An open letter to the idiots behind the Dodge “Man Van”

the Dodge "Man Van"

the Dodge "Man Van"Dear Chrysler-Dodge,

I was just reading about the new Grand Caravan R/T you’re unveiling today. You call it the “Man Van”, inferring that minivans are in fact for chicks. That’s retarded.

Historically, manliness was measured in strength, combat ability and virility. Having a lot of kids is manly. Based on that alone, a minivan- designed to haul kids around- is manly. Assuming it’s for moms only is 1950s thinking. You know, when women stayed at home, in the kitchen. Today, women work and don’t loiter around the house waiting for the call to jump in the minivan and go. Minivans are for families. Not just chicks.

“Is it possible to make the minivan appeal to a guy who needs the minivan but who used to have the sports car?” Ralph Gilles, your head designer recently pondered.

Ralph, real men don’t need sports cars. Sports cars are for those men with insecurities, or who want to be able to get to the drug store faster when their Viagra runs out. Real men are concerned with power, not speed. Power to pull their boats around. To haul lumber or tools. Real, single men favor trucks with four wheel-drive. Then they become dads, and most states make it illegal to put the kids in the bed of the truck. Minivans and SUVs become a necessity. Not fast cars.
But, for argument’s sake, let’s assume minivans are feminine. How do you propose manning them up? Upgraded interiors and a new engine? Black interior with red stitching? Performance-tuned suspension and a massive sound system with a 506-watt amp?

Let’s start with that sound system. What a fabulous idea to put a chest-thumping rig in the van, where your small children are going to be riding. Kids already have a problem listening to their parents. Thank you, Chrysler, for adding to the problem by making them deaf.

Performance-tuned suspension? What a great idea! Now we can drive recklessly with our kids on board. Sure, sure, we’ll maintain control of the man-van, but at the increased speeds we’re very likely to crash into other drivers who don’t expect a van to handle like that and get in their way.

A new engine? What kind of new engine? A namby-pamby multi-fuel, green engine? Not very manly. How about a 5.0 Liter V-8 that doesn’t give a shit about fuel economy? That is mil-spec multi-fuel, able to run on any flammable liquid, like the venerable M35 2 1/2 truck?

Upgraded interiors? I notice you also have a fake hood scoop in the promo pics. What’s next? Racing Stripes? Slapping cosmetic features on a car doesn’t make it manlier. Even those fake, trailer-hitch testicles you see on so many trucks doesn’t make them macho-er. .

You want to truly make a “man van”? Start by bringing back AWD to the Grand Caravan. And add an extra 6″ of ground clearance, and oversized tires, so men can drive the family off road on camping trips. Put on a front crash bumper and light brush guard covers, so when we are whipping through the underbrush, damage is minimal. Put on a full sized spare tire, and bring back the roof rack, but make it sturdy enough to hold a couple of deer carcasses, or for us to stand on to shoot at aforementioned deer. Front and rear winches for pulling the wife’s sissy-van out of the snow. Diamond plate floor board for the driver- because when we take our van off-road we’re going to get mud and snow on our boots. A second fuel tank, so we can make those treks into the wilderness where there are no gas stations, and make it back. Carbon fiber seat backs on the Stow N Go seats, so when we fold them flat we can throw lumber, tools, etc. in without worrying about damaging the interior. Full-sized (as opposed to kid-sized) rear seats so I can haul my buddies to wrasslin’, football and other manly events.

Basically, you need to make the “Dodge” on the front of the man-van not be the maker’s name, but a warning to anyone foolish enough to step out in front of it.

That’s how you make a man-van. Not that you guys would know. You and your designers probably all drive luxo-barges or pocket racers. You wouldn’t know function if it bit you on your girly asses. You want to design a man-van? Get some real dads involved. Make something that even Mike Rowe wouldn’t dare compare to his beloved Ford pickups.

I recently bought a 2005 Grand Caravan. I chose it over an SUV not because I’m some emasculated sissy, but because it had room for the kids and the home improvement supplies I regularly buy. A truck couldn’t do the job my Grand Caravan does. An SUV would spend way too much fuel, and lack the sheer volume of internal space. Yes, I miss the truck and SUV’s off-road capabilities, but it’s a sacrifice I was willing to make for my kids.

Still think your man-van is so good? Prove me wrong- let me get my hands on one for one week of normal dad life. I’ll put it through it’s paces and show you just how ignorant your design is. Then you can go back to the drawing board and make something that is truly worthy of the name DODGE.

8 thoughts on “An open letter to the idiots behind the Dodge “Man Van”

  1. Retarded? Really.

    Grab a thesaurus and find a less insensitive word for “tacky,” “dumb” or “waste of time.”

    For someone claiming the car launch missed the target audience, your choice of language paints you as little more than an ignorant ass.

  2. Starting off with the word retarded spoiled the rest of a good post.

    You right about not wanting to be boxed in with chicks.

    I don’t think it’s nice to box respectable people like my daughter in with the stiffs at Chrysler.

    Thank you.

  3. Fellas, you’re taking the word “retarded” at its slang meaning- for mentaly disabled people. I mean it quite literally:

    –verb (used with object)
    1. to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.

    Thinking that vans are just for women is retarded, old, discriminatory thinking. It relegates women to a second class role, barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. Like they’re second class citizens. They’re not. Women, in particular, moms, are an integral part of the parenting team.

    What’s amusing here though is that instead of jumping Chrysler’s ass about their misogynist thinking, you’ve jumped on the word “retarded”, equating it with a slur against mentally handicapped folks. Does that mean you regard mentally handicapped folks as “retarded”?

    “Retard” is a valid word, and nothing should ever be done to perpetuate its use to discribe those born with a disability. Fireman wear flame “retardant” suits. Should we take them away because they might be offensive?

    Deprive a plant of sunlight, and its growth is “retarded”. Maybe science needs to find a better term, so as to bend to the sensibilities of those who might be offended.

    “Retarded” is a perfectly descriptive word for Chrysler’s thinking here. It’s out of date, derogatory and is just as offensive as you thinking of the mentally handicapped as “retarded”.

    My “ignorant ass” is ashamed of you both.

  4. You’re right. Retard is a word with legitimate use.

    I try to be above this stuff, but when an otherwise good article you wrote starts with ‘retarded’ in the clumsy way you wrote it, I thought I might chime in with my reaction. Clearly I made a mistake.

    My apologies.

  5. Now this should sell. Hell, you could probably even lure Mike Rowe away from Ford. Or, better yet, get him to convince Ford to take the F-150 and use it as the basis for this man van. I’ve yearned for a battering ram on the front of my minivan for years.

  6. Great post, Trog. Pay no attention to the PC thought police. I found it hypocritical in the extreme that “Buzz” the boorish, lamo, pansified, hypersensitive yuppy drone poser didn’t like the word, “retarded,” but he, apparently, has an affinity for the word, “ass.” And I’ll bet he’s a cat lover too. At least gm14 was man enough to admit he was wrong…sort of, except he couldn’t help pointing out some imagined clumsiness in your prose. Whatever…

    “Real men are concerned with power, not speed. Power to pull their boats around. To haul lumber or tools. Real, single men favor trucks with four wheel-drive. Then they become dads, and most states make it illegal to put the kids in the bed of the truck. Minivans and SUVs become a necessity.”

    so true.

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