The film Napolean Dynamite holds a special place in many Idahoans' hearts. The sleeper 2004 hit was filmed in southeast Idaho, and also happens to be the site where one of the movie's most iconic automobiles was discovered prior to filming.

I've seen Napolean Dynamite a handful of times. My appreciation for the movie doesn't stem from the fact it was filmed just 180 miles from Twin Falls. They could have shot the picture in Battle Mountain, and I still would have loved it.

Many of the filming locations took place in Preston, Idaho, including Napolean's home and the high school. Preston is also the city where film scouts came across an orange, 1975 Dodge Tradesman, and asked to use it for a character. I found the fascinating story about what has become of Uncle Rico's van over the past 18 years since the film was released.

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A writer for Fasthorseinc. did a magnificent job chronicling the story of the van in a 2010 piece called "Land of 10,000 Lakes...and Uncle Rico's Van from "Napolean Dynamite." The story received that title because the last known state the van resided in was Minnesota. The story includes quotes from a recent owner and information about the origins of how the van came to Idaho in the first place.

According to the story, the original Preston owners bought the van for $2,000 in 2001, and it was purchased at auction for $12,000 later, which is a pretty nice little profit. Fans of the movie can learn more about the iconic 1975 Dodge Tradesman by clicking here.


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