The original Mad Max car almost got sold for scrap metal!
In 1979, a low-budget Australian film directed by George Miller left a lasting impact on film history and post apocalyptic fiction forever: Mad Max, the story of one man taking on a mad biker gang in a dystopian world. A box office success, Box Office Mojo reports Mad Max made more than $8 million, and the Mad Max franchise of films has grossed more than $68 million. With a fourth installment– Mad Max: Fury Road in production, many fans are curious as to what role Max’s iconic car, the “Interceptor,” will play.
Mad Max‘s Interceptor was originally a manufacturer standard 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon Coupe, an Australian exclusive, and for the first three years of its life, it remained standard. However, in 1976, when pre-production for the Mad Max film began, Miller and producer Byron Kennedy were looking for a car to fit the role of Interceptor. According to the Mad Max Movies blog, they wanted something black, with high-performance specs and a dangerous look.
An XB Falcon was purchased and modified for filming, with production staff adding a Concorde front and appearances-only supercharger prop to the front end of the car. The roof spoiler, trunk spoiler and flares were all modified with fiberglass. The car was painted black on black, with black gloss on the car’s top half and black satin on the bottom. The tires were B. F. Goodrich T.A Radials, though if one were building a replica of the Interceptor, a brand such as Nitto tires would make an excellent substitution.
Only one Interceptor was used in the production of Mad Max, though a duplicate was created for driving scenes in the sequel, The Road Warrior. Close-ups and interiors were still shot in the original Interceptor for continuity’s sake, but much of the highway shooting was done using a stunt car. During the crash sequence in the second film where the Interceptor was destroyed, the stunt Interceptor was actually demolished.
The original Interceptor, while unharmed, was of no use to the production staff and was sold to a metal scrap dealer. The dealer recognized how important the car was, was reluctant to destroy it, and eventually sold it. It shifted hands again and ended up in the possession of Bob Fursenko, who invested more than 25,000 Australian dollars into repairing and reviving the legendary automobile.
Fursenko spent six months working on rebuilding the Interceptor, which could not be brought back to its initial “Mad Max” specs due to the addition of parts for the filming of Road Warrior, according to MadMaxInterceptor.com. Eventually, Bob chose to display the car and charge viewers a dollar to take a look at it, in an attempt to gain back some of his investment. The first showing was a huge success, and the tent it was set up in was constantly crowded. After a two-week tour of Tasmania, Fursenko made back much of his investment on the repairs. Since then, the car has shifted hands several times, and finally settled down as a part of the Dezer Collection (Inventory.DezerCollection.com) in Florida in 2011.
After a 27-year absence, Mad Max returns in the franchise re-imagining Fury Road, in production now. As part of a press release last year in October, the new Interceptor model was revealed to the assembled press, a sort of hybrid of the old Interceptor design and more modern muscle cars. No release date has been set for the new Mad Max film, but post-apocalyptic fans are understandingly excited about the great Australian film franchise’s return to the silver screen, and the return of the Pursuit Special Interceptor.
What are you most looking forward to about the new Fury Road film? Share your thoughts in the comments.