Everything You Need to Know About Hillary Clinton's 'Scooby Van'

An interview with the owner of the company that tricked out her ride to Iowa.


Photograph: Explorer

Hillary Clinton is just like the rest of us. When she wants to go on a trip, she gasses up the old van, makes a quick stop at Chipotle and hits the open road. The one difference is that for Clinton, the old van is a tricked out Chevrolet Express 1500 that retails for between $50,000 and $60,000. 

After announcing her presidential campaign Sunday, Clinton set off for Iowa with top aides Huma Abedin and Nick Merrill in tow. Campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri tweeted that the trip was Clinton's own idea, and that she loves her ride, which she affectionately calls the "Scooby Van." 

The birthplace of Clinton's own Mystery Machine is a company called Explorer, based in Warsaw, Ind. 

"There's nothing in our lingo that says anything about Scooby Doo," said Steve Kesler, owner of Explorer.

Explorer takes the Chevy van and raises the ceiling, so passengers can stand fully upright. The captain seats swivel around towards the sofa seat in the rear, making it easy for Clinton, Abedin, and Merrill to have a face-to-face meeting while barreling down I-80. The van also features a 26-inch television, nine speakers, and a subwoofer. All the seats can be heated. 

The one option Clinton skipped was a satellite television system, which would have allowed passengers to watch CNN in the most rural of stretches. The van can already pull in local television as it moves through cities, and Clinton's crew likely has it's own mobile hotspot to get WiFi, Kesler said. 

Unlike Clinton herself, Explorer vans enjoy bipartisan support. Two prominent Republicans—Representative Paul Ryan and former Senator Rick Santorum—are known to use them. Athletes and movie stars are fans, as well. Lebron James, Shaquille O'Neal and Michael Jordan all have Explorer vans, and the Jolie-Pitt family has two, one they keep stateside and one in Europe. 

Clinton had her first Explorer van sometime in the '90s, though Kesler didn't have details on hand about that one. The government purchased her second one, with more beefed up security features, when she was secretary of state. Kesler said he heard about a lot of sightings of the van in New York during the preparations for Chelsea Clinton's wedding in 2010.

"When Chelsea got married I must have gotten 50 calls about that," he said. 

Hillary Clinton van

Another Chevrolet Express 1500 tricked out by Explorer. Clinton's has black interior, though.

Photograph: Explorer

More recently, Kesler said he's noticed Secretary of State John Kerry being driven around in it. 

Clinton's Secret Service detail called Kesler about a new van during the summer of 2014. The vans usually sell at dealerships, and Kesler helped them locate one that met their needs, a model the company calls the Explorer Limited SE. They sent it back to Explorer to get a different interior, Kesler said. Clinton wanted black seats as opposed to gray ones. 

"She made no unusual requests," Kesler said. "Her situation is not unlike what we're dealing with every day. She knew what she wanted and we like our repeat customers."

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