You will find many interesting people choose a GMC as their ride of choice. Ma Jaya, the Master of Kali Natha Yoga and founder of the Kashi Ashram (a interfaith spiritual community) in Sabastian Florida has been touring in her 1976 GMC Eleganza (Hanuman Van) for many years. It has been outfitted expressly for her needs and is an integral part of the spiritual work she does. She promotes “Service in the spiritual life” and the GMC is there servicing her needs and the needs of those around her. You can learn more about the work of the Kashi Ashram on their web site (www.kashi.org)
We are honored to maintain this special machine for Ma, but no matter how many motors and generators we install, oil changes and brake jobs the ravages of the years has taken it’s toll on the exterior of Ma’s Hanuman van. So in keeping with our concept of “recycle and update”, we are refinishing the exterior of this special machine. You know how important I feel the exterior of the GMC is, what it says about the owner and the meaning it projects– well Ma feels the same way too and it has been a challenge to turn this viable but tired looking machine into something that makes the statement Ma wants to make.
Here is our finished drawing of the concept we want to follow. The highly symbolic red triangles (one pointing up and one pointing down) depict the importance of the heavens and earth. The colors are her favorite so our challenge was to put it all into a finished product.
Our first step is to take the coach “apart”. All exterior accessories are taken off. Oh sure, we could “bag” it all with tape and paper but hey, we want a nice finish! We then run the coach over to our Paint Guru Walter for a finish that matches the importance of the work of this machine.
Walter, you are too fast! Next thing I know he calls me to come take a look at the paint, I usually like to get pics of the stages of work, primer, and the colors as they go on. OK man, you are just too good– so what do you think?
We next have some graphics to include and we’re working those details out. Come back again to see more of this project.
After much communication on the artwork, we are moving and things are coming together. Went to the booth for a look today and found Walter touching up another of his wild finishes Entering the booth, there was the coach with it’s shower cap on, didn’t mean to interrupt! Mr. Air Brush Man was doing his job on Hanuman , this sort of stuff takes a real artist– not me! I shared with him the story Bhagavati Das taught me about the image that Hanuman could not find the rare herb that grew on the mountain to heal God so he brought the entire mountain to him, man now thats service!– he thanked me for as he said “sharing” that with him and said he had a better understanding of what he was painting– thanks Bhagavati for sharing it with ME! Not quite done yet but you can see the image pretty well , the other side image is pealed but he has to feather in the edges . Man they use a pile of paper to protect the rest of the body. There we go, now remember it’s not finished yet– it’s kinda like looking at the Mona Lisa before they painted over the tootsie-roll pop that gave her that smile. As he tells me, the edges will be blended and details feathered – he said right now it looks like a sticker, that would all go away. I thought it looked great. Then Walter will finish off the clear coat over the artwork for a seamless finish. Can’t wait to see the finished product!
We are on track for delivery to my shop on Friday where we will then put the coach back together. Who knows, maybe Santa will hitch a ride down to Sebastian Christmas night and stuff this jewel in Ma’s stocking, hope it’s big enough! We’ll have to see how it goes.
And here is the finished image. Went down again to Walters to take the new roof pod and man you know he has an awesome job– making these coaches look like this . I mean you walk into one bay and you see an awesome Cadillac being put back together — who knows what it took to get that beast of a car looking that nice and then behind it the air brush guy has just finished the back of a coach that can only be described as unbelievable wait till the clear goes over that!
I go in the next bay and there it is, he’s taping off the black to give it some fresh color before the clear coat goes over the entire coach– the image is done and now I see what he was talking about when he said feathering and blending There will be no outline to the triangles, that is mask tape for the fresh black base thats about to go on. We will have the coach by Friday so this weekend will be putting the exterior back together. I Like it– thanks to Tara, Bhagavati Das, Walter and the master air brush artist James Jackson– and of course the person with the idea of the design in the first place, Ma Jaya.
We will have pics as the coach rolls out of the booth then being assembled– come back for that.
And here it is– we dodged rain to extract Ma’s coach from Walters booth and got it back in our custody here at the shop. The first view of the coach calmed my anticipation of what the coach would look like all as one machine. After looking at uncovered sections of the coach inside under florescent lights, there is nothing like seeing it in the light of day sitting by itself. First thing Alaya went to touch the image it looked so alive and active . Of course the paint finish was awesome, you can easily tell the quality of a black surface by the reflection it has . Check out the reflection of the truck and yep, thats me taking the picture in the reflection in the red. Boy, did we get some looks driving the coach to the shop and when we arrived, Jason had to do a once over checking out both sides of the coach One side the red triangle point up and the other it’s pointing down. Thats about the only thing different– the 2 images are identical. There’s still much to do to assemble the exterior, bumpers go on, vents, body molding, ladder, the new roof pod needs to dry and get put on (which BTW will look like a gold brick up on the top of this valued machine), yada, yada, yada so we still have stuff to do but by golly it’s done and I’m happy with the outcome. man, just look at the shine!! Come back next week for the finish up of this project and it’s ultimate reintroduction to it’s mission in life.
We’re into details now but these things are extremely important to the finished look of the coach. We’ve had to take some time to strip and retint the windows in the Kashi coach. When you do paint, the paint work itself could be flawless but if the other exterior features look bad– well it all looks bad. The tint on the windows have done their job protecting the interior of the coach, blocking the UV rays and heat but during their work, the ravages of time has faded out the colors in the dye. Look at the difference in the front and rear windows and you can see what I mean. It does not look like much but the final look with new tint is one of those things that make that difference. First each window is removed from the coach , tint scraped off and the glass reinstalled, sealed and new lock bead rubbers installed. The window above not only needed the tint removed but you can see that it had been leaking for some time. One one could have known this because the window had been walled over becuase of the interior that had been installed. Actually, we back painted this glass black before reinstalling it. The paint will be more resiliant and since there is nothing to see will be fine.
The ladder was another challenge. Their original ladder had been damaged, bent up and basically would not go on my new exterior refinish. A new ladder and rack was called for but hey, I like the idea of having an original ladder with the GM logo cast into the steps so we removed the damaged sections of their ladder, cleaned and scuffed up the surface and etch painted the whole thing satin black. Reinstalling the ladder and rail on that coach with that finish really set off the look and when their new gold painted roof pod gets installed I think it will look even better. Their new windshields will be installed on Monday so this weekends delivery will have to be pushed back one more– hey, it’s what happens in this business!
Details are finishing up, Alaya installed the new top clearance lights , had to rewire a couple while AJ kept going on the window tint We’re down to the last window now , each pane of glass is removed– you can see the purple film on these pieces before he gets them scraped . Look at the difference in the new nice black film and look at the reflection in the paint below the window– now thats deep black paint! It’s about done, the windshield guys will be here on Monday– you can see how bad the windshields are up on that pic of Alaya on the roof installing the clearance lights. With that glass all new, Ma Jaya’s coach the “Hanuman Van” will be ready to go home. I’ll get a series of final shots after it’s washed up and pointed toward the gate.
Are here it is, a corroboration of many both close to Ma Jaya and those professionals who can make their ideas come alive. A great balance this finish while not “over the top” makes a statement wherever it will go. Thank you Bhagavati Das, Durga Das, Tara and of course Ma Jaya for giving us the responsibility and the latitude to work with your dear coach. There will always be more to do, things to fix and FLN’s (funny little noises) to repair but this machine has it’s new lease on life and should be around for years to service the Kashi Ranch