Move Over Hippie Van, These are the Original Adventuremobiles
Move Over Hippie Van, These are the Original Adventuremobiles
While the term “adventuremobile” has gained popularity recently and is often associated with vans you can live out of or take on overlanding excursions, we think that any vehicle built for its own kind of adventure should be included.
What kind of adventure? We looked at vehicles from our past that seemed to have a personality of their own as they chased bad guys, fought ghosts, traveled through time or were simply the family’s front-wheel drive sleigh.
In no particular order, here’s a list of what ITS HQ considers to be the “Original Adventuremobiles”.
The A-Team Van
This 1983 black and metallic gray GMC Vandura is easily recognizable thanks to its red stripe, black & red mag wheels and rooftop spoiler. Usually driven by B. A. Baracus, this is the van that took the ex U.S. Army Special Forces group known as The A-Team from one mercenary gig to another.
Taking the form of a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, K.I.T.T. is not a “car” but rather an artificial intelligent electronic computer in the body of a car that could drive and think for himself. Powered by a turbojet with afterburners, K.I.T.T. was able to reach 0-60 in 2 seconds and had a top speed of over 200 mph with the turbo boost. As Michael Knight, aka Knight Rider, drove around town as “a lone crusader in a dangerous world,” this sleek black Trans Am crammed full of gadgets and gizmos became the dream car of many.
The Mystery Machine
When “monsters” and “ghosts” terrorized the locals, the four best friends (and dog) that made up Mystery, Inc., would jump in their van and investigate, eager to get to the bottom of things. While often navigating a series of traps or setting up their own, these meddling kids consistently got their man. Their van was always part of the experience and when you saw them pile in, you knew there was an adventure to be had.
Herbie the Love Bug
Herbie had a mind of his own and was able to do wheelies, flash his lights, honk his horn and drive autonomously. The history of Herbie on the silver screen is a long one, with films starting in 1969 through 2005. Herbie was also incredibly fast becoming a fiercely competitive racer and not one you wanted to insult. When you got behind the wheel, you’d better be prepared for a wild ride.
Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine
The time machine used in the Back to the Future trilogy is anything but unassuming. Why use a DeLorean DMC-12 to travel through time? In the famous words of Doc Brown, “If you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”
While the internal combustion engine always uses gasoline, the real heart of the DeLorean is the flux capacitor which required 1.21 gigawatts of power to operate and was often fueled by plutonium. Once the DeLorean reached 88 mph, the flux capacitor is activated and through a flash of light, it traveled either forward or backwards through time.
TMNT Van aka Party Wagon
Growing up, there were two types of kids in school; those who had the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle van and those who didn’t. If you were’t one of the lucky ones, hopefully you were able to play with a friends or at least watch the show on TV. Similar to the A-Team van, anything with a spoiler adds serious cool points, especially when it comes to a crime fighting van like the TMNT Party Wagon.
Any list of “original adventuremobiles” HAS to include the Batmobile, but since there’s been a lot of different Batmobiles over the years, it was hard to pick just one. While our choice is sure to spark a “friendly” discussion, we’re going with a tie between the 1989 movie version and the new Tumbler. Side by side they’re completely different but in many ways the same; sleek, fast, outlandish and obviously stealth black. Either Batmobile is guaranteed to turn heads as they go screaming past.
Thanks to the endloader design of the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor, the ambulance conversion Ray found for only $4,800, was perfect for a team of professional ghost busters. In addition to the room for the crew, it had plenty of space to store Proton Packs, Ecto Goggles, P.K.E. Meters and a good number of traps. Who wouldn’t want to have a ride-a-long with the Ghostbusters?
Watch Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope for the first time and you’ll undoubtedly find a lot of awesome vehicles you’d love to have in the real world. One of them in particular is the X-34 Landspeeder. Think of it as super-modern mode of transportation that’s reminiscent of vintage British sports cars. It’s a small, but quick and agile and is perfect for cruising around with the top down. Thanks to its repuslorfield generator, it hovers over rough terrain with ease.
Jurassic Park Jeep Wrangler
When you’re navigating a theme park full of cloned dinosaurs, you need a vehicle that can cover varied terrain quickly and sure-footedly. That’s sounds like the perfect job for the tried and true Jeep Wrangler. While the Jeeps were used by park staff, the Ford Explorer XLT’s were built to run on tracks for tourists and visitors. The Explorer gets an honorable mention on this list solely because of its killer paint job and awesome safari style rooftop.
As a side note, rumor has it that the Jeeps were painted with their diagonal red stripe because it kept the Triceratops from charging.
The Absent-Minded Professor’s Ford Model T
Professor Brainard invents a substance that gains energy as it strikes a hard surface and names it Flubber, short for “flying rubber.” After a few different testbeds, he decides to try it on his car which in turn has the ability to fly. How do you control a car that flies using flubber? No idea, but it’s still awesome. With a flying car, you can go just about anywhere and maybe even win back your special lady.
Goonies “four-wheel deal, … real neat ORV”
Sure it’s just a Jeep Cherokee with bullet holes, but if you got to see it firsthand in a police chase, you’d probably be so excited you’d ruin your milkshake.
James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5
No real need to explain why this one made the list, but here’s a few of the features this car boasts:
- .30 cal machine guns
- Tire-shredding blade
- Rear bullet screen
- Radar scanner and tracking
- Passenger ejector seat
- Oil slick
- Smoke screen
- Bullet proof windshield
- Revolving license plates
Griswold’s Station Wagon – Wagon Queen Family Truckster
It’s no Sports Wagon, but the Wagon Queen Family Truckster features wood paneling, eight headlights, a separate oil cooler grille, large chrome hubcaps, conveniently placed fuel filler door in the passenger-side fender and is built for the long-haul cross country trip.
While a lot of these vehicles have become cult classics of their own, a family with the last name Griswold actually recreated the Wagon Queen Family Truckster down to the last detail. It’s worth checking out their post on Making The Truckster.
What are we missing?
Is there a vehicle you’d add to the “original adventuremobile” list? Let us know in the comments below!