The van has been in Plunkett’s family since it was purchased in 1990 and has been running strong since. “It’s not a shaggin’ wagon, contrary to popular belief,” said Plunkett, senior. “It was the car that I went home from the hospital in as a baby.”
Plunkett has made many upgrades and made many modifications to keep the van running, but also to make it as environmentally friendly as possible. New carpet, bigger tires and an engine modification are just a few of the improvements that make the van what it is today.
“I wanted to put shag carpet down when it was time to replace the old,” Plunkett said jokingly, “but we just kept it simple. We replaced the smaller stock tires with larger ones because it only has three gears, and bigger tires translate to better fuel efficiency.”
As for the engine modification, Plunkett and his family replaced the stock gasoline motor with a diesel engine. The diesel engine allows for him to use a biodiesel blend that is fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, “We’ve even made our own biodiesel; you can reduce emissions with even a 20% biodiesel blend.”
The Volkswagen Vanagon is a distinguished representation of environmentally consciousness in the Leesville Road High School parking lot. The van is evidence that one does not need the flashiest hybrid car to show respect for the natural world, but instead a little inventiveness and a little know-how.