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HCOTY: WeeWoo The Ambulance

Tim Odell December 22, 2015 All Things Hoon 21 Comments


My nominee for Redusernab Car of the Year embodies key Redusernab Values: Cheap, Crappy-but-remarkably-effective, Unexpected, and the right mix of Stupid and Awesome. While we’ve disqualified LeMons cars from entry (lest HCOTY be nothing but LeMons), this one’s LeMons adjunct. I’m talking about one of the coolest tow rigs around: Philipp Von Weitershausen’s “Wee-Woo” the Ambulance.

I borrowed Wee-Woo to tow the Ranchero back from getting caged at Evil Genius and from the second I hit the road couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face. You know a loaned car’s great when you start searching for one of your own before you even hand back the keys.

Wee-Woo is a 1997 Ford E350 ambulance powered by a 7.3l Powerstroke turbodiesel. It’s racked up enough miles to drive around the world a little over 12 times, all on the original engine (but second transmission). So, that “Transcon Medivac” livery…familiar? Probably not in the context of actual medical transit, but think more along the lines of malaise era coast-to-coast races…

Wee-Woo started its second career doing ridiculous car stuff with the 2013 running of ““. For those unfamiliar, it’s a low-budget, low-key road-race from New York to San Francisco (2904 miles) in cars that cost less than $2904. After with 2015 Sonoma Index of Effluency winner John Ficarra (and friends) at the wheel, Philipp bought it as a tow rig.

Wee Woo towing bug

As a LeMons tow rig, it kicks ass. The turbo 7.3L has plenty of power and the heavy-duty E350 chassis barely feels the trailer hanging off the rear. But any truck could meet those criteria. As an ambulance, Wee-Woo brings more to the table:

  • Level, commercial grade floor
  • Built in cabinets
  • Tons of extra built-in electrical capacity from a up-spec’ed alternator, inverter and switch panels
  • All the auxiliary lights work, providing much-needed work lights in a pinch
  • Plus that extra WTF? factor from pulling a LeMons car behind an ambulance

ambulance interior

With a little more work, Wee-Woo could be made into the ultimate tow/haul/sleep machine. I’m imagining upgraded lighting, optimized tool storage and a stand-on roof platform/tent mount. Short of a dedicated medium-duty race hauler, it’s hard to think of a cooler setup. For past 300,000 miles, for supporting a ridiculous activity, for doing a kickass job at it and for doing it all while looking awesome/ridiculous, I nominate Wee-Woo The Ambulance for Redusernab Car of the Year.

  • CraigSu

    No offense to WeeWoo as it’s a fine machine but, with the exception of Antti’s Polo, I don’t recall seeing any of the HCOTY nominees featured on the Redusernab until their nomination posts (unless I also missed Hoontruck). I thought nominees had to be culled from cars that were featured earlier in the same calendar year instead of being nominated ad hoc? Did the rules change or are there no rules because Redusernab?

    • 0A5599

      Many past nominees had not been featured here until being nominated.

      • CraigSu

        I went back to the first HCOTY post for this year’s nominees and there basically aren’t any rules except that the Hooniversal Overlords (Editors) make the nominations and the Hooniversitariat cast the votes. I just think we should be voting on vehicles that already have some history; so we can reread the posts, review the prose (and the comments) and make a more informed decision. I guess what I’m saying is that from my perspective Antti’s Polo is the only one so far that makes sense. Unless something comparable gets nominated it’s getting my vote.

    • Mine was, although that fact is countered by it being at the very opposite end of the Hoon spectrum from this one.

    • Rover 1

      There is only one rule : there are no rules because Redusernab.

      • dead_elvis

        That is unpleasantly reminiscent of Kinja, which needs to be contained to the Gawker universe.

  • 0A5599

    The livery needs more orange.

    • Rover 1

      Is the original crew still available?

      • 0A5599

        Of the original crew, Hal Needham is dead and Brock Yates suffers from Alzheimer’s.

        Out of the fictional team from the movie, Elam, DeLuise, and Farrah have all died.

  • jeepjeff

    It is probably for the better that you failed to mentioned the ambulance was named “WeeWoo” when you brought the Ranchero back from EGR.

  • Sjalabais

    Very cool. I have for a long time lusted after a decommissioned ambulance, which are ridiculously cheap despite an often excellent maintenance record. Keep thinking about building one into a little camper – but than I remind myself how I am allergic to RV’s and prefer to walk a tent up a mountain anyway.

    …so I start thinking about rather bringing my friends.

    Sort of got distracted here.

    • JayP

      More obscure…

      • 1977ChevyTruck

        Okay, now that is just too cool for school!

        • JayP

          At Lane Motor.
          I’ll prolly see it next week.

          • 1977ChevyTruck

            Just looked through their collection (online, of course), and have now added it to my automotive museum bucket list, otherwise known as simply my bucket list.

      • Sjalabais

        Wait….that is wild. They moved the engine to the front to make that setup work?

        • Monkey10is

          (Vents over the rear wheel arch suggest that it kept the rear/rear configuration: Presumably internal flexibility was ‘compromised’?)

          • Sjalabais

            Ah…small phone screen inattentiveness. Off to Google – that is just too strange.

            • Monkey10is

              Edit: Your comment should say “The 624 is even more claustrophobic …BUT KEPT THE REAR HATCH FROM THE STANDARD CAR!”
              What a strange design compromise for apparently little cost saving.

              • Sjalabais

                Indeed! What an enjoyable digression. As a boy, I was bitten by a dog – leftover by the Soviets who had abandoned their military compound rather quickly after reunification. When I stiffed up, the ambulance was a Barkas B1000, soon to be decommissioned in favour of much improved Western material. The nurses couldn’t understand why I was so happy to have been one of the last patients to ride in one of them to our local hospital…now I realize: A Tatra would have been a gazillion times more interesting. They can’t have made many of them.

              • Vairship

                Speaking of strange design compromises, who thought this was a good idea? And I actually saw one on the road, lights flashing and all, so they truly existed in real life:

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