Custom ‘TMNT’ Party Wagon Is The Greatest Minivan Of All Time
I as a kid when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise exploded on the scene to become the most popular thing in the world, and I have vivid memories of the burning jealousy that consumed me whenever I'd hang out with a friend who had all the action figures and the vehicles. It's been a couple of decades and I thought I was over it, but when I saw a post on Jalopnik this week about Brittney Schneck's customized '94 Dodge Caravan, all that childhood envy came flooding back:
That's right: Schneck built herself a Party Wagon. And it is awesome.According to Schneck, the project -- which involved hand-painting the van's "decal" detailing and making parts like the spoiler and "ray gun" herself while working two jobs and going to college -- was a labor of love stemming from fond childhood memories of the show and playing TMNT with her cousins and uncle, who she refers to as "Uncle Shredder," which is an entirely different kind of awesome. And he drove -- you guessed it -- a Dodge Caravan.
The process of getting the Wagon in shape to battle the Foot Clan has taken Schneck since last July, and it wasn't; just cosmetic. There were also a ton of mechanical repairs involved including a new radiator, which makes it equal part Michaelangelo and Donatello. And the end results are pretty impressive:
And as the finishing touch, check out the license plate:
Of course, Schneck's Party Caravan isn't the only live-action adaptation of the Turtles' signature van I've ever seen, although it's easily my favorite. Let's see how it stacks up against the competition:
This version -- spotted at Topless Robot -- was exhibited at the Volo Auto Museum in Chicago. Since it was built from a VW Bus, it's more accurate in terms of shape, but let's be honest here:
Look how big the Party Wagon is in relation to the figures! Having the life-sized Turtle next to the VW Bus version just underscores the fact that the scale's a little too off. Also, he's kind of super-creepy. Shoulda gone with Feldman.
Along similar lines, Kotaku reported on a "Party Bus" seen at PAX '09 to promote the franchise's 25th Anniversary:
Despite the great detailing, using a schoolbus as the base strikes me as less "TMNT" and more "Partridge Family." And seriously, "Shell-Ebrate?" Raphael would've straight up stabbed somebody over a pun that bad.
Of course, accuracy isn't the only consideration. When you're going to stack it up against real-life versions Foot-Stompin' vehicles, you've got to include this one: The TMNT Monster Truck.
This raises a very important question: Could Schneck's van, like the official TMNT Monster Truck, actually beat Grave Digger in a round of monster truckery?
No. No it could not. It's a 1994 Dodge Caravan. But on the other hand, the Monster Truck doesn't have custom-made laser gun attachments, and really, there's no shame in losing to Grave Digger. According to my favorite sentence on Wikipedia, it's "one of the most influential monster trucks of all time!"
All in all, a pretty solid showing from Schneck, and her totally awesome (and, dare I say it, tubular) ride. Now of only somebody would custom up one of these things...
...we'd truly be living in the best of all possible worlds.