Archive for the 'movie vehicles' Category

04
Jan
20

Ford vs. Ferrari

Ford GT40 from Ford v Ferrari

Ford GT40 from Ford v Ferrari

by Jim Suva

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The movie Ford v Ferrari opened in November, 2019. It stars Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as Ken Miles. The movie tells the story of how Ford beat Ferrari in the 1966 “24 Hours of Le Mans” road race in France.

This story is about one of the screen-used Ford GT40s from the movie, and how Volo Auto Museum got ownership of it.

Opportunity Comes Calling

Brian Grams, Museum Director at Volo, was in his office chatting with his father, Greg Grams, Founder and CEO of Volo Auto Museum and Auto Sales. Greg had seen Ford v Ferrari the night before and was commenting about how great it was, and how Brian had to go and see it. Ironically, at that exact moment Brian received a text message from one of his contacts who works in the Entertainment industry. He was asking if Volo Auto Museum wanted any cars from the movie. Brian knew they would not be bargain autos by any means, and he figured there would be little interest on Volo’s behalf, considering they did not have any space to display an additional movie car at that moment. But he still brought it up to his father, whose eyes lit up with excitement. Brian thinks the adrenaline from seeing the movie was still racing in his veins, because Greg was definitely interested.

The offer was pretty wide open as far as the pick of the litter. They had their choice of cars, from the Ken Miles family’s woody wagon, to partially assembled Ford Falcons from the Ford factory scene, to Corvettes, Porches, Ferraris and of course, the GT40s. Not having seen the movie, Brian gravitated to the Ferraris, whereas his dad loved both the Ferraris and GT40s. They knew there was a limited window on this opportunity, because the cars were released that day, and were offered up to museums and collectors. They knew that the best ones would be the ones to disappear first. Brian and Greg narrowed their choices down to the #21 Ferrari or the Green #95 GT40. Greg suggested Brian and his brother Jay, go to see the movie. This would help them to decide which would be the right car. They could then make a more informed decision the following morning. Jay went to see the movie, but Brian was unable to go.

The next morning Jay said, “Get the GT before its gone! The whole movie is about the GT40!” Brian tried calling his father, but could not reach him. He called his mother and asked her to get in touch with Greg, but she had no luck either. Not wanting to miss out on the car, Brian decided to pull the trigger on the green #95 GT40. The purchase was done sight-unseen, and with little to no information about the car. He knew it had an LS3 engine and he had seen a few photos of the car, sandwiched between other cars, and it showed a lot of scrapes and scratches. Brian at this point had no idea how the car was built. Was it built quickly, just so that it would look good on film, like so many Movie/TV cars? Was the car built with quality in mind? What was he going to get for the premium price he was about to pay? He also knew in the back of his mind, that no matter the car’s condition, it would be timeless. Ford v Ferrari is the first true car movie to have been released for many years. Even the Fast and Furious franchise, that features a lot of cars is not a true car lovers movie. So here he had a real car from a true car movie.

After making the commitment to purchase the car, Greg reached out to Brian (the adrenaline of the movie having since left his veins), and decided that Volo did not need the car, did not have the space, and felt the funds could be better used elsewhere. When Brian told him he already bought the car, Greg was angry that Brian did not wait to discuss the purchase with him, but Brian also thinks he was secretly pretty happy and excited.

Inspection and History of Volo’s Ford GT40

The deal was completed and the car picked up. Upon delivery Brian noticed that the many scrapes and scratches that were on the car were actually studio effects! They were painted on, including dirt and brake dust, to give the car that race-track-used look. There was no actual damage to the car! He was happy to learn the car was not the typical movie car that was cheaply built just to look good on screen. It was an incredible build.

This is where Brian’s research began, which wasn’t too difficult, because the movie’s recent release. The first thing he did was a Google search, and picked bits and pieces out of articles. During that process he learned that two companies, Superformance and Race Car Replicas had supplied a majority of the cars to the film. Brian reached out to both Superformance and RCR. RCR replied that it was one of the cars they had built. They supplied the production company with over 100 cars, from the Ferraris to Porsches, GT40s, etc. All the cars used the same driveline per request by the production company. All the cars were powered by LS3, for ease of repairs and maintenance on the set. This was much easier than having a variety of different drivelines. There were a total of twelve GT40s and RCR supplied 10 of them. Superformance supplied the other two.

The cars all featured an RCR custom built aluminum chassis, designed after the original GT40 chassis. The body is made of fiberglass from a mold that was taken off an original GT40. It is a very close replica to an original GT40, unlike other replicas that have mis-proportioned bodies and use existing chassis, from a Fiero, for example. The RCR GT40 has the same chassis design, but is a few hundred pounds lighter because of its use of aluminum instead of steel. It handles and performs much like an original GT40. RCR sent the cars to the production company complete, with exception of one thing, the paint. All the cars were sent in bare gel coat, ready to be painted by the production company.

Another discovery Brian made was a few sheets of paper in the car, which depicted the Daytona race scene. This was an outline so the drivers knew where they needed to be positioned and when. It was essentially the race choreography. There was also a GPS transponder likely to be used by production to monitor everyone’s position and speed. One last thing he found in the car was a tag labeled Paul Dallenbach. With a Google search he discovered that Paul is a professional stunt and race car driver. Paul is the one who drove this GT40 in the movie. Paul said the car handled great, like a true race car, with the exception of the tires, which were chosen for looks instead of performance. They had a hard time sticking. Paul drove the car on average 130 mph for filming. Ironically, the #95 car that Paul was driving was in the 24 Hours of Daytona race scene, where car #95 had come in 2nd place. In real life, Paul actually raced in the 24 Hours of Daytona race, and placed 2nd in his racing career!

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In the movie there are far more than twelve GT40s shown. Since the production company had only twelve cars, how was that possible? The cars were recycled and painted to look like different cars for different scenes. Through a friend, Brian was able to get a few images from the production “key list” of cars. He learned before Volo’s car was the green #95, it was the red #3 Dan Gurney car, that was used in the Le Mans race scene, as well as a yellow #8 car that was used in one of the pit scenes of the Le Mans race.

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In addition, the key list showed a scene where the green #95 car hits a 66 Mustang, in which the Mustang ends up exploding. Unfortunately this scene must have ended up on the cutting room floor.

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One last discovery was the paint scheme of the #95 car, the real Moody and Holman #95 car that raced the 24 hours of Daytona was white with some green accents. So why was this car not painted the same? The production company did this intentionally, to help the audience more easily identify cars that would otherwise look too similar and could be confusing to movie goers.

Final comment

I went to see this movie and I can’t wait for it to come out in digital format. In my opinion, it is one of the best racing movies ever made. If you get a chance, go see the movie and then come to the Volo Auto Museum to see this piece of movie history. You will not be disappointed!

GT40Volo1
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

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
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.

IMG_0365k-x365

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.

scc display.jpg

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

red carpet.jpg

two-bats

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!

 

SCC_CBS-group

30
Oct
14

Here come Nate Truman’s StarCarCentral.com famous movie and TV cars again for 2014!

Nate Truman’s StarCarCentral.com line up driving down Hollywood Blvd. for the Hollywood Christmas Parade!

We are gearing up for our big televised parade event, that we have been invited to do for the last FIVE years!  In 2010 we had 6 cars in the parade, representing Columbia records.

Then we returned to be featured on the red carpet with Jaberwokeez dance team with 17 cars!  even more drove across the red carpet in 2012, and last year we beat our own world record to have 30 movie and TV star cars all in a row!  This year, we are shooting for even more, but we have become so large, the parade is breaking us up into section and themes!

We have a few new surprises lined up for this year, and are shooting for right around FOURTY famous movie and TV cars!

Let’s hope everyone can make it, no break downs, and happy faces!  See you on TV!




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