Berkley resident Jerry Naumann’s  upside-down, backward van is a crowd favorite at local cruising events. The  inside is designed so that the driver’s seat faces the van’s rear window.

Berkley resident Jerry Naumann’s upside-down, backward van is a crowd favorite at local cruising events. The inside is designed so that the driver’s seat faces the van’s rear window.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Spectators flip over upside-down van

By: Jennifer Sigouin | C&G Newspapers | Published August 22, 2018

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Photo by Erin Sanchez

When Berkley resident Jerry Naumann takes his van out for a spin, anyone who sees it usually does a double take — or sometimes even a triple take. 

Thanks to some creative customization, the 1985 GMC Rally van appears to be driving upside-down and backward. The spectacle, of course, always turns heads — including Naumann’s when he first saw the van two years ago at the Back to the Bricks car show in Flint. 

Upon first sight, Naumann turned to his friend and asked, “Did I just see an upside-down van drive by us?” When it drove by again about 10 minutes later, Naumann insisted that they go check it out up close. 

“It was calling my name,” Naumann said. 

Naumann chatted with the owner and learned that he had recently put the finishing touches on his unusual creation. The body of the van was flipped horizontally and vertically over a base with a hidden set of wheels, so that the van seems to be sliding down the street on its roof, complete with spinning tires on top. The inside of the van has a driver’s seat and a passenger seat, which both look out the van’s back window, which serves as the windshield. 

Naumann asked the owner if he was interested in selling the van, but the owner gave him a “crazy price.” Shortly after that event, though, Naumann contacted the owner again, and they agreed to meet at the owner’s home near Lansing. This time, Naumann sealed the deal.  

“We came upon a price that I thought was a little bit better,” said Naumann, adding that the owner even had the van hauled to Naumann’s location. 

“I’ve just been having fun with it” for the past few years since then, he said. 

With limited visibility from the driver’s seat, the van can be a challenge to maneuver, which makes it impractical and potentially unsafe for everyday driving. However, Naumann frequently takes the upside-down van to special events, like cruises and parades, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser. 

“Their jaws usually hit the ground,” he said, noting that “90 percent” of the people who see the van immediately pull out their smartphones to take a photo of it. 

The van has also gotten some attention from local law enforcement. 

“I was pulled over last year by the cops, but he just wanted to get a better look at it,” Naumann explained. 

Anyone who missed out on seeing the van at this summer’s local car cruises can check out the van’s Facebook page for photos and videos of the van in action, as well as for updates on where Naumann will be showing off the vehicle next. Visit facebook.com and search for “The Upside Down Van.” 


Do you own a vehicle that has an history or a special story behind it? Contact Staff Writer Jennifer Sigouin at jsigouin@candgnews.com, and you could be featured in an upcoming edition of Behind the Wheel.