The hippy van for all occasions - The Mystery Machine

Words: Scott Blackburn

Composed to: Black Sabbath - Master of Reality


Back in 1960s America there was only one possible transport for a group of meddling kids set on solving spooky mysteries. This was to be perhaps the best painted Ford Taunus Transit van ever: the Mystery Machine. The aforementioned group of meddling kids were Mystery Inc., composed of Shaggy, Scooby-Doo, Fred, Daphne, and Velma...and occasionally Scrappy-Doo.


The gang realised they needed a proper transport for Mystery Inc. when they became a little tired of having Daphne's dad drive them to every mystery they needed to solve. The Mystery Machine was therefore brought into play, under Fred's affectionate ownership. Prior to Mystery Inc. the van had belonged to a much-loved family band by the name of the Mystery Kids, with eye-catching paintwork by the pianist, Flash Flannigan. Complimenting the paintwork are the patterned hubcaps too.   


Apart from having one of the best names ever Flannigan was known for abruptly leaving the band and disappearing, presumed dead. For a short while the gang thought his ghost was haunting the van as it had a mind of its own, turns out it was being remotely controlled by Susan Dinwiddie as part of a publicity stunt for a Mystery Kids comeback.


The Mystery Machine doesn't mess around when it comes to engines either, under the bonnet is a 260cui V8 making 164hp. As well as this the van has an uncanny ability to adapt itself to any situation necessary, almost like something from a kids cartoon. At different stages in the gang's adventures the Machine comes with anything from ladders and lanterns, to a high tech lab or a dining area.


The van was not only used for Mystery Inc. but was also kindly lent to Scooby, Shaggy and Scrappy while they went on their own adventures for a few years. Following this it was used mainly as a reporter's van by Daphne, but all the while kept the Mystery Machine lettering down the side, hidden under the news crew logo.


The Mystery Machine then is the ideal transport for any would-be mystery solvers, with its impressive engine, almost implausible adaptability, and appealing '60s paintwork. Any mystery solving organisation would be lucky to get their hands on one though, there's only two in existence.