FOR the next instalment in our great Aussie concept car series we have not one, but two designs from Ford Australia, both paying homage to one of the most well-known vehicles in Aussie pop culture: the Mad Max Interceptor.
For the uninitiated, or anyone who has been living under a rock since the 1979 cult classic Mad Max made its debut, the Interceptor was the titular character’s jet black 1973 XB Falcon GT coupe, which he piloted around a bleak post-apocalyptic Australian outback.
In 2011 the franchise was set to be rebooted, with Mad Max: Fury Road entering its pre-production planning phase that year. To celebrate the return of Mad Max, Ford, in conjunction with Top Gear Australia magazine, gave two of its leading designers the brief of reimagining the Interceptor for a modern setting.
The result was two striking cars which made their debut at the Australian International Motor Show, and wowed audiences both locally and overseas, with international media leaping to cover the cars.
Despite carrying official Ford Australia backing, the cars were worked on after hours as a labour of love from the Ford designers - led by the regional passenger car design chief at the time, Todd Willing.
The two final designs weren’t physically built, with 40 percent scale clay models being the closest they came to reality.
Designers Nima Nourian and Simon Brook were responsible for penning the two finalists, and dreamed up the perfect apocalypse-appropriate tech for the cars, like bumper-mounted tasers, a titanium-lined body shell, and wheels with extendable spikes.
Ex-Wheels editor Stephen Corby was at the helm of Top Gear Australia magazine at the time, and was blown away by the response generated by the cars.
"We're delighted that both our readers and the social web community have warmed to the car," he said. "The level of interest has really taken us by surprise, particularly with online media."
Ford Australia's Melbourne-based Asia, Pacific and Australia Design Director, Chris Svensson, said the project gave the company’s designers freedom not usually available when working on production vehicles.
"It has given our team a lot of scope to really extend their imaginations and come up with some exciting new ideas," he said.
"The team has been able to get quite creative because the Mad Max car is not constrained by the normal design parameters imposed by a real-world vehicle."