Archive for the '1966 Chrysler imperial' Category

30
Dec
15

StarCar phenomonon, dubbed “Carsplay” goes global!

nate

One last blog for 2015, an end of the year wrap up!  Nate Truman’s StarCarCentral.com was started around the turn of this centurty, and has been growing in leaps and bounds every year.  From a single 66 Adam West Style batmobile, the idea of building, sharing and driving iconic movie and TV vehicles has grown to include StarCarCentral members around the globe.

In the early years of the hobby, people would fall in love with a famous ride, and the lucky few would buy a piece of movie history from the studios.  A few Herbie the Love Bugs, a handful of General Lee’s from Dukes of Hazzard and a Barris replica batmobile were in private hands.  Occasionally a short lived star car museum would open up for a while, then close down a year or two later.  The cars would be put in storage, or scattered around.  George Barris was kean on keeping track of all the famous cars, both the ones he had a hand in building, and anything else that had been on the screen and caught the public’s eye.   A couple of big auctions at his Barris’ Kustoms city and at the Peterson, gathered together for a brief time star cars from all walks of media and entertainment in the 1970’s and 1990’s.

If you didn’t get to the museum in Hollywood, or go to these simi-secret auctions that only movie car guys knew about, you would never have a chance to see more than one famous car together.

A few years down the road, fans started gathering for reunions.  The biggest of these was “Dukesfest” that happened for several years, and rows of repainted Challengers gathered together.  Some other famous cars would show up as well for a group photo.  Then interest waned and the shows stopped.  Now a new “Fanfest” has been reborn.

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Knight Rider fans also banded together and with the help of this new thing “The Internet” started finding other owners of Knight Rider KITT cars.  Rob Louisell, Mark’s Customs, Jay Ohrburg, sold fiberglass parts and the fans constantly improved the interior electronics and helped each other find rare parts to get their dream ride on the road.  A few gatherings of Knight Riders happened as well.  

KITTS

With the advent of the world Wide Web, every individual star car fan found a home to swap stories and ideas with other owners and fans.  There is a Herbie page,  lots of Knight Rider pages, 1966batmobile.com, basically there is a fan page for every famous movie and TV car that you can think of!

Even though Nate Truman had been tracking and finding screen used movie and TV cars since the 70’s, it wasn’t until 2003 at Crusin for a Cure that Nate finally decided to make his idea a reality.  “Let’s put them all in a pile, and play with them!” So over the last 12 years Nate has collected, connected, and introduced all the star car fans to each other!  It wasn’t easy, as many owners thought that their special car was cool, but didn’t want to park or do events with lots of “vehicular Unicorns”.    But Nate knew that seeing one amazing rare car out in “the wild” was amazing – seeing a HERD of them was mind blowing!  So out of that little new idea, and lots of detective work, Nate Truman’s StarCarCentral.com has become the hub where all the starcars can play together for good.  Hundreds of charity events, police, fire, Autism, Make-A-Wish, Pediatric Cancer Survivors, etc. have been able to include a display of famous movie and TV cars never seen before in public. The first “Carsplay” panel at Long Beach Comic Con happened this year and Nate and his team outlined the history of the hobby, and where it’s headed.

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So as a cap to 2015, Nate organized his lineup to set a new record.  The most famous movie and TV cars in a single parade.  Over 40 cars appeared in the 2015 Hollywood Christmas parade!  It was a driving, rolling star car museum – brought together for just a few hours, and then disappeared into the night!  A big thanks to all the fans, owners, restorers, historians, and bloggers who have helped the star car hobby grow, and make new friends around the world!   Here’s the Star Car Central video of all the cars on the red carpet in the 2015 Hollywood Christmas Parade!  We have another 20 cars that could have been included, but we were just TOO big!  2015 Nate Truman’s Star Car Central.com Hollywood Christmas parade

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So come join the fun in 2016, bigger and better!  Email Nate@starcarcentral.com or info@starcarcentral.com if you have a famous on screen ride!  With chapters across the United States and around the world, get your toy out and drive it!

 

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24
Jun
14

June 25th (Wednesday) 2014 – “El Cajon Classic Cruise” STARZ CARZ NIGHT!

If you are in the San Diego area and want to see some movie and TV star cars, then tomorrow is your chance at the “Cajon Classic Cruise” STARZ CARZ NIGHT!

http://downtownelcajon.com/Events/CajonClassicCruise.aspx

Downtown El Cajon
FREE – Trophies! Food! Fun! Nearly 200 cars! This has become an annual event organized by Charger Steve, who runs the Star Car Central.com chapter since 2005. Hope some of you “LA FOLK” will make the trip! Everybody that comes enjoys it!! Scheduled to appear are:
Steve – in his Scooby Doo Mystery Machine!
Diane – in her Roscoe police car from the Dukes of Hazzard!
Mark – will bring his Gran Torino from Starsky and Hutch!
Victor – with his version of the Black Beauty, from the Green Hornet!
Tyler – WAS going to bring his Bandit, but it was TOTALED while he was in it just this last week!bandit tyler crash
Tyler is on the road to recovery, but the Bandit is no more. Look for Tyler in the future with a new replacement Trans Am!
Obishawn – will be bringing not one but 2 Star Wars cars to the event!
Ari – is bringing his ever popular Jurassic Park Jeep!
Lee – Will be rolling in his pristine General Lee Charger!
Jennifer – is also attending in her Super Persuit Mode KITT!
Special Guest star? Rumour has it that NATE TRUMAN may actually appear south of Los Angeles in his Shaguar, but Adam West is doing an Autograph signing in Temecula at the same time… stay tuned, the best is yet to come!

06
Oct
13

Yasushi Shiroi’s Japanese Star Car from “Ultra Seven”

Sometimes it takes a new friend to remind you of an old one! A star car pal is traveling to Japan, and his new hobby is making short videos about movie and TV star cars and their owners.

As I have been in the “star car” game since the 70’s he figured if there was a movie or TV car in Japan, I would know about it. Only one car came to mind, and that was Yasushi Shiroi’s Ultra Seven build. I found his car by trolling for Batmobiles and the Green Hornet’s Black Beauty info and his car was built on a Chrysler Imperial. He also said his car was as famous as the Batmobile!
As far as I can tell there is only one page on the internet about his car,and one fan posted a few photos in the passing decade since we first shared our affection for TV star cars. Searching deeper I found one video of him driving his car, and a few photos from Japanese car shows. That’s not enough!

So I want to feature our “star car pal” in Japan in a blog! If you have contact info, or know Yasushi Shiroi, please send me the info, or send him this blog!

GO TO ABOUT 5:30 TO SEE THE CAR, BUT THIS SHOW IS AWESOME FUN!

Here are his words, describing his Ultra Seven car:finished side
This is the story of the most famous Imperial in Japan and the efforts of Yasushi Shiroi to recreate an exact replica of the original, which was destroyed.

In 1967, a very popular television series named “Ultra-Seven” debuted on Japanese TV. Ultra-Seven is the story of a spaceman (Ultra-Seven) who fights evil aggressors as a member of the Earth Defense Force. The car that the EDF used for battle and VIP transport was named “POINTER”. This car is as famous in Japan as the Batmobile is in America.

Most people never knew that POINTER was based on a heavily modified 1957 Imperial. This was due to the small TV screens of the time and the extensive modifications to the original, not to mention that 57 Imperials were very rare in Japan.

The original POINTER was not in great shape during the series and, in fact, did not run. During filming it was pushed around by the TV crew. The TV series only ran 1 year and after the series was cancelled, POINTER was given to a kindergarten. After that, no one knows what became of her. It is presumed she was scrapped and crushed.
In Japan, a car over 10 years old must pass a very extensive, and expensive, safety inspection. Because of this, most cars are removed from service before they are 10 years old.

The original builder who worked in a repair shop in Yokohama. The builder told him that he built the car from a design of Toru Narita, a famous Japanese artist. The design concept was the car which could be used in both of the sky and the land. To create the illusion of flight, both rear fenders were extensively modified into a big horizontal wings and a vertical fin. The front of the car was also heavily modified. Below the fenders are small holes which were laser cannons.
readyforpaint

building
Yasushi Shiroi dreamed of recreating Pointer. He had watched Ultra-Seven as a child and never forgotten the magnificent machine. By 1985 he had a job and was still single. This was fortunate because this was a very expensive process. He wanted it done right but could not find a 1957 Imperial so he began with a Japanese car which had a similar side profile.

In Japan, remodeling a car involves very strict laws and it is very difficult to alter the basis structure of the car. Even so, modifying the Japanese car was very time consuming and expensive and Yasushi often “lived only on drinking water for a week before payday.” As work progressed, his version of POINTER was smaller than the original. The car came out very well and Yasushi was satisfied at first, but as time passed he wanted to make a “real” POINTER based on an Imperial.

In 1991, a classic car show was held in Tokyo and Yasushi went to look for a 57 or 58 Imperial. While many Imperials of this vintage survive in America, no one thought that any would have survived 40 years in Japan. After a 3 month search a 58 Imperial was located and obtained. Yasushi became the leader of a group who wanted to recreate the original. As leader, the burden of work fell to him and, again, he drank a lot of water to survive as the project took on a life of its own.

A year later it was finished. The original car was followed faithfully based on the TV series. Many new parts were fabricated and, of course, Japanese law had to be followed. Fortunately the original

The original craftsman remembered the original car had single headlights instead of duals but the main structure of the 58 appeared to be the same as the original 57.

During the project, many surprising things were discovered such as how similar the 40 year old transmission is to modern transmissions, a testament to the quality of the original Imperial. When the transmission failed, they were able to able to get it repaired.
in costume
In 1992 the car was first shown at the classic car show in Yokahama and was in many Japanese car magazines and the subject of much attention. People became aware that POINTER was based on an Imperial. At least one person became angry because of the changes to a “Classic”. For that reason, Yasushi became concerned about showing people photographs of the “Imperial”.

In 1995, the car was exhibited at a show in Tokyo and Yasushi met a young woman who worked for the exhibition. They are now married. Her photo is in the following photograph along with Yasushi. Both are in authentic costume of the Ultra-Seven series.”

OK back to me, Nate Truman talking!
We emailed back and forth, translating our emails, and a lot got lost in translation. I found I couldn’t use “colloquialisms” as those tended to be translated into gibberish. (Like “Coke adds life” translated into “Coke brings your ancestors back from the dead!”)
So hopefully I can reconnect with Yasushi somehow, and we can make a video of him and his famous TV car, and make the distance between our two worlds get a little smaller in the process. Great job Yasushi!

UPDATE! The fates were with us, as a pal was going to Japan, and was at the time making videos about star cars in my group, so I said “I know a guy in Japan with a star car! Click here for Ultra Seven video! Enjoy!

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17
Jul
11

STAR CAR NEWS FROM AROUND THE USA AND THE WORLD! GO TEAM SCC! (THAT’S STAR CAR CENTRAL!)

Starcar fans are all around the world, and starcarcentral.com is trying to keep up with all of our members and chapters so you can find the famous movie and TV car events near you!

One of the most active groups outside of Nate Truman’s  Hollywood division is run by Dee up in the upper left corner of the USA!  He has even started a “starcar Concourse”.  After searching for star cars all over the U.S. Dee and Nate found several owners and they all started hanging out together up north!  So heres the info on their upcoming event!

Its time for the big 5th Annual ‘Star Car Concourse Classic” show at the Americas Car Museum.

The show is always the last Saturday in August, this year the 27th, and is held at the LeMay Museum’s Marymount location in the Tacoma/Spanaway area. This will be a ‘sanctioned’ AMCA event, hosted by the International Movie & TV Vehicle Owners Association and madmaxcars.com. The larger event, the LeMay/Americas Car Museum’s “Openhouse” that we are featured at, is a VERY COOL annual event even if it were not for the moviecars contribution, so it is well worth the trip. You can find the basic details on our events page here: http://www.madmaxcars.com/events.shtml

Then out in the middle of the USA Michael Knight has a great group that is now doing Comic cons and features one of the two original Monkeemobiles!  Here’s a few shots of them sharing the star cars with fans of all shapes and sizes at a recent con!

"Robin, you seem.... Different?"

Original Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson showed up to see and sign the Ghostbuster tribute car (Hey, before you point out it’s not the right body style, not everyone can find a 1959 Mercury Meteor Ambulance, ok? )

Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson and SCC chapter leader Mike Knight!

Everyone had a great time chatting up Ernie about his time as a ghostbuster, and he even signed their car!

"To StarCarCentral.com, thanks for the cool car... what? I don't get to keep it?"

Like I mentioned before, They also have one of the two Monkeemobiles from the old TV series, and it showed up at a live Monkee show!

Well what did you expect them to be rolling in?

Meanwhile, over in Europe, France specifically, Claude has been hosting a great star car get together each year, and it keeps getting bigger each time!

And an article in the french mag “La Vie de l’Auto” The N°1 for the collectors in France! 🙂

Thanks to guys like Michael, Dee, and Claude – fan boys and girls around the US and the world have opportunities to see and get up close to their favorite movie and TV cars!

Where ever there are two or more starcars gathered in the SCC name, you are sure to have a party with some fun loving people!  So to all those who are lovers of cool creations for the screen,

thanks for being part of the star car movement in your neck of the woods!  TO THE BATMOBILE! Transformers, ROLL OUT!   If you see a star car, or better yet, a bunch of them together,

Make sure you say “HI” and tell them you saw them here first!

15
Feb
11

THE YELLOW ROLLS ROYCE FULLY RESTORED FROM THE MOVIE OF THE SAME NAME!

Intro by Nate Truman

Unless you have the “disease” of seeing a hunk of rusting parts and have the unstoppable yearning to hand polish, repair, repaint and restore them into a gleaming machine like it just came off the showroom floor you won’t ever really understand the mind of a Classic Car restorer.  I walk through junk yards and see finished cars, not money flying out of my pocket and endless hours of work, pain and problems.   Such is the mind set of the writer of today’s featured car.   The Yellow Rolls Royce has a huge cast of super stars that perform in three stories, but the only cast member that is in all three is the car they all own, a Yellow Rolls Royce! (Star car crossgeeking fans bonus appearance, a similar model RR in Yellow was also “Nevil Sinclair’s” transportation to the Griffith Observatory at the end of “The Rocketeer” and Nevil was played by former James Bond Timothy Dalton!)

1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II LHD Newport Town Car from rocketeer

Below is the story of the restoration of the original car from the film.  I left in all the details for those who like to hear the journey!  Neal has done a top notch job and brought back this famous Rolls Royce to it’s original glory at great cost in sweat, money and time!   If you love star cars and classic movies check out “The Yellow Rolls Royce” it’s a great date movie! Check out this all star cast!

Ingrid Bergman Ingrid Bergman
Gerda Millett
Rex Harrison Rex Harrison
Lord Charles Frinton – The Marquess of Frinton
Shirley MacLaine Shirley MacLaine
Mae Jenkins
Jeanne Moreau Jeanne Moreau
Lady Eloise Frinton – The Marchioness of Frinton
George C. Scott George C. Scott
Paolo Maltese
Omar Sharif Omar Sharif
Davich
Art Carney Art Carney

Neal and Lillian Kirkham own “The Yellow Rolls-Royce,” a 1931 Barker Sedanca De Ville, 9JS.

Neal and Lillian Kirkham now own and have restored the actual Rolls-Royce used in this 1965

Movie. (The film is available on VHS and DVD.)

Restoration of The Yellow Rolls-Royce

By Neal Kirkham

 

In 1987 I began searching for a formal, prewar Rolls with some
uniqueness. After considerable research, I decided that a Phantom II would be my choice. In classic car circles, the early thirties are generally considered to be the zenith of prewar styling. Also Sedanca de Villes, with open driver’s compartment, have a desirable flair, and they were prevalent on PII chassis. I also wanted a passenger compartment with an assortment of features such as vanities, picnic tables, jump seats and, hopefully, a cocktail cabinet. In my search through the RROC directory and register I found many PII Sedanca de Villes and wrote to their owners on the East and West coasts. Several were available for purchase but none had the features I wanted.

Subsequently I learned that Millard Newman had purchased 9JS, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, at an auction two years earlier. I called him and he said he was considering selling the car since he had just purchased an early Ghost at a Swiss auction and would have to make space for it. Additionally, the PII was really too new (1931) for his tastes. Since Lil and I were to visit Tampa in a few weeks to pick up our recently purchased 3 ½ litre Bentley, Millard suggested we drop by to look at the PII.

We flew to Tampa in mid-April of 1988, picked up the Bentley and drove to Millard and Margaret’s lovely home on Tampa Bay. Years before, when their collection outgrew their garage, they put a roof over the front courtyard of their home and added a new front door that opened to reveal the cars. These included a Silver Shadow estate wagon, a half dozen early Ghosts (pre WWI) and one PII. It did not take Lil and I long to decide that 9JS was the car we were seeking. It had all the features I had prescribed and, in addition, spotlights, opening windscreen, adjustable shock absorbers and an engine heater. We reached agreement on price that evening and left the next day on the first of many adventures in the Bentley.

After the P-II arrived at our home, I made a few minor repairs to make it run more smoothly and reliably. We drove the car on quite a few club events over the next two years but I became more and more disappointed with the steering (which required enormous effort during parking maneuvers), the dangerously slow acceleration and a top speed of about 65 mph. In an attempt to understand why the engine lacked power, I put a dial indicator on several valve spring retainers and rotated the crankshaft. Several cam lobes had worn .030 – .040″ and through their hardened surfaces, which meant future wear would accelerate. Unfortunately cam removal necessitates entire engine disassembly, a daunting project. Additionally the steering system would have to be overhauled.

 

 

Final installation of PII body to the chassis

9JS during final assembly approximately six weeks before Pebble Beach. Chris Le Barr, upholsterer, at work in his improvised shop in back.

A small sampling of the number of parts spread out in our party room.

Yellow Rolls-Royce photos by John Carey

 

 

A succession of owners after the movie was made (1965) left the car in a generally rundown condition. The gray rear interior had been replaced by tan and was poorly done. The cocktail cabinet, ladies vanity and the smokers cabinets for owner and driver had been stripped of their contents and all the tools were missing. Due to the car’s exotic history I thought it deserved better and began a lengthy dialogue to convince Lillian it should have a ground-up restoration. What else did I have to do in my retirement? Lillian reluctantly agreed and disassembly began in 1991 albeit with several interruptions.

The first of these was due to large pieces of body putty falling off our 3 ½ Litre Bentley. What’s more, I rationalized, it had incorrect taillights, front fender lights, , incorrect(for the ‘30s) metallic silver paint and an impossibly slow rear axle ratio. Consequently, I shipped the rear axle to Fiennes Restorations in Oxfordshire to receive an overhaul and “overdrive” crown wheel and pinion, while I stripped the body of paint (and buckets of body filler ). Since the aluminum bodywork would need much straightening and welding, the car was delivered to an expert aluminum panel beater, and I returned to the disassembly of the Phantom II.

The casual observer of a P II cannot possibly imagine the number of parts and the complexity of its chassis. The Bijur chassis lubrication system alone has hundreds of parts, as does the mechanical braking system with its servo (a form of power boost) . I recently read an article where several major restoration shops said their typical ground-up restoration required 2000 hours while a P II took them 6000!

In addition, My P II has several additional features, including a second set of shock absorbers (Andre Telecontrol) that the driver can adjust while the car is in motion. The system consists of two firewall-mounted hand pumps, two pressure gauges on the dashboard and two driver-controlled pressure adjustors (for front and rear shocks). Increased pressure from these control valves further expands rubber bladders at the shock units which results in increased pressure on friction discs and more damping action. There must be over 100 parts in this system..

 

P II chassis nearing completion.

 

During early stages of disassembly, I realized that my space problem was becoming acute. The body was removed from the chassis and resided on its subframe in our garage. The chassis was in my workshop where dismantling continued. The fenders, running boards and four bonnet pieces were in our only other available space which was our 20′ X 20′ “party” room, and its light tan carpet was not the proper place for greasy chassis parts. Consequently, as we disassembled, we restored sub-assemblies before moving them to the party room. By the mid -90s.the room was getting quite full and I began looking for more space.

 

 

The Bentley, the MG and the Maserati were projects that had to be completed to make room for the Yellow Rolls-Royce.

 

“The Yellow Rolls-Royce,” a 1931 Barker Sedanca De Ville, 9JS. Shown at Pebble Beach in 2004.

 

 

I resumed work on the P-II late in 2000, and now had room for all the P-II parts. As the restoration

progressed, Peter Lind was organizing the “Around The World” tour for 2004. I thought this would be a grand adventure and subsequently hired a local engine builder (who had done work for me before) to assemble the P-II engine in order that I might focus on chassis completion. About this time, I also hired a retired mechanical engineer and experienced car restorer to assist me a few days each week. Then in 2002, I hired an aluminum welder and panel beater to fix the many dents and tears in the P-II body. I thought there would be no problem finishing the car for Pebble Beach in 2004 and participating in the world tour. WRONG!

In October of 2002, I picked up the P-II engine which was about 90% assembled since the engine builder was in the process of moving to Canada. Subsequently we mounted the engine in the chassis and began to check valve lash. When we attempted to rotate the crank shaft (no spark plugs installed), it required about 100 lbs pull on a 3 foot bar to move it!” Obviously something was very wrong so we began a complete disassembly. Correction required crankshaft straightening as well as regrinding, repouing and machining of all the bearings. With vendor backlogs and broken promises, this work consumed a year and made participation in the World Tour impossible.

Once the body paneling was straightened and fatigue cracks and corrosion welded, the body was reinstalled on the chassis to make sure that bonnet, door and boot fits were acceptable. It was then removed and taken to the paint shop. Chassis restoration continued and included complete disassembly of the transmission, front and rear axles, brakes and, in short, every nut and bolt on the chassis. Bearings, seals and other worn parts were replaced. Hundreds of parts were repainted. All chrome pieces were stripped and brought home for restoration (dents etc), then polished before returning them to the plater for chrome.

Interior trim wood restoration was a major task. I stripped, sanded, stained and resprayed all trim wood with catalized polyester. This then had to be sanded flat with 220 grit up to 2000 grit and then polished. Trim wood in the driver’s compartment totals 33 pieces and in the passenger compartment, 29 pieces. These tasks required 5 weeks (12-hour-days). An unfortunate by-product of this activity is backlogs and broken promises, this work consumed a year and made participation in the World Tour impossible.

Once the body paneling was straightened and fatigue cracks and corrosion welded, the body was reinstalled on the chassis to make sure that bonnet, door and boot fits were acceptable. It was then removed and taken to the paint shop. Chassis restoration continued and included complete disassembly of the transmission, front and rear axles, brakes and, in short, every nut and bolt on the chassis. Bearings, seals and other worn parts were replaced. Hundreds of parts were repainted. All chrome pieces were stripped and brought home for restoration (dents etc), then polished before returning them to the plater for chrome.

Interior trim wood restoration was a major task. I stripped, sanded, stained and resprayed all trim wood with catalized polyester. This then had to be sanded flat with 220 grit up to 2000 grit and then polished. Trim wood in the driver’s compartment totals 33 pieces and in the passenger compartment, 29 pieces. These tasks required 5 weeks (12-hour-days). An unfortunate by-product of this activity is that I now have carpal tunnel syndrome mainly due to the repetitive nature of the sanding and polishing.

In the third quarter of 2003, the painters promised they would have all the body parts ready for assembly onto the chassis by February 1st. This fit nicely into my “schedule.” In actual fact, there is no possibility of making an accurate schedule on a unique car. Each week brings problems never anticipated on a complicated chassis. However, once all the bodywork was completed, except for filler and paint, a reasonably accurate painting schedule could be made. Imagine my displeasure when the last painted parts were installed one week before Pebble Beach – five months late!

Once the bare body (no doors, bonnet, wings, etc) was painted and bolted to the chassis, we were able to install the dashboard, connect instruments and finish the electrical wiring. My days, however, were getting more and more hectic. Beginning in April, I began four months of 80-hour weeks. Concurrently, my upholsterer began residence at our house and worked the same schedule. I had promised Lillian that I would never let this familiar pre-Pebble Beach problem happen again – so much for good intentions!

 

Let there be lights!” Yellow Rolls is equipped with a wide variety of spot and parking lights.

Well stocked liquor cabinet in front compartment assured that passenger riding with chauffeur would not go thirsty.

One wonders if Jeanne Moreau, Shirley Maclaine and Ingrid Bergman used this built-in vanity to repair their makeup during the shooting of ‘The Yellow Rolls-Royce.’

Jump seat and another liquor cabinet were fitted into rear compartment.

About a week before Pebble we were ready to start the engine. Experienced engine rebuilders warned me not to let the engine idle for extended periods or the piston rings might not seat properly. They recommend driving the car to put the engine under load as soon as possible. This required installation of wings and running boards to prevent rock chips in the paint. I had been apprehensive over starting the engine since I am not an experienced engine rebuilder; this was my first P-II rebuild and I had installed several internal modifications. To my delight the engine started quickly and ran smoothly, albeit with a few leaks at external oil tubing and water joints.

My next thrill was to take the car for a drive. Since we had totally disassembled the braking system during restoration and our driveway has a 20% downward slope, I tried to plan what I would do if the brakes did not restrain the 6000 pound jewel. Nothing came to mind! Fortunately, all went well with only a few minor problems surfacing.

Synopsis of The Yellow Rolls-Royce Movie

MGM released a film entitled “The Yellow Rolls-Royce” in 1965. It was unusual that an automobile was the star. The story follows a 1931 Phantom II (9JS) while it was in the hands of three different owners in the 1930s. The first owner, Rex Harrison, purchases the car new as an anniversary gift for his wife, Jeanne Moreau. Rex returned it to the dealership a few days later after discovering his wife and his assistant (Edmond Perdom) behaving badly in the rear seat with all five shades drawn. 

In the second segment, the car is on a showroom floor in Italy when it is discovered by Shirley MacLaine. She persuades her boyfriend, George C. Scott, to buy it and they begin a tour of Italy with Art Carney as chauffeur. Shirley subsequently meets an itinerant photographer, Alain Delon) and when George returns to the U.S. on Mafia business, Shirley and Alain swim in the grotto (Amalfi Coast) and then retire to the rear seat of the Yellow Rolls-Royce and draw all the shades.

The car is next purchased by a wealthy American, Ingrid Bergman, who wanted a proper car for her visit to Yugoslavia to see the prince. She is persuaded by a Yugoslavian partisan, Omar Sharif, to get him across theborder, hidden in the boot. Ingrid spends some time transporting soldiers for Omar and, inevitably, is bedded down by him and completely forgets about the prince.

The film was released in the U.S. only on laser disk. (It is not available in stores on tape or DVD). It was released in Canada on video tape or DVD in both English and French. Recently U.S. compatible video tapes and DVD copies have appeared on eBay. (Search on “The Yellow Rolls-Royce.”) Alternately the movie is shown on the TCM channel (Turner Classic Movies – which currently owns the film).

To see their schedule go to the TCM website and search on the movie title. If it is not on their near term schedule – message will say the title could not be found. When it is in the schedule you will be given the date and time. (Eastern.)

 

 

Editors’ Note:

We recently saw a short documentary on TCM about the making of the Yellow Rolls-Royce movie which, since it was shot on location, required the car to be shipped from London to Italy and from there to be driven over the Alps to Yugoslavia. It also indicates that the car was originally blue, but was painted yellow for the film.

 

We departed for the Pebble Beach “Weekend” Thursday in order to attend the Ford party that night. The ambient temperature was 90 degrees fahrenheit near Salinas and the engine temperature was 90 degrees centigrade so I stopped and added ‘Water Wetter’ to improve heat transfer to the coolant. Newly rebuilt engines have internal friction, mostly due to piston rings abrading cylinder walls, and this generates additional heat. I stopped again about 20 minutes later and found the left rear tire was almost flat and had to be changed. A 20″ wheel with steel “disks” covering the spokes probably weighs 80 pounds and must be lifted out of its well clear of the fender to avoid paint scratches. This is not one of my favorite things to do! 

The remainder of this 75 mile journey was, I thought, without incident until I discovered my turn signals and brake lights were inoperative(2 blown fuses). We missed Concours Italiano Friday while attending to these problems. Saturday morning was also a very busy day (no Historic Races) polishing, cleaning, and detailing the car with help from Lillian and our “kids.” In the afternoon we took 9JS to the home of a friend in Pacific Grove where it was on display for his annual Car Guys party. We left the car there late in the afternoon and went on to another party.

The next morning, I arrived at 6:30 AM to retrieve the PII and to drive it to the field at Pebble Beach. The weather was foggy, cool and very damp. The PII had always started instantly in warm and dry surroundings. It would not start! When the problem occurred I was emotionally and physically drained from the months of frantic activity and unable to rationally diagnose the problem. After 20 minutes I covered the car and departed since I was obligated to attend the judges meeting. I was completely demoralized. During the meeting, several RROC members offered encouragement and assistance which caused me to work out a plan. When the meeting ended, I went to the judging field in search of George Colgett who is well-known to the Region members and owns Acme Car Service, a local facility specializing in Rolls-Royce and Bentley. He had been at my home to offer much appreciated help during the final days of assembly and debug. I found George and my son drove him to the car where he diagnosed the problem as a burned out coil resistance element. This resistor is in series with the coil and allows 12 volts to the coil to aid starting and a lesser voltage as the resistor becomes hot in order to prolong the coil life. George by-passed the resistor.

The car started and he reached the show field mid-morning to cheers from the crowd. When I finished judging the pre-war small HP class, I made my way to the pre-war large HP class to have 9JS judged. Mid-afternoon I learned the car had won the Lucius Beebe award. This is an annual award at Pebble Beach for the Rolls-Royce in the field that Beebe would have chosen as most elegant.

Beebe was a famous bon vivant, man about town and an owner of Rolls-Royces and a private rail car. He was also a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle which published his review of the Yellow Rolls-Royce film.

The foregoing tale chronicles 13 years of my restoration activity To those who think restorers like me are deranged, I suggest you watch the program “Car Crazy” (Speed Channel). Based on car collectors and restorers featured in these episodes I might qualify as approaching normalcy.!

In retrospect, being normal is not all that important. Restoration gives one a gratifying sense of accomplishment and driving these cars as they were intended to be driven can provide either thrills or relaxed touring, depending on the event and the car selected. And most important, these events bring together like-minded people and foster lasting friendships.

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Onc gets a pronounced sense of 1930’s high style from items such as the door handles and veneer on rear liquor cabinet.

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Highly polished coachbuilder’s plate is a lovely touch.

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Wheel covers on spare tires are works of art.

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Art Deco theme is carried even to the illuminated license plate holder.

 

click to enlarge these pictures

 

PA160009p.JPG (94817 bytes)Driver is surrounded by beautiful woodwork 

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Engine was restored to exactly how it looked when it left the factory.

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Tools in their case gleam like jewels in a jewel box.

 

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Can’t you just see yourself at the wheel of this magnificent motor car?

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Items on the scuttle opposite the tools

 

06
Feb
11

Green Hornet movie, the Black Beauty stunt car is the star!

I saw the Green Hornet in 3-D for $17.50 a ticket (Talk about ticket shock!) and there is lots I didn’t like about the film, and how the story of the Green Hornet was handled, but there is no denying that the stunts and action scenes, even if improbable,  were really cool!

In conjunction with Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s promotion of the film, the stunt car made many personall appearances at restaurants around the country.  Below are the photos from one such stop, and the detail on the car is truly top notch! Now I have to brush up on my Chineese!

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Top marks to all the builders that were involved in the many cars used in the movie. Last count was 28 cars with very few surviving!  Now let’s all go find out who won the Carl’s Jr. free black beaty give away!

I want my car, Carl!!  I bought a lot of large drinks, and entered 5 times a day for two months!

 

 

28
Dec
10

Green Hornet Black Beauty clone almost ready to Fight Crime!

There are a small number of Green Hornet fans around the world who decided to take their fan energies and replicate the TV shows crimefighting car, a 1966 Chrysler Imperial dubbed “The Black Beauty” that Kato and Britt Reid used to take out the bad guys in the short lived series.

One of the two original cars built for the show sits in a Museum in Los Angeles, the other is in private hands so if you want one, you have to build your own.

With the release of the new movie, the Green Hornet is once again in the limelight.  Most fans know that Bruce Lee played Kato on TV, but the Green Hornet reached fame originally on the radio.  That was followed  by a series of movie serials, and then after a long break the TV show was made by the same producers who made the 60’s hit BATMAN show starring Adam West and Burt Ward.

StarCarCentral has been waiting a few years as this clone has been pieced together.  The first parts that kicked off the project were a set of fiberglass pieces that I was afraid were about to be lost for good down in San Diego.   This was a few years back, and I only knew one Green Hornet fan, my big brother!

He has had a long road buying two imperials, selling one off to the new feature film, mechanical and financial disasters, but he has persevered!

Still lots to do, next up is the roof need covering, wheels swapped out. Then lots and lots of interior wiring and details that most people will never notice but when it comes to starcars, it’s all in the details!  The back seat will have  a small closet for the hornet costume and extras like gas guns, and of course lots of rockets and guns!  We are looking forward to seeing Mark’s Beauty on the Star car circuit in 2011!




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