Movie Cars Made in Real Life
There are car enthusiasts and there are movie enthusiasts. Let's combine their skills. Here are the most impressive movie cars made in real life.Entertainment
There are car enthusiasts and there are movie enthusiasts. But what happens when you have a combination of the two? You get dreams being turned into reality. These fanatics use everything at their disposal (finances, skills, inspiration, labor of love)to build real-life versions of the most beloved motion-picture vehicles. Here are some of the most impressive movie cars made in real life.
Dedicated father Joe Fiduccia from Monroe County, Pennsylvania knew that his son was such a big fan of the popular Transformers franchise that he took it upon himself to build the world’s first full-size replica of Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots. Weighing about 21,000 pounds, the truck is 30 feet long and 12 feet wide, with a spectacular red and blue paint job and over 16 Autobot logos.
What’s even more spectacular is that Joe did this all without any mechanical training; quite an impressive feat. It may not be able to transform but Joe’s message is just as inspiring as one you would hear from Optimus Prime himself. No matter how impossible something may seem, don’t ever be afraid to try. Today, this fan-built Optimus Prime travels all over doing good and even reuniting with some other Autobot replicas.
Eddie Paul spent decades creating hundreds of cars for television and movies, some modified and some hand-built. Eddie’s first film cars were 36 hot rods he built in just two weeks for the movie Grease. When Jay Leno suggested using Eddie to make some vehicles to promote its movie Cars, Pixar knew they needed to use the lovable Tow Mater character as the “bait”.
Eddie always wanted to build this trusty, tractor-tippin’ tow truck and Pixar told him he could have the job if he first built the racecar Lightning McQueen and female lead Sally Carrera. Piece of cake. Eddie made Lightning McQueen from a TransAm and Sally by shortening the wheelbase of a Porsche.
Then he got to work on Mater when he found a big-block ’77 Chevy dually pickup with an automatic transmission. Capturing Mater’s endearing crooked smile was the biggest challenge, which made Eddie move the radiator inside the cab to make room for his buck teeth.
It took about four or five weeks to build Mater and the job took 20 sheets of ABS plastic, six sheets of steel, and six gallons of paint. But the result definitely made Pixar happier than a “tornader” in a trailer park!
Isn’t it everyone’s dream to turn a Volkswagen Polo into a vehicle from the Stone Age? It was for this car lover and fan of the Flintstones. German engineer, Sebastian Trager, removed everything except the chassis, engine, and wheels of the vehicles and placed a wooden frame design and leopard print seat covers to create the Flintmobile.
He also added wooden benches and a cloth roof so that it could be an almost exact replica of Fred Flintstone’s main mode of transport. The only thing that wasn’t exactly like the Flintmobile was the driving power. This replica instead used a 1.3-litre engine hidden under the front roller.
Despite all the work which seemed to be a yabba dabba doo-zy for Trager, it was a yabba dabba don’t for German Police as they deemed the Stone Age vehicle too unsafe to be used on the roads. Yes, unfortunately, no windshield, wiper, seatbelts, headlights, or turn signals trump the awesomeness of cruising around in this masterpiece. On the bright side, the Flintmobile is now shown in exhibitions for car lovers and Flintstone fans just like Trager.
Jurassic Park’s Ford Explorer
Christopher Orgeron of Houston, Texas, decided to build an exact replica of the Ford Explorer featured in the sci-fi adventure classic, Jurassic Park. But given that this movie was made over 20 years ago when he made this decision, he basically had to embark on his own adventure to find all the right parts.
But Jurassic times call for Jurassic measures. He was able to find the correct model of the Explorer for just $500 on Craigslist and then spent two years putting together the replica, posting his progress to the internet.
Christopher went even further than just the paint job by installing two cathode ray tube screens to play a tour video of Jurassic Park and a brush guard to the front. The final product looks like it came directly from the movie set!
Donald Duck Car
The Norwegians seem to be big fans of Donald Duck, so much so that the Amcar Club built an actual working version of his car, a 1934 Belchfire Runabout, for a car show in 1991. This creation looks like an extremely accurate representation of its cartoon counterpart, which was portrayed to have been built by Donald from parts of different cars.
The imitation is powered by an Opel Kadett engine but all other arts were custom-made. It even includes a license plate with the number “313” which signified Donald Duck’s birthday, March 13th. This replica is now owned by Finn Pedersen, who continues to turn down offers to sell this car. And why would we? After all, he has a “special” driver’s license for the 313, signed by the duck himself.
Ecto-1 car from Ghostbusters
Who are you gonna call when you need someone to create the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters in real life? Ghostbusters fanatic Loren Baldwin spent two years searching for all the right parts and an additional six months putting them together to create his very own Ecto-1, the nifty car that transported the Ghostbusting team.
His creation included the chassis of a 1959 Miller-Meteor and the body from an old ambulance and hearse. Loren said he finally found the car by accident after eight years when he was looking for another car. It cost him $2,500 for the car itself and $20,000 for the conversion, which he claims would have been more than $100,000 without the help of local businessmen.
The conversion included the installation of a “storage tank” for ghosts and working blue lights. Loren likes to cruise his Ecto-1 through New York City and take it to charity and celebrity events. So be prepared to see something strange in the neighborhood.
From a team that captures ghosts to a gang of meddling kids investigating ghosts, it’s no mystery why Scooby-Doo fans would want to replicate this groovy vehicle known as the Mystery Machine.
It seems that several fanatics have tried their hands at recreating the main transportation vehicle for Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby-Doo. Take, for instance, this replica which was being sold by Ideal Classic Cars, a Florida-based seller of timeless automobiles.
The base vehicle is a 1972 Ford E200 Econoline van which cost more than $15,000 to paint the exterior. No details were spared as this was reportedly done by a props-person for a Disney World ride. The seats were upholstered in the Mystery Machine colors and there is even an overhead “ghost detector”. Or look at this next replica, discovered by someone in a parking lot.
There's also another that was transformed from one of the oldest, most run-down vans you would ever see!
Interceptor from Mad Max
Colin Gibson is the production designer responsible for all the cars in Mad Max: Fury Road. He found himself and his crew around Australia trying to find the right cars with the right character for George Miller’s reboot of Mad Max. Unlike resorting to CGI like so many films do nowadays, they actually made close to 200 vehicles and they all had to be functional for filming. For instance, the hero car of the film: The Interceptor.
The original version, a 1974 XB Ford Falcon Coupe, appears at the beginning of the film but is damaged and comes back on a new off-road set of wheels, new suspension, chassis, and weaponized. The movie is basically a car enthusiast's dream, so the other cool vehicles in the film deserve attention too.
The Gigahorse is the anti-hero car, made up of two 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Villes and driven like a throne by Immortan Joe. It's an absolute beast of a vehicle, complete with two supercharged V8 engines powering the doubled-up tractor wheels on the back.
Another vehicle worth mentioning is the War Rig, the central vehicle of the film. It was built on a Tatra, a Czechoslovakian offroad ex-military truck. It's a six-wheel drive and is powered by two supercharged V8s. A 1940s Chevy Fleetmaster was then welded to the back of the cab, and a Beetle cabin was mounted to the tanker.
Another important vehicle during the film is Rictus Erectus’ vehicle, BigFoot, which is a 1940s Dodge Fargo tray-top pickup truck on top of a monster truck chassis, giving it more than enough clearance to perform the stunts in the film. Another cool vehicle, and even more hardcore than its name, the Peacemaker is a modified Howe and Howe Ripsaw EV1 "Extreme Vehicle 1" with a Valiant Charger body.
And finally, the film’s craziest vehicle, the Doofwagon, which includes loudspeakers, spotlights, and a guitarist who has a flame-shooting guitar.
Knight Rider’s Kitt
It was every kid’s dream (and possibly many adults too) in the 80s to get behind the wheel of one of the coolest cars ever shown on television, the Knight Rider’s Kitt. One Kitt enthusiast decided to take it a step further and build his own Kitt.
It took him three years as Chris Palmer needed five Trans Ams, several custom parts, countless hours of work, and the generosity of his friends to achieve this dream. In the end, he believes it was all worth it as his model is a very close match to the 1982 original. Everything operates and sounds as Kitt did on the show.
Wacky Races Cars
Wacky Races was an animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera and ran for 17 episodes. Each week, a group of oddball characters and just-as-odd vehicles would compete in a cross-country race for the title of wackiest racer. But nothing could be wackier than seeing this event come to life in the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The real-life, functioning replicas of the wacky vehicles were unveiled each year until the set of 11 was completed in 2008. The cars bear no difference to the cartoon versions and the drivers dress exactly like the characters! This definitely would make a wacky good time!
Ollie Wilkey from southwest England not only owns one but two Delorean cars. It's the famous flying car driven by Doc Brown in the Back to the Future series. Ollie bought his first Delorean in May 2012 and spent 18 months working on it before purchasing a Delorean built by an ex-NASA engineer and Universal Studios contractor.
Although it’s not capable of time-traveling, this model has everything from fully programmable time circuits to a flux capacitor and a Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor. When it reaches 88 kph, a series of light and time travel sounds come on and can even be put in a hover conversion mode. Like Doc said, “If you’re going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”
What movie car is more iconic than the Batmobile? Even if you aren’t a fan of the comic or the movies, you can’t help but admit that the Batmobile is pretty cool. Australian Zac Mihajlovic definitely thought so when he set out to build his very own model of the car from the 1989 film starring Michael Keaton as the caped crusader.
He found the original parts in a Hollywood auction, which were basically intended as replacements if the car used in the film was damaged. It costs a lot to run this vehicle so Zac does events like birthdays and weddings to help cover this, however like a true hero, Zac turns down offers to sell the Batmobile so that he can team up with the Make-A-Wish foundation and make dreams come true for terminally-ill children.
Proving that the Batmobile just gets cooler with time, the following replica of the “Tumbler” Batmobile used in the Dark Knight movies went for sale in 2014 for $1 million – about the same amount it cost to build the car for the film.
With Christopher Nolan’s preference for using real things instead of CGI, about 7 of them were built for real by the custom car design crew at Warner Bros for the Dark Knight trilogy, complete with a hot-air-balloon burner for the flames coming out of the exhaust at the back.
Everything is custom-made, with more than a foot of travel for suspension, and the original prototype took over a year to build. This one that went up for sale included 44-inch tires with custom rims, a stereo with Bluetooth and iPod integration as well as a CD/DVD player and an eight-cylinder engine.
Best of all, it's totally street-legal! Maybe that means they removed the rocket launchers? I guess some men just want to watch the world burn and some just want to roam around the streets in the Batmobile!
I hope you were amazed by these movie cars made in real life by some enthusiastic fans. Thanks for reading!