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How A Co-Ed Built The Van From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Illustration for article titled How A Co-Ed Built The Van From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

There are custom vans, there are cartoon cars, and then there's 23-year-old Brittney Schneck's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles van, a '94 Dodge Caravan obsessively reworked into a life-size piece of turtle power realistic enough to call out Shredder.


Schneck, 23, says she started working on the van last July, paying for it from a part-time cashier job and working in her father's auto-detailing business while also going to college.

"The Turtles played a huge role in my childhood," Schneck said. "Growing up with all my male cousins, playing Ninja Turtles while my Uncle Harry (Uncle Shredder) chased us around doing an exact voice of The Shredder. He used to drive us all around in his Caravan, and when I see one, I just think of the Turtles and all the memories."

Illustration for article titled How A Co-Ed Built The Van From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The only major concession to authenticity from the original TMNT ride was the brand of van; the Turtles drove a Volkswagen, but Schneck said she chose a Caravan because parts would be far easier to come by — even if it did arrive with rusted panels, no working air conditioning and the kind of mechanical gunk expected from a 16-year-old minivan. But, since the new VW minivan is just a re-badged Mopar, we think there's still a degree of authenticity to her choice.

Schneck hand-painted and stenciled the exterior colors and fabricated the ray gun, spoiler and other add-ons from scratch. It's not just cosmetic craft; Schneck has rebuilt and replaced most of the Caravan's mechanical parts, from a new radiator, brakes, axles and head gasket down to a clip for the hood prop rod, color-matched to the paint scheme that extends to the engine bay.

Schneck is still tinkering with the van, but we'd say it's worthy of four Italian-named martial art masters. You can see more pictures and details from her odyssey here.


(H/T to
MCMLXXXVIICapriceEstate Back!)

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So as a middle school student in New Jersey in the early '80s I go to my local independent book store and they had copies of the early TMNT comics (B&W I think). I see these and think "How stupid? Who would buy these? What a stupid topic of superheros." plus the comic's execution was almost newsprint fanzine level not typical 1st rate comics.

There was probably someone who thought that about the first Superman comic too...