10
May
18

Think you have seen all the star car movies?

By Nate Truman

Since the 1970’s I’ve been an avid “star car” fan, builder, and collector.  I’ve spent way too much time researching, and enjoying movie and TV cars as my main hobby.  With a career in TV and films, I have had access to many of the screen used cars and spent many years on the backlots of studios looking under tarps and finding out little tidbits of info on these stars of the screens with wheels!   Today, with the advent of “Google search”, most everything you may have a passing interest in can be answered almost instantly but not everything comes up on some of the older or less “famous” movie and TV vehicles.

So today I’m just going to publish a small part of my “blog ideas” list, and see what you and other Star Car fans want to read about, and it can also be used as a check list if you want to see a film that also features a cool ride!  Leave a comment on which car you want to see a blog about, and I will dig though my files and share my “analog” info along with what I can gather from my star car pals!

 

 

 

In no particular order:

“HAROLD AND MAUDE”   JAGUAR HEARSE

“CHITTY CHITTY-BANG-BANG”

“BULLITT” STEVE McQUEEN – 1968 FORD MUSTANG 390 GT

“THE CAR”

“CHRISTINE”

“SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT”

“THUNDER ROAD”

“DAMNATION ALLEY”

“HERBIE THE LOVE BUG” 1963  BEETLE

“AUSTIN POWERS” BRITISH FLAG JAGUAR XKE and XK8

“UNDERCOVER BROTHER”

ROY ROGERS JEEP

“MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE CLOWN TRUCK

“BLUES BROTHERS” BLUES MOBILE – 1974 Dodge Monaco

“VANISHING POINT”

“MAD MAX”

“GHOSTBUSTERS” [1984]1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance

HERKIMER BATTLE JITNEY (Mystery Men)

ANTICHRIST LORRIE -(The Gods Must be Crazy).

1967 FORD SHELBY GT500 FASTBACK (Gone in 60 Seconds).

THELMA AND LOUISE – Thunderbird

FERRIS BUELLER’S 1961 FERRARI 250 GT SPYDER CALIFORNIA

CHEECH & CHONG’S SWEET N’ LOW DOPE VAN

STRAKER’S FUTURE CAR FROM UFO SERIES

MR. MAJESTYK YELLOW 1968 FORD PICK-UP

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09
Feb
18

Building the “FALL GUY” Truck

In my continuing blogs about building star cars, here’s a fun one that not too many people attempt, “Colt Sever’s” aka Lee Major’s truck from the “Fall Guy” series. From the builder himself, here is his journey to get his own version of the famous stunt truck!

 

BUILDING THE “FALL GUY” TRUCK, by Bryan D. Conrad

Well, I’m not the kind to kiss and tell…………oh wait a second, yes I am! Here’s the story of how my Fall Guy replica truck came to be. I grew up in the era of 80’s car shows and while I enjoyed all of them, my very favorites were The Fall Guy, The Dukes of Hazzard, and Streethawk. In fact, on my 5th birthday I got the Fall Guy truck and General Lee on the same day!

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From that moment on I dreamed of having one of those two vehicles and I always leaned towards the General Lee. As I got older I realized that decent Chargers were hard to come by and I found that there were thousands of General Lee’s in the US; so that became less desirable to me. I started focusing my attention to The Fall Guy and collecting data over the years of what the specs were on the truck and I kept an eye out for a truck to start my build.

In 2005 I found a truck that I nearly bought, but through certain circumstances I couldn’t make it happen, so the search went on. I had no intention of putting the truck in a museum or just to pull it out on a nice weekend. I wanted the truck to be my truck, one that I drove every day and took on family vacations. Finally, in May 2016 I found the truck that would work. I wanted a decent body with no rust and I wanted a 2500. I found a 1987 Chevy V20 Camper Special.

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Before you begin building a vehicle from movies or television, there are many, many things to consider. In the case of The Fall Guy, I had to decide which version of the truck I wanted to build or a hybrid truck of several versions. In the pilot episode, a 1980 GMC High Sierra truck was used. It had a different roll bar, 6” round off-road lights for the grille guard and roll-bar, there was no hood decal, and the color scheme was slightly different.

 

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From the second episode of season 1 through season 2, they used 1981 GMC Sierra Grande trucks. The roll-bar had been changed, larger round off-road lights (8” instead of 6”) were added, the hood decal was added, and the brown and gold paint scheme was used.

From season 3 to the end of the show, they used different trucks depending on need and availability: 1981 GMC Sierra Grande’s, 1983-1984 GMC Sierra Classics, and for the jump trucks, most often used was a 1980 GMC High Sierra (from the pilot). Again, like all TV and movie cars, I had to determine what I wanted to focus on and in my case, since I had the most screen footage of season 1 and season 2 (because they were available on DVD), and I liked the look of those trucks the best, I chose to replicate as much as possible, the unit 1 truck from season 1.

One of the barriers from the very beginning was to take a Chevy and retrofit it to be a GMC. While the body, engine, and many other parts are exactly the same, the issue was going to be that GMC changed the Sierra Grande trim package in 1982 to High Sierra. That means, that the Sierra Grande fender emblems changed in 1981 and were only available for one year! Making a 1981 Sierra Grande fender emblem virtually impossible to find. In fact, to this day I’ve never seen a 1981 GMC Sierra Grande truck in the flesh. But more about my Chevy to GMC conversion later.

The other consideration I had to quickly decide if I was going to do or not, was the secret compartment in the side of the truck. Almost every car from the 80’s needed something to make it “cool” and not just a stock vehicle. For The Fall Guy, it was the secret compartment (see below). After much consideration, I didn’t have the time, money, or know someone that could do that level of customization; so I left it on my “maybe someday” list.

I began watching every season 1 episode with the truck and taking screen shots of the truck. I studied those pictures to try and determine every aspect of the truck. Just three weeks after purchasing it, I started tearing it down to take it to the body shop to get it painted.  The paint color was one of the most difficult to determine, because depending on the lighting, the lens of the camera, and multiple other factors the color looked different in various shots. There was no “real” Fall Guy truck in a museum to go and compare it with, so I was on my own to try and determine the color. And because of the paint used and process with clear-coating it also makes the color look different. I spent hours and hours trying to find the combination I thought was most like the truck. The body shop would spray a couple of test pieces and I would quickly decline it, but eventually I found the combination I liked. The actual show truck is the front half and my truck is the back half (see below):

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It took 9 weeks to have the truck painted, during that time I continued to research the show and buy things I needed. I had a room in our basement that I quickly dubbed, “the parts room.”

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My next big hurdle was to get the hood decal made. I didn’t have a hi-res logo to use, so I hired a logo design company to recreate The Fall Guy logo. It took about three weeks and several corrections for me to be happy with the logo. I then sent it to a custom vinyl decal company to have them print it.

 

1112I used the above picture to determine the size I was going to need and measured it out on the hood of my truck. While waiting for my truck to be painted, I purchased all new exterior parts. I had to buy a new front bumper that had the turn signals in the bumper like they did in 1981. I bought a 1981 GMC grille and headlight bezels, I bought new mirrors, new side marker lights, new rear bumper, new windshield, a 102” whip antenna and ball mount, a chrome roll bar, and red double pinstripe tape.

13141516171819Finally, my truck was painted and I was ready to start putting it together. Once I had it put back together I started to focus on turning it into The Fall Guy truck. I first had to find some 1981 Sierra Grande 2500 fender emblems. I after several weeks I found a pair on eBay, but they were Sierra Grand 3500 emblems instead of 2500, but they would have to do for now (it was certainly better than nothing!) However, something that was “close” was never going to be good enough for me. It was driving me crazy, not having the right fender emblems. After a few more months of searching every day, I found a pair of Sierra Grande 2500 emblems! That was an exciting day for me, in fact, I had not seen any before nor since and consider it a blessing from the Lord!

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Everyone has their own idea of what a Fall Guy truck should look like and each person has their own set of things that make it a Fall Guy truck. For me, it was the grille guard. As I added the roll bar and hood decal, I had many people say, “That made the truck right there, that looks awesome.” But I had seen a handful of Fall Guy replica trucks on the internet and most didn’t have the grille guard and if they did, it looked nothing like the one from the show. For me, it just wasn’t a Fall Guy truck without the grille guard. I knew I had my work cut out for me. Before I had purchased the truck, I had already done hours of research trying to figure out how in the world I was going to custom make it. I had no dimensions, nothing I could physically go look at, it was going to have to be all by pictures. Finally, after weeks of research I devised my plan.

 

I took this picture: I then projected the image onto a wall with a piece of poster board taped to it, measured the front of my truck and then blew the image up until it was the size I wanted. I then traced out the design and put it onto a piece of plywood. I cut the plywood out and got some PVC tubing to make a mock of the grille guard. I then took it to a steel fabricator and had it made. Unfortunately, this was not the end of it, I would still have more obstacles to overcome before it looked the way I wanted it. So I put on the double pinstripe, roll bar, hood decal, and antenna and ball mount; it had come a long way, but there was a still a long way to go.

 

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I had purchased four 8” round off-road lights and I was able to find two Cibie square lights for the light bar. I got the grille guard back after about four weeks and I mounted the lights on the light bar and grille guard. While the average person thought the truck looked wonderful, I was not satisfied with some of the results. 1) the light bar was on top of the roll bar (it was behind the roll bar on the show) 2) the hoops on the grille guard were just off, it was too wide and too long 3) I wanted the tops lights to be spaced more like the show 4) I wanted the light covers changed from saying Pro Comp to saying Super Off-Roader 5) I still needed bigger tires 6) I needed to find a Warn 8274 winch.

 

272829The first step, was to take the grille guard back off my truck and take it the steel fab shop. I explained what I wanted and asked if they could fix it for me. They assured me they could. And just over 5 months later and numerous visits; they called to let me know it was done. So, for about 5 months the truck got put on hold and I had to be satisfied with working on a few minor fixes here and there. Once I got the grille guard back and was pleased with how it looked, it was full steam ahead on the build. The same week I got the grille guard back, I was able to find a Warn 8274 winch from 1985, and it was perfect for what I wanted. I gave the winch a fresh paint job and then put the grille guard and winch on my truck.

In my eyes, it was finally starting to take shape, there were just a few glaring problems left. The truck is a true 2500 and was a Camper Special; which meant without any weight in the back it was a VERY stiff ride. So I wanted to address ride quality, while also addressing raising the truck and putting on bigger tires. The show truck had an approximate 4” lift. I wanted to stay around that same height, but in the end I put on a 6” lift to ensure that the tires could clear. There were a couple of articles done during the mid-point of the show on The Fall Guy truck in a couple of off-road magazines. One of the articles stated that the trucks used Dick Cepek Fun Country tires, size: 36x15x16.5. Mickey Thompson bought Dick Cepek and while they still make an updated version of the Dick Cepek Fun Country tire, they are nowhere close to being that big anymore. So once again, I had to decide which “authenticity” I wanted to go with. Did I want my tires to be Dick Cepek Fun Country’s or did I want them to be a different brand, but closer to the correct size? I chose with having them closer to the correct size, I loved the look of the big tires. I found some Mickey Thompson mud-terrain tires that were 36x15x16.

 

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The next problem were the wheels. On the show they had chrome 8-spoke wagon style wheels, but I wasn’t able to find any wheels that would actually fit my tires, so I opted for a polished 16×10 wheel. With the lift and tires on, it was really starting to take shape: Like all star car lovers, the fun is in the details. Details that no one else would ever even look at or think about.

One of big quests for the “little details”, was finding a Warn sticker for the cross bar of the grille guard and putting the GMC grille emblem on the front of the grille guard. Both of those items in the show were used purely for advertising, but I had to have them! Now that I was getting close to being done (well, not really done……but ya know…..shhhh don’t tell my wife!) I wanted to turn my attention to the light bar. It bugged me that the lights were on top of the roll bar, so I went and had a 3 foot piece of square aluminum tubing cut so that I could place it behind the light bar and I wanted the lights spaced more like they were in the show. Since I was focused on the first season truck, I wanted the top round lights to have black soft light covers and the two on the grille guard to have hard plastic Super Off-Roader light covers. 8” lights are nearly unheard of now, so it took some research to find some soft light covers. In season 2, they changed to have all the round off-road lights have the white Super Off-Roader covers. I found some KC vinyl light covers and it took me about 10 coats of black paint to finally get the big KC logo covered on them. Sadly, the lights still weren’t quite right; now they sat too low. Back to drilling out my roll bar! I then started working on the Super Off-Roader light covers. Super Off-Roader products aren’t made any more so I went back to the logo company and had them recreate the Super OffRoader logo. It wasn’t exact, but it was good enough for me……..kinda….. I then had the task of sanding off the Pro Comp embossed logo on the front so I could smooth it down and paint it. That process alone was hours of work and I had given up on it at one point, but came back to it a few weeks later and finished the job. I then had to wet sand them, paint them, wet sand them again, and then finally put the final coat of paint on them so that they would look how I wanted.

323334So here’s the mostly…..somewhat…..almost……maybe someday be finished…..result: I am still working on re-doing the Super Off-Roader light covers. While they are very close……just a little off for my taste. I found an original light cover and am trying to get that duplicated. I am also getting ready to lower the truck just a little bit, so that I can have it closer in height to the show truck. Also, the truck on the show had a specific Dick Cepek truck step; one that is virtually impossible to find. I have made a mock of one and have taken it to the steel fab shop that did my grille guard and am having them make the truck step for me. So, with any luck, in 6 months to 6 years, I’ll finally have it! This truck build has been a labor of love and joy for me and I hope you’ve enjoyed going on the journey with me.

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This is a great example of the detail work that Star Car owners and builders go to in an effort to be able to drive their dream screen cars!  Thanks Bryan for a great build, and sharing the photos!  Post your comments or questions here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17
Nov
17

1940 Batmobile Build part Part 5

(PART ONE IS FOUND HERE!)

A LOT has happened since July 2016 which was my last update. My timeline to finish this car was hijacked by a couple of new star cars that jumped the line!

First I got a great deal on a few “Viva Las Vegas/Speed Racer Mach 5” fiberglass body parts, (tossed them in my son’s garage for the future) and then a 1966 batcycle body kit popped up that I was planning on tossing behind the hot tub so I could get back to my 1940’s N8mobile!  But life happens and both managed to jump the build line! Blogs on those at another time!

My last blog on the 40’s Bat build ended with a list of what was next:

“Next episode:  Making custom side panels, getting that dash back in and working, sourcing and making side pipes and figuring out the giant bat-face, with light up eye headlights!  Stay tuned bat-fans, this may take some time!” At least I was right about it taking some time! Sheesh!

So let’s start with the dash!  I filled in the WW2 panel with lots of lights and switches from my shrinking magic box of bat gadget leftovers and it looked like this photo.

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It got test mounted in the center, and after rewiring and installing the gauges and turn signal and highbeam lights, I had to figure out what to add to that center open area.

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There isn’t a lot of room to work in the dash, and it’s surrounded by 1940’s metal, so lots of scrapes and a bit of frustration to get everything to light up and reconnected!IMG_20160724_210946152.jpg

Thanks to a fellow star car owner Mike Carey, who just happened to work in a fabrication shop, I gave him a small gauge and he mounted it perfectly in the middle, so  I reinstalled it, hooked up a few lights for future gadget triggers and the dash was done!IMG_20160724_225525852.jpgIMG_20160724_225553260.jpgIMG_20160724_225511152.jpg

The AC was “future tech” in 1940, so Bruce Wayne had it way before everyone else! That’s my story and I am “cool” with it! So with that done, that left making custom side panels, sourcing and making side pipes and figuring out the giant bat-face, with light up eye headlights!  I had one side panel from the previous owner, but he had misplaced the other one.  IMG_20160520_200538977.jpgHey Mike! He punched out two fresh metal panels, based on the original, but then moved jobs and didn’t have the same access to the metal shop after that. So the side panels are by the washing machine, waiting!

IMG_20160826_104613662.jpgDuring this time I had to find the side pipes that could make the bend I wanted and look like massive exhaust ports, as well as figure out how they would attach to the fenders and the side panels.  To make up my mind, I had to do some mock ups!  I used various round items to figure out how big each tube should be, and then laid them out on the fender to see how they should be spaced out.  I had decided on 4 tubes, so I just started taping and moving stuff around.

IMG_20160722_155643933.jpgYes, that is old school sprocket fed printer paper! I don’t have the printer anymore, but now and then it comes in handy for a banner or paper side panels for a batmobile!  I just cut out circles and moved them around until I had a clear idea of how they were going to be spaced, and where they hit on the panel and the fender.

So I searched for Duesenberg side exhausts, and replica old cars with the side pipes and it was a frustrating search. Everything I found was either too small, hard to find, and most importantly wouldn’t bend hard enough for my project.  I bought and returned a few pipes and nothing was right, but then I was walking through Home Depot and spotted something that might work, vent tubes!

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THE CORVETTE BASED SPEED RACER CAR STOPPED PROGRESS ON THE 40’S BAT, AND PARTS BLOCKED IT FROM EVERY SIDE!

So here’s a rare shot of when I just balanced them on the side fenders (without cutting them, so I could still return them if I didn’t like it) The right size, the right bend, but after working with them, they were too easily dented and I knew I needed something more rugged as I would be bombing around in this eventually.  Good enough for a museum display, I could have cut them and they would be fine, but eventually I had to take them back.

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SET ON SO THE TUBES WOULD BALANCE IN PLACE, BUT THIS WOULD BE TOTALLY WICKED!

So I didn’t get very far on the side panels and pipes, but I did get a clear idea on what I wanted and how it should look.  They will be just for show, as I don’t want them to discolor or have to try and reroute the exhaust for no reason.

Lastly, the BAT FACE!  The face is obviously very important, and choosing the right face meant going back and looking at all the different expressions, angles and ways it was mounted on all the drawings and toys.

Mike Carey stepped up again, and wanted a shot at building the bat face!  He was juggling a lot and it wasn’t a rush job as I was being distracted by the “Mach N8” and a few other projects.  Time passed and finding spare time for Mike to work on silly things like this is hard to do in a busy schedule.  Then I helped him get his dream star car, and I knew he should focus on that… oh, and his family and work and stuff too! 🙂 . But big thank you to Mike for being willing, he now has ghosts that are counting on him for a ride!  So back to the drawing board!

The next chapter all started when I got a notice that a infamous “batcar” was lurking near my house for sale…   STAY TUNED for the GRX that triggered a tidal wave in the Star Car World!

 

27
May
17

The Return of Xander Cage’s xXx GTO Flame Car!

The Return of Xander Cage’s xXx GTO Flame Car!
xXxGTO15_SunsetRGB~LR
Fans of the ‘xXx’ movie series were pleasantly surprised earlier this
year when, fifteen years after we were first introduced to Vin
Diesel’s “Xander Cage” and his high-tech, color-shifting secret agent
gadget car, we got to see this very same 1967 Pontiac GTO make a
brief cameo appearance in the latest installment, ‘xXx: Return of
Xander Cage.’
Pontiac owner and historian Thom Sherwood was on hand in Toronto,
Ontario this past April for filming with the GTO Flame Car and got to
hang out with the cast and crew.
“It was yet another amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Thom
revealed. “It was so fun to observe the whole big-budget movie making
process. This time it was shot digitally, in IMAX 3-D, with a new
director, new technology…”
But this was actually the second time his Flame Car has been filmed
internationally.
“The original film was done in the Czech Republic back in 2002,
during a whole different lifetime, it seems. The GTO got lots of
screen time back then, flogging the back roads through small villages
just south of Prague.”
“It was quite an unusual sight for the locals. None of them spoke
English, and they certainly had never seen a big, purple American
muscle car like this roaring through their narrow streets. I’ve since
gone back to the little village of Drhovy — where that crazy potato
cart explosion scene was filmed — looking for locals to share their
memories. There was only a lot of nodding and smiles.”
xXxGTOFlameSide_Weir~LR
“In that movie’s finale atop the famous Charles Bridge in the middle
of Prague, the GTO got what I, for many years, thought would be its
last few seconds of screen time. So, when the production company in
Canada called last year to ask if they could use my car again for the
newest ‘xXx,’ I couldn’t say yes fast enough!”
Fortunately, he had kept the now forever-roofless car in the exact
same condition and appearance as when it appeared in the closing
frames of the first film, even keeping the exact same set of
BFGoodrich tires mounted along with most of the special effects
hardware originally installed by the studio.
This proved advantageous for everyone in 2016 when the script for the
new ‘Return’ film required the car to appear exactly the same —
unchanged, as if it had been in hibernation — since the original Vin
Diesel spy adventure in Europe.
“The only thing we discussed that would be different was a change in
the license plates since the newest film sees the GTO being reunited
with Xander Cage in Detroit,” Thom shared.
xxx rockets
“In retrospect, I would have preferred if they (the Canadian
production crew) had kept the iconic “KY 29-0” Euro license plates on
the car, but they really insisted it should have Michigan plates to
help explain the car’s current location after fifteen years. In the
end, however, they filmed the car just from a front and side angle
without any license plate mounted up front at all! Oh, well…”
“First thing I did when I got the car home to Tucson was to put the
European plates back on. Then, a long-overdue set of fresh (and
safer!) BFGs was finally installed prior to a photo session that led
up to the red carpet event in Hollywood earlier this year.”
Today, Thom actively shows the car at various venues, and with all
the commotion from the release of the newest ‘xXx’ film and DVD, he’s
been quite busy.
xXxGTOFlameIntOverhd~LR
One big date on his summer calendar includes a fun gig in Texas. The
Pontiac-Oakland Club, International (POCI) will be having their
annual convention and car show in Fort Worth at the Texas Motor
Speedway in July and, as a special promotion with co-sponsor Ames
Performance Engineering, Thom will be giving some lucky ‘xXx’ fan a
ride around the banked oval NASCAR track in the Flame Car. (This
contest, which is open only to members of the club, is  also a
prelude to his multi-media “Secret Agent GTO: The Pontiacs of ‘xXx'”
presentation there on July 13, 2017. For more information, visit
http://www.poci.org.) If you go, stop by and give Tom a “HI!” from StarCarcentral.com!
———
Here’s a transcript of an interview Thom did about his GTO:
ThomSherwoodxXxPromo17a~LR
2017 marks the  50th anniversary of Pontiac’s legendary 1967 lineup
of Wide-Trackers. It also marks the 15th anniversary of Vin Diesel’s
blockbuster hit film ‘xXx’ which first introduced us to “Xander Cage”
and his high-tech, flame-throwing, color-shifting GTO Flame Car.
This car, with its crazy, hypnotic cache of instruments, spy gadgets
and weapons, has dazzled millions of fans worldwide, but we suspect
that not everyone may be familiar with its legend. For the
uninitiated, here’s an interview with Flame Car owner Thom Sherwood.
Q: What exactly is ‘xXx’ and just what does it mean?
A: When you say “Triple-X,” you’re actually referring to a franchise
of spy-action films (of which three have been made thus far) and the
main characters within those stories. Just as James Bond is referred
to as one of the “Double-O” agents in Ian Fleming’s British spy
novels and films, here we’ve got an American equivalent with a kick-
ass attitude and some street smarts!
Q: When did this franchise start?
A: The very first ‘xXx’ film debuted fifteen years ago (August 2002)
with Vin Diesel in the starring role. It actually did very well at
the box office, but was followed-up three years later with a related
sequel entitled ‘xXx: State of the Union’ (2005) where actor/rapper
Ice Cube becomes the next Triple-X agent.
Then, after many years and a couple of false starts, the ‘xXx’
franchise was re-booted just this past year with Vin Diesel returning
in the lead role for the highly-anticipated ‘xXx: Return of Xander
Cage.’ That film was released in theaters worldwide at the beginning
of this year (January 2017) and, by the time you read this, it will
have just been released on DVD to rent (RedBox, iTunes, OnDemand,
etc.) or to purchase at the big-box stores (BestBuy, Target, WalMart,
etc.)
Q: Just how similar is this to a James Bond film?
A: Very similar, actually, but the whole spy film genre has become
very formulaic ever since the success of Bond’s Goldfinger back in
1964. The original ‘xXx’ film’s tagline (“It’s Time for a New Breed
of Secret Agent”) was obviously a direct poke at the apparent aging
and stiff manners of James Bond’s character, but the expected girls,
guns, and global domination ethos remains very evident. What is
different in ‘xXx’ is that the secret agents here are supposed to be
more a bit more hip and edgy, well-versed in extreme sports action,
and have a penchant for a particular split-grilled American muscle car.
Q: Oh, so that’s how your GTO got involved! Does your Pontiac appear
in all three of the ‘xXx’ films?
A: No, it is introduced in the first film from 2002 as Vin Diesel’s
“hero car” to help his character ultimately save the world from the
evil villain’s twisted plans.
In the second film from 2005, Ice Cube’s Triple-X character also
drives a ‘67 GTO, but it is intended to be (and most certainly is) a
completely different Goat — totally blinged-out!
Then, in the newest film which debuted earlier this year, my car
returns for a brief but important cameo role, appearing exactly as it
did in the closing frames of the first ‘xXx’ fifteen years ago while
helping tie-together the seemingly disconnected plotlines of the two
earlier films.
Q: What makes this car so unique and why is it called the “Flame Car”?
A: Well, when  you talk about spy cars, you know there are going to
be all sorts of gadgets and weapons on board. The GTO that you’ll see
in Fort Worth is the actual car from the film that made all those fun
special effects — or “gags” — really happen on screen. None of that
stuff was computer-generated. This car really did shoot flames from
its custom hood scoop and fire rockets from the upper headlights!
Then there’s the crazy gauges and dashboard…
Q: Is the car street legal? I imagine you’ve gotten some interesting
looks!
A: Yes, it is fully street legal, and I do occasionally drive it to
local Pontiac club functions or cruise nights. But, I’ve got to be
extra careful… Once, when I was driving on a busy multi-lane road,
a person pulled alongside my car in the adjacent lane and became so
transfixed — just staring at the GTO and all its lights and gauges —
that he began drifting off into another lane of traffic. He came
within inches of sideswiping some hapless guy in a BMW!
Q: Is it a real 1967 GTO convertible, or maybe a Pontiac LeMans “clone”?
A: That’s actually the most frequent question I hear. Yes, it is a
real “code 242” GTO with its original 335hp 400-cubic-inch Pontiac
V8. But, it is not a convertible; it began life as a genuine GTO
hardtop built at the Fremont, California plant.
One of the gags seen at the end of the first ‘xXx’ requires Vin
Diesel’s character to eject himself from the car with a parachute.
But, to do that, his GTO has to first shed its hardtop roof. And as
you might know, the quarter panels on a Pontiac A-body convertible
look completely different. So, in order to maintain proper continuity
throughout the film, the production crew knew that they had to
utilize a hardtop model to accomplish this gag. What all this boils
down to is that the Flame Car is now best described as a roofless
hardtop.
Q: What can the folks expect when they attend your “Secret Agent GTO”
seminar on Thursday, July 13, 2017 in Fort Worth?
A: I’ve done countless hours of research on the xXx GTO legacy and
have collected all sorts of fascinating behind-the-scenes stories,
photography and trivia that I’ll share with the audience there. I
certainly hope my enthusiasm for all this will prove to be
entertaining while providing some unique insights to the whole big-
budget filmmaking process. I’ve got lots of fun and fresh material to
reveal in Fort Worth — especially since the release of the newest
‘xXx-3.’ Plus, it’s always fun to do a “show and tell” with all the
cool spy gadgets. The best part of this is that it all focuses on
your favorite brand of automobile — Pontiac!
Q: For anyone who hasn’t yet seen any of the ‘xXx’ trilogy, what
would you suggest?
A:  Back when the first ‘xXx’ was originally released on DVD, about a
gazillion copies of that disc were sold to the public, so today, you
can easily find a used copy of it on eBay for less than $5.00
including shipping.
After you’ve watched the film, go back to that DVD’s Home Menu and
peck around there to watch some of the fun “extras” that accompany
the film — especially the 10-minute featurette called “The Vehicles
of ‘xXx.'” What’s highlighted there is the very same Flame Car that
you’ll see in the flesh — minus Vin Diesel, of course — in Fort Worth
from July 12-15, 2017!
xXxDVDcoverGTO~LR
17
Jan
17

Then Came Bronson – build that bike!

parks_harleyposter

“Then Came Bronson” was a fun adventure TV series, about a guy on a Harley, driving from town to town and getting into conflicts, and helping out.  It was on the air in 1969-1970 and was great escapist TV.  If you know the show, and want the bike, I found a great website really doing all the work for you and handing you the recipe on a silver Harley!  Here’s an excerpt from the first page! If you want to build one, go to the site HERE and enjoy all the fun detail work that was done and shared!

“You will need to find a 1968 or 1969 XLH 883cc Harley Davidson Sportster. Your model must have a battery and points. (Not a magneto model)Since the Pilot aired in March of 1969 the bikes used in the pilot were probably 1968 XLH’s. The location schedules denote November 1968 for filming. The TV series episodes used possibly hold over 1968 models from the pilot and the 1969 XLH’s, pictured left, were purchased at the Salinas Harley-Davidson dealership. Any 1967, 68, 69 or 70 XLH will do. The kick start Bronson used was added later to give the bike a more mechanical touch and nostalgic attitude.

Note: Back then the bike was advertised as a 900cc, however this was a marketing technique used by Harley-Davidson when they rounded up the cc from 883 to 900, making the engine appear bigger than it really was. The bike above is the rare Boat-tail model. One of Peter’s many bikes.The 1970 Cycle Guide Magazine article gives evidence of what is required…. “A Harley-Davidson CH gas tank replaced the standard turtle tank. The front wheel was replaced with a 21” aluminum rim carrying a 3.00 x 21 ribbed Avon Speedmaster tire. The front fender was changed to a chromeplated, bobbed piece and the headlight nacelle, or housing, was removed and a chrome sports light replaced it. The oil tank and rear shock springs were chrome plated. A kickstart was added although the Sportster carries an electric starter. The seat was replaced with a custom leather unit and a short chrome hand-hold was mounted behind the passenger seat. (Folklore has it that the sissy bar was cobbled from a Schwinn banana seat bicycle – ed.) The chain guard cover and the voltage regulator cover were chrome plated. The rear fender was bobbed 5 inches and the tail light replaced with an old style English light. The motorcycle was repainted with a specially mixed formula which is called from this point on, Bronson Red. The final touch was the addition of the Bronson “Eye” insignia to the gas tank.”The 883’s pictured here below are a 1970 XLH and 1969, a kick starter was added later. A 1970 has a slightly different front fork because of the way the front fender mounts, but can be adapted by welding tabs on the forks for the Bronson front fender. A vintage XLH is hard to find now-a-days. Once you have your bike, move on to another step.”

12
Jan
17

Rockford, KITT, Bandit and Bumblebee in Charlotte Motor Speedway 4/6/2017

Rockford Files Firebird to be Displayed at Charlotte AutoFair

This April 6th through 9th 2017, at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a Rockford Firebird will be on display. They are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Firebird and Camaro’s.

KITT from Knight Rider and the Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am will also be on display with some significant Firebirds and Camaro’s.

The Bumble Bee Camaro from the 1st Transformer movie will be there too. This Bumble Bee Camaro is from the Volo Auto Museum collection.

They are expecting over 100,00 people to attend. So here is a link to the shows information. http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/tickets/spring-autofair/

21
Nov
16

30th Anniversary Marty McFly Vegas Toyota Dream Truck

Putting it all back together again!  After tearing the truck down to the frame, the bed came off, and WAY too much in “ding” repair was done.  Then finally the paint job.  As this was an old truck and had to look brand new most of the cost was repairing 30 years of small dings and imperfections.  Now it was back in my yard, and time to put it all back together again, but with new reupholstered seats, new carpets, new headliner etc.

 

I had custom Statler Toyota Licence plate frames made, and of course, McFly personalized plates! it was the 80’s after all!

mcfly-first-photo

I did have to rush the job as the mechanical and paint work took much longer than I had figured, and I had an appointment to drive down Las Vegas blvd. with the cast of Back to the Future, and almost 30 Deloreans and many other movie and TV star cars!

After my trailer was hit by a fan trying to take a photo of the truck, I got back on the road with miraculously no damage to my truck, just tore off a fender of the trailer!  (I had bought rental insurance, so no worries on that!)

Once we all got to Vegas, it was filled with panels with the stars, the big parade and lots of photos!  We had a great time, and I got to interview Bob Gale the writer of Back to the Future along with the cast members and fans.

 

The truck worked great, and during the parade I heard several people shout out “Is that you Mike?” That was funny!  Claudia Wells who played Marty’s Girlfriend finally got a ride in that truck she was promised, but we didn’t go up to the lake with sleeping bags! Sorry!

Michael Scheffe, who helped design the Delorean Time machine, as well as KITT from Knight Rider is a friend, and I had the pleasure of delivering him up to the podium for the big event in Vegas!

In the back of this cast photo with Paul Casey, the Organizer of the event, you can see Bob Gale and I taking questions from the audience that was gathered to see the stars.  Lea loved my truck, and we ended up providing a KITT for her episode of “The Goldbergs”  Hollywood is a small world, sometimes!

mcfly-in-parade

One of the few times they shut down the main strip!  In the parade out front was a pair of Blues Brother’s cars, then two Starsky and Hutch Torinos.  Next I’m in my McFly Truck followed by the cast in two convertibles and rows of Deloreans with their “wings” up!

 

After all that excitement a few weeks later, I was invited to come see the Hollywood Bowl screening and also stayed afterwards and partied with the cast and crew that came out.  My truck was on display for the crowds of fans, some even came as their favorite characters!

 

Now the big year is over, and it’s time for the amazing truck to go make a BTTF (aka Back to the Future) fan happy!  It’s for sale to make room for my next project, the 1940’s Batmobile!




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