Blink 182’s Dodge “Rock Show” Van Just Got New Owners

A red Miata dangles from the arm of a construction crane, suspended several stories in the air. Hooked behind the rear bumper, its round nose points to the pavement below. In an instant, the tiny sports car plummets to the tarmac. It smashes and falls, shiny side down. If that wasn’t cruel enough, a gray 1985 Dodge van with “Blink 182” painted on the side enters stage right and backs into the dead, red convertible.

End scene. Fin.

Said Miata drop is the climax to a Blink 182 music video for the band’s 2001 hit song “The Rock Show.” The whole premise is that the record label gave Blink a check for its latest video. The pop-punk trio rolls up to a bank in the gray Dodge van and then chases the check in order to commit a day of stunts with the windfall: throwing dollar bills off a roof, freeing pet shop doves, and the like. Rapid cuts of this buffoonery are mixed with footage of the band playing at various locations. It’s all the kind of stuff that captivated the minds of young teens and shot Blink 182 to the top of the charts in the early 2000s.

While it’s safe to say the folded Miata was probably written off as a total loss, the van’s whereabouts were always a mystery. “The band rented the Dodge for the shoot,” says 32-year-old superfan Andrew Baldwin. “After the video, it ended up in the hands of a radio station and sat in their lot for a while. Then a station employee purchased the van and owned it for better part of a decade.”

In the 23 years since the video, Blink 182 became one of the biggest rock bands of the 21st century. It’s three central members came and went before finally reuniting last year for a reunion tour. By all accounts the band still rocks and brings the same juvenile humor prevalent in their songwriting, live performances, and music videos. (Look no further than the tour name, The Rock Hard Tour.)

Only one question was left unanswered until recently—no, not “What’s my Age Again?” but rather: Where on Earth is the Blink 182 Dodge van?

Blink 182 Van
Andrew Baldwin

“We first found it a few years back, posted online,” says Baldwin. “There were rumors someone was going to buy it. Somebody passed on it. Other people chose not to buy it.” He and his girlfriend Taylor didn’t lose interest. “We thought about it a whole lot. Nobody really said where it was and nobody would give the exact location.” Online chatter was only mildly helpful.

The couple eventually found the van using Google Street View. “We had enough clues to get close.” The faded “Blink 1-8-2” on the side rendered it immediately recognizable to a guy like Baldwin, who remembers watching the music video when it was on the air in ’01. He was able to get in contact with the owner. Still, Baldwin found himself hesitating at the prospect of taking the van home. He contemplated what he might do with an old music video prop that, in his words, “ran, but not well.”

“It was actually my girlfriend that said, ‘Go for it and think about it later.’”

A thousand bucks later, the van was theirs. After shipping it to their house in Texas, they commenced to flushing the gas lines and dropping the tank. According to Baldwin, the Dodge needs a new carburetor, new brakes, and a bit of TLC throughout. “The goal is to get it road-worthy by the time the band tours this summer. We’re going to take it shows and tailgate.” While it might not command the dough that a Bullitt Mustang or a Bandit Firebird will fetch at auction, the van has plenty of historical provenance among the right crowd.

“For me, I love the band and the music and part of it how ridiculous it feels to own a 38-year-old van in the garage that you’re going to restore,” he says. “It means a lot. I get a funny feeling sitting in the driver seat.”

The van’s musty interior appears just as it was when the band piled in for filming of “The Rock Show” video. Even the rear doors, which impacted the Miata during the shoot, remain permanently wedged shut. More two decades later, the giant gray van is a rolling time pop-punk capsule.

“It’s awesome. I smile every time I step in the garage and see it.”

The couple is documenting the entire Blink 182 van saga on their Instagram. Follow along at @therockshowvan.

 

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