One thing I've learned in my 30 short years of existence is when you move somewhere, you are better off using things from there. People have lived there for a long time and they have living there figured out. "When in Rome," as famous philosopher Will Ferrell once said.
I'm moving to Anchorage for work in about 2 months, so of course I'm already excitedly checking out the merchandise on craigslist. I'm leaning heavily toward 70s-90s Econolines because of their good reputation and the fact that they are so common. I'm also kind of a Ford guy when it comes to American cars.
I've found many prime examples. There seriously is no shortage of sweet-ass Alaska vans. Lots of them are outfitted for Camping, which is great. I love the idea of daily driving a camper van. While a VW bus version is probably somewhere in my future, especially if the current bubble bursts, I can certainly make due with some of the crusty old rigs running around Alaska. Those suckers can carry grills, homebrew equipment, beds, coolers, and anything else I might need for a mobile party.
While I don't know exactly which one I will get or which one will be available, I do know what I want to do to make it mine.
1. Buy the van. That is a prerequisite of ownership. I don't really care too much if it's a camper or a work van or whatever. I'll worry about the interior later. I just want one that runs well and isn't dangerously rusty. Also it needs to have two large painted panels on the back, for reasons I'm about to discuss.
2. Decorate the exterior. Here's the important part: The style of the van will fall somewhere between 70's western dude, molestache dude, and wilderness survival dude. It's going to need some mean wheels. It's going to need a set of moose antlers for the front grille. It's going to need some funny stickers on the windows like "free candy" and "mustache rides" or whatever cheesy shit I can find a gas station. Finally, and most importantly, it's going to need some murals. 1 on each side, both unique. The one on the drivers side needs to have me riding something majestic with Fabio hair and then I'm going to drill holes and insert some kind of doll hair to make the hair real. The rest of the murals can be all kinds of eagles, 'merican flags, dolphins, lazer cats, aurora borealis, bears, wolves, dinosaurs, cowboys, dragons, 80's action heroes, Andrew W.K. driving a Miata, brown volvo wagons drifting, etc
Here's a picture of me, for reference.
3. Figure out the interior. The goal of this van build is to be a mobile party machine. Apart from that, I haven't thought too far ahead because I don't know what kind of space I'm dealing with until I get the van.
4. Performance. I want a van that can do a burnout. Perhaps line locks? Most vans come with pretty beefy engines so maybe that's all I need. Maybe not. Again, depends a lot of what I start with. Apart from that, I'm not trying to race anybody and fuel economy shouldn't be crazy low.
5. Win at life. While it may be a huge driving joke, those who get it will be filled with joy. I don't care what people think and just like to travel and party so this really isn't a bad choice. Econolines are supposed to be super dependable and probably not crazy expensive to get work done if I can't do it myself. Also I hate daily driving shit I don't like.
Anyway, here's where OPPO will come in. I will need help designing murals and I need help picking the best design. I can design stuff myself but I know people out there are waaaay better. I'm going to pay some college art kids in beer and art supplies to paint it on. Or maybe there's a person who specializes in that, I don't know. That will be a fun craigslist ad, for sure. I'll document the entire process here whether anyone reads it or not.