MICHAEL ECKERSON March 21, 2023 Events
These machines add motion to the shows we love. The actors that portray our favorite TV and movie characters are almost always backed by an equally unique vehicle with its own personality. These chrome co-stars are more than just appliances. These icons serve as transportation from frame to frame and add excitement to the story line. Sometimes they carry the story equally as well as any supporting actor. Sometimes they even upstage their human counterparts. In either case, they certainly hold their own on screen, and sometimes even well-after the series or franchise has been shelved.
This is where Star Car Central shines. They are a Hollywood, California based Television and Motion Picture vehicle group of owners/builders of famous vehicles that they make available for the fans. Their vehicular lineup make appearances at charity events, television broadcasts like the Hollywood Christmas Parade and many other local and national events. We were fortunate to catch up with a small group of the lineup at a recent gathering at Caffe Luxxe in Malibu, California.
Recognizable. Iconic. Americana.
The early morning event in Malibu was blanketed in coastal fog. The location was just over the hill from the Pacific Ocean which made for a cool morning. The perfect setting for a rich cup of craft coffee from Caffe Luxxe to start the day.
The Star Cars began arriving early, greeted by Fireball Tim who coordinated the event. Any of you who don’t know or follow Fireball (his legal name), you should do so immediately. I know of few other influencers that have such a knowledge of cars, and he has an unmatched personality that is warm and inviting. It’s easy to understand his popularity. Fireball greeted each car owner as they arrived and presented them with a gift bag along with directions of placement in the small but suitable lot in the complex in front of Caffe Luxxe.
Fireball interviewed each Star Car owner once they had settled in . He posted the short videos to his popular blog at fireballtim.com. He is friends with many automotive personalities including Chip Foose, Henrik Fisker, Jay Leno and the late George Barris as well as celebrities including Danny Bonaduce, Dick Van Dyke, Keanu Reeves and Ozzy Osbourne to name a very few. Their interviews can be found on Fireball’s blog. Definitely worth a click.
The unique show took shape quickly as each of the vehicles arrived to a growing crowd of appreciative onlookers. As I walked by and between these immediately recognizable icons of TV and movies it created moments that took me back to the times when these vehicles were such a huge part of my consciousness. These cars had personality. The thought of the Ford Gran Torino nicknamed the “Striped Tomato” of Starsky and Hutch still plays in reels in my memories as they smoked the tires around corners in hot pursuit of the “perp”. The excitement of the Bullitt Mustang in high-speed chase of the black Charger through the streets of San Francisco. The electric Delorean time machine which, as we all know, requires a power input of 1.21 gigawatts to operate the flux capacitor when the Delorean has achieved 88 miles per hour. Thus transporting us into the future, the past, or anywhere we find ourselves tuned-in to these fabulous pieces of entertainment history. And even without a time machine, we can be transported by mere site, as witnessed by so many in attendance at this Star Cars show.
Check out starcarcentral.com for their television and motion picture car blog, and join them at their next Star Car event, or request one or more of these screen icons at your event
This is the actual car used in the film. The car was originally painted Pharaoh Gold with a gold interior. At some point someone put in very light leopard print cloth upholstery with the same leopard print cloth wrapped around the dash – this is how it was in the film. It has a ‘73 grille and a small sticker on the windshield that says “Rock & Roll”. It has the 8.2L engine.
Patricia Arquette owned it for a short time before the film was released. She had already given the car away to her “bald friend Rob” before the movie ever came out.
The two-door Ford Gran Torino, which features bright red paint, with large white stripes on both sides appeared in 92 episodes of the television series which premiered on April 30, 1975. The series starred Paul Michael Glaser as Detective David Starsky and David Soul as Detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson. Under the radio call sign “Zebra 3”, they were known for tearing around the streets of fictional Bay City, California.
The Torino was nicknamed the “Striped Tomato” by Hutch in the episode “Snowstorm”, and fans quickly embraced the colorful nickname.
A remake film was released on March 5, 2004. The film stars Ben Stiller as Starsky, Owen Wilson as Hutch.
In the Back to the Future series, the Delorean makes use of an ordinary gasoline combustion engine to reach the 88 mph speed necessary for it to time travel. The time machine is electric and requires a power input of 1.21 gigawatts to operate, originally provided by a plutonium-fueled nuclear reactor.
Different parts from three 1982 Deloreans were used in the first film. A Dodge Polara hubcap made a suitable base for the cinematic nuclear reactor. All manner of aircraft parts and lights were added for effect. In one of the first scenes, carbon dioxide extinguishers were hidden inside the Delorean to simulate the exhaust effect.
The wildly popular Austin Powers films parody the plots and characters of 1960s spy movies and the swinging London fashion scene of the era.
The original Shaguar was a 1970 E-Type Jaguar used to promote 1999’s ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’. This show-piece faithfully replicates the Union Jack draped over an updated version of the classic British roadster.
In the short-run series, owner and publisher of the Daily Sentinel newspaper, Britt Reid [Van Williams] has a secret life as the masked vigilante, the Green Hornet. He fights crime with the assistance of Kato [Bruce Lee], Britt’s crime fighting partner, and his weapons-enhanced car, the Black Beauty.
There were two original Black Beauty cars customized by Dean Jeffries for the series. Black Beauty 1 is located in the Petersen Automotive Museum collection and Black Beauty 2 has been fully restored and is located in a private collection in South Carolina.
The Back to the Future films instantly made this the import truck everyone wanted. After the first movie was made, the original Toyota SR5 used in filming was given away in a contest and was destroyed in a crash. The studio had to duplicate it all over again. But after the trilogy wrapped up, the truck just became someone’s daily driver, and actually ended up in the hands of a Mexican drug cartel.
This owner faithfully replicated Marty’s dream truck.
The 1977 Trans-Am Special Edition became famous after being featured in Smokey and the Bandit. The 1980 Turbo model was used for Smokey and the Bandit II. Four 1977 Firebird Trans Ams were destroyed in the first film. A promotional car owned by Burt Reynolds sold for over a half of a million dollars.
Smokey and the Bandit was the second-highest-grossing film of 1977, second only to Star Wars.
We have lost the great Burt Reynolds but the Bandit lives on in our high-speed memories whenever we see one of these eye-catching muscle cars of the 70s.
The horn plays the first twelve notes of the recognizable song “Dixie”. The Duke boys, Bo and Luke are known for their adventures and misadventures in the weekly action-comedy television series that aired on CBS from January 26, 1979, to February 8, 1985.
The opinions on the number of Chargers used, and consequently destroyed in the series varies between 255 and 325. It is reported that 17 of the original show Chargers still exist in various conditions.
KITT is the acronym of two car characters from the TV series Knight Rider. Knight Industries Two Thousand [KITT}, which appeared in the original TV series Knight Rider, and the other as the Knight Industries Three Thousand, which appeared first in the two-hour 2008 pilot film for a new Knight Rider TV series. In both instances, KITT is an artificially intelligent electronic computer module in the body of a highly advanced, robotic automobile.
Bullitt contains one of the most exciting car chases in film history, and a sequence that revolutionized Hollywood’s standards. The director called for maximum speeds of about 75–80 miles per hour, but the cars reached speeds of over 110 miles per hour.
One of the Bullitt Mustangs was sold to an employee of Warner Bros. The car changed hands several times, with McQueen at one point making an unsuccessful attempt to buy it in late 1977. It’s current owner lives in Tennessee and whose father bought the car for $6,000 in 1974. The stunt Mustang used for filming was found in 2016 at a junkyard in Mexico. The car was verified by an automobile authentication expert who conclusively determined from the vehicle’s VIN and other identifying information.
Herbie the Love Bug is a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, although there are several different years of Beetles used for this little up-start.
Herbie is featured in several Walt Disney motion pictures starting with the 1968 feature film The Love Bug. Throughout most of the franchise, Herbie is distinguished by red, white and blue racing stripes, a racing-style number “53”.