when we lived in santa cruz, we had a few vintage bmw 2002s. we had what they call "round-tail" 02, due to the shape of the tail lights.
then one day on the way back from happy hour at ninety nine bottles of beer I spotted an odd vehicle next to me at the red light. it was like a VW van, but not, and it had round tail lights and said "falcon" on the side. some indie-rock scenester/surfer dudes inside. I went home and searched the internet until I found out what that thing was, a ford econoline from the years of 61-67, some badged as falcon vans.
I started searching craigslist and after some goose chasing and negotiating, we found ourselves with one of our own (we actually had to buy two as part of the deal but I sold one right away)
and we even bought a second van. this one (above) was "kat's van" we named it rusty.
when we moved to austin, it didn't make much sense to ship these to texas. we'd only paid $500 each. rusty was sold to a guy with a journalism internship in orange county, he was using it as a mobile apartment (slept in it). last I heard he was going to attempt driving it home to michigan (or minnesota, can't recall)
my white van was painted yellow by a movie production co.
they had rented it for the movie and managed to get a bunch of parking tickets I had to fight. I still haven't seen the movie (black august). I even had a small part as an extra. filmed at the marin county court house, designed by frank lloyd wright.
more pics from the movie shoot here http://www.schusterphoto.com/movivan.htm
so, fast forward a few years, I am watching a local tv newscast on la boite, shipping container turned coffee shop done by same architect that designed austin mod house. the reporter was standing in front of a container, and next to that container was an early econoline! here in austin!
link to architect blog and kxan newscast here
so I started to watch the classified listings. no cheap $500 vans around here....
the first tx van I bought was a 1966 dodge a100, from deep woods east tx. #1 son and I fetched it ourselves. I had relied heavily on the seller's opinion of how rusty it was , upon closer inspection (the next day), it was rustier than I wanted to fix... (pic below is when we hauled it home)
I got the engine running, cleaned it up and sold it at a small loss, pic below is current owner hauling it away. incidentally current owner called me this weekend! he replaced all the brakes and it's running well. he is in the middle of ignition upgrade and hoped I could offer insight, I was no help but glad to hear he is doing well with it.
then a falcon van came up in middle of nowhere tx. I made a deal with the seller for $800.
went to pick it up and found a bit more rust than I was hoping for, renegotiated down to $600. we got it running and as we drove it to my trailer I asked to see the title. the seller reached into the glove box and proudly displayed an envelope, with a green registered mail sticker on it, it was unopened. I opened it for him and found a blank dmv form and a phone number....
I explained that I was NOT buying a vehicle I can't title. I have done the bonded title bit before and that was more hassle than I was looking for again. he quickly called the number found in the envelope, "HI! I bought an old ford van from you six years ago, do you remember? NO? I bought it from an older gentleman?" about this time I was packing up my empty trailer. they have since relisted the falcon van for $2000.
THEN, I found one for sale in el paso. I struck a deal with the seller. the van had belonged to his father who passed away. I arranged for a car hauler to get it for me. my days of wild goose chasing were over. I had decided I was keeping this one, no matter what.
the auto transporter's driver called me, the phone number to the seller was no longer active. great! there was a brief panic as I'd already paid the seller. I did a quick internet search using the address where I sent payment, found a land-line number to his mother there, the real seller of the van. I couldn't get in touch with her. it was a tense situatuation.
the driver did manage to find her and arranged to get the vehicle one day later than expected. he called me the next day, "for a 1966 this thing is in pretty good condition! a couple dents here and there but it runs REAL NICE!" WHEW! that really made my day. the driver went on to say that he lives there in el paso and since it was now friday, he'd prefer to deliver to me on monday morning so he can have the weekend with his family. how could I not agree to that?
monday morning came, and went. I tried calling the driver to get an ETA but now his cell number was not working, went straight to voicemail. by afternoon I was getting concerned and called his dispatcher. by evening they too were concerned and left a mssg with his wife. tuesday morning came and still no word. I pressed for details and they finally found out that the driver was in jail! his truck, their trailer and all the vehicles on it, impounded!
I called back early wednesday morning, starting to get impatient. I was pleased to find out they had sent an emergency driver with cashier's chk for the impound lot (no bail for the driver). he spent all day liberating the truck and trailer and finally made it here to me after 10 pm.
I got my van!
like the first driver had said, body is in good condition, no rust, just a few dents here and there. and it runs great! starts right up and hums nicely. all the brakes, lights and windshield wipers... everything works! I'm happy.
of course kat has already noted that we can't live with that green. looks like I have another body and paint project.
was happy to find a bunch of spare parts were loaded into the back. I didn't even know they were part of the deal!