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Show Rods

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Mad Max Falcon

 

 

The History Of The Mad Max Interceptor

The car started life as a standard 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon Coupe, a car exclusive to Australia. And for the first few years of its life, this is pretty much how it stayed.

Then, in 1976, film makers Byron Kennedy and George Miller began pre-production on Mad Max. They needed a vehicle to feature in the film as the black police 'Interceptor' - a high performance, evil looking Australian car.

Around the same time, Murray Smith was hired on as part of the Mad Max crew. One of his tasks was to put together the Interceptor, and he started by acquiring the XB Falcon mentioned above. Then Murray, along with Peter Arcadipane, Ray Beckerley, and various others, proceeded to modify the car to what was needed for the film. The main modification is obviously the Concorde front end, and the supercharger protruding through the bonnet (which is for looks only). The Concorde front was a fairly new accessory at the time, designed by Peter Arcadipane at Ford Australia as a showpiece, and later becoming available to the general public due to its popularity.

The car also received quite a few other, more minor modifications, to complete the package. There was only ever one black interceptor built for the first Mad Max. For a fairly extensive list of exactly what was done to the car, see below.

Following the production of Mad Max, the car was no longer needed, and was modified once more to make it suitable for use as a standard road car (basically by removing the blower and the side pipes). It was then toured around Melbourne to shopping centres, car shows and so on as part of the promotion done for the film. Following this promotional work, the car was finally put up for sale. Surprisingly though, no one at the time was actually interested in buying it!

In the mean time, this low budget Australian film had gained worldwide success, prompting a sequel. The black interceptor was acquired back by Kennedy Miller for use once more. The blower and pipes were put back, although different to the originals, along with changing the rear wheels. The car was further modified to fit the setting of the new film, with large gas tanks fitted in the back, and its general appearance given a more used and stressed look. The front end was also modified by removing the bottom section, probably to give more clearance at the front in the outback locations it was required to be driven in for the second film.

In addition to modifying the original car, a duplicate car was also put together for Mad Max 2. It seems that the duplicate car was used for most of the driving sequences, while the original car was used for all the close ups and interior shots. When eventually the story required for the black interceptor to be destroyed in a spectacular crash and burn up sequence, the duplicate car was used, leaving the original more or less intact. However, its use for the filmmakers was over, and the car was collected by a used metal dealer from Broken Hill for scrap, along with several other vehicles from the film, and destined to be destroyed for ever.

Although it was supposed to be scrapped, the new 'owner' was reluctant to destroy this important car, and instead it was ultimately passed on to a colleague, Ray Evans, from Adelaide. The car then sat outside Ray Evans' scrap yard for more than three years, and was the subject of much interest.  When a great fan of this film series, Bob Fursenko, spotted the car, he realised he had to have it, and after negotiations, Bob became the Falcon's new owner. Bob recalled that the car was not in too bad a condition. The front end was smashed, as seen in the film, but generally the car was sound. Off the car went to Franklin Side Crash Restorers where Tony and Mario Romeo went to work on the car. A number of months and $25,000 Australian dollars passed and the car was complete. The car was restored to its original former glory, but retaining the tanks fitted in the sequel.

Eventually Bob located Murray Smith, and managed to get a number of photos of the car with its registration number still fitted at the Kennedy Miller studios, and obtained confirmation that this was in fact the original car which Murray had built. Bob also obtained photos and information from Ray Evans confirming the cars authenticity. Bob needed to recoup some of his outlay, so the Interceptor was put to work at shows and exhibitions. Bob first put it into the Launceston Show, charging a dollar each for a look. It was a phenomenal success.

Eventually Bob's other interests took residence, and the car was loaned to the National Motor Museum of Australia, at Birdwood, South Australia. The car became the museum's greatest attraction, which is not surprising, as the car must rank as THE most famous Australian car, with the Mad Max films being the most successful Australian film series.

In 1993 the World Forum for Motor Museums was held in Germany. One of the participants at the forum was John Cashen, the director and curator of the Birdwood Museum. Another was Dr Peter Nelson, the compulsive collector of film and TV vehicles and owner of 'Cars of the Stars Motor Museum' in Keswick, in the English Lake District. Peter and John eventually met at the forum and when John mentioned that they had the Interceptor at their museum Peters ears pricked up. Although John would not disclose the name of the owner of the car, he promised he would pass on Peter's interest in the car to the owner. Bob Forsenko phoned Peter one lunchtime and disclosed his asking price for the car. After a number of air mail letters and faxes, and after Peter had received documents and photographs proving conclusively that the car was the original one, a deal was struck.

The car then went to the 'Cars of the Stars Motor Museum' in England with other famous cars like The Batmobile, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Munster's Koach, Mr Bean's Mini, FAB 1, KITT, etc etc. However, the Interceptor is one of Peter's favourites. "This is the one and only Mel Gibsons Mad Max Police Interceptor" says Peter, "Any others are obviously fakes, I wouldn't part with this car for a million Australian dollars simply because it is such an important car, although I hope someday it will return to its native lands because it is a big part of Australian history".
I'm not sure if Peter received the "million dollars" for the Interceptor or not, but as of May 2011, the Interceptor, along with the rest of Cars of the Stars and the James Bond museum was sold. As of December 2011 it is now part of the "Dezer Collection" in Florida

My Source: http://www.madmaxmovies.com
Note from Author: Much of the "History" information and images on this page are provided courtesy of Cars Of The Stars. Obviously I cannot stop the information and images reappearing elsewhere on the web, but if you do copy anything from this page, please have the courtesy to link the Cars Of The Stars web page as your source. Thanks.

Other Vehicles

  • Max's yellow Interceptor was a 1974 Ford Falcon XB sedan (previously, a Victorian police car) with a 351 c.i.d. Cleveland V8 engine and many other modifications.
  • The Big Bopper, driven by Roop and Charlie, was also a 1974 Ford Falcon XB sedan and also a former Victorian Police car, but was powered by a 302 c.i.d. V8. The March Hare, driven by Sarse and Scuttle, was an in-line-six-powered 1972 Ford Falcon XA sedan (this car was formerly a Melbourne taxi cab).
  • The Nightrider's vehicle, another Pursuit Special, was a 1972 Holden HQ LS Monaro coupe.
  • The car driven by the young couple that is destroyed by the bikers is a 1959 Chevrolet Impala sedan.
  • Of the motorcycles that appear in the film, 14 were KZ1000s donated by Kawasaki. All were modified in appearance by Melbourne business La Parisienne one as the MFP bike ridden by 'The Goose' and the balance for members of the Toecutter's gang, played in the film by members of a local Victorian motorcycle club, the Vigilantes.

By the end of filming, 14 vehicles had been destroyed in the chase and crash scenes, including the director's personal Mazda Bongo (the small, blue van that spins uncontrollably after being struck by the Big Bopper in the film's opening chase).

Links

 

 

 
Mad Max Falcon

Mad Max Falcon
Mad Max Interceptor in underground garage
Mad Max Falcon
The Toe Cutter chase
Mad Max Falcon
Publicity shot on Farm Road, thanks to Bill Cooper for this picture.
Mad Max Falcon
Melbourne Hot Rod Show, January 1979, with the Goose bike in the background. Thanks to Howard Nessen.
Mad Max Falcon
Shopping Centre display for Mad Max. Thanks to Graeme Row.
Mad Max Falcon
Opening chase
Mad Max Falcon
Max and the Interceptor
Mad Max Falcon
In preparation for Mad Max 2, thanks again to Bill Cooper.
Mad Max Falcon
From mad Max II with camera rig attached
Mad Max Falcon
With Mel at Stephens Creek
Mad Max Falcon
Wrecked Double
Mad Max Falcon
Out the front of the Scrap Yard - front view
Mad Max Falcon
Out the front of the Scrap Yard - rear view
Mad Max Falcon
Out the front of the Scrap Yard, showing the blower setup
Mad Max Falcon
Fursenko Shopping Centre display
Mad Max Falcon
Fursenko Shopping Centre display
Mad Max Falcon
Fursenko Exhibition Buildings display
Mad Max Falcon
Birwood Motor Museum (thanks to Nick Frame)
Mad Max Falcon
Delivered to Cars of the Stars
Mad Max Falcon
Delivered to Cars of the Stars
Mad Max Falcon
Interior
Mad Max Falcon
Inside Cars Of The Stars Motor Museum
Mad Max Falcon
Mad Max Interceptor with Magnum Ferrari and The Saint Volvo
Mad Max Falcon
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mad Max Interceptor
     

 

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