Jinkies! The case of the Mystery Machine van parked in Gardner Hall parking lot has been cracked. The mysterious driver of the acclaimed van from Scooby Doo is none other than Nathan Reynolds, a freshman biology major from Kingwood.
The idea for the van came to Reynolds his freshman year of high school when he realized he would be driving the family’s 17-year-old gray GMC Safari van.
“It was old and not in the best condition, so I was like ‘I should fix this up,'” he said.
During his senior year, after finally getting the car engine to run, Reynolds took the car on its first drive – to his school’s auto shop.
“It is probably a $3,000 paint job or more, but I only paid like $665,” Reynolds said.
Reynold’s Mystery Machine is based off of a toy keychain of the van from Crackle Barrel that, though faded, still hangs from his key ring.
“Anyone that worked on my car got these and I said, “Make my car look exactly like this,'” he said.
And that’s exactly what he got. The Mystery Machine could pass the test of any true fanatic, with likenesses to the cartoon both inside and out. With purple shag seat, mirror and steering wheel covers and a radio that glows purple, the only thing missing from the groovy vehicle are a few boxes of Scooby Snacks. Reynolds said he has a couch for the back seat, but left it at home to save space in his car.
As for the exterior, Reynolds handpicked everything to make sure it resembled the original Mystery Machine.
“The decals on there are a picture off of the cartoon,” Reynolds said. “They aren’t handmade; they’re identical.”
And, of course, no Mystery Machine would be complete without its lovable duo, Shaggy and Scooby.
“I won a Scooby doll at Six Flags, and he constantly sits in the passenger seat with me when my girlfriend’s not sitting there,” Reynolds said.
In high school Reynolds had longer hair and dressed up as Shaggy, khaki pants and all.
Students around campus have taken notice of the colorful van. Kayla Holcomb, sophomore computer science major from Witchita Falls, said the Mystery Machine has been a popular topic of conversation.
“I think that this guy is really creative,” Holcomb said. “It’s something that stands out even on a campus that’s this big.”
While the Mystery Machine receives praise from onlookers, Reynolds said no one is a bigger fan of the van than his 6-year-old nephew.
“I’d pick him up from school sometimes and he’d tell everyone it was the real Mystery Machine off the cartoon,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds’ love for customizing cars has only grown after meeting others with the same hobby. In Kingwood, he met a guy who created a Batmobile out of two Corvettes.
“He said ‘If you ever customize a car, you can never get a normal car again,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds agreed and said his next dream venture is to create an “Ecto-1″ from the movie Ghostbusters. But until then, he said he’d settle for some more purple shag and a DVD player for his van. And perhaps he’ll even consider buying a few Scooby Snacks.