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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Frankenstein's Van/Truck Rolls Through San Francisco -- Was This Once Kenny Rogers' Ride?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2009 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge It's a van... - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • It's a van...

San Francisco is a city where an art car apparently designed by H.R. Giger can roll by and no one bothers to look away from Navy jet planes roaring between the skyscrapers. And yet, the vehicle pictured here threw us for a loop.

From the front, as you can see, it's 100 percent van of the 1970s vintage favored by The A-Team, Scooby-Doo, and kidnappers. But from the back -- huh. It's a truck!

click to enlarge No, it's a truck... - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • No, it's a truck...

What the hell is going on here? What's more, if you peer through the refrigerator-sized, tinted-glass door, there was a couch-like seat, complete with a blanket tossed on top of it. Did this vehicle go through a device not unlike the one Jeff Goldblum rigged up in The Fly?

Attempts to reach the owner of this amazing car truck van thing were unsuccessful. But a little Web sleuthing placed this unique set of wheels in New Jersey in 2005. But how the hell did it get out here?

click to enlarge It's ... what is that thing? - JOE ESKENAZI
  • Joe Eskenazi
  • It's ... what is that thing?

Peering at the description of this 1978 van/truck hybrid an the Car Domain Web site, user "Custom72" explains the origin of the vehicle (and we'd question our sanity if the vehicle on that site isn't the same one photographed above in San Francisco): "It was built as a tow vehicle for a large 5th wheel horse trailer. Both sides of the beds hold water tanks that I plan to convert to fuel tanks. There was a pump and a heater installed in the bed rails also."

By the way, there's a reason Custom72 -- who didn't return our e-mails -- needed to create extra fuel tanks. When towing, the vehicle gets a whopping four miles per gallon. Somehow, however, that car got all the way out here; whether it's still owned by the man who posted these shots of it in his rural New Jersey home is unknown, however.

Also unknown is the veracity of Custom72's story that this vehicle was, at one time, owned by Kenny Rogers.

Still, one look at this thing and you know how Rogers could pen the tune "I just checked in to see what condition my condition was in."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more


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