Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine has become the latest addition to a fleet of leisure vehicles for hire in Heysham.
The van, famous for transporting Scooby Doo and the gang in search of ghosts and ghouls in many episodes of the popular TV cartoon, is now taking on a more relaxed role as a private hire car for parties and events.
Long term Scooby fan and owner Mark Simpson, 37, from Heysham, says it “all started out as a bit of fun”.
Mark, who owns Whitegate Motors on the White Lund Industrial Estate, said: “We saw the van advertised on Ebay, and after winning the bid in 2013 I drove it back from Scotland.
“Everyone was slowing down on the motorway to take a closer look, and at times I thought I was being followed by police, because you forget when you’re driving it what you’re actually driving.
“People are shouting ‘that’s amazing’ and getting me to slow down so they can take pictures. When people see inside they’re even more amazed.”
The 1988 Chevrolet G20 is certainly attracting attention, and is now available for private hire alongside Mark’s other vehicles that make up Heysham Limos, including a stretch limosine and a Beauford wedding car.
The back of the van features retro green and blue sofa seating, a mini bar, music and TV facilities and lighting - and Mark has even got a Scooby Doo mascot to go with it.
Mark said: “I’m always open to looking at other vehicles, so who knows what we could have next.
“Three or four lads are going through their taxi license training now so they can chauffer the vehicles, and the vehicles are fully licensed and insured.”
Mark and his wife Sheila, who have an eight-year-old daughter called Isabelle bought Whitegate Motors nine years ago.
Mark is a mechanic, and has been in the motor trade all his life. He started out at a Rover dealership and worked his way up from apprentice to service manager before starting out on his own. Check out Heysham Limos on Facebook.
In the back includes seating, a mini bar, music, a TV and lighting.
Everybody loves and remembers Scooby Doo. And we’ve even got the mascot to go with it!
Stag dos, hen dos, it’s there for anything really, and it can be booked like a private hire taxi.
It had been used as a limo in the past, but the standard inside was very poor, so we’ve done quite a lot of work to make sure it is up to standard and looks good.