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On The Road With Johnny B: Car Crushes And The Legend Of The Scooby Van

Ever have a "crush" on an old car? It's OK to admit it..

Heart pounds..Your palms sweat. The wanting. The longing.The shape of her body. Is it love at first sight or just plain old lust? I remember my first time. I was 13 or 14 years old and my father’s friend pulled into our driveway with a shiny new chestnut brown TR6. Hey, what did you think I was talking about? This is a family blog. Piggies.. Anyway, love or lust, that is in my memory as my first car crush.

My friend Lynn McLeer blames me for her first time. When she first saw my red 1969 TR6 she was hooked. I must admit to an addiction that is out of the norm when it comes to things that roll. I say “things that roll” because I still own a 1966 Honda 50 step-thru motorcycle. Not exactly a Harley but a lustful purchase at the time. Found at a yard sale 14 years ago for the sum of $300.00. I since added chrome side covers and kickstand to add some bling. Sort of like "born to be mild"

Because I refused at a young age to drive normal stuff, my first new car purchase was a 1981 AMC Eagle 2 door sedan. Visions of forging rivers and woods filled my 21 year old head. I know AMC stands for “Almost A Car” or “All Mistakes Combined” but it proved to be a reliable semi quirky car. But still have you ever seen an AMC Eagle moving under its own power lately?

All this semi-lustful thinking leads to some stupid ideas and purchases. A purchase of Mercur Scorpio from an auction made me understand that if the fuel tank reads half full its not always half full. After a nice seven mile walk in the boondoggles of PA love turned to hate real fast.

Sometimes this behavior leads to some good things too. Some of my long time friends remember the Scooby Van. Many years back I purchased the Scooby Van from the back yard of a 90++ year old gentleman for the earth shattering sum of $200.00. In fact the whole backyard looked like the 70s Ford burial ground. Kinda like the grim reaper of autos meets Quinn Martin productions (you know Streets of San Francisco TV show.) Named by my friend Barry's very young son Thomas. "Look Dad it looks like the Scooby Van." The name stuck.

The Scooby was a 1971 Ford E150 camper conversion. It had everything good and bad about the 1970s. 302 V8-Good. Shag rug-Bad. Auto trans and power steering-Good. Mustard yellow paint-Bad. But Scooby’s sole mission in the beginning was to be the transport and hillbilly hotel for the Carlisle shows for me and my buddies. So after a winter of shoveling bondo into the quarter panels the Scooby Van made its first of many trips to Carlisle.

On its first trip thru Staten Island I hit a large pot hole causing the control arm mount to crack. As luck will have it we limped to the first repair shop. As we ate colon ripping tacos at a local stand Pedros Auto Repair welded it up and away we went.

The Ole Scooby Van started to have a life all its own. At first friends and family would say. “What are you going to do with that thing?” But after a bitter cold dust-off with the Long Island Triumph Assc. to Duck Walk Vineyards when many a club member made fun of me and mine. Poking fun became reversed when the faithful Scooby provided hot soup and coffee to many shivering LITA members. And the legend of the Scooby grew.

I must admit to it being the anti-Triumph for a time. Driving then club president Geoff Levy crazy on more than one occasion. When Geoff would ask at a meeting “any questions?” Some club member would ask. “Yes do we have any Scooby Van updates?” Poor Geoff.

During one trip to Carlisle, me and my buddy Danny hanging out in the Scooby fueled on mixture of vodka and beer came up with a sort of Scooby dictionary.We proudly called it “Scooba-phonics.”  Talk about Conjuction Junction or dis-function to be exact. And the legend grew. Not sure but I think Danny got his head stuck in one of the Scoobys windows(that’s a whole different story) Moral:never mix Corona and Finlandia.

Sadly the Scooby van is in RV heaven. That fine 1970s Ford lack of rustproofing eventually ate out the front suspension mounts. So my buddy Barry from Northeast Towing picked up the Ole Scooby and sent it down to the crusher. I’m not sure but I think he had tear in his eye because he picked it up when I first bought it. Rest in peace Scooby. Sometimes a car crush leads to good things.

This story of automotive dumbness brought to you by Port Jefferson's own Carlisle Johnny aka Johnny B. For more tales of the Scooby Van and other classic auto history, trivia and humor visit Carlisle Johnny.com  at >>> http://carlislejohnny.com/

 

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