The Griswolds and their Wagon Queen Family Truckster ride again, thanks to an Illinois man's diligent efforts.
On Sunday, actors Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reprise their roles from National Lampoon's "Vacation" movies in a Super Bowl commercial for a vacation home rental service.
The 30-second spot for HomeAway.com features Chase's Clark Griswold and D'Angelo's Ellen Griswold in the metallic pea green, wood-grain paneled Family Truckster they drove from Chicago to the fictional Walley World theme park in the 1983 "Vacation" original.
The station wagon is a near-replica created by stenographer Gary Schneider, 39.
In 2008 he decided to build it "just for fun, for something to do and to take to car shows." A Ford LTD Country Squire wagon with tan interior soon turned up on eBay for $500.
"Then it was scrounging for parts," he said. "I had to find another car to take part of the grille and double up the headlights."
Schneider posted his progress online during the 18-month project, and HomeAway.com, which was acquiring the rights to use "Vacation" in a Super Bowl ad, tracked his work.
In September, HomeAway.com CEO Brian Sharples e-mailed Schneider expressing interest in the car. Schneider was reluctant to sell, considered leasing the car and finally agreed to part with it.
"He gave me enough money that I could build three more," Schneider said.
Schneider has been invited to HomeAway.com's Austin, Texas, headquarters for a Super Bowl viewing party, where he'll see the "Hotel Hell Vacation" ad for the first time.
"I'm absolutely thrilled," he said. "I never imagined … that it would be seen by millions of people."
I know you are watching the Super Bowl for the game and not the commercials, but where else can you watch corporate American spend in 3 hours an amount equal to the GDP of Uganda?
The Griswold Ad runs in the 3rd quarter as does Danica Patrick's godaddy.com ad where she gets a massage. A list of all the commercials and approximate air times is here.