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Chauncey Walden
27-Feb-2015, 14:11
Anyone ever seen anything about how AA got up onto his roof platform? The photo of him on the roof of his Pontiac shows no signs of a ladder anywhere. True, old Detroit steel was strong enough to permit stepping from the bumper to the fender to the hood and climbing up on the rack but what about his gear? Once it was set up that way down was blocked. Anyone here who maybe saw him do it once? Or maybe in a film?

Darin Boville
27-Feb-2015, 14:19
He used a mule to carry his gear up there.

--Darin

Heespharm
27-Feb-2015, 14:22
Anyone ever seen anything about how AA got up onto his roof platform? The photo of him on the roof of his Pontiac shows no signs of a ladder anywhere. True, old Detroit steel was strong enough to permit stepping from the bumper to the fender to the hood and climbing up on the rack but what about his gear? Once it was set up that way down was blocked. Anyone here who maybe saw him do it once? Or maybe in a film?

The hood maybe?

fishbulb
27-Feb-2015, 14:27
In this image you can see he had a ladder that hooked onto one side. It looks very much like the type of ladder that is sold for getting in and out of a lake boat.

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And in this image (different car), a ladder off of the tailgate:

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On a modern car, I would want to build this type of platform by punching holes in the roof and running steel pipes straight down to the car's frame rails (if it has them, not all cars do anymore) or some other structurally strong point in the car. Seal off the holes with rubber gaskets around the pipes (which would be painted of course). Then build the platform on top of that. If you stripped the interior out of the car yourself, you could then take the car to a 4x4 or auto racing shop and have their roll cage builder create the platform for you out of mild steel. You could then spraypaint it or brush the paint on yourself. I'd estimate a total cost of $1000-3000 depending on you much you did yourself and how good of a welder you want to pay for.

Note that Ansel's earlier car, the platform is just mounted to the rain gutters like any Yakima or Thule rack would have been. Perhaps if you have a car with a strong roof and a long rain gutter / multiple rack mounting points, you could build a platform like this just with a wood board and four or more cross bars on the rain gutters. My choice would be an older Volvo or Mercedes station wagon with rain gutters. The old Volvos had very strong roofs (relative to cars of the era) for protection in rollover crashes. Volvo used to advertise this: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/474x/93/e8/87/93e887467811c7d670bd1957aaffda49.jpg for example

Randy Moe
27-Feb-2015, 15:25
Overkill.

One 200 lb person and a plywood platform with tripod attached is fine even on a modern car. They are stronger than you think. Crash test dummies tell us so.

Just go to the neighbors and walk all their the hood, roof and trunk. It will bend and scratch and he will shoot you...yet I seen 3 motorcycles all on one car roof at the same time. They rode up there.

But a beater anything is pretty darn strong even these days. If you don't care, the car certainly won't.

Any Ford van is a tank. That's what I would use. Nothing could hurt my 1999 E150. I suggest fitting 2x4's to the roof line and glueing them in place with that marine goo we have been discussing and through bolting painted with sand 3/4" CDX plywood straight through the 2X4's and van roof with back up plates on the inside.

I have done this. But have no pics of my AA vehicle.

Here is a 1987 shot of my Dragon bolted just like I describe on a 1969 Cutlass. I also painted that car in 20 minutes with a roller. Two 1/2" bolts were good to 50 mph. Even Draggy stayed together.

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Chauncey Walden
27-Feb-2015, 16:15
Thanks, Fishbulb. That explains it (note though that the rack is not attached to the gutter on the Pontiac but the upright rails of the frame - not so much doable on a hardtop). They were on the old IH Carryall (or were they Travelalls then?) but they were cast iron so it didn't matter. Randy, good ideas on the van but the dragon car explains a lot;-)

Randy Moe
27-Feb-2015, 16:16
:).

Eric Biggerstaff
27-Feb-2015, 19:34
gotta love the boat ladder

dsphotog
27-Feb-2015, 19:40
Did you take the dragon to Burningman?

Randy Moe
27-Feb-2015, 23:23
Did you take the dragon to Burningman?

No that was the mid 80's, I knew nothing of BM at that time, if it even existed.

One day I just decided to create him and shortly he was riding the car. First Art ever made by me.

A decade later I sold a shrink, three 1/4 scale Baby Dragon's for his office. My first and last Art sale, that I have always regretted. I can never see them again. However I still have 3 of the 7 babies. 4 lost to heathens. The 3 adult ones all died from lack of a quiet place to sleep. Dragons never get a break...

Of course I failed to show in that picture his large red illuminated male organ. Women always had to touch it. Not kidding. :)

Alan Gales
28-Feb-2015, 00:34
Of course I failed to show in that picture his large red illuminated male organ. Women always had to touch it. Not kidding. :)

That's funny! ;)

You sound like a real fun guy. Randy, and I mean that as a compliment.

Robert Langham
28-Feb-2015, 08:04
I'd love to have ANY kind of a platform for a Toyota 4Runner. All I can find is cargo baskets that aren't big enough. There was a shop in town that made some stuff like that, but long gone. You can never get too high for landscape work.

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Jac@stafford.net
28-Feb-2015, 08:21
No that was the mid 80's, I knew nothing of BM at that time, if it even existed.

First BM was '86.

Regarding the platform, my 2011 RAV4's roof rack can take a bit over 300 pounds, but it is not steady. The compliant suspension gives more when standing still than when driving. Standing on the roof rails one can wiggle the whole vehicle.

A tall collapsible crane would be better.

neil poulsen
28-Feb-2015, 09:21
Versus all the trouble of mounting a platform, it seems like a good Gitzo, Studex Giant 5 tripod would do the job. One could mount the ladder on top of the car. This would be studier, and more versatile. It's a lot easier to position a tripod than a station wagon.

Randy Moe
28-Feb-2015, 10:59
First BM was '86.

Regarding the platform, my 2011 RAV4's roof rack can take a bit over 300 pounds, but it is not steady. The compliant suspension gives more when standing still than when driving. Standing on the roof rails one can wiggle the whole vehicle.

A tall collapsible crane would be better.

RY fold up leveling jacks could be used on a van or the older RV individual leveling jacks like I used on my AirStreams.

Stops Rock and Roll.

JMB
28-Feb-2015, 11:09
I have always loved Adam's car and platform. But I have resisted the strong temptation to follow his lead. I am absolutely certain that in an excited moment with my head under the dark cloth that I would step right off the platform.

Randy Moe
28-Feb-2015, 11:29
I have always loved Adam's car and platform. But I have resisted the strong temptation to follow his lead. I am absolutely certain that in an excited moment with my head under the dark cloth that I would step right off the platform.

Always use a Sky Hook! :)

russyoung
28-Feb-2015, 11:57
I had one years ago on a 1987 (?) Ford van. Fabricated by a local welding shop, it was a pair of bars that ran from gutter to gutter. Spaced them 5 feet apart and attached an appropriately sized bit of 3/4 marine plywood. Had a permanently attached ladder on the right rear door. Getting ME up there was easy, getting the 8x10 kit up there, not so easy. The least little gust of wind rocked the whole vehicle. The higher perspective was superb in the SW deserts but there were so few days still enough to use it.

brucetaylor
28-Feb-2015, 12:11
I always wanted a roof rack too, just like the AA picture. I even bought the SUV with that in mind as a goal, in '93. Still have the vehicle, never got around to building the rack (rain gutter supports, off the shelf from Yakima). So this thread inspired me again to think about it, especially after a trip to the desert a couple of weeks ago. And I was thinking about the steadiness issue too-- everything would have to be extremely still not have everything shake! Randy's jack idea would work, but jeez-- an awful lot of set up. With my luck the shot would be gone by the time everything was ready.

So, much as the romance (for me) of AA up on the roof of his TravelAll has for me, a ladder and my Ries with the extension legs is probably a better idea.

I have a camera crane that would support the 8x10 Deardorff, but that sounds like a lot more work that setting the vehicle up on leveling jacks!

Vaughn
28-Feb-2015, 13:27
This is my ride -- well, a far better-looking example than mine, but otherwise a carbon copy.

But this topic has got me thinking. At 6'3" and 250 pounds, the upstairs sleeping area is a bit confining for me, and my kids are leaving for college etc. Since I do not need it for sleeping, and a roof platform would not be a great fit, how about a photo turret instead? Roll-up canvas sides for the pop-up and an attached tripod/head, and a box for me to stand on. Not a great height increase for the cost.

But imagine pulling into a nice overlook at the Grand Canyon or perhaps in our National Capital, pop the top (it rises so nicely on its own struts), roll up the front of the pop-up (the sides would be great as lens shades), slap the 8x10 or the 11x14 up on the mounted tripod and head, and then wait to be surrounded by a SWAT team. A SWAT team whose members have all seen and loved Back to the Future and who occasionally still have nightmares about being chased by terrorists firing machine guns from the sun roof of a 1968 VW microbus.

Other than that, it is a fun idea.

Michael E
28-Feb-2015, 14:38
I haven't had a lot of use for a roof platform. But when I did, i just mounted store-bought cross rails to the rain gutters of my BMW and put a piece of sturdy plywood on top. Worked just fine.

Jac@stafford.net
28-Feb-2015, 14:59
My vehicle with someone's great idea of a top camping platform.

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Looks like it is ready to fly away.

Randy Moe
28-Feb-2015, 15:14
I often used older VW Buses with their very large sun roof retracted, but I just stood up from the inside and shot 35 mm. I was raised up maybe 18".

We would also sit up there in our youthful skinniness with legs inside and shoot video or again the damned 35mm format.

A well driven older VW Bus, particularly the Splitties can go almost anywhere a 4 wheel drive can. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KaBVgCKwAY

Vaughn
28-Feb-2015, 15:38
I suppose a full length roof platform also keeps the vehicle cooler in the desert sun!

I drove a '71 VW bug for ten years -- explored lots of rough back roads and such in the West...nothing quite like what that splitty was doing!

But having a chance to think about it, I am rarely near my car when I want to photograph.

Drew Wiley
2-Mar-2015, 09:29
Why bother up in the mtns? Just stand on a rock. It's out on the flats of farm country that this would be useful. But then you gotta be real careful not to rock the
shocks on your vehicle at the time of exposure. A friend of mine just did a whole-nine-yards portable skil lodge/darkroom/deluxe shooting platform thing to a Benz Sprinter. Used a chromed flip-down step at the bottom, then a cute marine ladder above that. Then it has a little boatsy chrome perimeter rail up there, and a well
varnished sheet of heavy marine ply, in case he wants to sleep on the roof watching stars without risk of sliding off.

fishbulb
2-Mar-2015, 10:51
I think I found the solution. I remember seeing a similar van in Sun Valley, ID about five years ago. Popular with "extreme sports" types. As long as the suspension is nice and stiff (which is should be for a van this big and heavy) it should be a very stable platform.

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The cheap version would be a used "work van" from some type of contractor that had a big platform rack on top for hauling ladders. Then just lay down plywood on top.

Drew Wiley
2-Mar-2015, 11:07
But if you're trying to be nostalgic, you need a VW bus with a device of the side that says, Engine Oil Cooled by Reevco, tie-dyed curtains, a length of stovepipe
coming out of the roof (which is preferably shingled), and on the back window, the combination of Turista stickers and bullet holes. ... and of course, a top speed
of 35mph uphill belching oil smoke.

Randy Moe
2-Mar-2015, 11:45
1964 VW Camper Early Westy.

This worked for me for a while. All original. Maybe 1997.

Notice my ancient Pentax and CoolPix 990 on the table.

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David Lindquist
3-Mar-2015, 15:31
But if you're trying to be nostalgic, you need a VW bus with a device of the side that says, Engine Oil Cooled by Reevco, tie-dyed curtains, a length of stovepipe
coming out of the roof (which is preferably shingled), and on the back window, the combination of Turista stickers and bullet holes. ... and of course, a top speed
of 35mph uphill belching oil smoke.

Thank you for that; I'd forgotten about Reevco.

Maybe add a psychedelic paint job and a bumper sticker that says "Don't laugh, your daughter may be inside."
David

Drew Wiley
3-Mar-2015, 16:20
A backpacking friend of mine still has one of those ole VW vans. I prefer to take my truck. But the nice thing about his is that he could fit a mule in the back,
which is often necessary to get the vehicle uphill.

Randy Moe
3-Mar-2015, 17:06
Old Splitties have really gone up in value. How many vehicles are worth 10 times or more their purchase price.

I made money on all 10 of my VW buses.

None were hippy painted.

Samba's are now created out of ones like mine.

https://www.mecum.com/lot-detail/CA0813-161620/0/1964-Volkswagen-Samba/4-Speed/

Jac@stafford.net
3-Mar-2015, 17:15
Speaking of old VWs.

http://www.digoliardi.net/58bug.jpg

I must divest.
.

Greg Davis
3-Mar-2015, 17:26
A backpacking friend of mine still has one of those ole VW vans. I prefer to take my truck. But the nice thing about his is that he could fit a mule in the back,
which is often necessary to get the vehicle uphill.

He can go faster up those mountain roads in reverse than forward in one of those. The torque and gear ratio is better that way.

Drew Wiley
3-Mar-2015, 17:26
It wasn't what was on the outside of those vans that made them valuable, but what was on the inside, as they crossed the border. I positively hated that old
hippie "aroma" combining b.o., incense, and pot smoke. That's probably what the "Reevco" device was really needed for. Back then I drove a clunker VW Beetle
with the ignition running on a piece of baling wire and a paperclip, and only a hand brake, in other words, a "studentmobile" rather than "hippiemobile". My most
memorable lesson was driving thru an automatic car wash and discovering that the roof window was stuck open.

brucetaylor
3-Mar-2015, 17:43
I positively hated that old
hippie "aroma" combining b.o., incense, and pot smoke.

You forgot the patchouli oil!

Randy Moe
3-Mar-2015, 17:51
Speaking of old VWs.

http://www.digoliardi.net/58bug.jpg

I must divest.
.

EMPI wheels

Randy Moe
3-Mar-2015, 17:56
It wasn't what was on the outside of those vans that made them valuable, but what was on the inside, as they crossed the border. I positively hated that old
hippie "aroma" combining b.o., incense, and pot smoke. That's probably what the "Reevco" device was really needed for. Back then I drove a clunker VW Beetle
with the ignition running on a piece of baling wire and a paperclip, and only a hand brake, in other words, a "studentmobile" rather than "hippiemobile". My most
memorable lesson was driving thru an automatic car wash and discovering that the roof window was stuck open.

All Coolifornia stories.

And Greg, the weight transfer is greater going forward and upward. Pre '68 buses had gear reduction boxes that gave higher ground clearance and lower ratios in all gears. This limited top speed, but my Bay window next gen would do 90 mph easily.

David Lindquist
3-Mar-2015, 19:04
You forgot the patchouli oil!

You took the words right out of my mouth, Bruce.

Full disclosure: I was never a hippie though I did get in on one of my generation's other principle experiences (in a rather minor and safe role). :-)
David

Jac@stafford.net
3-Mar-2015, 19:14
EMPI wheels

BRM wheels.

Will Frostmill
3-Mar-2015, 19:30
Darnit, guys, now I'm looking up used step-vans. (Think: potato chip trucks) About 4500$ for a beater, about 7'4" wide on the inside, and at least 12-16 long on the inside. You could fit a really nice darkroom in one of those.

Randy Moe
3-Mar-2015, 20:02
BRM wheels.

Better

Randy Moe
3-Mar-2015, 20:10
Darnit, guys, now I'm looking up used step-vans. (Think: potato chip trucks) About 4500$ for a beater, about 7'4" wide on the inside, and at least 12-16 long on the inside. You could fit a really nice darkroom in one of those.

They are good for some things, but lousy on the highway. I bought a new 1981 Aluminium body 14,000 lb Chevy Step Van with custom interior and furnace, $45K. Scary as Hell on a windy highway, I used mine primary inside Chicago. I regret I sold it.

I sold the truck, my business, my house and paid off the wife all in a week.

Priceless!

Will Frostmill
3-Mar-2015, 20:37
They are good for some things, but lousy on the highway. I bought a new 1981 Aluminium body 14,000 lb Chevy Step Van with custom interior and furnace, $45K. Scary as Hell on a windy highway, I used mine primary inside Chicago. I regret I sold it.

I sold the truck, my business, my house and paid off the wife all in a week.

Priceless!
That's an awesome story! Wait...a furnace?
Hmm, how rigid was the roof? Would it support a person plus camera equipment?

Randy Moe
3-Mar-2015, 21:25
That's an awesome story! Wait...a furnace?
Hmm, how rigid was the roof? Would it support a person plus camera equipment?

In Chicago a furnace is used more than an air conditioner. Big propane tank that would last a week in cold weather. Electric doors, alarm, generator.

It would if you distributed the load on a heavy plywood top.

The aluminum was fairly thin for lightness and would not rust, painted with epoxy paint with a vinyl signage.

I crawled around up there a few times.

Look at what they do with motorhomes.

They are everywhere. Here's a nice one. http://www.ebay.com/itm/STEPVAN-JUST-48k-MI-ONE-OWNER-SRW-UNDER-10K-GVW-ONE-OWNER-STEP-VAN-SUPER-CLEAN-/271789950757?forcerrptr=true&hash=item3f47f18725&item=271789950757&pt=Commercial_Trucks

Drew Wiley
4-Mar-2015, 16:54
You guys should see my friend's Sprinter. Instant hot water, a kitchen with stove, microwave, and true refrigerator. Heating and solar panel recharge. A bathroom. An indoor shower and well as a pop-out outdoor enclosed shower. A pop-down film room, plus instant pop-in lightproof window covers, to make a full mini-darkroom. Sleeping bunks for four people. The whole interior in matched veneers. Everything stores inside everything else (Sprinters aren't exactly motorhomes!). Rail-enclosed shooting platform on the roof, with a chrome ladder to it. Gosh. And I feel broke after just replacing the shocks, brakes, and tires on my dented truck!

Randy Moe
4-Mar-2015, 17:20
You guys should see my friend's Sprinter. Instant hot water, a kitchen with stove, microwave, and true refrigerator. Heating and solar panel recharge. A bathroom. An indoor shower and well as a pop-out outdoor enclosed shower. A pop-down film room, plus instant pop-in lightproof window covers, to make a full mini-darkroom. Sleeping bunks for four people. The whole interior in matched veneers. Everything stores inside everything else (Sprinters aren't exactly motorhomes!). Rail-enclosed shooting platform on the roof, with a chrome ladder to it. Gosh. And I feel broke after just replacing the shocks, brakes, and tires on my dented truck!

Yep, somewhere North of $100K rolling right there, which will be worth $10K in 10 years.

He's a genius. Maybe he is, but I sure don't have that kind of money, but I am happily retired.

HMG
5-Mar-2015, 16:09
You guys should see my friend's Sprinter. Instant hot water, a kitchen with stove, microwave, and true refrigerator. Heating and solar panel recharge. A bathroom. An indoor shower and well as a pop-out outdoor enclosed shower. A pop-down film room, plus instant pop-in lightproof window covers, to make a full mini-darkroom. Sleeping bunks for four people. The whole interior in matched veneers. Everything stores inside everything else (Sprinters aren't exactly motorhomes!). Rail-enclosed shooting platform on the roof, with a chrome ladder to it. Gosh. And I feel broke after just replacing the shocks, brakes, and tires on my dented truck!

Sounds great. But where's the soul?

HMG
5-Mar-2015, 16:12
gotta love the boat ladder

And how it looks almost exactly like today's boat ladder (http://www.cabelas.com/product/Cabelas-Four-Step-Deluxe-Boat-Ladder/737468.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch.cmd%3Fform_state%3DsearchForm%26N%3D0%26fsch%3Dtrue%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3Dboat%2Bladder%26x%3D0%26y%3D0%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts&Ntt=boat+ladder&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products).

Drew Wiley
5-Mar-2015, 17:16
The "soul" is more in the Euro/Zen look. You should see their actual home. You can't see a finish nail in the entire thing. They've all tucked under the wood grain,
all glued back in. For the main bathroom he took a panoramic shot of the Sierra skyline from Hwy 395, then duplicated the silhouettes of the overlapping peaks
by carefully cutting and cracking various colors of slate, and duplicating the entire scene bas-relief on the long bathroom wall, clear into the shower. I happen to
live at the bottom of the hill, beside that same street, "bottom" also indicating my relative socio-financial status. No fancy view of the Bay from my lot. I've gotta walk up the street a ways for that. But I do have a much nicer darkroom! And if stray cats and resident racoons are any example of social standing, I do pretty good in that department too. But this fellow also built his wife's law office. Over five hundred sheet of Baltic birch plywood are stretched over the ceiling in waves. There are big indoor/outdoor koi ponds. I was involved with that project. My own ceiling is decorated with cobwebs.