And The Winner Is…


By Cliff Gromer

Photo: Anoop Chatterjee

Ravi Crankshankar’s customized Dodge school bus.

You can stop holding your breath. We’re going to announce the winner of the Mopar Action Best Customized Dodge School Bus contest. But, as is the Mopar Action way, we’re going to keep you in suspense just a little longer, so put a fresh D-cell in your pacemaker if you can’t handle the stress.

Why a customized school bus? Heck, anyone can do a job on a ‘Cuda, or a Challenger or a Duster, for that matter. Roger Gibson can even restore Hemicudas in his sleep (he won’t tell us what ol’ Rog’s day job is). Go to any Mo’show and it’s Alphabet City-A,B,E, A,B,E. We figured it was time for something different — really different. Like, how often do you see a feature in Mopar Muscle that starts off, “Joe Blow from Kokomo wanted his ’67 Dodge school bus to be different from all the others out there, so he blah, blah, blah?” Never. That’s how often.

That left Mopar Action to fill the needs of all the Dodge school bus fans across the globe. Which, we’re happy to say, we’ve done. Our customized Dodge school bus contest has been one of our most popular contests ever. It was also the most arduous for our underpaid and overworked staff, who had to evaluate the thousands of entries on their 15-minute lunch break and after hours in the hallway, because the Mopar Action offices were locked up for the night so no one should steal anything. A thankless task, to be sure, but rewarding nonetheless for the service we’ve performed for the hobby.

So, who’s the lucky winner that receives a one-year subscription to Mopar Action at 50% off the regular newsstand price, for the Best Customized Dodge School Bus? Ravi Crankshankar from Gujarat, India. To tell you the truth, it was tough not giving the award to a local boy, but Ravi’s bus was just head and shoulders above everything else-especially those slackards who just hung fuzzy dice from the mirror of an otherwise stock bus. Must’ve spent all of 97 cents.

Ravi says he’s always wanted a Dodge school bus ever since he was a kid in P.S. 52 in Garjoot (or wherever he’s from). He realized his dream when he saw this beauty (stock at the time) parked at the side of the road with no one around. He said that between the custom work and grinding off all the numbers on the engine and trans, and removing all the ID tags, no one would ever know. Hey, ya gotta get up real early to put one over on ol’ Rav.

What really blew us away was all that ornate hand-fab’d metalwork. Whew! That must have taken a few hours. Ravi says he’s got a crate Hemi under the hood, but the pictures he took didn’t come out so good, so don’t hold us to it. He calls his bus the “Sand Sailor,” and we can see why. Guess they haven’t had a good rain in Garjook  for quite a while. ‘Course, the mods aren’t strictly for show. Rav wanted to make room for his family and his girlfriend’s family, along with all their sheep, cows, goats and the llama when they all go out to wherever there is to go in Bargook. He says that in spite of the upper deck, it’s still a tight squeeze.

Ravi plans to drive his customized Dodge school bus to the Mopar Nats where it will be put on display. Ravi says he will be offering a vast selection of hand-made trinkets by local Garjoob artisans and street urchins to help pay for his trip.

Ravi doesn’t know how he’ll get back to India, so we’re going to enter everyone who buys a subscription to Mopar Action for a chance to put up Ravi and his Dodge school bus for a year. Current and former employees of Mopar Action and their families (whether in or out of jail) are not eligible.

Ravi likes breakfast at 6 a.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. He will be happy to take the winner’s family and neighbors for rides on the bus, as long as they pay for the gas. He will also be happy to provide autographed photos of the bus, living members of his family or his pet llama.

Our hearty congratulations to Ravi Crankshankar for a job well done and a big boost for the Mopar hobby, that sorely needs it.

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