By Danny Baggott @Dan_Baggie

AN ARTIST is driving a 34 foot long van that he built over 30 years ago

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Videographer / director: Adrian D’Alessandro
Producer: Danny Baggott, Ruby Coote
Editor: Ed Rius

In 1974, artist Ivan Benic had a dream to build the 'wildest van in the world’ - which he calls the Cosmic Cruiser.

Within four years, Ivan, from Ontario, Canada, had transformed the van into a 34 ft long masterpiece.

The 68-year-old told Barcroft Cars: "In 1976 we took a straight Chevy van and basically we chopped it six inches, but then we took a 69 Vista Cruiser station wagon with the roof, which had a really nice glass in it and we put it up in the roof, which kind of made it tall again.

“The Cosmic Cruiser front end was always a dominant feature of the van and I always thought that the front end needs to be a little longer than what the vans were.

"My bodywork, its all handmade and the only thing that is on the outside that is still original are the door handles.

"I had four guys working for me at the time. They went home and the next morning they found me sleeping on the rear panel of the van on the floor and the front end was finished, I did the whole nose in one night."

Weighing a colossal 10,400 lbs and towering over 6 ft, the Cosmic Cruiser still retains an impressive 400 horsepower.

As well as masterminding the construction of the vehicle, Ivan has also painted the entire exterior of the van by hand.

A beach scene, with a bikini-clad woman and racing cars have been airbrushed on to the huge van.

Ivan said: “I make sure that I create my own style.

"I was always a kid that wasn’t listening, that was doodling on the desk and all that every piece of paper that I can get a hands on.”

And Ivan’s detailed artwork and design never fails to go unnoticed by the general public.

He said: “You know I’m driving 500 miles into the US and pulling off for gas. Cars follow me off the highway just to talk to me.

"I think for the most part it bring smiles to peoples faces because they know they have seen something special, something different."

Ivan has lost count of the thousands of dollars he has spent building the Cruiser over the years. But for him, it doesn’t matter. It’s the sentimental value that counts.

"We didn’t really think about the money, like a secondary.

“It’s worth a lot to me, it's like mechanic’s 10000 dollar tool box is everything to them, so I won’t even consider selling them until I am ready to go and park myself on the beach with a pinna colada."