the cheeky little minivan.

This afternoon, I was giving the minivan a long-overdue cleaning.  While I was vacuuming the Grand Marnier, the kids were playing around on the seats, pretending the car was Thomas the Tank Engine.

At some point, Quinn asked me if we could paint the van to look like Thomas.  You know you’re approaching critical limits of parental sanity when you consider such a request, and your brain finds no objections.

If I end up giving the Grand Marnier a custom paint job, I’ll complete the slide into madness by cranking the Thomas & Friends theme song from the stereo at top volume every time we go out for groceries.

While we’re on the subject of large, boring family vehicles: the Dodge has only a few more payments on it.  Current mile count: 65,000-ish.  Major mechanical failures: none.  Minor mechanical failures: one inoperable passenger window lifter, surfaced three days after taking delivery back in 2005, fixed under warranty.  All major and most minor parts still firmly attached, and working as intended.  The A/C needs to be recharged, but that’s about it.  Considering my previous experience with Dodge products (see also: The Dodge Avenger Disaster, or This Fucking Piece of Shit Is Trailing Parts Like Some Sort Of Fucked-Up Comet, A Lamentation in Three Volumes), that’s downright amazing.

Anyway…now I need to find a paint shop that can mix Pantone 298-299, and some place where I can get the raw materials for a fake funnel and some traction rods.  The little engineer wants his conveyance properly customized, you see.


8 thoughts on “the cheeky little minivan.

  1. og says:

    You can get a Dupont shop to mix anything they can take a picture of. make sure they give you the mix numbers so you can touchup/duplicate. You can probably carve the “face” out of urethane foam, sand it smooth, and have someone vacuum form a lexan shape with it, then use the lexan for the nose of the van. If you’re careful you can even paint the lexan from the inside so it is very durable. I’d just use PVC pipe for the stack, you can buy a kit that makes it remarkably easy to weld PVC, and attach it to the roof with readily available rare earth magnets. Sounds way cool.

  2. Chris says:

    Paint with tempura paint and you’ll be able to wash it off when it’s no longer fun.

    Years ago, when I was a sophomore in college, we turned a friend’s Astrovan into a giant rolling camel with some chicken wire, paper mache, duct tape, and lots of tempura paint. The 3-d structures held on till about 50 miles an hour when the skin ripped off the frame.

    We had a good reason to make such an abomination: it was to be a float in the school’s homecoming parade, the mascot was a Camel. We won first prize. 😀


  3. NYEMT says:

    My Grand Caravan served me faithfully for almost eight years. It recently (about three weeks ago) seized its engine at 125,000 miles, just over 100,000 of which were ours. I’m keeping an eye out for another motor, in a peripheral way – the Missus got herself a new ride, so she’s content for now, and if I can acquire an engine without breaking the bank, it’ll be worth it to sell the van, as it’s still in excellent condition otherwise. All in all, I don’t have any complaints with it.

  4. Jason says:

    I’ve always wanted to do something like this. On that note, PVC would be your biggest friend here, and I believe you can also buy it in sheet form. Sheets would rivet well, and leave a nice surface to cement pipeing to.

  5. Jay G. says:


    I owned a 1984 Toyota van.

    In New England.

    Needless to say, I can work wonders with Bondo™. If you need someone to custom fabricate a cowcatcher and a funnel I’ll bet I could whip something up with nothing more than a tub ‘o’ bondo and fiberglass patch…

    Just sayin’…

  6. Tam says:

    If there is one product that Chrysler has ironed the bugs out of fairly thoroughly, it’s their minivans.

  7. Fred2 says:

    The best part is if you keep it long enough, you can lend it to your teenage children as “their” car, and seeing their grimaces of shame and embrassement will be sweet.

  8. Will says:

    Jay G,
    make sure you use the lightweight Bondo, as the weight difference is amazing. When you start to build 3D structures, the original stuff gets heavy, quick!

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