Coming back to life: Car refurbished as 'survival' vehicle

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

GOLDEN, MO. -- A zombie enthusiast has brought his family's car back from the dead so that he can volunteer his time to help his friends in a custom-painted "bug-out mobile."

Dustin Griffith, mechanic, chopped the top half of a Chevy station wagon and fastened it to the top of an El Camino. He then equipped it with props and stenciled markings to make it a zombie survival hearse.

"It is a little bit of a Frankenstein car," Griffith said. "It took a while to get the car up and running; it's been like three years... but my dad has had it for 20 years now at least."

Griffith said he created his monster car because his friend Jeff Danos needed a vehicle to haul around equipment for zombie related charity events that he helped host.

"We had a van decorated, and it was a bug-out vehicle, then the transmission just fell apart." Danos said.

A "bug-out" vehicle is any automobile fitted with armor and weaponry or stocked with survival gear -- an ideal mode of transportation during a zombie-apocalypse-type scenario.

"We made some stencils and stuff like that," Griffith said. "If it has any kind of a theme, it is a like a pseudo-military fighter plane. And we put some red paint on it to make it look like it had some close encounters with zombies"

Griffith volunteered his hearse to haul gear such as sound systems or props for zombies. The hearse's first appearance in Eureka Springs was at "Zombies in the Park" on Sept. 27. The event was a part of the Eureka Springs Downtown Network's "Fun After Five" series.

The next time Griffith will be driving his Frankenstein car is for the Day of the Dead celebrations on Saturday. The festivities include a Zombie Crawl, a slow-paced parade of undead look-a-likes, and the Dance of the Dead in the basement of the Auditorium.

"We do this as a benefit for the Flint Street Food Bank," Danos said. "We invite everybody to participate. Anybody can join the horde of zombies or decorate a vehicle or make a Halloween float."

This is the second year that Danos has organized the events with help from his friends like Griffith. Last year, he had 400 people in the crawl, he said. He also stressed the fact that this event is meant to be family-friendly and is not a pub crawl.

Participants in the crawl are asked to donate two cans of food. As a reward, the admission to the dance will be halved, said Danos.

"We thought it would be appropriate to have a dance in the haunted basement of The Auditorium," he continued. "We hope everybody just has a good time and that is what it is all about. It is one of the few parades where anyone can get involved."

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