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How A Shuttlecraft Ended Up Near Vegas

Company restoring replica explains Google Streets picture

Google Maps has revolutionized the way many of us find locations, thanks to innovations like its “street view” options.

Using nothing more than a mouse and some electronic device connected to the Internet, someone can digitally travel down Broadway in New York City, in front of the White House in Washington, or even TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

But nothing beats what Reddit video director Jordan Oplinger found while digitally exploring the area around McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas — a shuttlecraft from the USS Enterprise, doing nothing more than sitting out in a parking lot where all could see.

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The shuttle appeared to come from the Enterprise-D from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and certainly stood out from the other cars and vehicles sitting in the parking lot.

So what is it? Why is this shuttlecraft even there?

“This vehicle, in particular, looks not unlike a Type 6 shuttle pod that were standard issue aboard vessels like the Enterprise-D,” The Verge reporter Kwame Opam wrote in a story about the picture. “While it’s certainly possible that this is just a model designed by a superfan, it’s also likely that someone aboard some future ship sent a team back to our time. Maybe they’re marooned — in Vegas of all places.

“Who knows what this will do to our time stream.”

1701News, however, did a little more digging, to find out that the shuttlecraft was parked on Spencer Street in Las Vegas, sharing the same address as Sin City BMW Service Center. Chris Willett, the president of the car restoration company, says not only was that shuttlecraft in his parking lot when Google’s street-capturing vehicle rolled through, but it’s still there now.

“This vehicle is a customer’s that needed some service repairs after the shuttle endured several years on the Burning Man Playa,” Willett told 1701News, likely referring to the area in Nevada not far from where the Burning Man art festival is held each year in the Black Rock Desert. “We specialize in the restoration and service of BMWs, but always like to have a bit of fabrication fun, too.”

It’s not exactly clear where it came from, some speculating it could’ve originally been a part of Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas which closed in 2008. But Sin City BMW is making it road-worthy, something that would probably make even Scotty proud.

“We did not build the vehicle, but are tasked with trying to maintain it and make it street legal so it can participate in the next Star Trek convention parade,” Willett said. “So no doubt we will have to remove the Type IV phaser emitters, while fitting it with mirrors, wipers and all the necessary lights for Earth use.”

Just hours after 1701News posted this story, the shuttlecraft’s owner, Cory Mervis, reached out to provide more details on the vehicle.

It was originally constructed from a Ford Aerostar minivan by California-based designer and engineer Robert Strever. He was hired by an unidentified fan to create something that would allow them to shuttle back and forth from Star Trek: The Experience” more than a decade ago.

However, the project got scrapped, Mervis said, and Strever sold the vehicle another fan who let it sit in a driveway for years “until their wife got tired of looking at it, and it went up on eBay.”

It was there Mervis found the shuttle, and bought it with her husband Leslie Bocskor and son Sagan. They’ve used it for “missions” into the Black Rock Desert for the past decade.

The plan is to get the shuttlecraft roadworthy in time for Creation Entertainment’s annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas this August, Mervis said. In order to get it to the hotel, the shuttlecraft would have to be legal to drive the street, thus the work taking place at Sin City BMW.

Willett has been restoring BMWs in Las Vegas for some time now, and was even featured on CarBuzz last year.

One 1701News reader who was in the Las Vegas area Wednesday visited Sin City BMW. See Shawn O’Halloran’s up-close and personal pictures with the shuttlecraft in 1701News’ new social media area, TrekTalk.

This story was updated at 12:48 a.m. to reflect new information shared by the shuttlecraft’s owner, Cory Mervis.

Source: 1701News


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