Cars That Meet Their Maker

This is a touchy subject for me, as watching cars meet their end is always a sad thing. Cars are loyal and reliable (unless they are Italian) friends, butlers and chauffeurs; they transport us to work, give us pleasure, whisk us to important meetings and special occasions. They save us time (unless they are Italian) and shelter us from bad weather. An old car wears its dents and scrapes, rips and tears, stickers and badges with pride, and to see one crushed is like watching the dog in Marley & Me going to doggy heaven (yep, I welled up at that, too).

Some cars are the real stars in movies, but how many of them meet their maker? I’ve watched every car/road movie ever made and it’s these following examples that stand out and are memorable to me. If you can think of more examples, please let me know in the comments box.

Herbie The Love Bug

One death in particular yanked on my heart strings when I was at infant school. Thinking about it, the following car (along with the General Lee) sparked my interest in cars. Because our teacher was off sick and their weren’t enough stand-ins to cover, two classes merged together to watch Herbie The Love Bug. I was besotted with the lovable and magical little car… until he tried to commit suicide, that is. Yes, that’s correct: suicide. After his racecar driver owner buys an Italian sportscar, Herbie gets jealous, smashes up the red Lambo and trundles (almost drunkenly) around the streets at night, crashing into to things, before mounting a bridge to try and launch himself into a river. The feeble noise Herbie made combined with his desperate attempt to find grip for his launch really got to me and I remember biting my lip so I wouldn’t cry in front of all my mates (and girls).

I made the clip, and despite being over 2 minutes long (I had to add the jealous scene as well as the attempted suicide), it tells a tale all on its own.

 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

The next car to roll into the eternal junkyard is a very precious machine indeed. Whilst I love the movie and my friends usually laugh at the following scene, I just hate it. I know it isn’t a real Ferrari California that takes a dive in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, but all the same, it’s horrible to watch.

 

Christine

Christine is in my top 5 of favourite movies and novels of all time. I can watch this film over and over and it never wears thin – the soundtrack is great too. Christine is a gorgeous 1958 Plymouth Fury, a jealous and hate filled machine. There are many cool scenes in the film, along with some impressive effects for the period. Although Christine goes on a killing spree and miraculously heals after taking a beating, she ultimately meets her end when she is run over and crushed into a cube of twisted metal. Heart breaking…

 

 

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

The Ford Falcon with that big supercharger bursting through its hood is one of cinema’s coolest and meanest rides. Four decades after Mel Gibson completely stacked his beloved Falcon in this movie, the automotive world has been replicating the ‘used and abused’ look in recent years. The popular ‘murdered-out’ look combined with the ‘rat’ look surely take their roots from the Mad Max films.

 

Vanishing Point

This is my favourite cult movie. Kowalski works for a car delivery service, and after taking on a 1970 Dodge Challenger, he takes a bet that he can deliver from Colorado to San Francisco in 15 hours. Unlike the silly road movies like Smokey and The Bandit, this has a more serious side to it with flashes of back story telling you what kind of a person Kowalski is. When I first watched this as a kid, I didn’t really get why the film ended the way it did, but the more you watch it and understand the moral thread, it makes a statement. Just go watch it if you haven’t already.

Kowalski is probably the coolest guy ever to grace the big screen. Every man wants to be him.

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BMW Videos: The Hire

BMW 'The Hire'

BMW ‘The Hire’

If you follow Gargling Gas you’ll know the guy behind the words lives in a bit of a fantasy world. Along with muscle cars, sleepers and bad BMWs, there’s a back drop of horror, a world in which driving recklessly hails you a hero.

Arnie Cunningham and Christine

Arnie Cunningham and Christine

A perfect world would see the movies Christine, Smokey and The Bandit, The Car, Drive and The Cannonball Run all merged into one surreal universe of police chase and murder, a dimension in which I’d emerge the anti-hero.

Years back, BMW tapped into this kind of fantasy by releasing a series of 10-min videos. Played by Clive Owen, ‘The Driver’,  a hired hand with expert driving skills, finds himself behind the wheel of a BMW.  Each episode showcased the latest BMW in a short and snappy storyline.

Unsurprisingly, BMW’s The Hire increased sales, and because they featured Fight Club director David Fincher and the likes of Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, John Woo, Ang Lee, Guy Ritchie, Madonna, James Brown and Gary Oldman, they won a few awards.

Check out the episode ‘Star’ below, written by Guy Richie and starring wife at the time, Madonna.

Our real star of the show is the M5, of course.

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Steve McQueen’s Ferrari 275 GTB Graces Mulholland Drive

Steve McQueen - Ferrari 275 GTB

Steve McQueen – Ferrari 275 GTB

I was recently invited to attend a car TV show launch in London featuring a restored 1962 Sebring Sprite raced by Sir Stirling Moss. The show was National Geographic’s Car S.O.S and, having the privilege of watching the screening of the first episode, I learnt a certain movie star raced in the same car and series as Moss.

Car SOS - Sir Stirling Moss' 1962 Sebring Sprite

Car SOS – Sir Stirling Moss’ 1962 Sebring Sprite

This actor was the original “King of Cool”, none other than Steve McQueen. If you’re unfamiliar with his work (although I highly doubt it), he’s the guy in the dark green Ford Mustang in the most famous car chase movie of all time, Bullitt.

I knew McQueen liked racing cars and I always associated him with Le Mans 1971 and Bullitt 1968, but I didn’t realise he bumped fenders with the epitome of the gentleman racer, Sir Stirling Moss.

Sir Stirling Moss' 1962 Sebring Sprite

Sir Stirling Moss’ 1962 Sebring Sprite

Later that evening I managed to chat with the show’s presenters and get up close to the little race car. I peered into the tiny cockpit and imagined battling it out on track, looking in my mirrors as McQueen and Moss prepared to take a dive down the inside – yes, this is fantasy; I’m not deluded enough to think Moss would ever be in my mirrors.

These were the hay days of racing cars, the days when gentleman with fat wallets could climb into cars and race with the stars.

Steve McQueen - Ferrari 275 GTB

Steve McQueen – Ferrari 275 GTB

Inspired, I dug a little deeper and discovered a recent video of McQueen’s Ferrari 275 GTB on YouTube. The car channel, theAFICIONAUTO not only managed to get hold of McQueen’s beloved Fezza, but they also took it for a spin down Los Angeles’ Mulholland Drive.

In fact, going back to the movie, Bullitt, McQueen actually owned and drove his 275 GTB at the time of its filming. As the Italian masterpiece makes it way along Mulholland Drive, you get to hear it’s glorious V12 song, all the while taking in some of McQueen’s favourite sights.

Ferrari’s Classiche department has since restored the 275 GTB, leaving as flawless as the day it left Maranello.

Steve McQueen - Ferrari 275 GTB

Steve McQueen – Ferrari 275 GTB

Because this is a classic Ferrari, price tags are going to be high, but when you factor in the previous owner’s own tag as “The King of Cool”, the price is going to soar – by soar, I mean over $10M. This is the money a lucky bidder forked out for the GTB at an RM action in August 2014.

Yes, it’s a lot of money, but if you sit back and watch the video below, take in the sights, the sounds, and imagine every bend through the eyes of “Mr Cool”, you’ll get some idea as to why people part with so much of their hard earned cash.

If you like the look of the little Austin Healey Sebring Sprite, check out Car S.O.S. and watch Moss take it for a good thrashing after its restoration.

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Mighty Car Mods: Chasing Midnight

Moog and Marty - Mighty Car Mods

The guys at Mighty Car Mods have done it again, releasing another of their beautifully shot films. Finding themselves back in Japan for a third time (check out their other Japan drifting YouTube vids), Marty and Moog immerse themselves in Japanese car culture by visiting their drifting buddies, The 88s.

I absolutely love the Japanese attitude towards building custom cars and helping one another out. Mighty Car Mods’ latest JDM drifting film, Chasing Midnight captures this coming together and willing to help perfectly.

Whilst the guys didn’t entirely understand the Jap way in modding cars when it came to slamming and welding the suspension, Marty and Moog end up with a MAAAAD drift car they end up giving back to the 88s after some serious tyre-smoking action.

If you are into car culture, this film is a must.

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Sleeping On The Job

1977 Pontiac Firebird Esprit - The Driver

1977 Pontiac Firebird Esprit – The Driver

In the world of crime, getaway cars are more important than the heat you are packing, for a whilst a BB gun would fool the general public and the entire staff of a bank, a useless engine will have you worrying about showers and soap before you’ve shouted, “Drive!”

Kray Twins Ronald and Reginald

Kray Twins Ronald and Reginald

If I think “getaway car” my mind always goes to the days of 60s London, the Kray Twins, “Mad” Frankie Frazer and the other real life gangsters who paired Savile Row suits with brass knuckle dusters. British cars of the era weren’t particularly fast, including those of the Police, so when gangsters starting using the power and might from the 3.8-L Jaguar Mk 2, the Old Bill didn’t stand a chance… until they started using them as motorway cars.

Jaguar Mk2

Jaguar Mk2

The Mk 2 gained a reputation as a fast car among criminals and the police because of its 220-bhp straight-six engine. In its day, 0-60-mph in 8.5-seconds was pretty impressive for a big car, another reason criminals used them – along with the getaway driver and four gunmen, you still had room for the all-important SWAG and perhaps a few body parts. Although it wasn’t entirely inconspicuous because of its grandeur, it was a sleeper in its own right because you wouldn’t exactly expect it to burn rubber.

’67 Shelby GT500 “Eleanor”

In the movies we’ve seen all types of getaway car, from the Pontic Firebird in The Driver (1977) to the Minis from the Italian Job. A lot of movies show the bank job getaway cars as monstrous black muscle cars or vehicles like the Ford GT500 Mustang, Eleanor from Gone In 60 Seconds… which is cool in fantasy but…

Whilst these fantasy cars look great on film, I suspect in real life they’d get you caught pretty quick – not only would you stick out like a sore thumb, modern police cars wouldn’t struggle too much to keep up.

This leads me onto wolf in sheep’s clothing cars, Q cars, and the 2011 movie, Drive. In this brilliant crime movie (derived from the James Sallis novel of the same name), a stuntman (Ryan Gosling) uses a bland and boring silver Chevrolet Impala (the most popular car purchased in California at the time) as a getaway car. The Impala looks like any other car on the street, only under it harnesses extra power (300-bhp).

In the clip below, a mechanic tells the driver, “Plain Jane and boring; just like you asked for,” exactly what makes a sleeper so cool. Inconspicuous and fast without anything giving the game away – these assets are what the ultimate sleeper and getaway car are all about.

Check out the opening movie scene below, probably my favourite intro into any film – in fact, this clip almost plays out like a mini-movie in its own right.

If you like the concept of the sleeper car, check out our sister Sleeper Cars site on G+.

Keep Drifting Fun: The Essence of Togetherness and Community… With Much Smoke

Andy Sapp Keep Drifting Fun - extreme-vidz.com

Andy Sapp Keep Drifting Fun – extreme-vidz.com

If you’re really into the drift scene you’ve no doubt watched this excellent documentary, Keep Drifting Fun – I may have even mentioned it on here a while back. If you haven’t, this 30 minute film highlights the passion and sense of community drifting cars can create, not just in local clubs and groups, but worldwide.

I chose the above image as an introduction as it’s a scene from the film etched into my memory, chiefly because it’s a BMW drifting on the highway, and the driver, Andy Sapp is one cool guy – Gargling Gas considers the combination of his beard and his entrance to old school Metallica noteworthy to say the least.

Andy Sapp - Pro Drifter and All Round Metalhead

Andy Sapp – Pro Drifter and All Round Metalhead

In 2010 Joshua Herron and Will Roegge toured America in Will’s 1974 Volkswagen Westfalia van, filming the very essence of what is was like to be a part of the grassroots drift scene. Although the project was cut short, the pair picked up where they left off in 2011 and, combining their edit with their footage filmed at the 2012 XDC Phoenix, they prepped the final cut to release publicly. In the summer of 2012, Keep Drifting Fun thrilled two sold out audiences at Mid Town Art Cinemas in Atlanta, Georgia.

Joshua Herron and Will Roegge with Will’s 1974 Volkswagen Westfalia van

Joshua Herron and Will Roeggeand with Will’s 1974 Volkswagen Westfalia van

The short film features Pro drifters, Chris Forsberg, Ryan Tuerck, Nate Hamilton and Club Loose founder and legend, Matt Petty, along with other big names.

 

Matt Petty - Drifter and Club Loose Founder / Photo - Speed Hunters

Matt Petty – Drifter and Club Loose Founder / Photo – Speed Hunters

I love this video for the music, the great editing, the cars, but most of all, the smoke.

Check out the finished masterpiece below and let me know what you think.

I’m Invincible In my Car

How many times have you sat at a red light and imagined gunmen spilling out from the back of a van and spraying your car with high velocity rounds? I know, all too often, right?

Well I have a solution that’ll leave the gunmen scratching the top of their balaclavas and you with a smug grin on your face.

Picture the Royal family in their Rolls Royce, the President in a stretched Cadillac or the Pope in his silly white cubicle car and you’ll know what I’m on about – armoured cars.

So unless you are royalty, the leader of a country, a religious figurehead, or a gangster rapper, here’s what you would have to consider if you were to go about turning your car into a impenetrable fortress.

merc1

I’ll cover the important upgrades:

RunFlats

Tyres:

To escape gunmen in a car you’ll obviously need a tyre that will take a few rounds. The answer is pretty simple: Run Flat Tire Inserts. These assure continued operation of the car despite ballistic impacts and prevent a total tire blowout.

The system used by the U.S. government is comprised from lightweight, high strength polyester elastomers that make up the roller and a runner. The runner is securely attached to the wheel in the drop centre, and provides a track or channel in which the roller is allowed to move or “rotate” about the wheel at the same speed as the tyre, thus reducing friction and heat build up.

Mercedes_E-klasse_Guard_beschoten_2

Windows:

Bulletproof lightweight glass-clad polycarbonate is used as multi-hit protection against those pesky bullets. The glass is seamed, edged and finished using a proprietary quality process that provides unprecedented UV and delamination resistance. All glass features excellent ballistic protection and superior optical quality with very minimal distortion.

Below you can see types of rounds and the velocities taken into consideration when building an armoured car.

Fuel Tank:

This is one component you wouldn’t want punctured. Although a stray bullet is unlikely to cause an explosion (I saw this proven on TV program), a fuel tank resembling a piece of Swiss cheese will leave you stranded. A bullet proof fuel tank features a flame retardant coating, self sealing polymeric foam, insulating foam, and a Kevlar or ballistic wrap.

Bomb Proof Floor:

You can’t be too careful; whilst you are throwing your car around like Ken Block, trying to avoid gunfire, you may have missed the grenades rolling under your car. A bomb proof floor is comprised of multiple layers of Kevlar fabric that’s stitched together rather than bonded under heat, enabling the Vehicle Fragmentation Blanket more flexibility with a blast impact.

Body Panels/Doors:

Depending on the level of protection – bullets or bombs – there are various materials that can be used for a car’s body and door panels.

As I’m avoiding bullets, a wise choice would be Kevlar armour panels. They are very durable, light and easy to install. Because they are so light as opposed to heavy bomb proof steel panels, you don’t have to go crazy upgrading your brakes and engine to cope with the added weight.

Flame Thrower:

This is a little extra, an after thought inspired by a movie. To distract any menacing gunmen, give them a few licks of fire to deal with.

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