When I was about 14, my Dad and I came to the conclusion that I needed a vehicle for me to learn how to work on cars more with and drive around my parents' small hobby farm in Davison, MI. I know for a fact that shortly after the purchase he deeply regretted going along with the idea, but a few weeks into our search we came home with a 1978 Chevy Beauville van in tow behind his truck. Since I had wanted a truck despite his insistence on the practicalities of a van, and much to my Mom and sisters' chagrin, I pretty much went right to it with torches and a sawz-all and made it into a truck. Mind you this was done long before I got the thing to actually move under it's own power.
Over the next couple of years I painstakingly added rear fenders, new tires and wheels, mudflaps, my first spray gun paint job, modified exhaust, 1996 requisite Drew & Mike bumper stickers and a host of other modifications that any teenager would obviously make to a vehicle that would never legally see a public road again.
My friends and I made some great memories with that van. From making 10th grade PSA's with the van as the focus, to intentionally driving it into trees just to see what would happen, to capping off the rear brake lines so that we could do better burnouts, this thing was a blast. Somewhere I have a polaroid of "the van" being winched onto a wrecker for it's final voyage to the scrapyard. It was a sad day for me, because the truth is that my Dad was right- this thing taught me so much about working on cars that I still use to this day as an auto enthusiast, not to mention that it managed to give a teenage kid and his Dad something to work on together, and I wouldn't trade that for any shiny new car.