Even before the gang got the Mystery Machine they solved mysteries, but they had no way for their own transportation. From the time when they first began solving mysteries, Daphne Blake's dad reluctantly drove them around everywhere they needed to go. In the special features of some of the Scooby Doo movies on VHS, Daphne's dad can be seen tightly squeezed into the driver's seat driving the gang to a haunted house.
An episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo? showed that the previous owners of the van were a popular family band, known as the Mystery Kids.
There are many fan adaptations of the Mystery Machine. Most are based on the popular Volkswagen campervan, but others are based on, amongst others, Chevrolet vans and the Fiat.