pinstriping, of course). If I ever get a windowless “molester van,” however, I think I’d go for a mural combining science-fiction and low-rider-style Aztec motifs, complete with gold leaf on the helmets of the astronauts/Aztec warriors, all done in super-pneumatic pinball-machine-backglass style. How about you?

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  • Mr Nosy Mr Nosy on Sep 30, 2012

    Coco Chanel is quoted as saying "Elegance Is Refusal".However,being born poor,she never refused anything.Diana Vreeland though,took that & ran with it.But this is full size van murals ,so what do they know? Anyways,you mentioned backglass vignettes,well why not use the windows,instead of the body,for, dare I call them,Muralees? I'll throw a few ideas out-How's about Thomas Kincaide meets Raymond Pettibone? Since the autopsy,we all know the profound impact Valium had on Mr.Kincaide's artistic vision.It could be combined to take a bit of the edge off those uptight & stingy,Pettibone/Ginn Bros(From what I've heard.). Or perhaps an erotic twist on the mural friendly style of Socialist Realism? A little bit Alberto Vargas,a little bit Tom of Finland.Add a little street style and it'll be Lil'Kim Jong Illin' meets Fat Joe Stalin. $,quarter,quarter,nickel-Peace,etc.

  • Neb Neb on Sep 30, 2012

    The first thing that popped into my mind was this: (Actually, Brandon Bird is a rich vein for people looking for the right image.)

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂