I need your help on confirming some research. User Jesda Gulati recently posted this gem on the origin of the Free Candy Van:
The original red free candy van is from Spokane, Washington. It was a Ford Econoline that my friend Bo Snyder bought from his employer after they retired it from their campus fleet. I believe it was used for janitorial and landscaping work. His son Tyler drove it for a while to and from high school.
One night, some pranksters wrote Free Candy on the side with shoe polish. Tyler’s girlfriend’s parents were not happy with this, so it was cleaned off. I suspect the neighbors were displeased as well. I lived with Tyler’s family at the time back in 2003, where I was a tenant, so I can verify that this is all true.
Pictures of the van first appeared at tivocommunity.com where Bo, the van’s owner, posted pictures of it. Then the images spread to NICOClub.com and the rest of the internet.
Earlier this year the van appeared on The Jay Leno Show during a segment featuring Jim Norton. There was an attempt to contact the show regarding the van’s origins.
Bo still owns this van. It is parked at his home in Spokane. And yes, it still runs.
I did some searching and found that his friend’s nick is Bobotech. I found a post by bobotech (I’m assuming it’s the same person) in a thread on LincolnvsCadillac.com explaining the origin along with video of the van:
You have probably seen my van around on the internet at random times. It was even on the prime time Jay Leno show in one of the clips.
The whole story behind it was back in 2004, my 16 year old kid was using that van to go to school and back. Horrible van but reliable as heck. Nasty inside and nasty outside. The roof is gray because the university that owned it before my buddy who gave it to me painted it with a waterproof paint but it didn’t work, still leaked. The van was rolled back when the university owned it so they tried to seal up the leaks caused by the roll. The side of the van which says Free Candy was actually sheet metal that was screwed into the side of it to cover the broken windows. They then painted it sort of.
So back in 2004 my kid was using it as his daily driver. One day, some kids vandalized it by painting the Free Candy on the side of it. Well he left it like that since it was so funny to drive. I then took a bunch of pictures of it at night at our old house and posted it to a forum that still has the thread but its a closed forum now so you have to register to see the thread. (tivocommunity forum). The legend was born after someone posted the link to the forum which was open at the time to College Humor. The rest is history.
That is the story of the van. Stupid thing still runs great after all these years. I just can’t get rid of it because its so famous.
Oh yeah, the current free candy writing is not the original writing but was redone over the barely visible original markings from 2004.
So we have the origin story but I can’t seem to access the original threads on TivoCommunity.com. Anyone think they can help find either a working link or a cached copy we can cite?