Aerosmith’s original tour van has been found in a small Massachusetts town by the hosts of “American Pickers” — more than four decades after it was abandonedHistory Channel/”American Pickers”

Previously posted on


Four decades ago, before Aerosmith was selling out stadiums, the band was traveling New England and trying to become a household name. The band members rode in a funky 1964 International Harvester Metro van with a cartoon man and “Aerosmith” painted in bright colors across the side. Decades later, the dated yet iconic van has been found, and the people who located it know a thing or two about nostalgic vehicles.


The hosts of History Channel’s “American Pickers” say the van had spent years in the woods of a small Massachusetts town after being abandoned in the 1970s. In an episode of the show that aired July 30, hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz visit Chesterfield, a town about 100 miles west of Boston, to inquire about the van.

The pickers find the dilapidated vehicle with the tires flat, the door missing and the paint rusting off. Still, Wolfe and Fritz, who search the country for valuable pieces of American nostalgia like cars and toys, were willing to pay a pretty penny for the rundown van. Wolfe says it’s “a piece of American rock and roll history.”

The International Harvester Metro sat near a house, and the property owner, identified only by Phil, said it was on the land when he purchased it. “This guy is deep in the woods, he’s off the grid, and I keep thinking to myself, ‘what the heck would this van be doing here?'” Wolfe wonders as he and Fritz see the van for the first time. The tale of the van has not been confirmed by CBS News, and it is unclear when Aerosmith abandoned it or why.

Knowing members of Aerosmith were Massachusetts natives, Wolfe and Fritz thought they could connect the dots to prove the van was authentic.

To verify it, they tracked down Ray Tabano, a founding member of Aerosmith, who was in nearby Stockbridge at the time. Tabano was able confirm that their find was indeed the original Aerosmith van.


When he arrived, Tabano reminisced about what he called the “rolling hotel” that transported the band between local shows. “I just flashed back to when we started the band,” he said after laying eyes on the van for the first time in more than four decades.

“This is it, baby,” the rocker exclaimed when he took a look inside of van, recognizing the carpet on the ceiling falling off, just as it was back in the day. He shared an old photo of himself in the van, and recreated the image on “American Pickers.”

Tabano, who played in the band from 1970 to around 1972, said the van reminded him of “humble beginnings.”

The owner, Phil, was willing to part with the van — for a price. “American Pickers” paid him a whopping $25,000 to own a bit of rock n’ roll nostalgia.

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39 thoughts on “Original Aerosmith tour van found in small Massachusetts town by “American Pickers””

    1. Becky Pearson

      This is so cool!!!! I loved the episode. I was in total awe seeing and listening to Brian Whitford and his son was deja-vu. I grew up with Aerosmith. I read Steven Tyler’s Book, with the history of the band.
      I’m going to see them in Residency in Vegas.
      I was more than “geeking” out as Danielle said on the show. They are truly Rock N Roll Royalty.

  1. Ken Skeen

    Was a WAY cool show and find! Now have seen this on ABC, CBS, et. al. Way to go guys! I’m a 77 year old rocker/blues guy and was thrilled to see the show. As always, sweet pickin’ and be so very safe! 🙂

  2. Brian Thompson

    This may be the most awesome find, ever!
    Today, I was listening to “No Surprise” off Aerosmith’s album “Night in the Ruts”. The song is about the early days of the band. A verse from the song goes “Riding on wheels of hell. Smokin’ our axle grease.” At that moment I realized that they must have been referring to touring in that van!
    Would love some follow ups on what is happening with it.

    1. David


  3. michael luca

    WOW !! my dad toured with them and actually drove this bus!!….. gotta ask(we are serious buyers) whats the price?

    1. Murray Dinneen

      Hi Alice. I hope so too. It’s a piece of American History for sure. Let’s hope it does happen if it hasn’t already. Murray from New Zealand.

  4. garrett

    I know the van from the mid 70’s. It was in Amherst most days. Mark used it to haul furniture for his employer, Paul’s Old Time Furniture. Mark was one of the original equipment/managers of Aerosmith. Mark and his wife Suzzie lived in western Ma. in the area were the van was found. I believe that the van is authentic as Mark had pictures of himself with the band and the van.

  5. Jerry

    My wife and I are amateur pickers, have our own Co-op store and eBay going on. I must second the notion of the van being one of the greatest finds ever. Hopefully, if there is anyone else out there that has something which may be suspiciously attached to fame somehow that they shout out to the community. Mike can’t be everywhere, so put it on the web, someone will get to you! Diggin’ in the northeast here!

  6. Pam Ramsey

    I enjoy the show, watch it as much as I can – record them so I do no miss one. Have a “Pickers” marathon to catch up! Love it so much I asked my husband to take a road trip to Iowa…we live in the Chicago area. We did!!! I was not disappointed in any way except neither of you were there. I did not expect you to be there however one could wish for that!
    I am seventy years young, and I love the history and the people you meet. My friends and co-workers asked why I went to Iowa, when explained, they thought it a little strange. Some people do not understand the idea of your show. As I look through your photos, I remember some of the items that were “found” and remember the wonderful stories and people you met.
    Thanks for your spirit and dedication to this.


  7. Olly Walker

    “If you ain’t busy living,your busy dying.”

    Now this old thing might be living again
    once it’s back on the road.

    You guys are amazing saving and salvaging
    American History,the way you do.


  8. Gord

    Awesome find you guys. I have been an Areosmith fan since the toxic twin days. Seen them many times. Just wondering if you can give us an update on your plans for the van. Restore it sell. Thanks. Your show rocks.

  9. Kevin Mccarthy

    Is the van to far gone and can not be repair, Have the guys ben back to New Hampshire. I very much enjoy the show, all ways interested in the history of people living in the USA.

  10. Joyce

    I just want to say HI & love the show, I have been watching it from the beginning, The guys go in places that very few people would go. And they love it…they are nice people… guys be safe and drive carefully…

    1. Murray Dinneen

      Yea. It is a gr8 show alright. Its on every day here in New Zealand and Evan re runs. We just had Best Buys show last night and what has happened to the picks update. Gr8/Gr8/Gr8. Luv it.

  11. Linda OBrien

    Saw the show that found the Aerosmith van. Great find-keep up the good work. I live in East TN can’t wait to go to the Nashville store and the Iowa store when we go to IL.

  12. Murray Dinneen

    Just had “Best Picks” here in New Zealand. It’s great to recap and remember what happened back then. Luv it….. Murray

  13. Dusan

    I just wanna tell you guys how awesome you are. Not just for buying and selling, you got hearts! What you do for people who died, it can not be described. “In memory of…” that is just outstanding! Thank you for your show and your good hearts. This is the best show ever and i watch you every single day. Love you guys, God bless.

    (sry for my bad english)

  14. Graham

    Hi guys, I watch the show in England and last nights show featuring the Aerosmith van was fabulous.TV gold. Well done to everyone involved. Graham Johnson.

  15. Matthew hersey

    I am a huge Aerosmith fan, I saw them set up and play at the natic mall right after they cut their first album. WOW. I can’t think of another word. Its like a time capsule. Their DNA is still in that can. How cool is that? I really want to know what is happening to that can. It needs to be just as it is. Do not restore that van. That needs to be displayed but not touched.

  16. Michael Hollamby

    What a great find.Personally speaking I kind of hope it doesnt get restored at all,it would lose all of its “Rusty Gold” character and history,if should be in a Rock n Roll museum of some sort,or maybe carted around in the back of a truck on a tour of all the Hard Rock Cafe places so Aerosmith fans worldwide can see it up close,maybe even get to sit in it for a souvenir photograph or two,and just breath in all that rusty Aero-History!!
    Any news on it yet?

  17. John calegari

    A genuine rock&roll article with value unprecedented one of a kind priceless
    Im extremely interested in being the one to restore this van I
    See it preserved rather than restored i specialize in auto
    Preservation and would make this my master piece im
    Retired but will retur. To active service for this project

  18. John

    I like the Aerosmith Van Story I been following it from the start. The guy in California dad came Rochester NY as the Range Rider to open a shopping plaza. I was maybe 9 or 10 years old 1955 or 1956.


  19. Cathy

    My husband and I watch your show all the time and were super excited to follow this story as we are Boston natives and grew up in that area. We had tickets to 3 shows of their Vegas residency and were thrilled to see the van for the first time back in June. Going back next week for our last show. It’s great to be able to walk up and touch this iconic van! You guys did an awesome job of saving the original artwork and making it functional again! They looked great riding down the strip in it rolling up to their gig like in the old days!

  20. Steven Van Gorden

    Just got done watching the show where you delivered THE VAN to Aerosmith. That was just TOO awesome. You could feel the emotion as you all stood around THE VAN reminiscing. AWESOME find, and loved following the story with you guys. Thanks for making all who watched it from forest find to THE BAND VAN again a little part of it, too! Awesome stuff!

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