Posts Tagged ‘movie car

11
Jul
15

is it the Nemo car or Nautilus-mobile? Nemo mobile? League of Extraordinary Gentlemen car? I just call it AMAZING!

Cobbled together by Nate Truman

I have been following many star car builds over the years, and one of the most exciting and ambitious is Ken Freeman’s scratchbuilt replica of the Nemo car from “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” which took him nearly five years to build.

The original movie car designed by Carol Spier, who also penned Captain Nemo’s Nautilus for the movie, is the four-door six-wheeled fiberglass-bodied 22-foot-long Nemo car (Nautilus car too, but NOT the Nemomobile) was built on a Land Rover fire tender chassis with an extra axle up front and a Land Rover V-8 engine for power, a removeable hardtop, and elaborate Hindu decoration, particularly on the front and interior of the car. Two were reportedly built for the production, though the studio fitted one of the two with extensive rigging for interior shots.

nemo screen car

 

Here is a shot from the film, with one of the two original cars built for the film.

The Nemo car used in filming has since been sold at auction, and here is what it looked like before the sale.

Rather than a Land Rover, Freeman started with a pair of 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood limousines which he then combined into one chassis, powered by a Cadillac 425-cu.in. V-8 and Turbo-Hydramatic 400 automatic transmission driving the rear wheels!

double axle

Like the original, the body that Freeman built for the car was made from fiberglass, though his measures 24 feet long and a little narrower than the original at 102 inches. The decorative work he created himself first by sculpting it out of Spanish clay, then taking molds and casting the end result “in aluminum filled resins and cold-cast plated in aluminum and pewter, and further trimmed in bronze, brass, and 18k gold.  This is truly an accomplishment in workmanship and attention to details.  A tremendous project and well executed!

nemo_12_12_12_003_by_dentman65-d5yrc7qnemo_build_progress_by_dentman65-d4gckgnnemo_engine_by_dentman65-d65gx8hnemo_june_2013_021_by_dentman65-d6dk23anemo_s_car_beginnings_by_dentman65-d65h2dsnemo_s_car_construction_by_dentman65-d65h34snemo_s_car_rear_view_by_dentman65-d65gzjnnemo_s_front_elephants_by_dentman65-d6f8wjibuilding_nemo_car_street_rod_by_dentman65-d5k9l88captain_nemos_car_from_lxg_by_dentman65-d4gfzswfrontlxg_car_nemo_by_dentman65-d49pz9uNemocar_03_2000

 

Nemocar_02_2000

Ken Freeman is a body shop owner from West End, North Carolina.  He put about 6,500 hours of work into the car—which he calls the Spirit of Nemo—over the last 4-1/2 years, interrupted at one point by a fire in his shop! Undaunted, he recently finished the car, calling it “more art than automobile” and claiming it to be the first and only replica of the Nemo car.  I sure wish he lived in Hollywood, so we could do starcar events together, I hope to see his amazing work of art someday, but until then I will just have to stare at the photos and marvel at the amount of work he did to drive his dream car! Congrats Ken!  

Here’s a short video to see it in action, and hear from Ken himself!

 

27
Aug
13

007 Lotus Esprit ‘Submarine Car’ To be auctioned on Monday, September 9, 2013 Without Reserve

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Used in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me

The one and only fully functional Submarine Car
One of the most famous movie cars of all time
Amazing story of lost and found
Never before offered for sale

The 007 Lotus Esprit Submarine Car from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) commonly tops the polls when multiple generations of movie fans are asked to pick their favourite film cars of all time. Like all the best Bond cars, the Lotus was a veritable war chest of weaponry and gadgetry that was designed to fox and foil the enemy whilst also helping Bond to another hard-won victory for Queen and country.

DOSSIER

Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign unveiled a concept car at the Turin Motor Show in 1972 that was based upon a stretched Lotus Europa chassis. It was amongst the first of designer Giugiaro’s polygonal “folded paper”, or wedge-shaped, conceptions, and it caused a sensation in the automotive press. Lotus ultimately developed its Lotus Esprit using this design, and remarkably, little changed from the show car. The Esprit was launched in October 1975 at the Paris Auto Show, and it went into production in June 1976, replacing the Europa in the Lotus model line-up. With its lightweight chassis, mid-engine configuration, and fibreglass body shell, it furthered the reputation for class-beating handling long enjoyed by Lotus. At the time of its introduction, it was indisputably Britain’s most advanced sports car.

The Lotus not only impressed the automotive world, but it also impressed film producer Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli, who one day found a pre-production model parked directly in front of his office at Pinewood Studios outside London. The car had been conspicuously positioned there, without identifying badges, by Lotus PR Manager Don McLauchlan. McLauchlan had learned that preparations had begun for a fresh 007 adventure, and he wanted to make their extraordinary new car available for the picture. Experience with the vehicles from other films, particularly Aston Martins in prior Bond movies, had proven that the publicity and sales impact could be enormous. So a deal was struck, and Lotus delivered two production vehicles; each of these were equipped with an additional piece of sheet metal beneath the radiator to protect the cars from the rough streets of the Costa Smeralda, in Sardinia, where the surface sequences of the famous chase was to be filmed. Additionally, seven more body shells were supplied, with one of which being sealed all around for underwater scenes and converted into a submarine.

“PAY ATTENTION, 007!”

No Bond car has ever done anything as outrageous on screen as transform itself into a submarine; none except for this Lotus in the epic The Spy Who Loved Me. Breaking with tradition, Q is never given the opportunity to explain the car’s features to 007. So, when the Lotus is fired (literally! – see sidebar) off a jetty into the sea, the audience was stunned, and captivated.

The specially prepared body shell was shipped to Perry Oceanographics, a marine engineering and construction firm based in Riviera Beach, Florida. Perry was known for their ingenuity in building all manner of submersible vehicles (including the Reef Ranger, also seen in the underwater battle), and they are world-renowned for their unique capabilities.

With guidance from Special Visual Effects Supervisor Derek Meddings, Perry re-envisioned the Lotus as a “wet” submarine (connoting that it is full of water as it travels beneath the surface). It moves forward via a bank of four propellers, with their electric motors being driven by batteries housed in a water-tight compartment. The articulated fins are adjusted with mechanical levers that are operated by its driver. Underwater, the Lotus has a turning circle of around 20 feet. Its dive and climb performance is regulated by ballast tanks, and it has been described as “crisply argonautic”. Contrary to what movie magic suggests, there is no semblance of a road car interior in this Lotus; instead, inside one will find its underwater motors, batteries, levers, and other control apparatus, with only a platform seat for its driver. It was said to have cost over $100,000 to construct (nearly half a million dollars today).

Its driver was Don Griffin, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL who was employed as a technician and test pilot for Perry. As such, he was the obvious candidate to operate the Lotus on location, with the underwater sequences being filmed nearby in the Bahamas.

And Don Griffin was indeed the driver (in full scuba gear with auxiliary oxygen), and in so doing, he assumed one of the greatest anonymous roles in movie history. As the one and only fully functioning Submarine Car especially designed and built for the spectacular underwater sequences, the Lotus appears in the film for the lion’s share of the screen time beneath the surface.

Dubbed “Wet Nellie” on the set, the Lotus was used to incredible effect in the film. It was fitted with mechanically operated enclosures that reveal the missile launchers in the front, a smoke screen exhaust in the rear, and a mine hatch on the bottom. When Griffin voiced the need for rearward vision, a prismatic mirror was mounted on the roof, which was sourced from Army surplus and came off of a tank. The stream of air bubbles following the vehicle was actually generated by utilising a giant cache of Alka-Seltzer tablets!

ENDURING ICON

The Spy Who Loved Me was the 10th film in the Bond franchise, and the third to star Roger Moore. At a pivotal moment in the celebrated progression of 007 films, Eon Productions needed a hit after the disappointing box office performance of The Man With The Golden Gun (1974). So, this time they pulled out all the stops by doubling the budget, bringing back Lewis Gilbert (You Only Live Twice) to direct, and giving Production Designer Ken (later Sir Ken) Adam appropriate latitude to create the phantasmagorical and futuristic sets for which he was famous. And then there was the Submarine Car, which was conceived by Adam, a Lotus owner and an admirer of the Esprit’s streamlined shape. So, the fuse was lit and the fires of 14-year-old imaginations around the world were re-ignited: the secret agent as super hero (with a little technological assistance)! As a result of this renewed commitment, The Spy Who Loved Me became the highest-grossing Bond film to date, firmly re-establishing the 007 character as a contemporary action hero.

Along with supervision on location by Meddings, underwater cameraman Lamar Boren, himself a veteran of the underwater crew from Thunderball and You Only Live Twice, was also re-enlisted for the filming of Wet Nellie in the Bahamas. So, yet again in a James Bond film, the car was the star, and moviegoers couldn’t stop talking about the Lotus.

WET NELLIE SURFACES

In conjunction with the 1977 release of The Spy Who Loved Me, U.S. Lotus (Lotus East) executive distributor Fred Stevenson procured Wet Nellie for display at auto shows, according to correspondence between Stevenson and the location manager for Eon in the Bahamas. Stevenson remembers the Lotus was full of sand and seaweed upon delivery in New York and there was no time to clean it prior to its first public debut at the New York Auto Show! This was followed by appearances at shows in Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles, by which time its custodianship was taken over by Lotus West. Stevenson relates having great fun with the Lotus, discussing its unique features with dignitaries and celebrities who enjoyed having their photographs taken with Wet Nellie.

Eventually, Wet Nellie was shipped to Long Island, New York, where it was kept in an unassuming storage unit in Holbrook, New York. The lease was reportedly for a 10-year rental, paid in advance. Fate later intervened when, in 1989, the rent delinquent unit was put up “blind” at public auction. A modest winning bid from an area couple brought surprise and wonder when the blankets were removed to reveal the iconic 007 Submarine Car. The roof had been damaged, but it was otherwise wholly intact. It’s new (and current) owners recount that, whilst towing it home, the CB radios of highway truckers were all abuzz about the sighting of the famed Lotus. After positive authentication, Wet Nellie was cosmetically restored and fitted to a custom-designed display trailer and exhibited occasionally, including a stint at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, but it was mostly kept closely under wraps…until now.

NOBODY DOES IT BETTER

“Of all the Bonds I made”, remembers Roger Moore, “The Spy Who Loved Me is the one I like best. The locations were right; the costumes were right; everything on that movie went together”.

Sadly, Ian Fleming, the creator of the James Bond character and originator of the first 007 gadget car on paper, is no longer with us. However, Raymond Benson, author of seven “official” posthumous Bond books, had this to say: “I never used an underwater car in any of my Bond novels, but the Lotus in the film is one of my favourite vehicles in the 007 universe!”

Today, Wet Nellie is presented with its restored, museum display quality exterior, whilst inside, the full operational equipment appears to be complete and original. This first-time-ever public offering of the Lotus is accompanied by copies of numerous period photos, rare movie stills, correspondence between Lotus East and the film production team, auto show memorabilia, and authentication documents.

The 007 Lotus Esprit Submarine Car is one of the most inspired creations in the history of filmmaking. As such, we wouldn’t want it to fall into enemy hands, so we invite those who can enthusiastically appreciate its technology, ingenious deployment, and legendary screen appearance to attentively consider this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire Wet Nellie, one of the most fascinating and entertaining movie vehicles of all time.

BEHIND THE SCENES: EVOLUTION OF A GREAT SPY CAR

It is believed that Lotus provided two production “road cars”, plus seven Esprit fibreglass body shells, to the filmmakers. One of those shells was reported to have been split in half to film Roger Moore and Barbara Bach in their separate seats. The remaining six body shells, delivered bare, were used to initiate and consummate filming the underwater scenes. Each of these shells was modified to perform specific functions in the movie. Here is the evolution of Wet Nellie on the screen:

1. Used for the tyre retraction sequence.
2. Used to portray the side fins protruding from the wheel arches whilst the periscope extends.
3. Featured in the below-surface-to-air missile sequence from the rear hatch.
4. Tethered to a powerful air cannon and jettisoned off the pier and into the water below.
5. The spare unit for the above.
6. The one and only fully enclosed shell used to film the functional Submarine Car.

Once filming was complete, the tyre shell (1) and the missile shell (3) were left behind in the Bahamas and given as souvenirs to Roberts Scrap Metal Company, who assisted with the heavy equipment for the shoot. The tyre shell exists today in poor condition in a Florida museum. The fin shell (2) has seemingly disappeared (with its whereabouts unknown), whilst the missile shell (3) is owned by the Ian Fleming Foundation and is proudly on display as part of the on-going 50th Anniversary of James Bond Exhibit at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum. The first of the pier shells (4) was damaged by the air cannon during filming in Sardinia, and it is presumed to have been discarded. The other pier shell (5) may have been unused or used more lightly; in any event, it was later unofficially retrofitted with mock up gadgets and sold in the late 1980s.

Which leaves the one and only functional Submarine Car (6), which is being offered to the public for the first time ever.

-Doug Redenius
Co-Founder, The Ian Fleming Foundationbond submarine lotus

08
Sep
11

Il Tempo Gigante, The most famous Star car of all….. Norway!

Can you name them all?

After THE BIG BUS write up, it got me thinking about the more obscure star cars I have encountered in my searches over the last 30 years or so.   There are a few foreign films that featured custom cars with lots of gadgets.  There is one  Pugeot with wings that comes to mind, but that’s another blog!

This article is a long time in the making.  I first became aware of  Il Tempo Gigante when I saw photos of it in an old book on concept cars called “DREAM CARS” that was originally printed in France.

because it was printed in Europe, it included the most famous movie car of Norway!  As I had never seen the film, nor was I from Norway I sort of glossed over it as a rip off of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Decades later my starcar pals alerted me to a shirt design I would probably like that featured the outlines of most of the famous movie/tv and video game vehicles.

All my star car buddies snapped up a shirt or two, and we happily started pointing out all the movies attached to each vehicle.  Some where easy, others took a bit of thinking, but the Star Car Central members eventually identified all of them except one, and I decided it was the  Il Tempo Gigante.

I would say “I knew what it was from my old book, but it was in a box somewhere and I never got around to getting it out to find the name of the film or car to start my search.”   But I am finally tired of telling my pals “I know what it is, I have it in a book, but I just have to find it!” So here it is in all it’s glory.

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Now if you are from Norway, you may think “How can anyone in the world not know this car?”  But for the rest of the lovers of star cars that DON”T live in Norway or Russia or Japan allow me to introduce the star car I finally got around to blogging about!

Flåklypa Grand Prix (released as an English dubbed version under the title Pinchcliffe Grand Prix) is a Norwegian stop motionanimated feature film directed by Ivo Caprino. It was released in 1975 and is based on characters from a series of books by Norwegian cartoonist and author Kjell Aukrust. It is the most widely-seen Norwegian film of all time, having sold some 5.5 million tickets since its release to a population which currently numbers just 4.9 million!!!

Here is the car in action!

The family that made the hit movie also made a full size working version of the stop motion animated car, and it’s a hit where ever it goes!

As always, if you want to be an expert, go to Wikipedia for lots of info on the movie and its history. Or just go to the site of the creators of the movie, and the car and take a look around!

As for the full scale car they did an amazing job of making a fantastic looking and sounding star car!

Listen to this motor as it comes off a trailer!

It’s obvious it is a well loved star car in Norway if you watch the videos of the car driving around on youtube.  Hey, it’s an official Star Car when people take the time to crossgeek

it with other starcars, like James bond! Ian Fleming actually headed up a comando unit in Norway during WWII . He also wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang all before this film came out, so Fleming’s influence can be seen as well in the Tempo Gigante.

On a side note on CrossGeeking (TM nate Truman 2003) it is rumored that Lucas used the race scene from this movie as a inspiration for the StarWars Pod race

in Episode one!  StarWars experts, what do you think? Arab backer, problems on the starting line, mid race repairs, dirty tricks, I can see why it came up!

May just be that Norway knows this movie so well, when they saw Star Wars, many fans saw the similarities?  We may never know! Star Wars fans have stated “The podrace sequence on Tatooine appears heavily influenced, if not lifted wholesale, from the chariot race in Ben-Hur. Other films likely to have influenced the pod race are Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause, which featured actor James Dean, a partial inspiration for Anakin Skywalker’s character, and John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix, which not only features the Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune but also features camerawork done by Lucas himself.”

The Arab backer seems familiar though…..

Anyway, that’s what I thought the car is, but now looking at it, it looks more like it’s got three wheels and it has paint brushes.   It’s also not included in the new version of the shirt, so anyone else have a guess?  It’s not the back of  Il Tempo Gigante! from The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix, but it did make me finally write about it!

10
Aug
11

SUPER STARCARCENTRAL FRIENDS! MONSTER JAM IN ANAHEIM THE WAIT IS OVER FOR THE WORLD PREMIER MOVIE!

What exactly is “starcarcentral.com”? that’s a question I get all the time.  Well, basically it’s a moving event/charity/party I have been putting on since 2003!

This video was shot at the Monster Jam truck show, where the star car owners met the fans, then took to the mud in the arena at Anaheim Stadium!   Special thanks to Charger Steve (he’s in the cowboy hat and was too busy to pose with his Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am or General Lee that day) and to all the great guys and gals who came out to the party!  We appear as an attraction at many charity events around So. Cal., on TV shows and videos, commercials and the freeways!   Check this blog and starcarcentral.com international on facebook for updates on future appearances. Contact me at  info@starcarcentral.com if you want to join up!




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