College football’s ultimate tailgating machine started its life right here in Red Bay
How appropriate is it that a motor home originally made in Alabama will be carrying the inventor of the College Football Playoff to the Peach Bowl in Atlanta this weekend and then on to Tampa, Fla., for the National Championship game where, hopefully, the team from Alabama will be playing for a second-consecutive national title?
That’s right: Larry Culpepper’s Tailgate 2000 is an Allegro Motor Home.
The motor home can be seen in several commercial spots produced for Dr. Pepper. The Tailgate 2000 was introduced at the beginning of this year’s college football season.
Tiffin Motor Homes President Bob Tiffin said when he saw the first commercial introducing the Tailgate 2000 he immediately recognized it as one of his own, even under the new paint scheme and modified façade.
“I saw it (on one of the commercials) at the beginning of football season, and he (Larry) was sitting in the driver’s seat, saying ‘We’re headed to the championship playoff.’ And I said, ‘That’s our dashboard, sitting on a Chevrolet chassis,’” Tiffin said. “That was on a Saturday. When I came in to work Monday we searched it and sure enough it was one of ours.”
Though specifics on the vehicle that was transformed into the Tailgate 2000 are unavailable, Tiffin said he is very sure about the era of build for that model.
“It looks like a 1992 model,” Tiffin said. “We started that body style in 1989.”
According to a press release from the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, the Tailgate 2000 is “a custom-made, state-of-the-art RV that was tricked out by California-based auto restyling center West Coast Customs. Equipped with anything and everything needed for a great Dr Pepper tailgate, the Tailgate 2000 features a retro-style TV, coolers for Dr Pepper, pigskin seats and a custom mural of Larry himself.”
“The Tailgate 2000 is my best invention since the college football playoff, and I’m going where no vendor has gone before – outside the stadium,” Culpepper said in the release. “It’s more than just a souped-up RV – it’s a mobile oasis that’s perfectly engineered to bring Dr Pepper, a college football tradition, to any tailgate, homegate or any other type of gate.”
Representatives of West Coast Customs were not able to share much with The Red Bay News about the Tailgate 2000, but did share a few tidbits.
One representative who answered the phone said he believed the backstory on the Tailgate 2000 was that Culpepper, played by actor James Connor, was already driving his Allegro between games and venues. It was his personal vehicle, and Dr. Pepper rewarded him for his loyalty and good work by customizing his motor home for his travels.
“(I) really can’t get into the creative (background) of this build as we were hired by an advertising agency, Deutsch, to do the build,” Cheryl Lynch, who handles public relations for West Coast Customs, told The Red Bay News. “It was shot to be part of one of our TV shows.”
The Red Bay News attempted to reach Deutsch representatives by email and a phone call to Deutsch’s Los Angeles office, but hadn’t received a response by deadline, so the world may never know just how much it took to renovate Culpepper’s dream machine, or where the original vehicle was found to create the Tailgate 2000.
West Coast Custom’s Lynch said the episode of the company’s TV show, which appears on Fox Sports 2 and aired September 23, 2016, which focused on the group’s work on building the Tailgate 2000 is not available for viewing online right now but will be aired again in January on the Velocity network. A date and time of that airing is not yet available, so watch local listings.
Despite these setbacks, a few things are known: The pigskin seats and pigskin-wrapped steering wheel, the football on the gear stick, the carpeting, the six drink holders between the front seats, the retro TV and the bullhorns atop the vehicle were not features of the original vehicle, nor was the mural of Culpepper.
Tiffin himself hasn’t seen the Tailgate 2000 in person, and wasn’t sure he would be in attendance at either the Peach Bowl or the National Championship game to see it there. He also said he doesn’t expect to see the Tailgate 2000 come to Red Bay for service. He did say, though, that the Allegro model selected for modification was an easy body for West Coast Customs to work on as it had a metal skin on a metal frame. And he was impressed by their work.
“They put indoor-outdoor carpet in the driver’s compartment,” Tiffin said. “They put a big hole in the passenger side so a big platform would come down out of it, and they put a big TV in the back wall, too. They did a nice job on it.”