Before many bands made it big, their rides of choice were often vans -- and because of their versatility and ease of use, they're often small vans. The Black Keys even put an image of their old tour van, a 1992 Plymouth Grand Voyager, on the cover of their album "El Camino." So it makes total sense that Nissan and Gibson would collaborate to create something that brings two things together that bands love: guitars and vans.
The result is the van you see here -- the Gibson NV200 Mobile Repair and Restoration Van. The NV was built to serve as a mobile guitar repair shop, with the equipment on board that would help everyone from casual players to professional musicians. This van serves essentially as an extension of Gibson's Repair and Restoration shop, based in Nashville, Tennessee. The facility fixes and customizes guitars from all levels of guitarist, and the Gibson NV200 Compact Cargo was made to be a quick response support vehicle. This means musicians, both professional and part-time, can get repairs made quickly. Gibson can also serve as an educational tool to the public, teaching about the art of guitar building and repair.
"The NV200 Compact Cargo van's small footprint makes it ideal for maneuvering in tight places, which is perfect for both urban music venues and crowded outdoor concerts where space is at a premium," said Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz. "The large cargo bay with standard integrated mounting points and available cargo hooks help make the vehicle configurable and customizable to suit the needs of a working guitar technician."
The van is powered by a 131-hp, 2.0-liter inline-four with a CVT. That efficient combination allows for a combined fuel economy of 24 mpg; a gas-sipping van would mean that bands could spend less money on gas while traveling to gigs.
"The Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo van is perfect for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and dreamers," said Joe Castelli, vice president, Commercial Vehicles and Fleet, Nissan North America. "By partnering with Gibson on the NV200 Mobile Repair & Restoration Van, we're showing the ultimate expression of what can be done with this vehicle for those with a viable business concept, a little creativity and with a starting price of $19,990 [not including destination], an appreciation of great value. As this is a van meant for trades, vocations, and working people, we couldn't be more excited than to see it put to good use in the hands of some of the most skilled craftsmen in the world."
Bands would have 122.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats and a 53-inch cargo height to fill with gear. Making it easier to load are tall cargo door openings (with 40/60 split rear doors) and a low load-floor height of 19.5 inches. It can carry up to 1500 pounds of payload.
The Gibson van was stocked with the equipment used to repair guitars: a pullout bench with tools such as calipers, scale rulers, fret files, fret pullers, different types of sandpaper, super glue, wood glue, tuning forks, a radius planer, various guitar parts (strings, tuning machines, frets, nuts, bridges, knobs, linseed oil, potentiometers, pickups), pliers, screwdrivers, and a soldering station. The bench can be extended to make it easier to work on instruments, or it can be guided on its casters to another location.
There's also a custom rack behind the front seat, which can hold up to four guitars. The interior was given the look that evokes Gibson designs, with wood veneers in the dash designed to look like mahogany and flamed maple, plus special leather seats.
Castelli explains, "Gibson and Nissan are both Tennessee-based companies that build products worthy of consumer passion yet suitable for everyday use. We've sought a way to combine forces for many years now, and the introduction of the 2013 NV200 Compact Cargo van gives us the perfect opportunity to do so. Working with Gibson has been a dream come true for many of us here at Nissan, and we look forward to the next steps collaborating with them."
The Gibson NV200 Repair and Restoration Van made by Nissan will be unveiled on March 27 at the New York International Auto Show.