Our First "ArtsVan" In Progress

The 1996 Aerotech 200 which would be outfitted to meet our needs. It is now in Sheepshead Bay.
The spare tire would probably be removed. It could be re-positioned on the roof or under the vehicle on a tire carrier, but it may just be discarded. In the city, when you have a flat, you call a service anyway.

This vehicle has been recommended by our designated location van vendor, Citi Vans on Location, of Brooklyn. It is an Aerotech 200, vintage 1996, with about 30,000 miles. It was previously used as a mobile MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) lab. It is presently on sale for $9,500 from a company in Sheepshead Bay. Citi Vans would acquire the vehicle and rent it to us exclusively on a daily rate, which will include the driver and all vehicle insurance. Gas is on us. We would share the renovation expense with Citi Vans on a basis to be worked out, depending on what it is exactly we decide needs to be done.

These photos are polaroids. I went to the manufacturer's website for additional photos. See: http://www.thorindustries.com.

No mechanical work is needed to make the vehicle roadworthy. It is built on a Ford E350 chassis. It has dual rear wheels, gas-powered shock absorber leveling system, and an eight cylindar gas-burning engine.

This Aerotech 200, from the manufacturer's website, looks a little longer than the one we are considering. It may have a 16-foot box, since it loooks a little longer behind the rear wheels, or it may just look longer because of the wide window. I put this photo in so you could see the window in front of the entrance door. Obviously, in our vehicle, the split door has been replaced with a swinging door in a custom configuration.
View of cargo area from the front. Box is 8' (wide) x 14' (long) x 7' (high). The air conditining/ heating unit is visible on the ceiling. The cargo area is basically empty now.

It has a cargo area 14 feet wide, eight feet wide and seven feet high. The heating and air conditioning unit is on the roof and its outlet is seen on the ceiling in the interior photo. The rear spare tire will probably be discarded to allow the rear end to be more of a "blank canvas."

(When you have a flat tire in the City, you don't jump out yourself and jack the truck up. You call a truck service to change it, and for that reason, Citi Vans does not bother with spare tires on location vehicles.)

The truck has an oversized generator, which was probably designed for the electrical needs of its medical machinery originally. The walls of the box are quite thick, but their filling is only insulation. I am told it will be relatively inexpensive and simple to put windows in. As you see in the interior photos, the inner walls are finished in smooth white material.

A new floor is needed, since there was a leak from around the air conditioner, which is now fixed, but the carpet is ruined. We could install another carpet, or better, a non-skid vinyl floor.

Entrance to the truck. Note the low step-up in this custom addition. The swinging door covers the front window of the entrance compartment.
This port side view shows the generator.

The entrance stairs are very low, since it was made for easy access. There are four electrical outlets in the cargo area that would be useable for our office machinery.

The builder is Eldorado National, known as ENC Inc. They are the folks who bought the Airstream line when the original Airstream Trailer company went bankrupt in the '80s.

There is not presently a bathroom, but one can be installed. It seems like a big deal to me, but they say this is everyday stuff when setting up location vans. It only takes the addition of two walls. The potty comes in a kit.

Citi Vans is doing some sketches for us of possible interior confiugurations, but requests our input on color schemes, etc.

It might be wisest to add a left-side door, so we could accept visitors on either side, to adapt to all parking situations. This would probably be set up to work with a drop-down stair.

We may decide to retain the jumpseats behind the driver's area.

I believe that the decorative stripes you see on the truck now are decals, which can be removed with heat and the surface beneath restored with rubbing compound. However, it is possible that we may wish to repaint the truck in a different base color, depending on our overall color scheme.

It probably drives like small moving van. If you have ever driven a larger U-Haul or Ryder truck, you'll know what I mean. It's got automatic transmission.

The MTA's Metrocard selling busses have a service counter on the starboard side and a blank wall on the port side. I initially imagined we would adopt the same layout, with the service counter between the entrance well and the bathroom, using the port wall for the brochure wall. To give you an idea of the scale of what may be needed for brochures, the brochure rack at the Lower East Side BID office is about seven feet wide and five feet high.

I think we would probably end up installing sales windows both right and left. We would also add an awning on either side. The awning would complete the image of ArtsVan.

It also occurs to me that since the side walls are flat, we could add decorative facings of any shape at the top of the box, which could be as high as the air conditioning unit without adding overall height to the truck. With that, we could make the silhouette into a distinctive shape of our own choosing.

My concept is to remove the brochure rack and refresh it each night after the truck goes home to its garage, where they do cleaning and maintenance. They also pump out the toilet. Over night, we would dress two cork boards (one for the inside, one for the outside) with postcards to display what is on sale the next day. The outside one can mount on the side of the box. To weatherproof the exterior corkboard, we would first try a low-budget solution: covering it with clear plastic (it comes on a roll) held on by office style spring clips.

This kind of truck can be equipped with multimedia, and they usually are. With that, videos of shows could be displayed.

Artist's Rendering:


Bulletin board on door displays shows on sale. Brochure rack is removed from interior to hang outside, weather permitting. Trash can is to be a good neighbor. Awning will probably be the length of the box for additional shelter in rainy weather. Artist's rendering is by Bernard Germain.