20th Jan2016

Dodge Ram Camper Van: Make Your Own Adventure

by Michael Chandler

One Man's Van feature CAMautoMag-20

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Most of us go on vacations, and we enjoy them.  We go on cruises, fly to Vegas, or road trip to a nearby getaway.  My trips last a few days, and I haven’t gone further than Las Vegas in a few years.  A bold few will pile into a large vehicle, and take to the open road for weeks at a time.  And some just up and live in one of those vehicles for months on end.  This is a story about one of the latter.

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The handsome fellow relaxing in the Adirondack chair is Jay.  Jay is quite the character.  He has lived on a boat while he was fixing it up.  He’s done bike races, well into decades when most people would be content to sit at home and reminisce about the life they’ve led.  He’s lived in the desert, and biked on trips that most people would drive.  He also turned a 2000 Dodge Ram delivery van into a pretty sweet home on wheels.

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Jay got to work pretty early.  He says he got cracking two weeks after buying the van, his girlfriend says the stockness lasted five minutes. Regardless, he built this van to live in, and while some people would throw a twin mattress in the back and call it good, Jay didn’t do that.  He couldn’t even really settle on how the interior would look, in the fifteen years he’s owned it he’s changed the interior ten times.  No project is ever done.

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Now, why did he pick a van of all things?  Imagine this: you’re living in Newport Beach, California.  You live in a rather expensive home, in a very nice neighborhood.  One morning, you go out for a run and you see a Class C motorhome parked on your street.  where did this come from? You think to yourself.  It can’t be here all summer, there’s no way.  And yet that monster sits.  Obstructing views and traffic, and generally being an eyesore.  The site weighs on you, your productivity at work falls.  By the end of the summer, you’ve been fired.  You can’t afford your mortgage anymore, so you end up moving to a trailer park in the IE and reminisce about the life you led.  Now imagine that instead of seeing the Class C, you see a bubble top van.  It’s smaller, less garish.  You don’t notice it because it’s a van, and contractors and other professionals drive them.  You don’t get fired, and you continue living happily in Orange County.  That’s why the van, because it’s inconspicuous.

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Running width-wise across the van is a large shelf that could be used as a bench, but is just a shelf.  It holds all the supplies one would need when living out of a home-made camper van, including a broom.  Above the bench/shelf is a pretty sweet little Murphy bed, on which he’s attached some Tibetan prayer flags. Underneath the elevated bed is his Adirondack deck chair, and half a chest of drawers. Directly across from the bed are some hooks, which he hangs jackets, hats and whatever else he wants to on them. It’s a van, were you expecting there to be a distinct lack of storage?

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Jay throws his bike in the back when he heads on his adventures.  And he’s gone on plenty in this van.  He’s put 166,000 miles on the odometer, and those miles taken him to the Pacific Northwest and Orca’s Island.  He’s taken it to California a hundred times, and it’s gone up to Fish Lake in central Utah dozens of times.  Him and his girlfriend, who is my girlfriend’s grandmother (hi Jeanette!), hop into the van, hitch up their fourteen foot trailer, and they spend their summers living in the van and trailer by the lake.  And that trailer hasn’t been spared from Jay’s handy work.  He built a deck for that thing.  Out of wood.  And they bring it with them!

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The van isn’t perfect.  If he could, Jay would’ve picked up a 3/4 ton van instead of the half ton.  And he definitely would have a V8.  The V6 hasn’t exactly been the fuel sipper he imagined it was going to be, especially when dragging that trailer up to the lake.  Overall, it’s been pretty good.  And it’s really hard to complain when you’ve got the door open and you’re enjoying a view of Newport Harbor.

Bonus Images

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
07th Jan2015

A Better Alternative

by Michael Chandler

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I feel safe in assuming that you do most of your maintenance yourself if you read this site with any regularity.  There’s a garage full of tools, a family or significant other who understands why you do these things, and a host of manuals in the garage and websites bookmarked to help you keep your vehicle road worthy.  But what if you encounter a problem with your vehicle that you can’t handle yourself?  It’s not a catastrophic failure, but it’s not as simple as fetching the correct size socket out of the drawer and adjusting.  What do you do?  Go to the dealer and  get it coming and going?  Trust your pride and joy to a “specialist” shop that specializes in 47 different makes?  Oh if only there was a dealer alternative!

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We’ve featured some good shops in the past, and we still highly recommend them.  But say you’re cruising around in your GTi and it does a VW thing and stops working properly.  It still works, albeit in limp mode, and you can’t figure out what happened.  The internet has no useful answers and your friends are stumped.  What do you do?  Dealer?  Viking funeral?  Hope it goes away on its own?  No.  You limp that thing up to Layton and get it to Makes & Models.  Why? Because you’re getting factory trained techs and service without having to go to the dealership and pay those ridiculous prices.

Makes & Models shop feature

Their bread and butter is the VAG makes: Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, but they also service Mercedes-Benz and BMW vehicles.  And if you’re thinking about joining the uber-affluent set by getting a Lamborghini or Ferrari, then you’re in luck!  They already service some bulls and horseys, and they’re working on becoming a full blown Lamborghini service center.  Doing that requires acquiring all sorts of specialized tools and sending the techs off to get the necessary deutschetalian training.  However, if you prefer your mid-engine supercar to sport rings on the nose instead of livestock, you’re set.

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Not only do many a R8 come in for service, but members of the staff own them and even race an R8 LMS in NASA Utah region competition!  Technically TW Racing campaigns the R8, but if you wander in to the shop you might be able to see it tucked away in a corner of the show room.  You might even get to meet on of the drivers!  But back to your non-functional Golf for a moment.  You get it there, and the techs work their magic and voila! IT LIVES!  And for cheaper than what you budgeted for.  The more sensible amongst us would pocket the money and go about their day, but not us.  No no no, we see the massive list of companies they’re authorized dealers and installers for and suddenly that extra money is gone.  Who is on the list?

  • Akrapovic
  • 034 Motorsports
  • Global Motorsports Group
  • Integrated Engineering
  • APR
  • AWE Tuning
  • VF Engineering
  • and more

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But what if they told you that the car was toast?  OH GOD WHY???  Well you’re in luck!  They are also a dealership!  Yes, you can buy a car from them, have them service it, AND have them modify it!  It’s a one stop shop for all of your Euro needs!

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Thankfully there is an alternative to dropping your baby off at the dealership, and waiting to see how many 80 hour weeks you will need to work to pay off the bill.  It’s up in Layton, and they have a racecar hanging out in the showroom.

Makes & Models

1620 W Hill Field Road

Layton, Utah

(801) 546-2277

Makes & Models.com

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
02nd Apr2014

Salt City Drift Round 1

by Michael Chandler

Salt City Drift Round 1 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (30 of 31)

 

It was a busy, busy day at Miller Motorsports Park on March 22.  It was the opening of the NASA Utah season, the Radical Cup made a stop, and in the West Paddock some degenerates excited youth were sliding around like one is want to do when given the opportunity.  I wasn’t around to see any sort of competition, but I did pop in long enough to snap some photos and see people whip 360s through the exit gate of the course.  Someone even punted a cone while doing so!

Salt City Drift Round 1 CAMautoMag Michael Chandler (18 of 31)

See?!

Anyway, the next round is all the way out on June 14 in (wait for it) Downtown Salt Lake City!  Exciting right??  See you then, and in the meantime enjoy the photos.

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
20th Mar2013

IDrift 3/16

by Trent

Derrick Lopez Subaru WRX STi driftingThe Utah Drift scene has been well, lacking. Many people have stepped up and tried to make it successful, but for one reason or another, it hasn’t thrived. This is the year we sincerely hope that changes. Brandon Wicknick is now competing in Formula D, and this first event of the season went remarkably well.

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This is thanks in no small part to the guys who put it together. Jason Smith, Mike Fulkerson, Brent Cheney, and more behind the scenes all helped bring this event together and solicited the help of the drift community to see what works and doesn’t work.

BMW E36 drifting

This made the event fun and a great place to shake off the cobwebs.

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Take a look at the pics and see what you can look forward to this year from the Utah drifting scene.

Nick Stucky D-Spare Miata drift

As always, head to the CAMautoMag Facebook page for more pics!

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Words by Trent Bray, Photos by Michael Chandler and Trent Bray, Video by Trent Bray

*Article, photos and video are copyright of CAMautoMag.com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.com

27th Sep2012

Intermountain Councours d’Elegance

by Trent

Twin Turbo Salt Flats Ferrari EnzoThis past weekend I left the house at 9am and didn’t return until 2am. It was a day filled with cars, but this is what set the tone for the day, the 2012 Intermountain Concours d’Elegance.
Allard Concours
These are not the type of cars I normally shoot, but I’m starting to wonder why. The lines and the details are exquisite. The emphasis on design is unsurpassed in today’s cars where they are built by the marketing team.
C1 Corvette
The Intermountain Concours d’Elegance took place at the Thanksgiving Point Gardens in Lehi, UT. It was about as beautiful surrounding as you can get without an ocean nearby.
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Really though, the pictures and video describe it all.

[func-shun] Episode 22: Intermountain Councours d’Elegance from [func-shun] on Vimeo.

Ferrari 312

Shelby Cobra and Mustang
Hudson Hornet motor
1963 Split-window Corvette
Boat tail speedster
Ferrari F40 HDR
Ferrari 458 Italia

The rest of the photos can be seen on our Facebook Page.

*Article, photos and video are copyright of CAMautoMag.com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.com

09th Jun2011

More Drifting!

by Michael Chandler


In addition to hosting a event out on the track, LapBattle.com threw a little drift party in the paddock at Miller Motorsports Park this past weekend. There’s a mini gallery of sideways awesome after the jump.
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07th May2011

Gallery: Utah Drift

by Trent

Nissan 240sx Drifting in UtahRecently, the Utah Drift scene found a deserted track that the owner was willing to rent out for a cheap price. This of course led to a great drift session out in Eagle Mountain, UT. We were on hand to witness this event, and click ‘Continue Reading’ to see some of the photos we shot. (more…)