This van definitely rocks.
Last year, “American Pickers” Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz got a tip about an old 1964 International Harvester Metro van rotting away in the woods on a Massachusetts property that turned out to be the original tour van Aerosmith used in the 1970s, when they were an up-and-coming act.
It was nowhere close to running condition, but still had the band’s name and artwork painted on the side. After confirming its authenticity, the “Pickers” paid $25,000 for it with plans to bring it back to life.
“It’s obviously the most incredible thing we’ve ever found in our lives,” Wolfe said on the History channel program.
When Aerosmith heard they picked it up, the band reached out and said they wanted to buy it back … when they fixed it. Wolfe said he was honored that they trusted him with overseeing the task.
The team found an identical truck to use for parts, and rescued as much of the original as they could. They incorporated the new engine, frame and rear end, but managed to preserve the painted side panel and some other features. They recreated the rest from old photos, including an interior decorated in period correct wood paneling.
After the work was complete, Wolfe and Fritz met up with Aerosmith in Las Vegas, where they have been playing a residency at the Park MGM, and featured the reunion in a recent episode.
Lead singer Steven Tyler shared stories about being on the road and sleeping in it with brass knuckles to protect the gear after he’d had a couple of “pops” of Jack Daniels, and pointed out where he hid other recreational substances.
The band didn’t reveal how much they paid for it, but have been using it on display in the lobby outside of their theater. Lead guitarist Joe Perry said he hopes it will end up in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame one day.