By Michael Damico
It might sound strange, but one of the best purchases I ever made was a 2006 Chevy Express panel van. If you’re on the go and need to move your art or just have a lot to haul for work and life in general, these are a must-have. You can equip them with tools, shelves, or anything else you need. And you can transport anything, up to about 5’ x 8’, rain or shine and any time of year. Regardless of conditions, you’ll get your stuff moved safely.
I spent a whopping $3500 on mine and it already had 130,000 miles. The previous owner kept it serviced regularly and I personally stay on top of the service like clockwork. Now it has nearly 270,000 miles and I’m still averaging about 20+ miles on fuel economy.
This kind of vehicle is a great purchase for anyone needing to transport art, features, sculptures, art installations, or even an entire show. I know because I’ve done it! You haul an entire inventory of originals, prints, tents, chairs, displays, and anything else you can pack into that cavernous space behind the driver. I personally do a lot of picture and art hanging and installations. So, I’m quite used to loading my van with a ton of large pieces.
Another nice feature, in addition to its safety, is that it’s large so everyone sees you. Of course, an added bonus for me was putting my logo on the sides. So, now I have a mobile billboard as I drive it all over Middle Tennessee.
I certainly don’t plan on getting rid of mine anytime soon. In fact, I rely on it so much for transporting art and photography for my customers that I’ll just go buy another one when this one dies on me. As it is now, if something breaks on it, I simply replace the part (engine, transmission, etc.) Because replacing the whole van is challenging compared to keeping it on the road for the cost of repairs.
There is one downside to this particular kind of van: they may as well have been painted with chalk. The white GM paint flakes and peels virtually 100% of the time with these. So, it will likely need to be repaired or repainted within 5-10 years of its year model.
But I’m serious about recommending these, even if it’s not the same kind as mine. I’ve suggested it to so many of my artist, designer, and photographer friends. The folks that end up buying a van always love how much easier it makes their life as it pertains to their art, photography, or work in general.
Want to know more? Give me a shout. I love showing mine off!