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    Body Work Blues On An Accessible Van

    So, I’ve told you all about my handicapped accessible van, right? In case you’ve forgotten, it’s a Town and Country Mini-van, which we bought used. It has a drop floor and a ramp for easy access for me and my wheelchair.

    Well, Herman noticed a bunch of rust and decided it was time to get it fixed. So off to Phil Terranova’s Body Shop on South Main Street in Gloversville the van went. Phil had the van for a good week and a half. I’ve never felt so stuck at home without it. This is especially ironic because when Herman first told me about the van and eventually showed it to me I was dead set against it.

    Herman had been lifting me into his Ford Explorer, and he said to me, “Please, consider this van. My back can’t take it anymore.” To make a long story short, I have since fallen in love with this van. What I like about it the most is that it doesn’t look like a handicapped equipped van. The side panels that cover the drop floor actually look like sporty ground effect air foils.

    The reason Phil had the van so long was that the more layers he peeled back on the undercarriage, the more problems he found. He basically had to construct a new frame for supporting the flooring over top of the old one. He said the problem with even trying to weld the metal was that it wouldn’t hold where there was rust, so he had to use heavy duty rivets to hold the metal in place.

    Cosmetically, we also needed a new floor rug, and it had to be a tight, commercial type heavy duty rug to take the wear and tear of my snow or rain soaked wheels when I drive my power chair in and out of the van. This is my new favorite part of the van. Because it even smells new now, besides looking new. Whatever was wrong with the frame, I couldn’t see it with the plastic panels covering it up, but I’m glad it’s all fixed now.

    Herman’s Explorer is the next car going to Phil’s. He last had a go at it when we took out six guard rails on our way to California with Hermanette back in 1998. At the time, Phil said not to expect the body work to last over two years in this north east, winter climate. Since that was six years ago, and it lasted three times as long as he predicted, we’re hoping that his estimate of two years time on his current repair of the van is overly conservative as well.

    So if you have any body work that needs to be done on any of your cars, I highly recommend Phil Terranova. He is quick and does great work. And if we can afford it, so can you.

    "Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"