I think one of the most iconic movie franchises is the Australian film series of ‘Mad Max’ and even though it’s nearly 45 years since the first movie ‘Mad Max’ hit the screens in 1979, I still love watching them … as weird as they are!
Created by George Miller and Byron Kennedy and labelled as a ‘post-apocalyptic dystopian action film series’, the first 3 movies ‘Mad Max’ (1979), ‘Mad Max 2’ (1981) and “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ starred Mel Gibson, while ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015) saw Tom Hardy take the lead role.
Even reading the series synopsis takes me back to 1980 and my first viewing of ‘Mad Max’ at Adelaide’s Vogue cinema in Unley Road:
‘The Mad Max series follows the adventures of Rockatansky, a police officer in a future Australia which is experiencing societal due to war and critical resource shortages. When his wife and child are murdered by a vicious biker gang, Max kills them in revenge and becomes a drifting loner in the Wasteland. As Australia devolves further into barbarity, Max finds himself helping pockets of civilisation, initially for his own self-interest, but his motives always drift into more altruistic ones.’
Mainly filmed in outback Australia and initially with very modest budgets, the three things that automatically come to mind to me when Mad Max is ever mentioned are Mel Gibson, Tina Turner (who starred in ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’) and Max’s 1973 Ford XB Falcon GT hardtop MFP Pursuit Special.
From the moment what is affectionately known as the ‘Mad Max V8 Interceptor’ was first seen in 1979, this jet-black Ford Coupe with 351-cubic-inch (5.8 litre) Cleveland V8 motor, custom nose, roof and boot spoilers, flared guards, and huge Weiand supercharger and injecting hat sticking out of the bonnet was always destined to be a movie motoring icon.
Only one movie version of the Interceptor was originally built, and was given to the stunt driver/mechanic, Murray Smith as payment after the film exhausted its budget building the car. Kennedy Miller then bought the car back for the filming of ‘Mad Max 2’ after which it was sold to a wrecker in Broken Hill, then to another wrecker in South Australia until Adelaide racer Bob Fursenko found it and restored it.
Such was the notoriety of the V8 Interceptor, the car was then shown widely around Australia until being sold to Cars of the Star Motor Museum in England where it remained for 19 years until the museum closed and the entire collection was sold to the Miami Auto Museum which then became known as the Orlando Auto Museum in Florida, where it now resides.
But Mad Max’s V8 Interceptor hasn’t been totally lost to Australia as over the years many replicas of the car have been built and sold around the country. In fact, if you’d like to buy one, drive.com.au recently ran this article about one:
Should you consider building a V8 Interceptor to hopefully make a tidy profit …… it may pay for you to look at this 2015 article from James Ward on drive.com.au which gives a great insight into the trials and tribulations of replicating a true Aussie Icon