Below is the “official” press release for this unique NASCAR wheelchair van, but I wanted to preface this by giving some much-deserved credit to the creator of this vehicle, BraunAbility’s Graphic Specialist Tom Jones. Tom spent many hours “pimping” this ride, and his incredible attention to detail really makes this Rampvan stand out. I had a chance to sit in the driver seat before it shipped, and it felt as close to the real thing as you could get without going 200mph around a track. I hope you’re able to view the van in person sometime it really is something to see! Here’s the press release:
The Ultimate Fan Van will be unveiled at the 2008 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, and features the same extensive vehicle modifications that provide for outstanding wheelchair access, along with a host of new features ideal for the avid race fan.
Built by BraunAbility, the Ultimate Fan Van is equipped with removable passenger seats with wheelchair tie-down points for up to three wheelchairs, a fully lowered floor, foldout ramp and an innovative kneeling rear suspension, all designed to provide unparalleled access for wheelchair and scooter users.
“The Ultimate Fan Van was developed to help increase awareness of this unique conversion, and to remind us that race fans, and people in general, come in all shapes, sizes and abilities”, said Bob Swaim, national manager for Mobility, Regulatory Compliance & People at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “We and BraunAbility intend to display the vehicle during the 2009 race season and then donate it to someone who can put it to good use.”
The floor of the van has been lowered by 11-inches, decreasing the ramp angle and allowing for deployment onto curbs, making it easier to enter and exit the vehicle and increasing interior headroom. The 30-inch-wide power ramp has three conveniently located control switches, emergency door-ramp release and anti-skid ramp coating. Full ramp extension requires only five seconds after the power sliding side door is fully open.
The Ultimate Fan Van features the same distinctive red and black paint scheme and racing-style decals as the No. 38 Toyota Camry campaigned in the Nationwide Series by Braun Racing. Driven by Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif., the team gave the Camry its historic first NASCAR victory by winning the Nationwide Series race in July 2007 at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.
Helping to provide the race car is a custom grill, air dam and simulated hood pins. Roofline air deflectors, mandatory on Nationwide race cars, replace the roof rack and there’s even a custom cut window net, another must for the track. The exterior is capped off by a Toyota Accessory rear spoiler and Toyota Racing Division (TRD) Exhaust Tip.
The interior is highlighted by custom Katzkin seating in black and white leather with red suede upholstery, with matching door inserts and a custom Permobil wheelchair. Carbon Fiber by Superior Dash is used for the instrument panel, door trim, and steering wheel. A DVD entertainment system is included with JBL audio and subwoofer and Sirius XM Satellite Radio, for the latest in race information.
The Sienna also has been fitted with TRD 19 inch wheels, paired with Yokohama ADVAN S.4 245/45R19 performance tires. TRD custom brakes feature larger front rotors with 4-piston calipers and cross-drilled rear rotors with 2-piston calipers. Braided stainless steel brake lines are used throughout. Other hardware racing touches include a TRD oil filler cap and custom painted engine cover.
Any race fan knows the ultimate experience is not complete without everything needed for a tailgate and the Sienna Rampvan comes loaded with Colemen equipment including a Roadtrip Grill, cooler, cordless blender and canvas chairs.
Toyota supports new Sienna Rampvan customers by offering a $1,000 mobility assistance reimbursement. For more details, visit www.toyota.com/mobility.
So, are you ready to take this NASCAR wheelchair van for a spin around the track? We’ll keep you posted on where it will be appearing throughout the year. Who knows? After people see this, they may launch a new “Wheelchair Minivan Series!” It could happen. Let us know what you think by commenting below!