Director Guillermo del Toro is not only a maker and admirer of great films (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, Cronos) but he's a true car guy too. Proof you ask? Consider that he drives around Los Angeles behind the wheel of a fully-functioning replica of the demonic title character from the 1977 camp/horror flick The Car starring James Brolin. The director's brother built the menacing coupe to exacting detail, surely causing some road hardened LA-ites to reconsider their next act of road rage against the tinted, chopped and chromed bad boy. The only authenticity fault we could find is the taillights, they should be horizontal and sandwiched between the rear bumper bars, not vertical like the more contemporary Cadillac-based units del Toro's brother chose, tho they fit the design well and probably make the car safer as a daily driver by making the car more visible from behind. We all know that anyone unlucky enough to encounter The Car will be running ahead of it for their lives and will likely never see the back end anyway.
The film used four vehicles altogether, three of those were based on a 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III chassis. Two of the Lincoln-based cars were built as stunt vehicles meaning they only need to run and look good from the outside, and a third "hero car" was built for close up shots where more detail was required. The fourth car was built on a late 70's T-bird chassis and was fired out of a cannon for use in a scene where the car jumps a canyon during the finale'. The three stunt cars were all destroyed during the course of filming and the fourth car is said to reside in a private collection in Europe after being sold at a public auction in 1983. All the vehicles were built by George Barris and the hero car is said to have cost nearly $85,000 to create.
It seems del Toro doesn't have the exclusive on Hell-bent automotive replicas, check out the version these folks are building for George Barris himself for use as a company display piece.
"The Car" build photos
Finally, let's not forget the more recent appearance of The Car in an episode of the animated series Futurama titled The Honking that featured a cartoon look-alike that came into being when Bender the robot transformed into a "were-car" that wreaked (errr wrecked?) havoc on the people of the future.
(Originally published on MotoArigato.com)