Looking for the title and author of a 70's or 80's series with a man who drives around the wastelands in a van with bullet-proof vests lining the interior and powered by a Wankel rotary engine. That is all I can remember for sure, other memories seem to go with the timeframe but not this particular series.

  • maybe en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damnation_Alley_(film) it has a kind of van
    – Bigben59
    Jan 22, 2017 at 13:33
  • I'll just leave this here... google.com/…
    – Paul
    Jan 22, 2017 at 13:42
  • It isn't 'Damnation Alley", It is more of a cheesy action series.
    – Stitches66
    Jan 22, 2017 at 14:36
  • This sounds very familiar and I am sure I have read it as well. As a question, did the protagonist ever make a comment about how versatile the Wankel engine was as regards to fuel source? E.g. along the lines of,, "Gas, diesel, kerosene, hell even perfume. The Wankel could burn it and use it."
    – beichst
    Jan 22, 2017 at 16:21
  • Too, did the protagonist also make a comment about how he was very strict about trying to maintain dental hygiene (e.g. one if his important priorities was fnding tooth brushing powder) because two of his friends had "died from raging oral infections."
    – beichst
    Jan 22, 2017 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


This is the "Traveler" series by D.B. Drumm, published in the 1980s.

Book cover

Found with a search for post apocalyptic van wankel via this discussion, but a better plot description of the first book is here:

A nuclear holocaust happens in 1989 (they must not have expected this to be a long-running series: the 13th and final volume came out in 1987, just in time) during the presidency of an ex-cowboy-movie-star named Andrew Frayling (middle name probably Ronaldwilsonreagan). Special forces soldier Kiel Paxton loses his wife and infant son to the bombs, and he's also suffering from a dose of nerve gas he picked up on a mission in Central America. It's left him with heightened senses (and a sixth kind of "spidey sense" that helps warn him of trouble), but it makes it difficult for him to be around people because their energy keys him up. He has a minivan called the "Meat Wagon" (with a Wankel engine that'll run on most any combustible fluid) and a bunch of weapons, so he drives around taking mercenary jobs for gas, food, and ammo. While escaping an army of roadrats he goes into a city in Utah and finds himself in the middle of a Fistful of Dollars situation, with two competing warlords both wanting to hire him... or kill him to stop him from working for the other. Both of them want him to capture a weapons shipment from an army of vicious "Glory Boys" - former military types gone bandit - and they send him to scout that out... but Traveler decides the townspeople would be better off if all three warring factions were laid to rest. But while doing that he also has to battle his own seizures and freak-outs from all the stress being put on his wrecked nerves. This Road Warrior-inspired series grew more sci-fi-ish (and silly) as it went along... if I remember correctly by the third or fourth book a guy riding a giant mutant housecat shows up. I know sci-fi (and Specialist series) author John Shirley was "D. B. Drumm" for at least a few of these books, but I don't think this was one of them; he's probably responsible for the sci-fi element being upped. But this one's pretty straightforward and the writing's good and the story keeps moving at a fast clip.

Books 2-4 have fairly detailed reviews here, although I haven't found mention of the bulletproof vests yet. This article indicates that:

According to Thomas M. Disch's The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, "D. B. Drumm" was originally a pseudonymn for Ed Naha, but the later volumes were written by cyberpunk writer John Shirley.

  • Never read it myself. Bottom result of the page for me when searching for post apocalyptic van wankel.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 22, 2017 at 16:24
  • 1
    Yup. That's the one. I found the line I remembered I described in the link you included. "His van is something else. He stole it from a dealer's showroom, within hours of the nuclear war. It is a Four-wheel drive. It has an experimental version of the Wankel Rotary engine--and it will run on anything: Gasoline,high proof liquor, perfume, old french fry grease, motor oil....."
    – beichst
    Jan 22, 2017 at 18:35
  • That's the series. Thank you for saving me from my insanity over not remembering. I think the vests were mentioned in only one of the books but I may be mistaken.
    – Stitches66
    Jan 23, 2017 at 3:11
  • 1
    @Stitches66: If you could click the checkmark by the voting buttons, I would be much obliged.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 23, 2017 at 3:18

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