When John Kay first saw this 2003 Volkswagen Eurovan for sale in 2005 he waited too long to make an offer. The van, formerly owned and highly customized by reggae star and four time Grammy winner Ziggy Marley, was in Florida and had just been purchased by a couple from Houston, Texas. But Kay was not ready to give up.
Kay persuaded the previous owner to contact the new buyers and pass along Kay's promise that if they ever wanted to sell the van, to let him know and he'd buy it. It turned out he didn't have to wait long.
"In three months the couple in Houston decided they wanted to buy a house. They offered the car to me and I flew down with my son and bought it," Kay said.
The van's original owner, Jamaican native Ziggy Marley, is the son of reggae legend Bob Marley and a bona fide recording star in his own right. Kay is a big fan of both Volkswagen Eurovans and the Marley family's music, so buying the van was a natural fit.
"I love Eurovans and I love Bob Marley," Kay said.
Marley had much of the van customized. Many of the body panels were changed, a rear spoiler was added, and it rides on a lowered suspension with 20-inch wheels.
"It doesn't look like any other Eurovan," Kay said.
But it's the car's entertainment system that sets it apart.
Inside are no fewer than 4 television monitors, a multi-disc DVD and CD player, 13 speakers, and a separate "Boom Box" subwoofer. It even has an auxiliary battery to power it all, ensuring you never run out of power when you're jammin'.
Kay says the audio and video setup is so good he often used to car just to watch movies.
"My wife and I would take it to the park and use it like our own drive-in. It has a better sound system than we do at home," he said.
Like its original owner, the van is an award winner having taken first place at a Dublin, Ohio car show where the utility side of its design came in handy for hauling the trophy.
"The trophy was so big that if I didn't have the Eurovan I couldn't have gotten it home," Kay said.
The vehicle has been well maintained during Kay's ownership and he's put on just a little over 9,000 miles since acquiring the van in 2005.
Any Eurovan is something of a rarity in the United States as sales numbers were never very high. Volkswagen stopped importing the Eurovan to the US in 2003. That plus the long list of modifications and ties to the most famous family in reggae make this van one of a kind.
"You could drive from here to Los Angeles and never see another one like it," Kay said.