Meet the Michigander whose van will transport you straight to the Upside Down

Posted at 9:05 PM, Aug 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-21 21:05:10-04

(WSYM) — The Woodward Dream Cruise, year after year, has dreamy rides as far as the eye can see.

Hot rods, classic cars, but there’s only one vehicle that will make you think you’re actually dreaming, or, well, hallucinating.

"We're looking at a GMC 1984 Rally van, and for some reason it got flipped upside down with the drivetrain in it, so I can drive it around this way," said Jerry Naumann.

You can rub your eyes all you want, but Naumann's upside-down van is real; he first caught a glimpse of it back in 2017 at an auto event in Flint.

"Me and a buddy of mine were ... sitting on the sidewalk. I go to him, 'did I just see a van drive upside down in front of us?' He looks down the road, he goes 'by George, there is a van on its roof down there,'" said Naumann.

The original owner, Naumann said, built it because he wanted a challenge.

A few negotiation conversations later, and the beauty was his, much to the shock of his family and everyone.

"The one question everyone wants to ask is 'why?' And I'll say, 'well, why not?'" he said.

And when asked what the amenities are, Naumann jokingly responded with "absolutely none."

But really who needs fancy bells and whistles when your ride is the main attraction?

"One thing I like about it very much when I'm driving is the fact that no one can see inside of the van. They don't even know if someone's in there driving or where they're sitting," he said. "All four of the wheels up top are hooked up to electric motors. And I have a switch inside the van that as I'm driving it, I'm able to pull the switch on, and all four tires will start spinning. So it looks like a fresh rollover machine."

For Naumann, the joy doesn’t just come from driving it, it comes from the reactions — even if that means a run in with the law.

"He goes, 'look, but I just had to pull this over, get a closer look at this, man,'" he said.

There’s just something about this upside-down van that makes Naumann's heart pitter-patter, and despite what he calls ridiculous offers, he can’t bring himself to part with it.

"I will have an upside-down van somewhere always the rest of my life, because of the people it draws; I enjoy having it and to just have something different in life," he said.

Something different that keeps turning heads out there on Woodward Avenue or any street, for that matter.