Amazingly, Elon Musk confirmed my wild guesses about their new Volkswagen Microbus-inspired Tesla minibus. And perhaps even more amazingly, he seems to have taken a suggestion from another Twitterist about what to call such a vehicle: Spacebus. Yep. Spacebus.
Here’s the first suggestion of “Spacebus” by a guy in the medical imaging business named Eli:
Soon after that, Musk tweeted to our pals at Road Ampersand Track, saying:
See that? He’s calling it a Spacebus now. I mean, it makes sense, since the guy does also have a company that builds, you know, actual spaceships, and I’m really hoping this thing gets to market retaining that delightfully goofy Spacebus name.
There’s some precedent for the “space-” prefix when it comes to vans, too. In 1974, Chrysler’s European arm, the Rootes Group, renamed the Commer FC commercial van as the Spacevan. Sure, they were likely referring to “space” as that enclosed volume of nothing inside the body of the van, but it still had a sort of spaceship-like feel to it, I think. (There’s also those wonderful Toyota vans of the 1980s, which were called “Space Cruisers” in some markets.)
This is a good pedigree. If old Volkswagen Microbuses aren’t enough funky old van inspiration, I can’t think of anything better than a ‘70s Dodge Spacevan.
Also a good reference: in the movie 2001, there was a Moon Bus:
Sometimes it’s called a “Rocket Bus” or “Moon Rocket Bus” but, whatever, it’s close enough to Spacebus. Now that’s a space bus.