Van Pires

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Created by John Gentile
Anthony Gentile
Starring Marc Schwarz
Garikayi Mutambirwa
Melissa Marsala
Jason Hayes
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 13
Executive producer(s) Brandon Pender, AGE Inc.,
Production Coordinator:
Barbara Lawrence, MSH
Art Direction and various credits
Mike Slisko
Mike Slisko
Joey Elardy
numerous 3D animators
Running time approx. 30 minutes
Original network FOX and The WB Syndication
Picture format NTSC Video (printed film)
Original release September, 1997 – 1998

Van-Pires is a computer animated children's television series (with live-action segments) that debuted in the USA in 1997.[1] It was produced by Abrams/Gentile (New York), with CGI animation being produced under MSH (San Francisco).[2] The show was syndicated by The Summit Media Group.[3]

The series was rated #1 in its time slot during several broadcasts in various United States and International markets.[citation needed] Van-Pires was the first children's CGI-animated television series to be produced using the 3D modeling and animation software 3D Studio MAX (aka 3ds max, Autodesk).[citation needed] It was only the third CGI-animated television series of its kind to use 3D animation in every episode, and ultimately received a Sci-Fi Award.[citation needed]

Van-Pires also had portions of its soundtrack written and performed by John Entwistle of the rock band The Who and Steve Luongo Entwistle's long-time friend, producer and drummer in The John Entwistle Band.[4] A range of other talented voices and animators were involved in production of the series.[citation needed]

The Van-Pires synopsis and its stories center on a group of human teenagers who protect and defend the world from evil anthropomorphic junkyard vans and vehicles known as the "Van-Pires" by transforming into robotic anthropomorphic cars, calling themselves the "Motor-Vaters".



Four ordinary teens were accidentally caught in the path of a falling meteor. The meteor transformed them into heroic robotic guardians to protect the night from the evil forces of Tracula (a reference to "Dracula") and the rest of the Van-Pires. Each Motor-Vater has the ability to fly and they also share the same weaknesses as their enemies; like the Van-Pires, the Motor-Vaters require gas to sustain themselves and must avoid the sun at all costs. To transform, each hero gets into the driver's seat of his or her Carfin (a portmanteau of "car" and "coffin") and shouts, "Mission Ignition!"

  • Axle (Jason Hayes) – The leader of the Motor-Vaters. He takes his role seriously and does what it takes to keep the team together. However, Axle can be too serious with his responsibilities either causing self-doubt when something goes awry or alienating one of the other Motor-Vaters. In his Motor-Vater form, Axle's color scheme is yellow with red fire designs. These colors are the same as his Carfin, which resembles a Lincoln convertible.
  • Snap (Garikayi Mutambirwa) – Snap is a very laid back person but is ready to jump into action when trouble rises. Unlike the other Motor-Vaters (who speak exclusively in car puns), he speaks exclusively in a mangled form of African American Vernacular English. His Motor-Vater form is blue with a purple trim. Snap's Carfin is a blue hippie van.
  • Nuke (Marc Schwarz) – Nuke is the team's strongman and thrill seeker. He is obese and has mastered the art of weaponized flatulence. His Motor-Vater form is green and modeled after a tow truck, complete with hook and crane. Nuke's Carfin is also a green tow truck.
  • Rev (Melissa Marsala) – Rev is a tomboy, but she gets down and dirty just like the rest of the guys. Sometimes, Rev is not afraid to show off her feminine side. She is the target of both Nuke and Tracula's romantic affections, but she ignores them both because of her special relationship with her mentor Van He'llsing. In her Motor-Vater form, she is a red and armed with a fire hose and axe. Her Carfin is a fire truck.


  • Van He'll Sing – The Motor-Vaters' friend and advisor. Van is an old hippie that runs Sunrise Salvage, a junkyard in which the gang works and hangs out. His name is derived from the famous Bram Stoker character Van Helsing.
  • Gypsy – An old female gypsy cab with mufflers for arms. She shows up at random times and gives the Motor-Vaters advice in the form of riddles.
  • Greaspot – The Motor-Vaters' pet. He is a neon-colored plastic tricycle with the behavioral instincts of a puppy. It is never explained why Greaspot does not thirst for fuel (though it is possible that, since he is a tricycle, he does not require any) nor why he does not turn to dust in the sun.


The villains of the series. Unlike the Motor-Vaters, they do not have human forms. Led by Tracula, they terrorize the night with a never-ending thirst for gasoline. Like vampires, Van-Pires feed off of vehicles and can sire other Van-Pires to accomplish their evil goals.

  • Tracula (Jonathan Davis) – The leader of the Van-Pires. Tracula is a purple truck that demands obedience from his minions.
  • Cardaver – A rusty and decrepit hunchbacked Van-Pire modeled after a hearse.
  • Ambula (Donna Daley) – A female ambulance with six arms modeled after the Bride of Frankenstein. She is armed with an assortment of surgical tools and anaesthesia. She has an Electra complex (with Tracula playing the role of Agamemnon and Rev playing the role of Clytemnestra).
  • Automaniac – An ice cream truck with a clown motif. Automaniac appears goofy and harmless, but his arsenal of ice cream and balloon animals show otherwise.
  • Alucart – Tracula's son, constructed out of leftover auto parts and meant to be Tracula's heir. He befriends the Motor-Vaters, who dub him Alucart because it is his father's name backwards (in the same way that "Alucard" is Dracula spelled backwards).


  1. Those Who Have the Fuel Shall Rule
  2. Unleaded Zeppelin
  3. A Few Good Cars
  4. Mission Demolition or Night of Destruction?
  5. Bride of Tracula
  6. Tailpipes from the Crypt
  7. Bad to the Cone
  8. Nukenstein
  9. A Car Is Born
  10. The Swarm Storm
  11. Revel Without a Car
  12. One Million Miles B.C.
  13. Uncool Fuel


In 2000, the John Entwistle Band released Music from Van-Pires as an official album and soundtrack to the series. It was John Entwistle's last solo album before his death two years later.


  1. ^ "Series / Van-Pires". Retrieved 2017-05-16. 
  2. ^ "Van-Pires Company Credits". Retrieved 2017-05-16. 
  3. ^ "Van-Pires Company Credits". Retrieved 2017-05-16. 
  4. ^ "V John Entwistle – Music From Van-Pires". Retrieved 2017-05-16. 

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