East Coaster of the Day: 1966 Chevrolet Mystery Machine
Anyone growing up in the 1970s probably remembers Saturday-morning cartoons.
There were the usual chase-and-catch Looney Tunes classics with Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. Anvils dropped from cliffs would regularly flatten that wily coyote, only to have him rise from his pancake state to resume the chase of the Road Runner.
Parent groups of the sixties deemed these cartoons so violent, they approached networks to find alternatives.
And so was born the Saturday-morning classic cartoon with those pesky, meddling teenagers and the mostly-cowardly, lovable Great Dane, Scooby-Doo.
Fifty-one years ago this weekend, the first episode of the Hanna-Barbera creation, ‘Scooby-Doo, Where are you?’ premiered on CBS.
The show featured five teenagers who solved supernatural mysteries. There was Fred, the blond, handsome, serious detective and Velma, the nerdy be-spectacled, ‘brains’ of the operation. Daphne was the fashion-conscious ‘rich’ girl who was prone to kidnapping.
Everyone’s favourite, Shaggy, was the slacker who always seemed to be hungry and may very well have been the ‘stoner’ of the group.
Shaggy’s dog, Scooby-Doo, was really the star of the show. His name started out as ‘Too Much’ until one of the creators, a fan of Frank Sinatra and his doo-be-doo-be scat singing, changed the name to Scooby-Doo.
Of course, any car nerd growing up in this era would have been fascinated with their Mystery Machine, a 1960s van. The notion of travelling in such a cool, magical vehicle still elicits feelings of nostalgia today.
Rick and Cindy Vanneste, of Prince Edward Island, have recreated the Mystery Machine and it’s one of the most correct replicas of the van that exist today. Huge movie fans, the couple found the 1966 Chevrolet Handivan in Providence, Rhode Island and brought it home to Prince Edward Island.
The first-generation Chevy Van is powered by a 250 six-cylinder engine. 1966 was the last year of the flat-glass windshield.
Kudos to Rick and Cindy for keeping all the restoration work here in Atlantic Canada, showcasing the amazing local talent of our Maritimes!
Chaisson’s Restorations in Souris, PEI, painted the groovy van. Finish Line Vinyl Designs in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, did the awesome graphics and the creative interior was done by aptly-named Creative Auto and Upholstery in Charlottetown.
It was love at first sight for EastCoastTester.com when we spotted the Mystery Machine at the Brackley Street Machine and Hot Rod Show last weekend.
Happy Birthday to the meddling teenagers and to Scooby-Doo, 51 years young on Sunday 13 September!