15
Nov
11

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA 1980 FLYING MOTORCYCLES!

Not all star cars are CARS, there are lots of famous movie and TV motorcycles too!  Capt. America in the 80′s had a great bike and in the movie “Easy Rider” they had a bike named Capt. America too!  I recently wrote some on “Streethawk” and in the next few months I will sprinkle in the famous movie and TV motorcycles!
Battlestar Galactica was a hit mainly due to STAR WARS opening the eyes of a generation to intergalactic war, and we couldn’t get enough. So the networks came up with Galactica, aka  Bonanza in space!  (Missing in this photo is his younger son, actor/ pop singer Rick Springfield who was killed in the first episode!)

The “Vipers” were the fighter jets and were super cool even if they didn’t make any sense, all engine and no fuel.  There were a few electric carts inside the ships of the rag tag fleet, but nothing that would count as “star cars”.  Then the reboot of the series “Battlestar Galactica: 1980″ brought to the little screen some super cool motorcycles, that also happened to fly!

I was “Starbuck” at Universal Studios for a summer, sitting in a metal chair out in the sun waiting for a stupid light to come on so I could rush in and save a tram full of visitors from the Cylons and Lucifer, their commander. “By the twelve colonies of man, I demand that you release these prisoners!”  No, the lines will NEVER leave my head, and they go with the “moves” I had to do over and over.  Burst in, say line – laser fight, dodge laser, then  duck, shoot, roll, shoot.  “Go on,  get out of here, I’ll be all right!” more lasers.  Then back to the hot chair outside. So glamorous!  The weird part was the costumes we used for the display were the actual costumes from the show that was off the air at that point! (1983) It was about that time I saw one of these bikes pass me on the 101 freeway with proper light up Egyptian helmet and it put a big grin on my face!

Here’s some info straight from the guys who built the bikes, and you can see more of what they did back “in the day” on their site.

Galactica 1980 – Visual Effects Model Maker – Flying Motorcycles.

The Model Shop was on such a tight schedule, they were designing, building, and painting the three motorcycles at the same time. Patterns for some parts were being carved in foam while other finished parts were being painted. The model crew was working on a half motorcycle when time ran out and the effects crew simply cut a finished motorcycle in half. Production waits for no one. The base motorcycle was a Yamaha MX 175. It was bought from North Hollywood Yamaha by Richard Bennett in 1979.

Yamaha MX 175
Base Motorcycle, Yamaha MX 175. Note a launch tube section and the Draconia from Buck Rogers in the background.

Finished Motorcycles

Construction
Left to right, Kent Gebo, Jerry Alen, David Jones, John Kaler, Vance Frederick.

Construction
Left to right, Richard Bennitt, Jerry Alen, Ed Schlegelmilch, Kent Gebo.

We designed the motorcycles as we built them. Note finished fiberglass parts and foam core study parts.

We built two full functioning motorcycles and one dummy which was a working motorcycle, but without the moving wings and other added mechanicals. Unfortunately, we were not finished with the dummy when they needed a half motorcycle to hang on a helicopter, so they chopped a functional motorcycle in half.

Kenneth A. Larson, AKA Ken Larson, was involved with Battlestar Galactica and Galactica 1980 as model maker starting with about the sixth episode. This is when Universal Hartland took over from MCA-57. Ken Larson was already working on Buck Rogers when Universal Hartland was established. Kenneth A. Larson is now a Set Designer who often designs CGI sets and well as Visual Effects models.

Most of the first half of Kenneth Larson’s three decades in the entertainment industry was spent designing and building models for Visual Effects. He worked on Battlestar Galactica concurrently with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Airport ’79. In the Fall of 1979, work began on Galactica 1980 and Ken Larson worked concurrently on Buck Rogers and Galactica 1980.

(Back to Me, Nate talking now)  That’s the best and pretty much only site with info on these cool rides.

These bikes are still in a garage somewhere, I have heard too many stories of people who saw them leaning in the back of a garage.  I haven’t tracked them down yet but if you have a lead or own them, send me a comment on the blog!   Better yet, I can lean them in the back of MY batcave!  I will also make room for a Viper space ship too. Just sayin!  I will RIDE them! Play with your toys people! :)

Of course if you HAVE to have a Battlestar Galactica CAR, there is always Dean’s creation from New York!

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7 Responses to “BATTLESTAR GALACTICA 1980 FLYING MOTORCYCLES!”


  1. 1 stan
    November 18, 2011 at 11:02 am

    ah, i remember (and miss) the Battlestar Galactica part of the Universal Studios Tour.
    Kudos on the site and all the great stuff you post.

    When is the next SoCal event/appearance? (I don’t see a calendar on your site)

    Thanks!

    • 2 Nate Truman's starcarcentral
      November 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Next up for StarCarCentral this Sunday we are taping with “Hollywood Treasures” SyFy channel show,
      but watch for us in the Hollywood Christmas parade on the 27th (check your local listings or come on down!)
      We will be appearing with “Jaberwokeez” dance group and we will have 14 movie and TV cars in the parade! Come early for photo opportunities if you want your picture with one of the movie and TV cars!

      Then on
      Dec. 10th we will be appearing in the Camarillo Christmas Parade and Laguna Niguel Parade on the same day.

      Plans are also in the works to put some cars on display for the Pomona Rod Show in Jan. 27-29.

  2. November 5, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Awesome! Galactica 80 is brutal though. Cool stuff either way.

    • 4 Haephestos
      November 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      Customer of mine says he has the only surviving one. Local SoCal guy, owns his own glass company, might have to ring him and see if he is pulling my leg.

  3. November 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I just acquired one of these bikes.

  4. 7 goldcylon
    January 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Nice posting Nate. I personally know both of the owners that have these bikes. I can show you a semi recent photo taken (3 years ago) of me on the bike as my proof of my claim. Also what year did you work at Uni as the Hero Warrior Apollo on the Battle of Galactica set?


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