Do you ever start out wanting to explain to someone what something meant to you. And it goes from, “what I meant is….” To.. “ok, here is what I was really trying to say.” That’s how this post went. I had initially wanted to share with you my Top 10 Hollywood Cars in regards to how cool they were. All the awesome things they did and what amazed me about them. Then, as I was writing, I kept thinking about my emotional connection to each. It was quite the Memory Row for me. So, I arrived at this.
A couple of days ago four teenagers pulled up to a stop light next to us with a young boy behind the wheel of Daddy’s bad-ass (sticker still on it) new Dodge Charger. He had his buddy next to him in the passenger seat. And two young cute female passengers in the backseat. They were cranking the tunes and taunting everything and everyone under the sun on the road.
The boy revved the motor hollering at Phoenix and me as if to race.
I put Phoenix’s Jeep into Park and revved the motor back at them. Heh heh…
OH lordy that got them all excited as I heard the boys grunt and groan obscenities at us.
The gals in the back seat squealed for their young Jeff Gordon to race!
I looked at Phoenix and slyly said, “Porsche. There is no substitute.”
Phoenix, “Huh? This is my Jeep.”
Me, “It’s a movie saying.”
Phoenix, very annoyed, “Let me drive.”
The light turned green and the Dodge Charger peeled rubber forever leaving a cloud of smoke. Very impressive.
Phoenix, “I would have rammed them and taken the cute chicks to dog sit me!”
That’s my wing man.
It reminded me of my neighbor’s solid blue Charger back in 1980. It was the car to beat in town and I wanted to ride and race in it. And I did get to one Friday night and
we won. This week is My Top 10 +1 Most Memorable Hollywood Cars which brought back a lot of memories for me.
How many of you have ever been captivated by the cars in Hollywood tv shows and movies? Whether they were figuratively a vehicle that provided an escape to another place and time. Or maybe a literal vehicle that became the object of your desire and you just knew you had to have that same one.
Who wouldn’t have wanted to drive with Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray in Ecto -1 flying through the streets of New York City? Just so long as I got to be in charge of the flashing red lights and that bad-ass siren.
Did you desire to be driving with James Bond in his Aston Martin? Or my Dad’s favorite, riding shotgun with Steve McQueen in his Mustang in Bullit. Then there was driving in the convertible with Thelma and Louise? Lordy, what happened to the Look Out For Cliffs yellow sign there?
So, these are the one’s that affected me the most….and thanks to everyone who provided pics on Google Images to share this story.
Ah the Munsters rocked! I will never forget Spot the dragon under the stairs! And Marilyn…talk about a childhood crush. Oooo…hmmm…now that could be an awesome Top 10 +1 down the road. The Munster’s were supposed to be scary. Ok, they weren’t. They were the scary people we all liked and wanted to hang out with. Just no dinner please. but to get a ride in the Munsters Koach. That would rock! It will forever be the most bad-ass hearst on wheels. An easy winner to the cemetery every time. I always wanted to ride in the back and pull up to school. WITH the Munster’s. And freak my friends out. Yes, I so mean that.
10 The Batmobile (1966-1968)
To think of the huge mega franchise that spawned off this original series is amazing. Batman, Robin and Alfred were the best! Oh my gosh my heroes fought all the bad guys and got into fights, “BAM!”, “SMACK!”, “BANG!” in sound clouds. But the best was when Bruce Wayne and Robin (what was his real name?) would get a call from Commissioner Gordon, then slide down the pole and bam, they are Batman and Robin! The jump into the Batmobile and Robin says, “Atomic batteries are ready…” or something like that. And you hear the whine of the engine roaring up. Then Batman says back, “Ready to go….” or something like that. Sorry it’s been soooo long. And the big flame shoots out the back end (not unlike an entire night of eating chili) and woosh, they were off! The Batcave door drops down the Caped Crusaders were zooming down the road to fight their next villain. By far my favorite part each episode.
I will be shocked to hear of how many people reading this even know or have heard of the original Mach 5 animated series. It only had a brief ride on American television but it was my dream car for years as a little boy. There were seven buttons on the steering wheel and one on the console labeled A thru H. Stop counting on your fingers. They are all there. Anyhoo, he had this gorgeous girlfriend, Trixie (a nickname I used for girlfriends in my adult life) and she was always at Speed’s side. This car had an auto-jack, automatic treaded tires (gawd, who wouldn’t love that for Reno in the winter), a special cockpit protector, night vision, and a mechanical homing pigeon. I always felt safe pretending I was riding with the young Speed in the Mach 5. If I were in that car nothing could hurt me. And the the races and Racer X (the secret older brother) always looking over our shoulder and sometimes saving us.
This was the best pic I could find and does not frame my thoughts for Joel and his parents Porsche 928. There is a scene where Joel, Lana and Miles are being hunted down by Guido The Killer Pimp in a car chase. Joel and the Porsche prevail in this great scene here. Now, picture me saying that to Phoenix at the end. See my intro to this post. I totally walked out of that theater on bus boy salary telling myself that one day I would have a car like that. And a gorgeous non-prostitute girl as hot as Lana. I’ve kept a picture for years of my dream car, a white 935 Porsche CP Turbo Cabriolet.
Every little kid in the world who watched this movie fell in love with Herbie. Hence why The Love Bug was the third best grossing film of 1969. The Red, White and Blue racing stripes that streamed the length of his body only further exemplified his patriotic soul. Herbie could get sad, upset, have his feelings hurt and even run away from home. All things a little kid could relate to or have the thought of. I remember my friends and I saw The Love Bug several times that summer. Sitting in our oversized theater chairs looking up at the huge screen, chomping on warm buttered popcorn, as Herbie raced through the Yosemite Valley in the Sierra Nevada mountains to an insurmountable victory as we all cheered on. Then at the end he escorts his new mom and dad off for their honeymoon. Just like a little kid could relate to. My parents were quickly going their own separate ways. I didn’t understand it. But I wanted Herbie to bring them back together.
You mention The General Lee and I think of that orange sup’d up Charger and all the fancy driving that Duke and Bo Luke did. Ok and, yes, I think of Catherine Bach in those amazing knot tied country half tops and short-shorts. Have a 16 year old boy watch a re-run of any episode with her in it today and tell me he fares any better. But, the driving on that show was bad ass. They had numerous General Lee’s because they beat the crap out of them with all the stunts. And John Schneider did some of the driving before he went on to do some race car driving professionally in real life. Finally, one day, I told my dad that I wanted to drive like that. He brushed me off. So, I had saved a ton of money from a paper route and doing chores and I secretly went off to the Sonoma road race course one day to attend the Bob Bondurant High Speed Driving School. I was not old enough (I as 16 and you had to be 18) but a friend of a friend got me in as they didn’t check I.D. but did so their fee. I went on two separate weekends and to this day I can still do some bad-ass things with a car. After a fresh snow storm up at the big local high school parking lot. You can see Phoenix and I doing long, sliding, spinning donuts. He likes it but I have to buckle him in attached to me as I drive with only one hand for that.
Anytime when I hear Knight Rider I immediately recall back to 1982 when I just moved to Reno from California. I was 18 years old and living alone in a tiny studio apartment that had a common kitchen that was adjoined and shared by three other studio apartment occupants (all couples). They would stay up late and party and I could hear every sexual thing they did, said or implied through the paper thin walls. My only two house possessions were a tiny mini fridge that was just big enough to keep cheese, meat, mayo and mustard in. And I had a my little 9 x 9 black and white tv. I was miserable.
My dad called me from home soon thereafter and (knowing I loved cars) said, “Hey son, I’m watching a new tv show called Knight Rider. It has this really cool black Trans Am in it with lots of cool gadgets. You should check it out and call me afterwards and we can talk about it.” And more on black Trans Am’s in a bit. Anyhoo, this became a weekly call for my dad and I. The loneliness and misery quickly dissipated. I’m looking up and saying, thanks Dad!
Walt is a Korean War veteran and eventually befriends a young Hmong American, Thao, after the boy had previously tried to steal Walt’s prized, mint-condition 1972 Gran Torino. It hit home for me so much in that I remember how meticulously my Dad took care of his 1968 white Ford P/U truck. Cleaning it always, oil changes practically on the mile every 3,000 miles and maintaining it’s pristine condition. He named the truck Henry and we traveled all over the western states in him. Me sitting in the passenger seat in charge of the 8 track player. It was also the vehicle I learned to drive in starting around 12 years old on the country roads. Where Gran Torino really hits me is because of the ending where Walt is shot and killed by gang members. His loyal friend that had always been at his side Daisy, a yellow Labrador, is left without her daddy forever. Oy vey, I get choked up just typing this. To think of the love of my life, Phoenix, were something to happen to me as he rides next to me everywhere I go. The last scene of the movie shows Thao driving the Gran Torino with Daisy sitting in the passenger seat. That….absolutely….shreds….me.
3 Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang (1968)
For those of you that have followed me for years in my writing or known me personally knew that this was coming eventually. I have a girlfriend, Kris, who every single Thanksgiving I can remember texts or emails me, “Happy Thanksgiving to you and Phoenix! Enjoy Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang today!” She’s never missed one. Thank you! The tradition of this movie started when I was a young boy in the early 70’s for my first Thanksgiving away from home. I was with my mom and awesome stepfather, John. We were at his parents house in Orange County, California. Along with my own grandparents…BEST….GRANDPARENTS….EVER. His mom, my Grandmother Helen, had me sit in front of the tv and said I would enjoy this movie . I have been captivated forever. Chitty is alot like Herbie….well, only a girl car. She can do all sorts of magical things. She can float in the water and zoom around like a speed boat to escape pirates! And she can fly you away to safety if there is danger! A bucket list wish of mine is to drive this car on beautiful country road somewhere in England. If she could fly me to the Neuschwanstein Castle even better. I sit with and hold Phoenix and sing along every Thanksgiving. Here you can too right here.
2 Smokey and Bandit Trans Am (1977)
Ahhhh….speaking of the best stepfather ever, John. If you ever wanted a second father sign up for this man all life long. This one will hit home for him personally. And a shout out to him as he has had a full recovery from cancer! I love you, Dad! I had saved up alot of money and was set to get my first set of wheels at 16 years old. It was from this movie that, after my Bondurant school, I learned to imitate everything that was done with this car. The most beautiful car ever made. I begged and begged my parents to get this car for my 16th birthday. Could they afford it? Yep. So, I sprinted out to the driveway on my birthday morning soooo anticipating to see it sitting in my driveway. Nothing. I was just being punked, right? That was at my actual Dad’s place. Then I went over to my Mom and John’s house expecting to see it in their driveway with a big red bow around it when I got there. Nothing. I was feeling self-deserving and looked at my kind stepfather, John. He saw the look in my eyes and comforted me with, “Now go work your ass off and buy one for yourself.” That was one of my biggest life moments ever and one of the BEST life lessons EVER. I did go out, with my own money, I buy what would be an awesome 1968 Firebird. Fully restored. More on that another day.
1 Back To The Future Delorean
This car will forever remind of the one of my BEST DATE NIGHTS EVER!! And it was the most simplest of dates on a beautiful warm October, 1985 evening. A new girlfriend and I went to the drive-in to see the opening night. She was the most gorgeous, beautiful girl ever! She had treated me up to all sorts of yummy snacks and wine coolers. Magic happened under the stars that night between us and we ended up spending 6 years together. You can read that post here. The Time Machine was awesome. People made fun of the Delorean but I thought it was soooo cool! It could take you back in time and I absolutely love the thought of and stories of time travel. And ironically, Marty and Doc went back to my favorite era. The 50’s! And I could spy on my parents in the real 1950’s. My Dad always telling me, “I had to walk six miles through snow to get to school.” Or my Mom, “I never kissed boys in the backseat of cars.” I bet I would have busted them! Well, actually I did bust my Dad in real life. We drove to his hometown and I asked to see the house he grew up in. Then I asked to see where the school was. It was right across the street. Gotcha, Dad! I miss you. To my parents above who I miss terribly and the wonderful girl I had that date with. Thank you! You can listen here.