We’ve certainly covered a range of overlanders for our weekly spotlight, but this one takes the cake for most fun. We caught up with our old pal Ryan Lovelace and the fine folks at Old Pal to talk about the one and only Cosmic Collider.
What was your vehicle born as? Year, make, model? How long have you had it? Ryan Lovelace: It’s a 1948 Chevy bus. We lived in it for about 3 years once we finished making it liveable.
Can you tell us about your favorite mods or features? Ryan Lovelace: Yeesh, over the years it’s hard to list it all out. Floors, walls, and the ceiling. I framed all that out and put in the redwood, then we built out a mini kitchen and closet/desk zone in the back. The roof was all rusted out and had about 20 coats of various paints on it. We spent a week with grinders and sanded it all back to metal and repainted it, then cut a huge hole in the back and went up!
We knew we wanted a nice little nook to sleep in and I wanted to maximize space. It obviously already broke a few rules, so I figured we’d just keep up on that and I cut that big hole in the roof back there. I learned to weld well enough to make the frame for the wood to be built on, then my friend Lando helped me frame and build out the box. It fits a queen-sized mattress flawlessly and is about the most amazing little nook to spend a night in listening to waves and feeling a warm summer breeze roll through when the windows are all open.
Old Pal: The Cosmic Collider wouldn’t be the same without Gabriel Güereña, the Ojai-based mechanic who helped power our rusty roller through an epic high-desert road trip. And while he’s known as the gearhead that revived our beautiful hunk of junk, he’s also a rad pal who spreads good vibes with dirt in his teeth and oil on his hands. Also, our friends at Homemade Modern more than refurbished the interior; they brought it “up to date” with their woodworking wizardry. Artist, Joe Swec tied it all together with hand-painted Old Pal slogans and signage on the exterior.
What’s been your favorite trip with the Collider so far?
Old Pal: Originally, the Cosmic Collider didn’t travel too far and was more of a rolling home at rest. Old Pal made it more road worthy and it traveled around the desert as part of its maiden voyage during Coachella 2019. Since then, it’s meandered around Ojai and up and down the California coast getting thumbs up and honks wherever it roams.
Where to next? What’s your dream expedition?
Old Pal: We keep her pretty close to home in Venice, CA. But as summer winds down, we can’t wait to cruise up and down the coast as the winds turn off shore and those Fall south swells remind us why we call California home. Her slow-going style keeps everyone on board very present. She’s pretty hard to miss so keep an eye out for her crawling along the slow lane near you.
Big thanks to Ryan and Old Pal for the download. If you see the Cosmic Collider around, don’t forget to tag @oldpal! And definitely be sure to check out the Old Pal online shop for low key apparel, accessories, and their collection of exclusive artwork.