There’s a new “Mad Max” movie coming out – and it looks AWESOME – and that means a new Pursuit Special, the iconic car of the series. The Pursuit Special is up there with the most iconic of movie cars; to not have a new take on a classic would be a letdown.
Pursuit Special was beyond thunderdome…and everything else
The “Pursuit Special,” introduced in the original “Mad Max” film, is one of the most iconic film cars. In the original, the car is a hot rod of sorts, one of the last supercharged V-8s in existence during an era of extreme fuel scarcity cobbled together by gearheads in the police garage. (God bless ’em.) It’s locked away in a garage due to the car basically being an oddity. Protagonist Max Rockatansky (Mad Max, originally played by Mel Gibson) steals the car to run down a violent motorcycle gang after they murder his partner on the police force and then his wife and child.
In the sequel, it becomes even more intimidating, with the addition of long range external fuel tanks and an explosive anti-theft system – “the last of the V-8 interceptors.” Unfortunately, it gets destroyed. As the films gained a large following, so did the Pursuit Special. Since a new “Mad Max” is on the horizon – “Mad Max: Fury Road” starring Tom Hardy – a new one is potentially going to be unveiled in the film.
To understand the Pursuit Special, you need to know something about Australia. They love muscle cars. The GM-Ford rivalry? Here, it’s just a few people grumbling. Down under, they literally riot.
They also build them better than we do. There, muscle cars are built for road racing, not this silly oval-only business.
The Pursuit Special is/was a Ford XB Falcon GT coupe, a midsize two-door hardtop from the early 1970’s not dissimilar to the Gran Torino in some respects. Ford sent them racing in Australia’s version of NASCAR (except they turn right AND left) and had some success. One can also see a Falcon in “Love The Beast,” the documentary by actor Eric Bana about his decades-long love affair with the XB Falcon coupe – a car he loves almost as much as Mel Gibson loves racism.
To create it, the film’s producers stuck a Grand Am-esque body kit on the front, fat tires on the back, dual four-pipe exhausts on the sides, a whacking great Weiand blower on the block, paint blacker than Rupert Murdoch’s soul and voila.
New movie…new car
With a new Max comes a new Pursuit Special. The trailers released thus far appear to indicate the new one is more or less just like the old one; a ratty but mean-looking muscle car…that gets destroyed. Then again, it’s just a trailer – we don’t know if that’s Max’s car getting blown up, or someone else’s.
The movie looks WAY better than the new “Terminator” – some dead horses just shouldn’t be kicked.