If I woke up one morning and found I had too much money I think I would put together a collection of movie cars. This collection would be cars that I saw in the movies that really impressed me both in terms of the car’s personality as well as how they fit into the context of the movie.
I have been putting together this list in my head from time to time, but I think now is the time for me to organize them in a list and describe why they would be on it as well as outline just what they would be when built.
1. The Blues Brother’s Bluesmobile
This would be a fun car not only to build, but to drive around in, especially around the streets of Chicago.
2. The Bullitt Mustang
Ford has two iterations of the Mustang that are called Bullitt Mustangs, but this one should be a look alike to the one Steve McQueen drove in the movie Bullitt.
3. Vanishing Point Challenger
Kowalski made it famous as he smashed it into the blades of a pair of the biggest Caterpillar tractors ever.
4. The supercharged car of Max as seen in the Road Warrior
The movie had police cars that were tagged with Pursuit, but Max drove the one labeled Interceptor!
5. James Dean’s Little Bastard
OK, this was not in any movie, but come on, James Dean made the mid-engined Porsche famous through his unfortunate death.
6. A Mini Cooper as seen in the Italian Job
What a cool car, even without it being in a move. I wouldn’t need to transport any gold either.
7. The ratty Porsche the Paul Newman drove in Harper
There were no memorable chase scenes in Harper, but the bathtub Porsche he drove with the half finished body work stole the movie for me.
The Bluesmobile – There is a lot of great information out there on the Internet if you want to build your own, or just want to read up on what takes to turn a 1974 Dodge Monaco into an ex-Mount Prospect police car. Mine would be as true to the movie car as I could manage along with faded paint and overspray. I would have junk strewn upon the dash but have the seats done with nice vinyl or maybe even nice leather that looked the same. I would enjoy picking people up at the airport in the car and having them enjoy all the attention the car would garner.
The Bullitt Mustang – Plenty of information exists on just what it takes to build a Mustang like Steve McQueen drove. Supposedly one still exists, but the owner isn’t making it public. The tough part would be finding a donor Mustang that wasn’t all rotted out, but the stipulation is that I have too much money, right? Dynacorn International now makes new 1967 Mustang fastback bodies so that you can cut the time (and spend more money) to bring a 1967 (or 1968 ) Bullitt Mustang to life. I think I would consider a small block version instead of the big block that Steve drove in the move. The power levels that can now be achieved are not that significant and the weight differential would improve handling immensely. The exhaust note would have to have the same throaty rumble that explodes into a roar though. While I would do everything to make the outside replicate the movie Mustang I would not hesitate to improve the suspension and brakes. Newer technology in those areas would be foolish to ignore and should not detract from the look one bit. One tough part here would be the wheel and tire sizes. The original wheels were smaller diameter than what is out there today but it would look silly to have 35 series tires on eighteen inch rims so it would take some research to find the right wheels that were not too large and some excellent rubber to complement the handling.
1970 Dodge Challenger – The Dodge Charger from Bullitt was a sinister car that blasted around with power and looked even better for the fact that Bill Hickman was driving, but Vanishing Point’s star was the Dodge Challenger driven by Kowalski. We never got a peek at the engine compartment during the movie, but the sound track gave it a fantastic rumble. Was it a 440 six-pack, or the hemi? Who knows? Kowalski said it was supercharged, but we never see the engine. I imagine it would be tough to find a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T that was restorable, but they are out there. With lots of money it could even be upgraded in the brakes and suspension, too. Again, tires and wheels would be a trick as they have changed greatly since 1970. What a fun car to take cruising though.
Mad Max Police Car – Right hand drive makes it a bit tough, but finding a 1973 XB-GT Ford Falcon would really take a lot of time and money. The effort could mean a fantastic car that was really unique. The front end of the original Falcon was replaced with what was called a Concorde by a guy who worked for Ford Australia and it really made the look of the car. This car was obviously supercharged as there were many great shots of it going into action during the movie. This might be fun to take out to the western parts of the US.
James Dean Porsche 550 Spyder – This was quite the sports car in its day. It was a two-seater, aluminum bodied, mid-engined car that was made to race. Bill Hickman (known as big bastard) was good friends with Jimmy and taught him about driving fast. The Porsche was something special all right and today there are a few kit car manufacturers that allow you to closely duplicate the car. The biggest challenge is providing enough cooling air to that air cooled engine placed amidships. It would be nice to have an aluminum body, but not a requirement. Nor would it be a requirement to have a Porsche engine. There are so many VW-based engines out there with plenty of power and reliability that it would be a better choice. While it might not burn up the track like it did in the fifties this would definitely be a fun car to put on a road course. It might also be fun to drive up in the mountains exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway. The body work could hide some very sophisticated suspension goodies, too.
The Italian Job’s Mini Cooper – This might just be one of the easiest to find. The Monte Carlo Rally version would certainly do and I believe Bill Putman has one of those in his collection. This would be such fun buzzing around city streets in although it would be tempting to go wild like Jason Bourne did in the second movie.
Bathtub Porsche from Harper – Paul Newman is not only an actor, but a talented race car driver. Back in 1966 he made a movie titled “Harper” in which he played a private detective of sorts. What was really cool was the Porsche “Speedster” convertible that he drove in the movie with one door in primer. This version of the Porsche was sometimes referred to as the “bathtub” Porsche because as a convertible it seemed that the driver was down so low it could have been a bathtub. Just finding one of these original Porsche would be very expensive, but there are replica kits out there. A replica I wouldn’t mind leaving the door in primer and having old looking paint on it. It would be fun to get the engine, suspension, and tires really hooked up and have the outside look as beat up as the movie version did.