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The Shins are retiring their faithful Ford Econoline Club Wagon tour van. Rather than sending it out to pasture, the band is hosting a contest to pass the keys to another worthy and needy group of musicians. The idea is that, rather than let it go to waste, another group will use it to tour the nation just like The Shins did in the early days. As with so many musicians, it looks like the Club Wagon will retire when it's dead.

The contest details can be found at theshinsvan.com. Essentially, entrants need to record themselves covering any song off The Shins' latest album, Heartworms, and submit the recording using the hashtag #ShinsVanContest. Group founder James Mercer will then select the lucky winner from the entrants.

As Mercer says in the video, the van has been relegated to Christmas-tree hauling duties and is being underutilized. He says this particular model was the biggest you could get from Ford at the time.

Some provenance: Before it was acquired by The Shins, the Club Wagon was owned by a cattle ranch. Mercer said they had to remove the rubber floor mat and power wash the interior to get the cow droppings out. The rear has been modified with a cargo area and small bed, perfect for hauling gear and catching some sleep between shows.

The van has been recently overhauled inside and out. All of the interior was removed and refreshed. The paint was sanded down and resprayed with new two-tone color. No details on the engine or transmission, but at the very least the new owner will have one of the best looking Club Wagons still around.

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