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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Cool Fantasy Vehicles - Mad Max's V8 Interceptor



Cinescape Magazine, Cool Movie Vehicles, Mad Max V8 Interceptor

Mad Max's Interceptor

If you have ever seen Mad Max: Fury Road, then you will remember the opening credits, where we see this logo, almost steering wheel shaped, with a skull in the middle and then... then, that sound. It's like your first true love, or experienced your favorite food for the first time. You revel in the moment, taking in the sights, sounds, smells, so you can remember almost every detail of those precious minutes. That's the sound of a tuned up V8 engine. That sound. Perfect harmony.

Most of us were introduced to Mad Max, when the Road Warrior came out. But it was the car that helped to make the character. Jet black, huge motor, side pipes, and of course a hidden surprise in the rear of a car (extra engine for those "just in case of moments". Flying down the road in a post apocalyptic world.

"It was the last of the V8 Interceptors".

In Mad Max, the original pursuit car was an HQ Holden Monaro, built in 1972, the car that Mad Max made famous was a Ford Falcon XB GT. It was this car that Max uses to chase down the gang that had killed his wife and child.

Ford Falcon XB GT, v8 interceptor, mad max
When George Miller and Byron Kennedy began production on Mad Max, they needed a car that could fit the demands of their final big chase scene. With a limited budget and limited time, Miller and Kennedy went to the auction and bought three vehicles. They went with vehicles that were built in Australia because parts would be readily available. Originally, they wanted to use Ford Mustangs for the pursuit cars, but the expense of upkeep at the time was too much.

The three car bought at auction were the yellow interceptor that Max drove in the beginning of the movie, Big Boppa and the Last of the V8 Interceptors. They hired Peter Arcadipane to give the car a few modifications. first thing was to design and install the Concorde front end, for a more high-performance aerodynamic nose, like the Plymouth Superbird. Next they added the supercharger and modified to Miller's taste so that every inch could be shown. So it was mounted one foot above the engine. On top of the air cleaner. The supercharger was driven by a 12v electric motor.

Next, they added in eight exhaust pipes, four to each side of the vehicle, rear and roof spoilers were added for effect and then painted "black on black" it was a gloss black and matte black finish, similar to the factory XB GT design, with a few minor differences at the rear wheel arch to the line of the rear spoiler.
the road warrior, mad max, v8 interceptor

The car was almost ready for filming. It took three months to modify it and get it visually ready, now it was Murray Smith's turn. Smith was one of three mechanics that worked on the film and he modified the car that would help in filming the high speed chases. Mostly to get the car to go in a straight line while filming.

After filming was completed for Mad Max, the producers couldn't pay some of the employees, so Murray was given the Interceptor as payment. But it was too costly to drive, so Smith put it up for sale for $7500.00. But no one was willing to buy it. Smith removed the supercharger and side exhaust pipes and then used the car to tour Melbourne shopping centers and car shows as part of promotion for the film.

The Road Warrior

As Mad Max became successful, the producers bought the car back for the sequel. Again, the car went through some modifications. The rear wheels, supercharge and pipes were changed. Large gas tanks were fitted on the back and it's appearance was given a more stressed and used look for the Road Warrior.

Instead of using the original car for all of the driving and stunt work, a second car, a 1974 Fairmont Coupe was used. The original was set up for close up and interior shots. The Fairmont was later blown up. Again, after film was completed for the Road Warrior, the car was put up for sale, which never happened. It found it's way to a scrap yard where it sat for several years, until a fan of the series Bob Fursenko spotted the car and negotiated to buy it.
mad max, the road warrior, beyond thunderdome, fury road
Fursenko also went through the car, restoring it to it's, mostly, original design. Keeping the tanks that were fitted for the sequel. Fursenko also managed to authenticate the car, going so far as to find Murray Smith, to confirmation matching VIN numbers and, of course, Murray's signature that was scratched into the interior trim of the door.

With the car ready for display, it was sent to the Birdwood Motor Museum in Adelaide and then put up for sale, when Mad Max hysteria had passed. It was purchased by Peter Nelson of Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in UK and then sold to Miami Auto Museum in Florida in 2011, unfortunately, the car is in poor condition.

Fury Road

The Interceptor was rebuilt for Fury Road. Using Ford 302 XB Fairmonts, two of the vehicles were built. One that was Black on Black and the other known as "Razor Cola" a bare metal Interceptor with a steel body kit. As seen in the movie, when Max has been taken by Immorten Joe and his gang. They salvage Max's car and strip it down and add it to their fleet.

Cameron Manewell was hired to construct the new Interceptors for Fury Road.  He ended up purchasing the Fairmonts, but didn't need them to be in pristine condition. Just driveable and
Tom Hard, Max Rockantansky, George Millercomplete. Manewell also contacted Scott Smith, a Mad Max fan who supplied the body kits for the cars to complete the design of the Interceptor.

The new Fury Road Interceptor was designed with potential replica builders in mind. The more hard to get and expensive stuff was replaced with easier to find items, as well as removing the stainless elements from the doors. There were some modifications done to make this version of the Interceptor a bit different. They removed the rear wing from the car, but added in visible marks to the back of the V8 Interceptor to show that it had been removed. The supercharger was still fake mounted over the air cleaner, but was driven directly by the engine and not with an electric motor. An electrical ignition interrupt was installed so that the car would cough and splutter at start up and a black powder injection system was installed so that the exhaust pipes would shoot carbon out. The zoomie exhaust pipes were also functional.

The Razor Cola version of the Interceptor was built similar to Max's car, with the stacked superchargers set on top of the air cleaner, driven by the engine, with the front and rear suspension raised and with Ford F-100 9-inch differentials. The spring pad spacing was identical to the Falcon except the pads were on top of the differential instead of under. This gave the car both the desired height increase as well as widening the rear wheel track. 37 x 12.5 x 15" off road tires were installed and had to be fitted into a modified set of wheel arches (stretched about 4-5" in the middle) with flares originally designed by Scott Smith. Additional bars in the back and under the doors were added. The Concorde front end was fabricated in metal with barbwire headlight covers.

Regardless of the technical babble. The car is truly unique. From the very first time it's seen on the silver screen, to Fury Road, where Max is yelling "that's my car!" The V8 Interceptor is one of those cool fantasy vehicles that everyone seems to want.

Mel Gibson, Max Rockantansky, interceptor

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