It all started on a rainy night in December of 1975. Vans were the thing and the way to get a new one was to order
it from the factory, just the way you wanted it. That rainy night we did just that. It was a plain van with a nice
complement of extras. My goal in life was to be an electrician and this was to be the cornerstone of that enterprise.
After a long wait the phone call came in February of 1976, my van was at the dealership! |
It was a snowy day when a friend gave me a ride to pick up my pride and joy. Since that day in February of 1976 that's still the
only snow the vehicle has known. I was planning to buy nice wheels and tires so the van came with good old bias ply tires,
remember those? Amazing how we now take all season radials for granted. Needless to say driving home in the snow was an adventure. After making it home I tucked it safely in the
garage while the roads cleared. That gave the me time to install the sound system that I had bought while waiting for the
This was also the days of the great CB radio craze of the seventies. I picked up a radio and set it up in the van. I was sitting in a parking lot with a buddy talking on the radio when I was asked what was my handle? I didn't have a handle yet, my buddy looked at the van, then at me and then again at the van and suggested ORANGE PEEL. What the heck I said, the rest is history.
It wasn't long before I began to customize the van inside and out and the Orange Peel handle provided a theme rich with opportunity. The first year I was busy making payments so the first interior was done on a budget. Of the three interiors it probably was the best! Check out that plastic mushroom lamp a 70's classic, orange of course. It was even tied in with the door switches as a courtesy light. On the walls I had the end panels from some old orange crates. Check out that "Orange Cove" crate end. As best as I can tell they seem to go back to the 1930s or 40s. The walls and ceiling were covered in plywood stained ebony and trimmed with orange/yellow shag carpet, the stuff kind of looks like a clowns wig! The ebony ceiling and shag trim remain to this date.
Aliens Aboard In the summer of 1976 we had an enconter with the stars and those that come from beyond and Orange Peel was there. Read the actual account and see the actual photo in the "1976 UFO Sighting".
I was beginning to think I wanted this vehicle to be something special. Dad was getting ready to trade in a 72 Chevelle that was still a good runner. I bought it and rescued Orange peel from the winters. Through the rest of the seventies the van would spend summer evenings cruising the streets of Old Orchard Beach (Maine).
As the eighties came on Orange Peel became more of a toy and fair weather vehicle. There are times when winter's coming close and I regret not pulling it out more often, but that's life. In 1992 I revamped the interior for the third time. The back bunk of a wishful adolescent was replaced with a refurbished school bus seat for the kids and I fitted it with storage space and new carpet in the back. It still has the original spare tire that hasn't been used yet, knock on wood.
Even though I don't get it out very often there are still places around town where I'm greeted with "Hi Orange Peel". Sometimes it's like having an alter ego. When people ask if I still have the van my reply is, "heck yea, it's family". In February of 1996 friends and family gathered for Orange Peels 20th birthday party, we had a nice time, some even came in 70's attire and we played music from that age. When It's not on the road it waits patiently in a dark, private garage bay. When it's out the sun is always shining and I can always feel the warmth of summer, no mater what the weather is.
Orange Peel Trivia:
- Orange peel is on it's 3rd radio.
- Orange peel is on it's 3rd gas tank.
- Orange peel spent 5 years off the road while we started our family.
- Orange peel is on it's 3rd interior
- The Ziebart coating underneath is still shiny and black!
- My brother Dave came up with the concept for the yellow and green stripes.
- Orange Peel is on it's 3rd set of tires.
- Orange Peel was the flower car in my Dad's funeral. He always got a kick out of borrowing it.
- I sold Orange Peel on September 15, 2006 trading one dream for another. The proceeds pretty much covered getting my wife and I trained and equipped to scuba dive, another lifelong dream that finally made sense as we were becoming empty nesters. And with that began a new chapter.
- Final photos, as sold.
|3 Generations Gather: In November of 2002 Orange Peel posed with our other two Ford vans, all were freshly bathed for the occasion. The blue 1993 Aerostar featuring Four Wheel Drive is my daily commuting vehicle and it also pulls our camping gear trailer the "Campmaster 2000" on family trips. The red 2001 Windstar is more of a big car that thinks it's a truck, not unlike my ElCamino but what the heck.
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