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The beast with no name…has one now

August 7, 2016

It’s back and it’s not called the “FrankenStream”.

Arguably the world’s greatest and homeliest home-built motorhome has returned to the Fairview neighbourhood after an absence of many, many months and I’m happy to report that in the course of its travels it has finally managed to make a proper name for itself.

Meet the “Silver Surfer”


All its missing now is a surfboard on the roof rack.

When I first wrote about this amazing automotive mashup in the summer of 2014—how it was an unlikely (if not unholy) union of an Airstream trailer, a Chevy van and an Oldsmobile Toronado, painstakingly pieced together sometime in the mid-1970s by a master mechanic named Nino—I was at bit of a loss.

I really didn’t know how to refer to such a…singular achievement of the do-it-yourselfer’s art. At one point, for lack of a better name, I weakly referred to it as the “Toronado-Chevy-Airstream”.

Well now, two years later, I see that its young owner (only its second in 40-some years) has seen fit to both name and personalize his bespoke beast.

He’s christened it the “Silver Surfer”, after the morose metallic Marvel comic book character that endlessly wanders the spaceways. There is now a faithful reproduction of the character’s logo, circa 1990, hand painted  in black and white under the front grille of the snub-nose front end. Also to be seen is new black pinstriping around and above the grille.

The new nom de véhicule has been painted on a piece of patchwork steel taken from the nose of a 1975 Olds Toronado. I know this because back in 2014,the piece still bore the raised lettering of the brand—which a friend of mine misread as “Tornado”.

There is now no trace of either the original letters or the telltale holes their removal would’ve left—professional work the motorhome’s builder, Nino himself, would surely approve of.

Another thing that’s vanished, which I will miss, is the chest-high 1970s supergraphics-style black thick-to-thin pinstriping that originally girded the entire vehicle.

But The Silver Surfer Lives On! That’s the important thing. Nuff Said! Click the images to enlarge them.

The angst-ridden Silver Surfer from his self-titled 1968 comic. Art by John Buscema.—Marvel Comics

The awesomely angst-ridden Silver Surfer from his self-titled 1968 comic. Art by John Buscema.—Marvel Comics

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