Scooby-Doo is a staple of the entertainment industry. The fun-loving animated dog’s fans might be surprised to learn there have been more than 10 television series and multiple films starring Scooby-Doo and the gang over the past few decades. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was the first of them. The animated TV series premiered on CBS in 1969 and ran for three seasons. According to IMDb, the network then gave the popular characters a new twist and aired The New Scooby-Doo Movies until 1973.
The plots always involved a group of teenaged friends investigating supernatural sightings and uncovering local mysteries. Velma Dinkley, Daphne Blake, Shaggy Rogers, Fred Jones, and Scooby-Doo etched themselves into TV viewers’ consciousness. And in all of the productions and titles, the gang’s groovy-looking van — the Mystery Machine — was an essential part of the close-knit friends’ adventures. Some viewers even considered the vehicle itself a character.
So it’s no wonder that fans might wonder what vehicle the Mystery Machine was based on and whether it exists in real life.
What exactly is the Mystery Machine?
The Mystery Machine is the unique van known for toting Scooby-Doo and the gang from mystery to mystery. The eccentric group of friends was always seen in the quirky vehicle as they worked to crack cases and catch bad guys. The Mystery Machine’s vibrant and peculiar look is just part of what makes this van so memorable. The sky-blue paint job was covered in bright-orange flowers and lime-green designs that reflected the era’s culture and trends, the Fashion Institute of Technology shows.
Though the van is iconic, it has undergone a few changes since its inception. In 1998, when Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island was released, according to IMDb, the Mystery Machine underwent a minor makeover. The famous van took on some additional details aligning with Daphne’s storyline and her fictitious TV show “Coast to Coast With Daphne Blake.”
A closer look at the van’s history
Over the years, coincidentally, some mystery has surrounded the Mystery Machine. It wasn’t until later that writers and producers began to share more information regarding the vehicle’s origin that has become an essential part of the crowd-pleasing productions.
In an episode of What’s New, Scooby-Doo?, according to IMDb, viewers learned how the Mystery Machine came to be. As history goes, the van once belonged to the family band the Mystery Kids. Flash Flannigan, one of the band’s members, gave the vehicle its funky and fresh look. After quitting the band, Fred Jones became the van’s new owner, and the automobile soon took on its new identity.
In the episode “It’s Mean, It’s Green, It’s the Mystery Machine,” the gang was led to believe the Mystery Machine had become possessed when it began navigating on its own. But they soon discovered that Susan Dinwiddie, Flash’s mother, was behind the mystery. The van’s hijacking — the mother’s attempt to put her kid’s band back in the spotlight — ended up revealing quite a bit about the Mystery Machine’s murky past.
Is the Mystery Machine real?
The famous Great Dane’s fans and followers often wonder if the Mystery Machine was based on an actual van and if it exists in real life. Panel vans from the 1960s were clearly the inspiration for the Mystery Machine, but there’s no official consensus on the make or model. Some people have suggested the van was based on a Dodge A100, The Drive reported. Others believe the fictional vehicle stemmed from a Chevy G-Body van.
As for the real-life existence of the Mystery Machine, fans are in luck. Scooby-Doo was an action film that premiered in 2002, and unlike the other productions and titles, this movie was live-action. The production team used a 1972 Bedford CF to create the real-life match. It can now be found at the Volo Auto Museum.