This week we are featuring Phil Martin from Pennsylvania, and his 1978 Dodge Van “Nautique”. Married to Wendy and father of 3 girls “Cassie, Kaitlin and Kayla”. Phil worked for 28 years for a company that produced building products until it closed in 2007. He worked for himself for two years, for a company that was doing field service. Due to the years of hard labor, Phil unfortunately is permanently disabled, which has made it harder for him to work on his van.
Phil bought the van in 1980, and over the years he had worked on many ideas for the van, until finally the nautical motif came up. Hence the name “Nautique”, which he says “She has been a labor of love with much blood, sweat and tears shed on her, especially blood” which one has to admire.
So what brought up the idea of the nautical motif for the van, Phil says that “Growing up I always had a love for vans and the sea so I combined the two”. The interior was designed to replicate the interior of a sailing ship. What is most special is that this creation has a dedication “My father was actually a ship captain and ran charter boats up until his passing; hence the theme and the dedication to them”.
Knowing how much hard work has gone into creating the “Nautique” there must also be some amazing memories? The truth is that there are and Phil says that there have been several good memories. One of their proudest was winning the Best Theme at the Van Nationals for the first time. The hard work from Phil and his wife Wendy did not go unnoticed as they won the award five times. Winning Outstanding Interior at Motorama was another of their great memories. Not one memory stands out greater than the one of their wedding “the best and favorite memory was when we got married and took our first ride as man and wife in the back of our van after the wedding. Not many people have driven her but my best man that day had the job. It was a great memory and one we still share all these years later”. Congratulations Phil and Wendy, it is amazing work.
The hardest things during the modification, Phil says “There have been several things that have been difficult in regards to modifications. While the murals were not a modification, they were hard to come up with the right artwork. I had the idea in my head but not being an artist, I could not draw it on paper no matter how hard I tried. I finally found 2 pictures that were similar to what I had in mind and then found a talented airbrush artist named Brian Gavek to paint it. I went over how I wanted the artwork changed and then also gave him permission to go a little crazy as well. The results are the murals as you see them which everyone is amazed with. The interior of the van was to look like an old sailing vessel. So I needed to come up with the wood to look properly as well as hang it in the van on the walls and ceiling. The floor was not that tough but still was difficult. Then my wife came up with idea of putting sand on the dash, dog box and trim in the cockpit. Ok my first thoughts were, are you nuts. But after thinking about it for awhile, I decided I could do it and did. It was not easy but it has been done. And the sand is not just sand box sand from Lowe’s. It is beach sand from Lewes, DE where we vacation and my parents had their charter boat”.
So what’s next for the Nautique? They will attending a show in April called Meltdown After the Thaw. In July they will be attending the 42nd Van Nationals in Greenwich, NY. In August they will be taking part in a special display of custom vans at the Carlisle All-Truck Nationals in Carlisle,PA.
Phil would love to own a Lamborghini Countach, he’s not alone that is an awesome car. He would like to be able to “do a ground up restoration on a Dodge or Chevy Panel truck. Chrome frame, detailed body, killer engine, plush interior, killer sound, etc.” If the Nautique is any indication of the awesome work he does, expect to see more great work from him.
Look at the great work that he has done on the “Nautique” : http://forums.coolridesonline.net/album.php?albumid=1181
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