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Uncle Ricos van from Napoleon Dynamite

(Fox Searchlight, 2004) “How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?… Yeah… Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we woulda been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind…” Probably the most entertaining character in Napoleon Dynamite, the sleeper success of 2004, was the delusional “Uncle Rico” played by veteran actor Jon Gries. At once eccentric and pitiful, Uncle Rico was Kip and Napoleon’s only source of transportation throughout the entire film after Grandma broke her “cockix” (coccyx) at the sand dunes. Uncle Rico’s steed? This trusty 1975 Dodge van with Santana camper package, replete with an eye-catching, burnt orange paint scheme and all of the vintage accessories a homeless ex-football star could ever want: bucket seats, refrigerator, shag carpeting, ample headroom and a framed picture of a tiger hanging discreetly on the inside paneling. After spending a few nights in this head-turner, who wouldn’t think they could throw a football o’er yonder mountains? Originally borrowed from its Preston, Idaho owner by the film crew, this van appeared in a number of memorable scenes in the film, including Kip’s sales call fiasco, the “herbal enhancement” sequences, and all of Uncle Rico’s lonely football photo shoots out on the prairie. The van has approx. 160,000 miles (the five digit odometer has certainly turned over once), and remains in very good screen-used condition. An instantly identifiable “camper-classic” from this unconventional comedy. Comes with an article from the New Years’ Day, 2005 edition of The Herald Journal (Logan, Utah) discussing this van and its serendipitous journey from backwoods camper to film star. Estimate $12,000 – $15,000

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