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Original Mad Max Interceptor hits the market

By Dave Carey with Glenn Grant | Photos: Facebook, 07 Feb 2020 News

Original Mad Max Interceptor hits the market

The iconic XB coupe from the Mad Max films is for sale!

THE original Mad Max Pursuit Special ‘Interceptor’ has been put up for sale by current owners, the Orlando Auto Museum in Florida, USA. This is huge news for Mad Max fans and Falcon GT enthusiasts alike, with Max Rockatansky’s menacing black XB coupe arguably the most famous Aussie car of all time.

UPDATE: Click here to help bring the Pursuit Special back to Australia!

The Interceptor last changed hands in 2011 – albeit not publicly – when the complete inventory of the UK-based Cars Of The Stars museum was bought by real estate developer Michael Dezer. The collection was shipped across the Atlantic to Florida, where Dezer opened the Miami Auto Museum in 2012, with the Aussie coupe a popular attraction alongside other automotive pop culture icons such as an original Batmobile, a Back To The Future DeLorean DMC-12 and a Ferrari from Miami Vice made entirely of cocaine (unconfirmed).

Original Mad Max Interceptor is for sale
Photo credit: Facebook

The museum is in the process of shifting three hours north to Orlando, and for whatever reason, the Interceptor has to go. However, it’s easy to speculate that the recent AU$4.93 million sale of the Ford Mustang used in Steve McQueen’s car-chase classic Bullitt may have had some influence on Dezer’s decision to sell. The four-speed 390ci Dark Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT was standard aside from some mild tweaks, and was in original, shabby condition, meaning the record-setting sale price was entirely driven by its association with Bullitt. From an Aussie perspective, the Interceptor surely stands as tall, having featured in both Kennedy-Miller Mad Max movies.

The coupe’s transformation from second-hand car to Road Warrior started in 1977, when the genuine JG66 XB Falcon GT was sent to Ray Beckerley at Graf-X International with a brief from the movie’s art director, Jon Dowding. It mattered not that the GT was fully loaded with 351ci V8, Top Loader, nine-inch, four-wheel disc brakes and traction bars from new, as it would be 30 years before these cars achieved any kind of tangible collector value.

Original Mad Max Interceptor is for sale
Photo credit: Facebook

Ray subcontracted some of the work, with Ford designer Peter Arcadipane fitting one of his Concorde noses, while Errol Platt of Purvis Eureka fame installed the roof and tail spoilers after ripping them off Bob Jane’s Monaro. “It didn’t take a lot to make them fit, just a little bit of grinding, some Sikaflex and bog, and all of a sudden, there’s your spoiler,” Ray told Street Machine in 2015.

MAD MAX INTERCEPTOR: The real story

Truck painter Rod Smyth and his brother made the flares, while Ray himself handled the matte-black-on-gloss-black colour scheme. Ray also fitted the Weiand blower by bolting it to the top of the air cleaner. Movie magic is sometimes just that – magic. All that blower had to do was spin and tilt under load; it didn’t have to work!

Original Mad Max Interceptor is for sale
Photo credit: Facebook

With filming duties over and with no interested buyers at $7500, the car was then given to mechanic Murray Smith for unpaid work. With the original 1979 Mad Max movie a standout success, he sold the car back to the Kennedy-Miller team for use in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. With the movie set further into a dystopian future, niceties such as the Concorde front were binned, while in the rear, the bulkhead was chopped out and a pair of huge fuel tanks installed.

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Once filming on the sequel was complete, the car’s history gets murky, as the coupe was no longer a road-going proposition. Falcon coupes weren’t pulling good money at the best of times, so one that had been seriously hacked and chopped was wrecker material, and that’s exactly where it went.

Original Mad Max Interceptor is for sale
Photo credit: Facebook

The car ended up at a prominent wrecking yard in the Adelaide Hills; hundreds of people drove past it every day probably never knowing that under a canvas cover was the car Max Rockatansky used to chase and revenge-murder an entire motorcycle gang.

RIPPER CAR MOVIES: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Eagle-eyed passers-by did occasionally notice the car; eight dummy sidepipes sticking out from under the cover gave the game away. Legend has it that one Christmas the owner got a few brews under his belt and decided to give the Interceptor some stick. After a bit of coaxing, the 351 was brought to life, the usually quiet meadows and valleys of the Adelaide Hills resonating to the sound of a tired but alive Ford V8 and the area enveloped by smoke from the aged, concrete-compound tyres spinning furiously.

Original Mad Max Interceptor is for sale
Photo credit: Facebook

Although the car was known to some, the wider community speculated that it had been destroyed during the filming of Mad Max 2. It took super-fan Bob Fursenko to unravel the story, learn of the Interceptor’s whereabouts, buy it and give it a full resto at Franklin Side Crash in SA, as covered in the October-November 1985 issue of Street Machine.

The restoration included replacing the lost Concorde front but retaining the twin tanks fitted during Mad Max 2, making the car an amalgam of the most awesome aspects showcased in each film. Bob then built a sideshow out of his iconic machine, touring shopping centres and agricultural shows, charging punters for the pleasure of being in the presence of a rapidly growing cultural phenomenon.

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Once its touring days were over, it spent some time at the National Motor Museum at Birdwood before going to the UK. The American museum that is now selling it hasn’t placed a price on it outside of ‘POA’. It’s listed as being 302-powered, although if it retains its original motor, it’s a 351. They have not stressed that it’s the original car, either, but it certainly is. Unlike the Bullitt Mustang, it doesn’t appear to be going to auction, so they must have a figure in mind. It’s now spent a long time overseas and it’s about time it came home. Just how are we going to make that happen?

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