If you have ever visited Vancouver’s famous Kits beach, you may have stared at this time-warped woodie road trip machine and wondered if it even runs. Not only does it run, it runs far. From Vancouver to Ottawa to Mexico City in fact – and that’s just one of its many long-distance accomplishments. So when the opportunity arose for me to do a brochure for this Vancouver classic, how could I resist?
It’s called Tevie’s Termite Taxi, and it’s a 1947 Chrysler Town & Country wood-paneled sedan, still running on its original motor and transmission. Tevie Smith is the car’s owner and pilot, and even with 300,000+ miles on the dial he still drives the car almost daily.
I first met Tevie when he agreed to let us photograph the car for the CD package I was designing for the Bent Nails Band. Vancouver shooter extraordinaire Clinton Hussey captured the quirky essence of the group and the car perfectly, and on a couple of extra frames shot the Termite Taxi with its real owner as well.
A few months later, Tevie called me with the idea of updating his brochure with some of Clinton’s shots. We secured the rights to use them again (Thanks, Clinton!) and I also got to go through a lifetime of scrapbook shots with Tevie to help fill out the story of this remarkable car.
I decided to approach the piece as if I was designing a brochure for a whole new car brand, photoshopping the original Chrysler hood emblem as our marque. Then, armed with fonts, textures and stats from the past, I created a retro brochure that might still somehow look at home in a showroom today.
Hemlock Printers ran it on their Indigo Digital Press – it wasn’t a large run – and now Tevie has a piece to hand out the crowds of tire-kickers that invariably stop every time he attends a car show. Or even just takes his dogs for a ride to the corner store.
Sometimes I think I spend too much time worrying about every little sustainable thing. This was a project that I did purely for the love of design, for the sheer audacity of the vehicle and out of respect for an individual that lives life on his own terms.
It’s a message of pure joy and life on the road. And that’s worth a bit of time, energy and paper to share with the world.
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