If you're looking at this auction and thinking, "Who in the hell would pay six figures for a derelict Dodge van covered in graffiti?," just go ahead and check out our Geneva coverage or something.

Whatever. Never mind.

Because to those of us who watch Portlandia and never stopped buying records (yes, hipster Millennials, they're called records, not "vinyls"), this van might as well be a time machine. Just thinking about a band like the Melvins takes us back to being young, to a time where anything was possible ...

Well, that's just patently untrue.

When the current owner of this 1972 Dodge Sportsman van acquired it from the mother of Melvins bassist Matt Lukin in 1992, nothing was possible. Or at least that sort of nihilism was the zeitgeist of the era.

The van itself was the seminal grunge band's tour vehicle, reportedly having been both driven and illustrated by none other than Kurt Cobain, a great admirer and friend of the band in the late 1980s. The van's value is derived almost entirely from a mural of the band Kiss that Cobain drew on its side, which is why the "Melvan" is not listed on eBay Motors, but in eBay's art section.

Cobain, of course, went on to later fame as frontman of Nirvana, but committed suicide in 1994, the same year the van last saw use. If there's one thing that Cobain made clear through his suicide, it's that angst-as-religion doesn't play out well. With his passing, grunge began to die off, and the rest of us were forced to grow up.

We're old now, most of us fans are at least pushing 40, if not already "over the hill." This makes an artifact like the Melvan desirable for sheer nostalgia, but there's more to it than that. Most Cobain-related memorabilia seem unfortunately tarnished by his ultimate demise, while this piece harkens back to an earlier, more hopeful point in Cobain's life. A time before the fame and drugs and pressures of public life conspired to destroy him.

Think about it: Who would draw Kiss on the side of a junky old van with a Sharpie other than a goofy kid? That seems like the best imaginable way to remember Kurt.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 69 Comments
      spdy65
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, what a chance to own a real piece of....crap.
      Buckingham's
      • 2 Years Ago
      SHOW ME THE CAR FAX!
      rbrtkyte
      • 2 Years Ago
      How many times is Huffington Post and AOL and all their cronies going to keep re-hashing old stories JUST for us !!?? IDIOTS ! Time to change isp's once and for all !
      camoore5
      • 2 Years Ago
      And I still don't want it, I don't care who drove it or drew on it...
      larry
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was fortunate enough to get a paint job just like this by, leaving my disabled Mercedes S350, parked in the freeway emergency lane overnight on a Los Angeles freeway.
        Tammy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @larry
        S350...? Euro model?? What year??
        Heidi Ann
        • 2 Years Ago
        @larry
        I hear you on that, Larry. Are we supposed to be impressed by this "art"?
      dynofossil
      • 2 Years Ago
      I dont understand why the article is poking fun at the hipster demographic. It seems extremely irrelevant to the story.
      knarf714
      • 2 Years Ago
      The van is as crappy as his music. I'm sure he committed suicide after listening to his music and realizing he was doomed to musical medicrity.
      mebecarl
      • 2 Years Ago
      Curt "Cocaine" was not an icon; he was a drug addict. Lived by the drugs; died by the drugs, and a gun in his mouth.
        dreolinagain
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mebecarl
        Who also suffered from severe depression, which is probably why he was a drug addict, not to mention his suicide. If you have never had lifelong depression, then you would never understand. If you have, then you should be ashamed. I feel sorry for him. I see you have Elvis as your icon, you do realize he was a drug addict too, right? And it is "Kurt" not Curt. I never cared for his music either, but much of my generation did and they do consider him an icon.
        The Martins
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mebecarl
        Well then, I'm guessing you only have Carpenters music in your collection. Oh wait. Karen starved herself to death. She wasn't perfect either. BTW, he'll be rembered for decades. You not so much.
      Go
      • 2 Years Ago
      Having been a part of the 80's punk movement, I think this has some historic and artistic merit! Bands of that genre and era didn't slather themselves in spandex and makeup, they slummed it in junker vans like this. It was hard but they made it work and it was authentic. Authentically good, bad, angry, funny...whatever. But it WAS authentic. Yeah, vans like these aren't worth much but as something with a history, it probably has some value to someone or some little museum. In years to come, I think more folks will see that (though probably not here on a car blog).
      rbb56
      • 2 Years Ago
      Awesome... crappy artwork by a dead drug addict on the side of a crappy van... where is my checkbook?
        KelperFoxWolf
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rbb56
        Can't agree more. Painted and driven by the most overrated prick of the 90's. I'd rather buy a Jaguar which was used by Noel Gallagher rather than that crap.
        Chris
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rbb56
        You must not be a big fan of music because the history of music is full of them. Some of the most influential musicians we have ever known succumbed to drug addiction. Kurt Cobain was the "Jim Morrison of the 90s", so it makes sense why some may be interested in this.
      Brandt Hardin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Kurt changed my life with his insightful and surreal music and lyrics. I only wished he could have stuck around to make more to listen to for future generations. I was compelled to compose a portrait of him In Memoriam recently on the anniversary of his death on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/04/in-memoriam-kurt-cobain-and-lane-staley.html Drop in and tell me your memories of his music and how it’s affected you.
      Jeff
      • 2 Years Ago
      There's two n's in "hipster Millenials". Jus sayin.
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