Volkswagen buses have inspired wanderers since they were introduced in the 1950's, back when their ads touted the rectangular boxy vehicles as 'Volkswagen Station Wagons''. A Seattle business owner, Harley Sitner, is keeping that legacy alive:
"I run Peace Vans, we restore repair and take care of people's classic VW vehicles."
His SODO shop's name has many meanings:
"Peace Vans, it kind of explains itself. First of all you have vans, but peace love, peace hippy, peace of mind, peace and joy , it kinda all goes together," explained Sitner, sporting his trademark pink cap and bright green puffer jacket.
This place is all about breathing new life into cars Volkswagen stopped making in the early 90's.
"These are becoming increasingy hard vehicles to come by, just fewer and fewer on the road in those that are on the road require a bit more care and feeding than your usual vehicle. But they're no less loved, in fact they're even more loved," Sitner explained.
These camper vans have so many fans, Harley just launched Peace Van Rentals:
"The option of going on a road trip with one is just a fantasy a lot of people had."
Renting 'Combis' (camper vans) is a popular way to tour Australia, and Sitner thinks the idea will take hold in the Pacific Northwest:
"They are the perfect road trip vehicle."
Each of the vans will be road trip ready:
"You got your sink, got your little two burner stove, lots of fun storage, pots and pans, some of the units have a little refrigerator," explained Sitner form inside a van.
And of course, it's not a camper van without a pop top: There is one caveat regarding the tent atop each van:
"I warn you, if you have kids they will fight over who gets to sleep up in this little bed here."
Our suggestion: grownups get this prime spot. After all they're the ones doing the driving.
Customers will get a quick tutorial to get acquainted with their new short-term homes, and there will also be 'how to' videos they can upload from the road.
And these vans are for exploring the Northwest only.
"You cannot take one of our vans to Burning Man."
Bookings are already coming in -- and the first Peace Van Rentals will hit the highways this May. And Harly Sitner can't wait to hear the stories these vans will tell.
"Yeah, it's awesome, I mean, it's just a memory making machine."