OG MPV WTF BBQ LULZ
By now you know we’re all about build threads here at TGP. Build threads are more than just ongoing project updates—they’re records of things we’ve done and the people who helped make them happen. They’re more like build stories.
Speaking of stories, if you’ve read any of John Rimmer’s Escapades in the Everyday, you know he’s a natural storyteller. But get this—it extends into the realm of his build threads, too. Would you believe John’s got THREE build threads going these days?
One of those build threads, er, stories, is like a mashup of They Live meets National Treasure—with the Rimmer clan fending off alien invaders and celebrities alike as they chase clue after clue in their Mazda MPV.
John mentioned it might hard to call this series It’s an Amazing Machine if we haven’t discussed the most amazing machine ever built.
[tgp] My understanding is you drive a Mazda MPV—aka: Makua Pakalolo Vehicle. Is that correct? Anything else you’d like to mention?
[you] You’re dag’gone right I drive a Mazda MPV. And aside from having five kids, you wanna know why? How about a little history lesson for you and your readers.
You wanna know what MPV stands for? Winning, that’s what MPV stands for, and here’s why. In Europe they call ALL minivans MPVs, and you wanna know why? Because once these babies rolled onto the market a little something called a proprietary eponym occured.
Oh, don’t know what a proprietary eponym is? Well, ever heard of a Kleenex®, a strip of Velcro®, a tube of ChapStick®, or a flippin’ Band-Aid®? Brand names that define a whole product segment because they’re that amazing. That’s an eponym. And the epitome of proprietary eponyms is the God-blessed Mazda MPV.
Mazda’s intellectual property lawyers had a field day in court after these minivans hit the European showrooms in 1988 with a little something called a registered trademark. Mazda was winning lawsuit after lawsuit as all the other carmakers tried to cash in on the amazingness of this machine, calling everything that sat more than five an MPV. Like taking candy from a baby.
And you know what they did with all that courtroom prize money?
Three years later in 1991 there was this little race that took place in a town called Le Mans. Mazda’s racing division, engorged with all the MPV-inspired cash was able to whip up something called the 787B.
And we all know the rest of that story. Mazda brought home the only Japanese Le Mans victory in history, and it stayed that way for decades. All because the Mazda MPV is the most amazing machine, ever.
Now some may claim that all this doesn’t line up with actual historical facts. That it’s all some tin-foil conspiracy talk or blah, blah, whatever. We Mazda MPV owners know what’s really up. MPV means winning. Amazing amounts of winning.
[tgp] The most important automotive opinions are those of real, actual owners. As an MPV owner, could you share a little unvarnished truth with the rest of us? What do you love about them? What do you not love about them?
[you] Well, it’s not well-known that this iteration of MPV that I drive (a 2004) is basically the pinnacle of parts bin automotive re-engineering. The Duratec 30 engine under the hood was originally designed by Porsche, but when they were unable to build a chassis amazing enough to tame it they sold the plans to Ford. The bean-counters over there didn’t know what to do with the design so they enlisted the mad scientists over at Cosworth to give it a go. By the time they finished shoving unicorn farts and giggles into the all aluminium block we ended up with a V12 monster destined to get crammed into a who’s who of Aston Martins (including the One 77).
At the time Mazda was in a more-than-just-friends relationship with Ford, and were able to talk the boys over there into chopping that V12 in half so they could cram it into their already amazing minivan. The result is a gnat’s eyelash short of perfection.
Though the engine was unfit for a Porsche chassis, in the minivan configuration it attains a perfect 50:50 weight distribution (once you stick five kids in the back). You’d see a lot more domination at your local SCCA event if not for the fine print forbidding the use of this chassis. Unfair to the spirit of motorsport, they claim. Whatever, there’s always Mazda’s plan B racing chassis…the Miata.
[tgp] How did you end up in this camp? Why have you stuck around as long as you have?
[you] Welp, that story is about as old as mankind itself. Guy meets girl, yada, yada, yada…and before you know it you need a class B driver’s license just to get everybody to church in one trip. And once you’re into minivans you’re typically into them for the next eighteen or so years.
The MPV community…
[tgp] How’s the MPV community doing these days? Where do y’all hangout, share tech, and whatnot?
[you] The great thing about the MPV community is that you can fit them all inside the MPV at the same time. This means that we can basically hang out anywhere the daily commute takes us.
Many don’t know that the minivan subculture is actually the forerunner to the modern Cars and Coffee movement that’s so popular across the country. It used to just be called Mom Takes the Family to the Mall, but once all the other gearheads out there saw all the awesome minivans in the parking lot they started bringing all their other sweet rides to try to join in on the fun.
Once it became mainstream though, most of the minivans moved on. Some went into drag racing, others into that overlanding thing. Probably going to take over Radwood soon, who knows.
This gearhead life…
[tgp] When you think about automotive culture in general, what stands out as being the biggest issue we should be working on together? What’s your biggest concern and what should we be doing about it?
[you] Hmm…maybe not the biggest thing, but something in keeping with the minivan motif would be the generational gaps in car culture. Aside from gender, I don’t think there is a bigger line of segregation in the car culture than the age of its participants.
There’s a romantic notion out there that the love of cars is something passed on from father to son over an oil change and a coke in the driveway. While it might still be the case for some, I think in reality most young people are getting their love for cars from their know-nothing peers on social media, while the old guys are sitting in lawn chairs next to their classics snickering about the good old days of carburation.
The old guys have a lot to benefit from with regards to the modern advances in automotive tech and culture, while these young guys could stand to benefit from the experience and hindsight of the elders.
- Buy a Mazda MPV
- Find an awesome wife by sorting through the hundreds of women now attracted to you for your automotive taste
- Fill the van up with the fruit of your union
- Teach your kids all your acquired wisdom regarding cars, but be honest that stance, donks, street racing, brodozers, and zombie overlanders were things you are terribly regretful for participating in when you were young
- Let your kids teach you to program the clock on your future, fancy, electric, flying car of the future (while showing you how to hack the CPU for an extra 1.21 gigawatts of electricity).
[tgp] Who’s made the biggest difference in your life with cars? How so?
[you] Lee Iacocca, for discovering the magic formula for the minivan. My wife, for helping me fill one up. And my kids, for making even a boring appliance of a vehicle like a Mazda MPV a beloved family fixture around which countless adventures, memories, and everyday escapades have occurred.