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Welcome to Uconntailgate.com
I started tailgating for Uconn Football games back at Memorial Stadium out of the back of a Chevy Tahoe. At some point I started to get the idea of upgrading the tailgate experience/vehicle. It was in the Summer of 2010 I found a 2001 Ford E-350 van for sale. The original intention of the van was for a 4 wheel drive conversion. Before I even got to that project I began to appreciate the amount of storage in this van.
By Fall of the same year I had already begun to outfit the van with a flat screen tv, a mount for a directv satelite dish, and a stereo with speakers. About the same time I started "uconntailgate.com" to chronicle the work. The van worked great. Plenty of room for supplies and the tv worked awesome. We also had some magnetic signs made for the sides. We had a great time and alot of fun with the Van.
After the 2010 season I started to think of what upgrades we could do to the van over the winter. One apsect that needed attention was organization. It was somewhat difficult to keep everything in a way where it could be found or to keep the chairs from falling over and smushing the hamburger rolls. As luck should have it, I was driving down the street one day and there it was..... a 1988 Ford Ambulance.
So after a quick look at the ambulance by my great friend, Josh Clemente of "Clementes Custom Auto" the ambulance was mine. What really made this project a reality was his expertise. He did everything from the paint to the brakes and in between.
The bodyword started in the winter of 2011. Just taking everything off to start the sanding took over 40 hours. Then the dreaded sanding. Let me tell you that sanding something this big is not fun. To complicate things I suffered a skiing injury that sidelined me for over 4 months on February 16, 2011. 17 fractures later I spent those 4 months mostly on my back in bed. Luckily some friends jumped in and helped. Gerald O'Connor from RTS Landscaping in Hamden, sanded probably 75% of the ambulance himself. Fast forward to crunchtime in August of 2011 and the clock was ticking. Ausgust and September, 2011 is when the majority of the work was done. The final sanding, prepping for paint and paint was done by Josh Clemente. The ambulance was then looked at mechanically. Some brake work, a quick transmission rebuild, new rear tires, new batteries and we were driving.
The final step....the lettering and the interior. John Landino of Landino Signs in Hamden, CT designed the layout. He spent countless hours designing and installing the vinyl decals. He also was instrumental in the "Uconn Football Field" epoxy floor. Brian Steinle of Industrial Flooring Technologies did the epoxy work but it was myself and John Landino who laid out the field on the floor in vinyl. It really finished off the interior. Again with the help of Josh Clemente a custom flat screen tv mount was made to hang the 55" TV. Luke Reynolds of "Whatever Contracting" ran all the wires for the speakers, stereo, tv, and also the charging system that keeps the two batteries charged.
We hope to see you at the next tailgate!
Class of 1996