The Last of the V8 Interceptors
The duck’s guts! The coolest police car ever shown on film (in my opinion) and star of the cult classic Mad Max film from 1979 is now for sale, and the car isn’t parked in the land down under… it’s in Florida.
Whichcar.com covered the story of the Ford Falcon XB GT, aka the Last V8 Interceptor, throughout its life as a hero car. The Max Mad Interceptor landed on American spoil back in 2011 as part of a deal when real estate developer Michael Dezer purchased the entire inventory of Cars Of the Stars Museum based out in the United Kingdom. The inventory was shipped overseas where Dezer opened up the Orlando Auto Museum. It is unclear as to why they are selling this car, but maybe they want to ride the hype of the Bullitt Mustang’s multi-million dollar hammer drop a few weeks ago.
However, what makes this movie car rarer than others is that it has 2 movie credits under its fan belt. This Ford Falcon XB GT was used in both Mad Max and the sequel Mad Max: The Road Warrior. The car started life as a full-spec 1974 Ford Falcon XB GT with a 351 V8, Top Loader, disc brakes, 9-inch rear end, and traction bars. A real hot Aussie-muscle car that was just another used car in 1977 when it was taken to Ray Beckerly at Graf-X International to be turned into a movie star. Whichcar.com has a fantastic article on how the Interceptor was built as it took several talented hands to finish it. The original Mad Max film was a $350,000 budget film, with only $20,000 separated for getting vehicles and $5,000 was on reserve for vehicle repairs during film production.
From Repo to Hero
Byron Kennedy and George Miller had the idea of a souped-up pursuit special police car that the hero Max would use in a high-speed action packed ending. With their low budget they purchased 3 cars at an auction. Two of them were Ford XB ex-police sedans that would be casted as the Big Boppa and Max’s yellow patrol car featured in the beginning car chase of the film. The third car was a XB GT that had been repossessed. A missed car payment set this car on a path to being turned into a movie car.
Usually, movie productions will have multiple identical cars. Some are used for heavy-duty stunts and one is spared for all the glamour shots often labeled as the show-car or hero-car. However, there was no way they could afford that so this Falcon XB GT had to pull double-duty both as a stunt car and hero car. Quite an impressive feat considering it survived making 2 movies.
The first Mad Max movie finished production in 1978 and producers of the film were broke from the expense. The Interceptor was put up for sale with an asking price of $7,500 bucks! No takers. Nobody wanted a beat to hell XB GT coupe with a fake blower. The car was instead given to mechanic Murray Smith as a settlement for unpaid work.
Thankfully, the movie was a hit and the profits from Mad Max meant the producers were able to purchase the Interceptor back to use in the sequel, Mad Max: The Road Warrior.
The Road Warrior
With a larger budget they could give the Interceptor a proper stunt-double in the form of a Ford Fairmount. The Interceptor was used for close-up shots and light duty scenes while the Fairmount double took all the heavy hits. That included being rolled down an embankment multiple times before being put out of its misery in a fiery explosion. The original Interceptor was again put up for sale after they finished production. The car was worth even less now since the interior was gutted, the front end was missing from its crash-scene in the movie, and the trunk had been cut to fit its drum fuel tanks.
Movie Car Has-Been
Throughout the 1980’s the Interceptor stayed largely intact thanks to people’s love for the films as it was passed from one owner to another until it landed in a wrecking yard where it stayed for years. People thought that the car must have been destroyed in the second movie so nobody took a second look at the beater Falcon XB with fake zoomie pipes sitting in junk yard. Urban legend says that one day the wrecking yard owner went out after happy-hour and decided to kick the V8 in the guts. The smoke belching but alive 351 mill fired up gasping for nitro as its frozen wheels twisted yearning to be set free
Bob Fursenko was the man who saved the Last V8 Interceptor and had it restored. They fitted a new Concorde nose, cleaned up the body, and left the fuel drums in the back. The car went on a nationwide tour as an attraction, but by the early 1990’s the original Mad Max films were over 10 years old and people not part of the cult had moved on. The Interceptor was living on display at the Birdwood Motor Museum in Adelaide, Australia with a for sale sign – again, nobody wanted it. Until car collector Peter Nelson got word in 1992 that the original Last V8 Interceptor was on the market. A deal was struck and the car found a new home in the United Kingdom where it stayed until 2011 before arriving in America.
Peter Nelson loved this car and understood the significance it holds with Australia. Mad Max is a film that became known internationally, launching Mel Gibson’s career in process. Currently, Mad Max 5 is set to begin production soon as the saga continues into 2021. Pete Nelson also stated that if he didn’t owned the car that it would be nice to see the Interceptor return home back to Australia.
Orlando Auto Museum has not stated if the Interceptor will be auctioned off, so maybe they know exactly what they want for this car and are waiting for someone with the right kind of check book. The listing for the car is under “Price on Appliance”. For years nobody wanted to buy this car, but now things are different. The only question is how much is the Mad Max Interceptor worth?
After all, she’s the last of the V8’s.