At the peak of his Home Improvement fame, when he also had a best-selling book and was the voice of Buzz Lightyear, Tim Allen was consumed by one all-important question: ""If a man was to drive a minivan, what would it be like?"
It was the mid-90's, so let's set aside the dubious logic of the premise: "If a man was to drive a minivan," and focus on the answer to "what would it be like?"
According to Allen and his racing partner Steve Saleen, with whom he had formed Saleen/Allen RRR Speedlab, a Ford Mustang racing team in 1995, it would look like a supercharged 1st generation Ford Windstar with performance bodywork, Saleen brakes and suspension, carbon fiber rearview mirrors [for, uh, weight savings], and Gulfstream-grade interior finishes.
It would take two years of R&D, at which time Allen and Saleen would launch their own line of aftermarket minivan accessories for men, who would then race to the hardware store to stock up on Allen's collection of Home Improvement licensed tools.
Except that an Allen-led minivan revolution was thwarted when Ford redesigned the Windstar for 1999, leaving our would-be leaders with a prototype, some obsolete molds and a gnawing dream of what could have been.
That prototype is now for sale on eBay, offered by Allen's partner and CEO. The reserve price is more than the $7,300 current bid, and presumably much less than the $100,000 they claim was invested. Allen has offered to sign the dash and pose for a photo with [the van for] the winning bidder, at no extra charge. [note: thanks for the buzzkill of a clarification, Micah.]
1996 Ford Winstar *Built by FORD, Tim Allen and Steve Saleen* auction ends dec. 6 [ebay via autoblog, thanks dt minivan correspondent jj daddy-o]