On a recent trip into Los Angeles, some friends talked me into taking our 2009 Honda Pilot on a detour down Hollywood Boulevard. I wasn't expecting much, just a lot of people and lot of crap.
"Crap! What the heck was that? OMG did u see that van?!?" were the exact words that came out of my mouth when we passed a very… uhmm... interesting, what looked like an Astro van parked on the side of the road. It was like seeing "Mad Max" all over again and reminded me of the Nissan sedan that passed me on the freeway a while back. Fake cacti, mannequin legs, angel wings, floodlights, and a driver-side bell were just a few of the stunning bolt-ons added to this g-ride. Some might call it art; I just call it crazy.
Not everything we saw was a one-of-a-kind, custom masterpiece on wheels like the van with the lawn decorations. As we sat in the stop-and-go traffic on Hollywood Boulevard watching the people on the sidewalk moving faster than we were, I noticed an interesting tour van parked outside the Guinness Book of World Records Museum. It was a Mercedes-Benz 2500 custom convertible van, a pretty cool way to see some of Hollyweird's interesting hotspots with no roof or windows to get in the way.
After our brief drive through Hollywood, it was time to head back home when, all of a sudden, a strangely boxy, rounded thing flew by.
"What the heck was that" I cried again as I gave the Pilot a little more gas to catch up to the box on wheels that had just passed us. Its oddly shaped rear badge was a clear indicator this was not a brand sold here in the U.S. But I knew it was a Renault as we got closer.
The Renault Trafic 8 passenger car stood out like a sore thumb among the Hondas, Toyotas, and Fords on the road. It looked like a bigger-cracked-out xB mated with one of those Chinese Beijing Li Shi Guang Ming Automobile Design little people-movers I saw earlier this year at the Detroit auto show.
The Renault Trafic was launched in 2001 and developed jointly with Opel. From the start, it was available as a van or a minibus to carry people. The Trafic is assembled by IBC Vehicles Ltd., a subsidiary of General Motors, in Luton, U.K. In 2002, it was voted "Van of the Year" in the U.K., and production started in the new Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, as part of an agreement between Renault, Nissan, and GM.
Share your stories: What crazy vehicles have you seen on the highway that made you do a double-take?