Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was looking forward to spending three weeks away from home this summer. At the end of July, I was going to attend BrickFair Virginia. After that I’d fly to Denver, to make a road trip with a friend. I’d subsequently return to Virginia for a work meeting before finally jetting home. Now, of course, none of that is happening. Instead, I’m currently having a short “staycation” at home and will actually be working most of August. In the hope of putting myself into a relaxed vacation mood nonetheless, I built a Chevrolet Express conversion van a couple of weeks ago.
It is a very American concept: convert a regular passenger van into a luxury cruiser with captain’s seats, rear seats that can be folded into a bed, tinted windows, a raised roof, cool rims, and some snazzy graphics on the outside. SUVs have cornered much of their market in the last decade or so, but this is the kind of vehicle I imagine would work well for long road trips and family vacations. I particularly enjoyed building the pattern into the sides, with dark tan and old dark grey plates. However, as much as I enjoyed building it, the end result was a bit underwhelming. So, to fit my vacation theme, I considered building a trailer for it, with a jet ski or an all-terrain-vehicle. However, I wasn’t looking forward to building either.
I finally got a little bit excited thinking about putting a custom car on the trailer instead. Custom cars generally don’t float my boat, but since I liked building the pattern on the van so much, I relished building a car with a paint scheme with flames. To fit the van it had to be American, of course. So, I picked a “Gasser”. This is a particular type of classic drag racer. It uses a body shell of a stock car, with really fat rear tires, a stripped-out interior, an oversized engine, and a jacked-up front end. The flames are optional, but I built mine using yellow, bright light orange and orange plates. The car is a ’57 Chevrolet Bel Air, which is just about the most American car I can imagine. It isn’t quite the holiday vehicle I had in mind, but at least it’s fun.