Living the dream in Mad Max’s machine
To movie goers of a certain age range, no car is more appealing than this, and none has been since.
Mad Max’s iconic car, known in the films as the Pursuit Special Interceptor, had it all.
As standard, the hulking Ford Falcon coupe is already a menacing machine but, to paraphrase from an almost as legendary band from the same era, Mad Max’s version was turned up to 11.
It had a supercharger that could somehow be turned on and off with movie magic, that droop-snoot front end, the roof spoiler and all the extras you’d expect of a car that patrols a post-apocalyptic dystopia.
Such is the demand from enthusiasts to own a Mad Max car of their own, Gordon Hayes and his business partner Grant Hodgson have built 12 replicas of the classic movie car over the past 17 years.
This is the final one. Mr Hayes said it all started when, as a child, he had a chance meeting with the original Mad Max movie car. It was on display in Victoria in 1978, before the release of the first movie in 1979.
“The car was in the local shopping mall in Boronia in Melbourne and it was just sitting there with a little board telling you they’d made the movie, ” Mr Hayes said.
“Nobody knew anything about the film at that stage. “But the sign said the only movie that had been shot with faster footage was Steve McQueen’s film Le Mans.
“I thought it was going to be a pretty interesting film but I thought the car was amazing, because in 1978 it was seriously radical.”
“Nobody had ever dreamt of putting flares on an XB coupe because their quarters are so big anyway, so the thing just looked totally outrageous. It was in really good condition, too, apart from where kids had dripped their ice-creams on it, ” he said.
Mr Hayes said the car in the second movie appears significantly more weathered and banged up because it is set about five years after the first film.
The car pictured here is a replica of the car from Mad Max II: The Road Warrior. After I took these photos, the opportunity to drive this stunning machine fulfilled a fantasy I’d had since I was nine years old.
Of course, that was to become Mad Max.
Speed limits meant I couldn’t get too mad but simply driving this beast is a brutal assault on the senses. Everything from the original car was there but, most importantly of all, there was the red pull-up switch on the gear lever to “engage” the supercharger.
The huge Weiand blower, wearing the classic “Scott hat” intake, dominates the look of the iconic car, and Mr Hayes has got that perfectly correct. As in the original, the button operates an electric motor to drive the supercharger belt. Even the fake supercharger whine is the same as in the movie.
Mr Hayes said he has driven this car around Barbagallo Raceway and hit 180km/h. I reached nowhere near that but, for about 15 minutes, I was Mad Max, at least in my own mind.
Then, all too quickly, it was back to being sensible Alex.
Which is fine, because no one wants to see me in leather pants anyway.
© The West Australian
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