Movie Cars Bring Excitement to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2019

You may not be a celebrity, but you sure can feel like one in one of these movie cars! Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale 2019 collector car auction is just weeks away. Browsing through the catalog, I noticed a number of interesting vehicles that have been featured in movies and television shows, as well as some tributes and re-creations of famous cars.

Each of these cars will be auctioned off in Scottsdale, Arizona starting January 12, 2019.

Lot #81 1977 AMC PACER “WAYNE’S WORLD” RE-CREATION

Excellent! This 1977 AMC Pacer “Wayne’s World” re-creation retains its original drivetrain and includes correct mismatched wheels and hubcaps, and 1992 “Wayne’s World” memorabilia.

Lot #146.1 1989 JEEP CHEROKEE CUSTOM SUV

This custom 1989 Jeep Cherokee was built in a “Jurassic Park” theme for promotional use when the movie debuted, but was never used. It was instead used as a daily driver by the builder. This Jeep is powered by a 4.0-liter EFI engine backed by an automatic transmission. It’s loaded with all power options, including the sunroof, oversized wheels and tires, 4-wheel drive, winch bumper and a 14” widened body. All of the “Jurassic Park” logos are still in place.

Lot #200.1 1988 PEGASUS CUSTOM TRANS AM “BL STRYKER”

When Knight Rider debuted on NBC in 1982, David Hasselhoff and KITT became a big hit. Possibly inspired by the success of Knight Rider and other detective shows like Columbo, Kojack, and Matlock, NBC put together a show called B.L. Stryker which debuted in 1989. The series starred Burt Reynolds and ran for just two seasons.

This 1988 Pegasus was built for two episodes of the 1989 television series “BL Stryker” starring Burt Reynolds and filmed in Palm Beach, FL. Co-director Hal Needham ordered two of these cars for the show. This one is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 engine backed by an automatic transmission.

Lot #206 1968 FORD ECONOLINE CUSTOM “MYSTERY MACHINE” VAN


This 1968 Ford Econoline van underwent a body-on restoration and is styled after the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. It is finished in the correct movie exterior color combination along with the Mystery Machine livery. The interior is a custom blue, green and orange movie-style look and is complete with a Ghost Finder instrument panel. It is powered by a factory 302ci V8 engine mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission.

Lot #234 1974 VOLKSWAGEN BUS CAMPER “SUNCHASER”


This custom-made VW bus was made specifically for the 1996 movie “Sunchaser” starring Woody Harrelson, and is still in movie condition. The look and feel of this bus was created by artists for the desert scene where Woody’s character is stranded and is picked up by a hippie character, who saves him. It’s powered by a 4-cylinder engine and a 4-speed manual transmission.

Lot #663 SHIRLEY TEMPLE’S 1989 MERCEDES-BENZ 300TE WAGON


This Mercedes-Benz 300TE Station Wagon was purchased new by Shirley Temple-Black in 1989. Shirley Temple was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and she appeared in dozens of movies. She has a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and she remains an American film icon today.

Not only was she known for her work on the silver screen, but also as a United States ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. This vehicle was her actual diplomat vehicle and still has the Czech flag receptacle installed on the fender. This Mercedes has its original paint and bodywork, and is powered by a 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine offering 217hp, backed by an automatic transmission. It’s equipped with 4-wheel power-assisted hydraulic disc brakes with ABS. It is well-optioned with a tan interior, air conditioning, sunroof, power seats, power doors and power locks.

An unusual option is the electric rear window shade. It is also equipped with the optional Acceleration Slip Control for secure traction. This car was in Mrs. Temple-Black’s care until her passing in 2014. Included with the car are copies of the registration documents in Shirley Temple’s name.

Lot #704 BRUCE WILLIS’ 1954 CHEVROLET 3100 CUSTOM PICKUP

This custom pickup was previously owned by, and built for, actor Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis had the truck built in the early 1990s. Bruce sold the truck in November 2014 to a friend in Santa Monica, CA, and it was then sold and moved to Alberta, Canada. This truck is equipped with a 350ci 8-cylinder engine, 4-speed manual transmission, headers, high rise intake with Holley carburetor, dual exhaust, Nova front clip with power disc brakes, Nova rear differential with drum brakes. The custom interior features leather power seats and air conditioning.

Lot #1352 1978 PONTIAC FIREBIRD FORMULA “THE ROCKFORD FILES”

Note: This is not the actual auction car. Image from IMCDB.

This was one of three Firebird Formulas provided by Pontiac Motor Division to the TV show “The Rockford Files,” and was used from 1978 until the series ended in 1980. With a special Solar Gold exterior and tan interior, the factory Formula 400 model was modified to look like an Esprit for the show. This car was the sound car, used for close-ups while driving, and still has the original mic box, holes drilled to run recording wiring, and a skid plate to protect the engine and transmission from damage during stunts.

It’s powered by a 6.6-liter V8 engine mated to an automatic transmission, and features air conditioning and Rally gauges, as well as power windows, steering and brakes. This car, which was purchased by actor James Garner at the conclusion of the series and driven by him until May 1981, was the only one used in the show that had power windows and an AM/FM radio. It was recently frame-on restored by noted Pontiac restorer Mike Flaherty and presents just as it would be to start a season of filming “The Rockford Files.”

Included is a copy of the dealer invoice showing the car was delivered to Pontiac Motor Division in Sherman Oaks, CA (the location Vista Group/Product Placement used to get their vehicles from GM), as well as a letter from James Garner’s production company identifying the car as an actual screen-used Firebird Formula 400, and that he drove this car during the filming of “The Rockford Files.”

Lot #1437 1967 FORD MUSTANG CUSTOM FASTBACK “GONE IN 60 SECONDS” ELEANOR


This is one of the original cars from the movie “Gone in 60 Seconds.” This car was used in the street scenes in the movie, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from Cinema Vehicle Services signed by Ray Claridge, President of Cinema Vehicle Services. Also included is license plate that was on the car in the movie. This Mustang is powered by a 351ci Ford Motorsport crate engine mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission and is equipped with Total Control suspension.

Drag Racing a Rental Escalade

This one speaks for itself. We rented a 2018 Escalade and put it through its paces. As you can see in the video, it cleaned up pretty well at the track, although it’s sort of an unfair advantage when you don’t mind letting your brand new vehicle scream down the track in 4 wheel low…

It’s also surprisingly good off road for having no ground clearance to speak of. Basically what we learned is that total carelessness can make up for quite a few vehicular shortcomings.

Not Sold Here: Honda Beat

In today’s edition of Not Sold Here, we are featuring the Honda Beat. The Beat is a special class of super small vehicles for which there is no equivalent in the United States. Smaller than a subcompact, these cars are often called “kei cars” in Japan. I featured another Japanese vehicle, the Subaru Microvan, a few years ago. The difference is that the Subaru was actually imported to the U.S. while the Honda Beat was not.

I ran across this Honda Beat at the monthly Cars and Coffee gathering in Scottsdale. It is unbelievably small in person. Although it’s hard to visualize, the Honda Beat is nearly 10 inches narrower and 400 lbs lighter than the original Mazda Miata. It really is like a street legal go-kart. The philosophy behind these kei cars is to have small, efficient transportation for the narrow streets and crowded cities of Japan. As such, they were not designed to be particularly sporty. The inline 3-cylinder engine displaces 656 cc (40.0 cubic inches) and puts out a whopping 63 horsepower. The Honda Beat was only available with a 5-speed manual transmission.

There is a law in the United States that allows vehicles 25 years or older to be imported and driven on the roads, even though the vehicles do not meet US Federal crash test standards. This “show and display” law is the reason why you might be seeing more R32 Skylines and other right-hand drive Japanese vehicles at your favorite car shows. It is very likely that this Honda was imported under that same law.

About 34,000 of these cars were built during the production run from 1991 to 1996. It is unknown how many of them have made it to the U.S., but I’m certain the number is quite small. The car drew a huge number of curious onlookers at the show – much more than some of the brand new exotics and supercars that cost many times what this vehicle is worth.

This is a very unique car and I’m glad to have run across it at the Saturday Motorsports Gathering put on by Scuderia Southwest.

Far From Home: American Cars In Iceland

I recently spent 9 days in Iceland, aside from the immediately shocking 70 degree temperature difference and foreign language on the walls it didn’t feel as foreign as I expected.. at least from inside the airport. As the rental car shuttle bus (a Mercedes with hubcaps) brought us around to our drop off location I spotted a parking lot filled entirely with cars that I had never seen before. This is when it hit me and really sunk in that I was far from home and things would be different. Continue reading

Top 6 Most Patriotic Custom Cars

An automobile can be much more than a means of transportation – it can also be a canvas for creative expression. In today’s post, we take a look at six vehicles where the owners have chosen to customize their rides in a patriotic fashion, expressing their love for the United States of America.

6). – 1929 Chevrolet “Low Flyer”

This 1929 Chevrolet has been customized in the style of a World War II fighter aircraft. It features a 235 inline-6 Chevrolet motor with dual Stromberg carburetors connected to a two-speed Powerglide transmission from a 1966 Chevelle. The exhaust features hand-made headers exiting through 4 old Harley Davidson exhaust pipes with custom drilled sheathing to simulate machine gun barrels. The interior features upholstery made from a 1940s US Army tent, an ammo can glove box, a vintage brass fire extinguisher, and a hand grenade shift knob.

5). Jet Engine Powered Mitsubishi Eclipse

Here we have a third-generation 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse. This car has a 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, an AM/FM radio with CD player, and oh yeah…a jet turbine engine in the rear hatch! This car was originally purchased on eBay for around $20,000 and brought to Arizona. It made the rounds at local car shows from approximately 2010-2013, and hasn’t been seen since. The turbine engine did work and produced an ear-piercing roar. It was also capable of shooting an impressive fireball, as pictured above. I seem to recall reading that the engine was sourced from a Blackhawk helicopter, but I cannot remember where I read that. The owner also had a MTT Y2K turbine powered motorcycle at one point. Anyway, the car is wrapped to look like a US Army fighter jet, which is why it comes in at #5 on our list of most patriotic custom cars.

4). “Fallen Heroes” Spartan II

The Spartan II is a low-production custom car that combines neoclassic styling with a Nissan powertrain. You can read my full post on the Spartan II here. After seeing that initial car, I saw another one – this time a red one! The entire rear of the car was airbrushed with a mural depicting various patriotic and religious scenes. Over the backdrop of the American flag we can see a plane that resembles a C-5 Galaxy or a C-17 Globemaster but with incorrect placement of the rear horizontal stabilizers, a tank, a submarine, a HUMVEE, and a Chinook helicopter. There are multiple eagles, including one shedding a tear.

The bottom of the mural shows a grieving woman mourning over a flag-covered coffin while being comforted by a US Marine, then a dozen flag-covered coffins in the cargo bay of a US military aircraft, a jet aircraft striking the side of Tower 2 of the World Trade Center, and finally a crucified Jesus hanging on the cross at sunset. Beneath everything are the words “In Memory of our Fallen Heroes” in gold script.

I don’t even know where to begin with this one – it blends military service with a national tragedy with patriotism with a religious element as well. It’s very over-the-top and clearly the owner has some very strong sentiment for America.

3). “Support Our Troops” Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette is perhaps the most quintessential, red-blooded American vehicle since the Model T. I spotted this very patriotic C6 Corvette convertible at a local air show. The car is white with a red interior and features a blue front air dam with white stars. On both sides, an exaggerated flag has been airbrushed starting from the fenders and extending the length of the doors.

The hood features a detailed American eagle clutching a banner in its talons that reads “Support Our Troops.” It’s not subtle, but it’s actually quite well done.

2). The 9/11 Tribute Shelby Mustang

I spotted this very patriotic Shelby Mustang at a local car meet. The red car features American flag stripes running the length of the car. On the hood is an airbrushed Statue of Liberty flanked by quotes from American Patriots such as Nathan Hale. Moving to the rear of the car, the trunk lid features an elaborate airbrushed mural of the New York City skyline with two large towers that don’t look anything like World Trade Center Towers 1 and 2, but since one has a giant antenna, I’m assuming that’s what they are supposed to be. Finally, the rear bumper says “NEVER FORGET” in large block letters.

1). 2005 Chevrolet Silverado “HEROES Truck”

When is a Chevrolet Silverado worth $200,000? When it’s the HEROES Truck. This custom show truck tops our list of Most Patriotic Custom Vehicles, and it’s the clear leader of the pack. The truck took 5 years to build and more than 50,000 man hours of labor, including 1,200 hours of airbrush artwork by Mickey Harris from Cosby, TN. The murals pay tribute to our military, firefighters, police, nurses, politicians, astronauts, and any other U.S. citizen that has shown courage and self-sacrifice. The truck is a tribute to all of our past, present, and future American heroes.

Beyond the eye-popping artwork, the truck has also been upgraded with a 540cid GM V8 engine with a BDS supercharger, modified Turbo 400 transmission, and DynaTech axles. It rides on Weld Wheels and Super Swamper tires and features a tilt body which reveals the polished stainless chassis and adjustable four-link suspension. The truck sold for $209,000 at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale collector car auction in January 2013.

Well, that wraps up our list of the Top 6 Most Patriotic Custom Cars. Thanks for reading, and have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Gold Rush Rally: GRX 2018 in Scottsdale

Pagani Huayra at the Gold Rush Rally in Scottsdale

The origins of the automotive rally date back more than 100 years to 1895 in France, when early motorsports enthusiasts came up with a point-to-point race using public roads, as there were very few race tracks at the time. Today, the tradition of a city to city road rally is as popular as ever.

One of the most elite in the United States is the Gold Rush Rally, now in its 10th year. For 2018 the route covers ten cities in ten days, stretching more than 3,500 miles from Boston to Las Vegas.

The event is open to those who can afford the steep price tag of $22,000 for the full route, or $11,000 for half of the journey. The cost includes VIP parties, lodging in first-class accommodations, and the experience of being part of a rolling party of automotive mayhem. As you might imagine, the entry fee attracts a certain type of individual with a preference for exotic, high-end supercars and luxury cars. These cars are often modified with body kits, aftermarket wheels, and exotic wraps. Think of it like your local car meet, only far more expensive.

Over 20 teams registered for the 2018 event, which has also attracted a number of high-level corporate sponsors including Barrett-Jackson, Michelin Tires, Lexus, and Vorsteiner just to name a few. The rally features support vehicles, police escorts, and private track experiences along the way.

While I am not part of the Gold Rush Rally nor am I a sponsor or a vendor, I do have an appreciation for exotic cars and for the lifestyle, so I decided to head out to Scottsdale to check out the cars and the teams on Day 9 of the ten-day event.

Vorsteiner Ferrari

Sunday, June 1, 2018
The cars rolled into the parking lot at Luxury Auto Collection after spending the night at the 5-star Fairmont Princess Resort. LAC was the host of this event, with breakfast for the teams and a chance to see the GRR teams for the public. I arrived half an hour early and was greeted by a crowd of 30-40 car spotters already in place, lined up along both sides of the road. Telephoto lenses, stabilizers, and DSLR cameras were the order of the day. Continue reading

Intermeccanica Indra 2+2 Coupe

Now HERE’s something you don’t see every day! In fact, I would be quite surprised if you had heard of an Intermeccanica Indra before. I certainly had not, until I was standing in front of this one at the monthly Cars and Coffee car show in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was vaguely familiar with Intermeccanica because of the Italia, the car which took me years to figure out what it was.

Founded in Torino, Italy in 1959, the company began producing small numbers of sports cars such as the Apollo GT. I think the design of the Indra is very representative of what was happening in Italy in the 1970s. You can see a little bit of everything in this car, yet it doesn’t look like a carbon copy of a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or DeTomaso. The Intermeccanica has some distinct design elements, like the shape of the quarter windows, the flares over the wheel arches, and the vents on the front fenders.
The Indra is an exceptionally rare car, with only 127 examples completed between early 1971 and mid-1974. According to the website intermeccanica.org, the breakdown was approximately 60 convertibles, 40 coupes and 27 two plus twos. That makes this yellow 2+2 the rarest of the rare! This one is well-equipped with an automatic transmission, power windows, air conditioning, a stereo, and a full complement of gauges.With a Chevrolet 350 under the hood, maintenance is both affordable and easy on the powertrain. I spent a few minutes chatting with the owner of this wonderful and unique car. He told me the car has had a complete restoration on the paint and body, with everything sorted out. Standing next to it, I can attest that for a 1970s Italian car, this one was in stunning condition.

The one custom touch the owner made was to have the Intermeccanica logo embroidered on the seats – he said it didn’t come that way from the factory, but he really liked it.

I really enjoyed learning about this interesting piece of automotive history, and I hope that you enjoyed reading about it!

 

Not Sold Here: Seat Ibiza

There are certain cars that become world famous simply because so many of them have been produced. In America, one of the most famous cars ever built is the Ford Model T. In Germany, the Volkswagen Beetle is the car everyone knows. Japan has produced more than 40 million Toyota Corollas worldwide. And over in Spain, the most commonly produced automobile is the SEAT Ibiza.

Most folks in the U.S. have never heard of this car, but SEAT has produced more than 5.4 million of them since 1984. It’s a supermini car, or what we could call a subcompact in the American market. It is sold in Mexico, which is where this one came from. With a base price around $11,000 USD, the Ibiza is similar to the Nissan Versa, another subcompact made for the global market.

The SEAT Ibiza isn’t a terribly interesting car. It’s not limited production, doesn’t have any unique or exclusive features, and it’s not a top performance machine. The only interesting thing about this car was that I saw it driving around in Phoenix, Arizona which is noteworthy because this car is not offered for sale in the United States.

Don’t quote me on this as I am not a lawyer, but I believe that foreign citizens are allowed to bring their cars into the US for personal use for a period of one year. The car must not be sold during that time, and is required to have liability insurance through a US provider. It’s interesting that we don’t see more cars from Mexico and Canada driving around our roads. You never know what you might spot just by keeping your eyes open!