Chesterfield, Massachusetts — 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 “American Pickers” have found a piece of rock and roll history right here in Western Massachusetts.
In a recent episode of the History channel hit, the duo of Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz made their way to Massachusetts after receiving a tip that the original tour van of the legendary rock group Aerosmith was sitting on a property in Chesterfield.
Apparently, the van was on the property when the current owner, only identified as Phil, purchased the land a few years back. The pickers showed up in Chesterfield and met the owner, who told them the original owner of the van had a connection to the property, but he didn’t have many details beyond that.
The pickers called a member of The Black Keys, who connected them with Joe Perry, lead guitarist of Aerosmith, which formed in Boston in 1970. Perry connected them with Ray Tabano, a guitarist and founding member of Aerosmith, who just happened to be in Stockbridge at the time.
He drove out to Chesterfield and confirmed this was indeed the band’s original touring van.
“I’m afraid to say how long it is, but it’s been like 40 years since we were in this thing,” said Ray Tabano, a founder of the band who played guitar until 1971. “We’d drive from Boston up to New Hampshire for $125 (per show). Then, after the gas, tolls, and the food and back, we’d all make like $3 a piece.”
The van, a 1960s International Harvester Metro Van, was purchased by the pickers for a cool $25,000.
“We just got a piece of American rock and roll history,” exclaimed Wolfe. “If you had the opportunity to buy one of the biggest and most iconic pieces of rock and roll history for $25,000- hell yes you would.”
American Pickers is a documentary series that explores the world of antique ‘picking’ on the History channel. The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, they are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics.
Check out the full episode here, but note you must have a cable TV login.