Posts Tagged ‘nate truman

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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25
May
15

“Bearcats” car built by George Barris is in the hands of a superfan!

If there’s one star car-lover who knows determination, it’s my star car pal, John Boyle. He is a 59 year-old, retired Air Force officer from Colbert, Washington and he had a dream car. It was the George Barris-built car, the Stutz Bearcat, from the short lived TV series “Bearcats” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bearcats!


It was in 1971, when John Boyle was a teenager that he saw a TV series called “Bearcats!” It was the story of two soldiers of fortune ala “Butch and Sundance” who drove a 1914 Stutz Bearcat. Boyle says he loved the car and wanted one. He’d read in TV Guide that George Barris had built two Bearcat replicas for filming. bearcats
The antique Bearcats were extremely expensive, so when the show was cancelled Boyle told himself he’d keep his eyes open for one of the Barris replicas. After searching for over 25 years, in 1999, he found one, whose owner agreed to sell it at a price he could afford. “I couldn’t believe it,” said Boyle. “I was now driving the exact car I saw on TV when I was a kid, made by George Barris.” He later met with Mr. Barris in his L.A. office, and the car was authenticated. Boyle admits that the car is now his “weekend toy” and he feels very lucky to have it.

Bearcats!, despite a large promotional campaign prior to its premiere and having a loyal fan base, lost in the Nielsen ratings to both The Flip Wilson Show on NBC and a more traditional Western, Alias Smith and Jones, on ABC, and was cancelled midseason after only 13 episodes.

Both series were trying to cash in on the popularity of westerns.  “Bearcats” were two soldiers of Fortune, hero’s for hire, like “The A-Team” and “Smith an jones was patterned after the big movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.  Smith and Jones coyly pointed out in their title that Butch and Sundance was what they were aping.  In the movie staring Robert Redford and Paul Newman, when they rob a bank there is a line where they are deciding their “aliases”.  Sundance says to Butch, “Now remember, I’m Smith, and you’re Jones”.

Bearcats! is an American Western television series broadcast on the CBS television network during the Fall 1971 television season. It starred Rod Taylor and Dennis Cole as troubleshooters in the period before America entered World War I.

Bearcats! was produced by Filmways Inc. (which previously produced many series including The Addams Family, Mister Ed, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Petticoat Junction). It was co-produced by Rodlor, Rod Taylor’s production firm. (Rod Taylor did many films, such as “The Time Machine” Hitchcock’s “The Birds”)   I “found” John on the internet years ago in a “chat room” (remember those?)

It was great to find out that the car was in good hands and won’t be changing hands any time soon!  Machine guns on the fenders and tearing through the old west? What’s not to like!

18
Nov
13

Nate Truman’s StarCarCentral.com gang at the Long Beach Comic Con Nov. 23 2013!

November 23 (Saturday) – “Long Beach Comic/Horror Con”

Just a quick post to let all the star car fans know that we will have a big group on display this Saturday in Long Beach!

Come on down and get your photos with the star cars, meet the SCC team members and enjoy a great comic-con!

Lots of great places to eat near by, and cool comic fans and creators everywhere you turn! 

 Show starts at 10 am, 
http://www.longbeachcc.com/

What’s the show about? Go to this link
http://www.longbeachcomiccon.com/

 
We will be out in front of the main entrance to the Long Beach Convention Center.  

  • NATE – JURASSIC PARK EXPLORER!
  • EVAN – MACH 5
  • OSCAR-  MAGNUM PI FERRARI
  • JASON – TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE VAN
  • MARTIN – CHRISTINE
  • ARI – JURASSIC PARK JEEP
  • GARY G – HIGHWAY PATROL
  • PAUL – BACK TO THE FUTURE DELOREAN
  • BRYAN – ECTO-1! YEAH BABY!
  • ALEX – KITT FROM KNIGHT RIDER
  • OBISHAWN – STAR WARS
  • FLOR – POLICE ISETTA
09
Feb
13

xXx GTO screen used Pontiac has all the gadgets you would want!

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This highly-modified 1967 GTO is readily recognized as Vin Diesel’s hero car from the blockbuster film “xXx.”  It is one of five screen-used Pontiacs that Hollywood star car builder Eddie Paul originally built. 
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To further prepare it for on-screen use, the studio’s Special Effects crew outfitted this particular car with all sorts of unique hardware to perform the various “gags” seen in the movie. Nicknamed the “Flame Car” for its flame-throwing capabilities (notice the scorched hood scoop!), it also features special spy gadgets in the dashboard, functional rocket launchers behind the upper headlights, a patriotic American flag parachute packed into the passenger seat, and a flipping rear seat that reveals a high-powered arsenal for Diesel’s “Xander Cage” secret agent duties.
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The Flame Car began life as a GTO hardtop coupe, but its metal roof is now forever gone.
“The roof was ejected — like a fighter jet’s canopy — during a crucial action sequence near the film’s finale,” says film historian and Pontiac enthusiast Thom Sherwood of Tucson, AZ. He has been the car’s proud owner since 2005, and enjoys sharing all the unique stories he has collected from the film’s crew and craftsmen.
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“I have interviewed over 75 people associated with “xXx” — from the director to the stunt drivers and everyone in-between — to document the cars built for the film and their fascinating stories.”
While he has produced a one-hour slide presentation covering his efforts entitled “Secret Agent GTO: The Pontiacs of xXx,” his ultimate goal is to publish a book which showcases these stories and the amazing behind-the-scenes photography that he has amassed.
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Meanwhile, he welcomes the opportunity to display his roaring, rolling piece of genuine Hollywood wizardry.
“Most people, when they see my car in-person, can’t believe it is the actual car from the movie,” Sherwood continues. “They are mesmerized by all the high-tech dials and switches and blinking lights inside. Unlike K.I.T.T. from “Knight Rider,” or the DeLorean from “Back to the Future,” the dashboard purposely has a haphazard look to it. It was made — according to the film’s storyline — to appear as though it was hastily assembled overnight!”
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Outside, the car is painted a unique color-shifting shade called Indigo Blasberry Prizm. But look closely, and you can tell this GTO has been driven through multiple fireball explosions and has seen some hard action while the cameras rolled. “For the most part, it remains in the exact same condition as it returned stateside from filming in the Czech Republic with scrapes and bumps and all,” according to Sherwood. “It only adds to the car’s provenance.”

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Today, the Flame Car may get “fired-up” occasionally to terrorize the streets of Tucson, but it also makes appearances at out-of-state enthusiast gatherings and promotions. Arrangements to have the Flame Car attend your event can be made through Star Car Central.
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19
Oct
11

STREETHAWK STARRING REX SMITH – STARCAR? STARCYCLE! KITT WAS THE CAR, AIRWOLF WAS THE COPTER, STREETHAWK WAS THE MOTORCYCLE!

After bumping into Rex Smith a few weeks back I realized I had not blogged about his “Starcar” show from the 80’s, “STREETHAWK”!

Rex told me he didn’t know where the original motorcycles were, and he wanted to own one, real or replica!  Well as we talked, a fan of the show and the bike showed up and had a piece of the handlebars with him, and we started talking about his project to recreate the Streethawk bike, just as the Batmobile and Knight Rider fans etc. have done!  Finding an old bike as a donor kit may be hard to do, but this is a “from scratch” project!  Hopefully our combined efforts and information will help either find an original screen used bike or come up with a sharp replica for the fans who want one, as well as one for Rex!   So – if you want to get your own starcar, but don’t have the time, money or crazy to build a Back to the Future Delorean or Ghostbuster car, here’s a lower cost quest you can join!

Here are the facts:

Street Hawk’s Specs

MODEL: Top secret government project.
TOP SPEED: 200 MPH, 300 MPH with Hyperthrust
WEAPONRY: Laser Cannon, Machine Guns, Rocket Launcher
OTHER FEATURES: Infrared Cameras, Compressed Air Vertical Lift System, On and off road capability

Street Hawk before it’s conversion

This bike is similar to what Street Hawk looked like before its conversion. There was actually a total of 15 bikes made for the show and there were three different types of bikes that were used:

* A 1983 Honda XL500 was used to make the bike used in the pilot episode.
* 3 1984 Honda XR500’s were used to make the bike during the series.
* 11 1984 Honda CR250’s were used to make the bikes for the stunt scenes during the series.

The making of Street Hawk

Street hawk was originally designed by Andrew Probert. His design was used to create the bike used in the pilot episode of Street Hawk. Below are two of his concept drawings of Street Hawk. On the top is the original concept bike, and on the bottom is the final design after producers revisions.

Below are some pictures of the bike being converted into Street Hawk.

The bikes used in the show
From what I can tell there were four different styles of bikes used during the life of the show.

STYLE 1

The first was only used in the pilot episode and did not contain the missile launcher or machine guns. This was the bike originally designed by Andrew Probert. As an interesting side note, the bike used i the pilot was built by the same team that was involved in building the cars in
Blade Runner and the Last Starfighter.

STYLE 2


The second bike, which was designed by Ron Cobb was quite different from the bike used in the pilot episode. The nose now contains a missile launcher and machine guns. The body of the bike is also very different from the bike in the pilot episode. As you can tell there isn’t nearly as much detail in the exhaust of the bike and the body of the bike is much wider. As far as I can tell this style of bike was only used in the episode “A Second Self”.

STYLE 3


The third bike as you can tell has a much rounder nose than the second, but this is the only notable difference that I can see. This bike, I believe was used in the remaining episodes except “murder is a Novel Idea”.

STYLE 4

The fourth bike is different than any of the others. It is kind of a mix between the pilot bike and the bike used in the rest of the episodes. The main differences are that the front end still has the missile launcher and machine gun but the area where these are contained is very different. The other difference is that the exhaust has no detail. It is just plain silver with no black markings

The bike today

These are pictures of the one of the bikes from when it went up for sale on EBay in September 2000. It sold for $12,000 –

Here is a newspaper clipping from Wales about Chris Bromham, the current owner of one of the original bikes (Thanks go to Jonathan Jones for the scan).

I like this Chris guy, he is ripping it up on the original bike!


One of the bikes is also located at the Cars to the Stars museum in England.

IF YOU OWN, OR KNOW WHERE ANY OF THESE BIKES ARE NOW, WE WANT TO KNOW! WE ARE TRYING TO REUNITE AN ORIGINAL OR REPLICA BIKE WITH THE STAR OF THE SHOW, REX SMITH!
For lots more info on the series, visit the site where this info came from HERE!  Always great to find hardcore fans for each of the famous screen used Movie and TV Vehicles!

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!

28
Aug
11

The Making of the A-Team van starcarcentral.com style! Mr. T GMC vandura is styling!

So you have a dream to put together the most famous van this side of the Scooby Doo van? But it’s just a rainy day fuzzy dream? Here’s the steps I took to put together the coolest van known to man, and don’t say different because Mr.T will find you and bust you up!

Well to start off, I wasn’t looking to own or make an A-team van!  As founder and creator of starcarcentral.com  I always have my eyes out for finished real or replica movie and TV cars at all the car events I attend, and I have discovered that it’s WAY cheaper and more fun to find a fan who has put in the detail work and money to get his or her dream movie car, than to try to own them all myself.   Besides, if I did that, who would drive all the cars?   So just like my Knight Rider KITT car that sort of fell into my lap (that’s another story!) the A-Team van sort of “found me” as my new project.

While looking for some cheap transportation for my son, I found myself at an auction looking at beat up Government cars.  They were all going for too much money and I felt I had wasted a morning.  But then I saw it.  A 1983 GMC solid panel van!  Well, being a star car fan, I knew my A-Team facts, and after finding out it was a LAUSD van that had been maintained unlike a privately owned delivery van, I knew I had a “deal”.  $600 later and some fees to the auction house, and I had the keys to my new full-scale model kit!

No rust, solid door, right year and $600! SOLD!

I got the keys!

True Love! Mounting roof foglights!

As Star cars go, the A-Team is not the easiest one to put together, but it is not the hardest by a long shot!  Any Batmobile is up at the top, then the back to the future Delorean and the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters would be next in line as some of the hardest, most expensive and detail oriented to recreate.  The A-Team is a lot less complex than just the wiring of a Knight Rider car.  It just needs time, money and attention to details – and not giving up!  The first step in any star car build is research, and thanks to the internet, that is easier than ever. Having done a Batmobile at the dawning of the internet, if you are building something now, you have it SOOOOO EASY!   After a lot of searching I finally found the guys I was looking for, A-team fans in England who had done a lot of the research all ready and were happy to help “educate” me.  I was the pioneer in the bat world doing all the leg work, so this was nice to have some fans who knew their way around the A-Team van.  (BTW A-team show? HUGE in England. Like Beatles/Rockstars … I don’t know why.)

After the van came home, and all the paperwork was done I started doing prep body work, banging out dents, drilling holes where I would need them, and filling in or marking holes that needed to go away.  A long drive out to a van store got all the exterior pieces that needed to be bolted on, and I cleaned out two pepboys stores of their fog lights!  8 yes EIGHT fog lights in addition to the low and high beams on the front of the van!  4 white, 4 amber.

Now here’s were the “model kit” stuff comes in.  The Fog lights were not quite right, so I had to modify all of them, cut off stone guards, and then find glass paint to make 4 of the lights yellow.  I painted the inside of the glass as yellow lights are difficult to find and to get 8 matching lights in two colors even harder!  Sometimes you have to improvise!  Anyway, the biggest transformation was obviously the paint.   I did my research, and explained to the paint shop what I wanted, and provided them with a pile of photos of the original van to use as a guide.  They did great, and it came home all new and shiny!

In 20-20 hindsight, I should have had them paint the insides, but I was trying to keep this project cost as low as possible. I had to put in a lot of extra time and cans of paint but the end result was fine.   The main difference between a “Oh, that’s supposed to be that van from the show” and “Oh my Gawd, is that the original A-Team van?” is really in the details.  I could have slapped some cool wheels on it at this point and been done.    But like most star car fans, the fun is getting the details right.    “Is that handle chrome or grey?” “Are the wipers black or chrome?” Does the red stripe go into the door frames?”  Details like that about 20 people in the world would care about or even know about.  But I believe that people can tell something is just “off”, they don’t know what it is, but once all the parts are in place the over all effect is “WOW! IS that THE one Mr. T drove?”

Besides, just like scale modelers, you are doing the details your way, and you want them to be right for YOU, otherwise it’s just gonna bug you forever. But that’s later in the build!

   

So there are phases in every star car build, prep, exterior, interior.    I was working on getting the exterior right first.  One of the big elements of the A-Team van was the super big bull bar and brush guard combo on the front of the van that Mr.T’s character B.A. put on the van.  Now, if you scroll up and look at the photo of the van without a bull bar, it looks like the van.  Most people when I told them it was missing, said “it had a big bar on the front?”  but for me to be happy,  it needed that detail.  Only one problem, the ones they used that were everywhere and in every catalog in 1983 are all gone and not for sale.  After scouring Craigslist and eBay for months for the right  bull bar I gave up and made my own.

I took a Craigslist suburban bull bar and tossed the center sections,  then welded on a section to make them longer. Next I went to a muffler shop and had them bend the brush guards to my specifications.  Then two pals helped with the welding and grinding.  A little more money to the powder-coater and it was ready to go!

Trying it on for size, after powder coating!

A long process but the bull bar finally is welded onto the front of the van!

Now there were lots of other details that I am skipping over, but mainly it went like this “Hey, I need a part for a 1983 GMC Vandura that looks like this!”

and the answer was “Oh yeah, those were everywhere in 1983, but I haven’t seen one in 20 years!”  SO again I had to find it on eBay, or make one to keep the project moving ahead.

In front of the Batman steps at Warner Bros. studios, a little crossgeeking at work!

Throughout the build I was always searching for parts, but for the most part to the untrained eye, it’s was done.  However I needed three different antennas for the roof, and more importantly specific 8 lug ribbed wheels and tires!      I was also buying stuff for the interior, police scanners, reel to reel tape players, CB radios, and lots of guns but that all went into a box for when I got to the interior.

Not one, but TWO police scanners!

In every projects story, there comes a stumbling block and for me and my van it was the wheels.  The series used all sizes of vanduras both 5 lug and the heavy duty 8 lug full ton vans.  (They didn’t break as much when you jumped them through buildings!) but finding the original rims was a daunting task. I would find one rim, but it was in montana, and it was $300 to ship it. Would I find a set of three? pass.  Found a set in Alaska, again, the shipping was prohibitive.  Then a set of “almost right wheels” came up a few miles from my house. $200 for 4!  So I grabbed them knowing that I would rather have “The exact ones” but knowing now after a years search that the perfect ones may never appear so these were better  than nothing.  So I got the only red paint designed for wheels, and started blasting and sanding and painting and masking all four over a few weeks.  Once they were done they sat and sat as I finished the exterior and started on the interior.

I figured “Hey, when I have some cash for tires, I will run down to the tire store and get my BF Goodrich tires and slap them on the van!”

Well that day came, and after telling the clerk the tires I wanted and asked how much his reply was “You can’t buy those size tires anymore, they stopped making them in 2005.”   WHAT!!!!@#$@!@   Back to Craigslist, to find 31 inch BF Goodrich tires that will fit on my 16.5 (yes, point 5!) rims.

Image At that point blowing the car up and smoking a cigar was a brief option! But I still wanted to drive it all put together!

Weeks later I had a set of 6 tires from two sources, shipped two, drove for 2 hours for the other 4, and took my rims and tires to the tire shop to finally get some rims on my van!  Well sort of!

No lug nuts, and no way will these fit!

So I got my 6 tires, and 4 rims.  I thought I was good to go, but the rims needed special hard to find lug nuts! So back to eBay and I return with the lug nuts. I GET TWO ON THE BACK!  Yeah!!! Then as they try mounting the front tires, we find out  the tires will rub and are too big.  Grr.  I know they are too big, but that is the smallest 16.5 tire they made!!!!  31,35,37 for all the big trucks.  So I have to cut the front flares to get them to fit.  I take my other two tires home.  I also notice, that the red doesn’t match the red stripe on the van.  It starts to bug me and I know I will have to repaint them.

  

Blacking out rear windows -frames – tail light frames – handle and keyhole and a few bullet holes for style!

I planned to cut the wheel wells and mount the other two front tires, but in the morning one of my tires has a sidewall leak.  I will have to go to the tire shop to swap tires now, so no way of me getting them on at home.   I give up on the tires for now and decide to start work on the interior of the van.

As most modelers and fanboys realize, no one other than the other super fans know or care about the details like they do. No one will notice or even care after you point it out that you put in so much research time and freeze framed every episode and discussed on fan chat boards what that thing is in the corner or what brand Reel to Reel tape machine is that behind Mr. T.    Again, that’s the fun part!  SO knowing full well that even I didn’t know what the interior of the A-team van looked like I had to do the work.  That ment scouring the show for glimpses of interior shots and noticing changes over the seasons and picking the interior that I wanted to emulate.   (For Knight Rider owners this can be down to an Episode as the interior dash details changed from show to show!)

Once the research was done, it was time to BUILD!

Notice the reference photos taped to the front!

Behind the back set of seats in the van were two sort of matching cabinets.  One  was well seen on screen and used in several episodes. It had a reel to reel tape recorder and a police scanner in it, so they could listen in on the bad guys they had bugged.  Correct scanner and tape recorder found (gotta love eBay!) and measurements taken, so the first cabinet came together pretty quickly.

In the back was an ammo box where they kept their guns and ammo.  Sometimes the back row bench seat was in the van, often it wasn’t so they could jump out or carry stuff.  My thought was the van was changed based on the mission, so things could change around just like it did on the show.  My ammo box got an “A-Team” logo that was not on the show, but just for some flash and name recognition.  I also added speakers for the reel to reel so I could make it all work and build those into the sides of the cabinet.   Correct details and actual function often collide, and you have to decide what is more important to you.  I like electronics and gadgets to be operational, even if they never did work in the “reel” world! An example of funciton vs screen correct is on the screen used vans they had tiny little side custom mirrors and after driving this monster in traffic I opted to use larger mirrors and custom paint them.  When it comes to safety or accuracy for a starcar you want to drive, choose safety!

Once they cabinets and ammo box were finished and painted, interior installation was next.  All along small details are being improved or corrected, and parts and bits are being searched for and tossed in a box so that I have them when I get to that point of the build.  I tried to get “MR.T” for the licence, but someone all ready had it!  There are companies that make fake licence plates and for display often star car owners will take off their plates and put on the “show correct” ones.  The A-Team van had several blue and gold California plates that changed depending on which version of the van they used on the show that week!

The final interior upgrades, carpet, upholstery etc. should always be saved until the end, so you don’t damage it, and you are free to climb all over the car and set tools etc. without worrying about leaving a mark.  I just painted the floor black and grey as a temporary look, while all the work was being done. Plus, you have to take into account your bank book and sometimes projects have to sit for a while until funds are available!

Guns in a box don't look as cool as guns all over the walls!

Less seen right side cabinets that had a desk and makeup kit inside for disguises!

 

Well after months of putting off the wheel and tire situation, I got more lug nuts, and found a better set of rims for cheap, cheap enough to make me buy a second set and sell off the first set that didn’t have enough “ribs”.  I figured I was going to repaint anyway, so if I was going to re do all that work, I would rather use more accurate rims!  So several Craigslist ads of buying and selling and trading, along with taking a saws-all to the underside of the van’s front wheel wells, I finally got 4 tires and rims on the van!   Also it’s hard to see in this photo, but there are three antenna along the top, a CB radio, Car phone antenna, and police scanner antenna.

Is it done? Well one thing that any custom car owner will tell you, is that it’s never done! There are always details to do and I am continuing to tweak, replace and improve items when I feel the urge to do some more upgrades.   Final upholstery, DVD player for the roof, finding old style “square” speaker covers, running boards with fake exhausts ports – upgrading the walls to the “correct” coin top gray rubber are all on the list.  But now Star Car Central.com has an A-team van for appearances for charity events, and more importantly a place to get out of the elements and haul stuff to events in style! As Hannibal always said, “I love it when a VAN comes together!”

Great stunt with a replica van, but you won’t see me doing this EVER!!!!

The A-Team was the original Wild boys in the 80’s! Why was it popular? Comedy, action, car crashes, blowing stuff up and shooting guns! What’s not to like?

Now I have to go tear around in my van and look for a damsel in distress who needs to hire…. THE A-TEAM!




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