Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The past shows up quite unexpectedly

Over on Facebook, a fellow van dweller posted that an odd amphibious vehicle was for sale—the Dobbertin Surface Orbiter. Oh. Wow. I know about the DSO. It passed through my life.

Way back in the early '90s I worked on the advertising for Clarion Car Audio. The campaign featured unusual vehicles, so we were always on the lookout for them. For example, we once met with a custom car builder who claimed he, not George Barris, built the original television Batmobile.

One day we ran across an article about this guy in Syracuse—Rick Dobbertin—who had converted a milk tanker into a vehicle he hoped to drive and sail around the world with his wife, Karen. Aw man, that would be perfect for one of our ads! The folks at Clarion agreed. The Dobbertins agreed (with the help of some money).

Rick and Karen had already set off on their big adventure, so the art director and a photographer caught up with them on some tiny island in the Bahamas.

Art Director: Jon Gothold  - Copywriter: Al Christensen  -  Photographer: Lee Crum  -  Advertising Agency: dGWB

The grand expedition turned out to be tougher, less feasible and more expensive than they had imagined. They cut it short. They also cut their marriage short. That might serve as a caution to couples who plan to live and travel in a van, even if it's not nearly as bizarre as 20,000 pounds of amphibious milk tank. With a killer stereo.

As for the fate of the Dobbertin Surface Orbiter, they were asking $200,000 for it back in 1999. I don't know if things like this appreciate or depreciate. It could make some wealthy van dweller a very interesting home, though. If he/she is single.

1 comment:

  1. This sort of reminds me of a couple I knew who spent five years building a sailboat from scratch. When they finally got it in the water, they realized they didn't like to sail.