Mad Max Cars
Real or Replica?
An ongoing mystery with the Mad Max cars is the question of what ever happened to the original yellow XB Sedan that Mel Gibson drove in the first film. March Hare and Big Bopper were both written off and destroyed, but Mel's car actually survived the film, and was sold into private hands at the end of production. Apparently it was repainted to remove the MFP colourings, but to what extent other parts were removed I have no idea. At this point I have been totally unable to track what happened to the original car, however there are currently a few XB Falcon sedans around Australia claiming to be the real thing, so who knows? This page is provided to show you details on the cars I currently know about, and hopefully jog someone's memory a little further, either in gaining additional information on one of the cars shown, or on obtaining new information on cars we don't yet know about. Hopefully, eventually, we'll solve the mystery of what happened to the real car...
Michael Rennie's Car
Burwood Car Show (College Of The Blind), 1989.
Thanks to Ken Stone for this picture.
For many years this car was put forward as the original film car, and even featured in Street Machine in 1994 labelled as such (see the magazine archives for the article). Back in the 1980's when it was first put on show, as seen in the above picture, it did bear a good resemblance to the film car, and most people took it as such. Further investigation though showed that its documented history didn't stretch far enough back to prove it as original, and on top of this various people involved with the building of this replica have since come forward to also prove it as not the original car.
Michael Rennie's car at a car show,
probably before he owned it.
Thanks to Graeme Row for this picture.
If you look at the picture above at a different show, you can obviously see that the car shown is different in various respects to what was shown in the film, and therefore from this point of view instantly appears to be a replica. However, since the photo above was taken, the car was stripped back and rebuilt to look more like the film, as shown below.
Michael Rennie's car, as seen in Street Machine, 1994.
The car featured in the September 1994 issue of Street Machine, detailed as shown above. At the time when presented in this article, this car was the closest of any that I had seen to the original film car. The base car appears to contain all of the correct features, and it is even apparently an ex-police car, however the bodywork still differs in a few details. The unfortunate aspect of this car as it currently sits is that it has obviously been stripped back and rebuilt several times, so it's impossible to tell just by examining the exterior if this is in fact the real car - certainly the external bodywork could no longer be considered original with respect to the film. The only way would be to obtain a documented history of the base car from 1976 to the mid 1980's (which is possible only for the owner to do). The final important point of note here is that this car was built in 1976, and if used by the police, it would have gone into police service that year. The film production began only a year later in 1977, and it is highly unlikely that this car would have already been retired from police service at such an early date. Again, the owner should be able to obtain this service history, and conclusive prove / disprove this either way.
Please Note that I am aware that the MGM SE Mad Max DVD says in the voice over that this is the original car - whoever wrote the script for that obviously didn't do their research properly.
George Frederick's car (formerly owned by Grant Hodgson)
George Frederick's Car
The second car shown is owned by George Frederick (formerly owned by Grant Hodgson, these are pics from when Grant owned the car). Although this car has been promoted as being original by some of its owners, unfortunately I am fairly certain that it is not. The big thing this car has in it's favour is that it has had an MFP paint job which can be tracked back to about 1980. When the car was purchased at this time, the claim was that it had been owned by a camera man who had worked on the film, and who had since travelled to the US (hence the reason for the sale). The number plates at this time were CUP862 (NSW plates), unfortunately the buyer at this time did not obtain any further paperwork about the cars' previous owner (if anyone has the info on the original owner, please contact me).
George Frederick's Car
As much as the above info sounds good, this car also has a few things against it, mainly being differences in the bodywork and interior, which differ in many respects from the car as seen in the film. The ID tags for this car also indicate that it was not a police car, which pretty much rules it out as being the original.
If does seem possible that someone connected with the first film might have put this car together, using their knowledge of the film car (and possibly even some left over parts). The best way to find out more info on this car would again be to be able to track down ownership details prior to 1980, using the license plate information above. If anyone can help with some more information on this car, please contact me. This car is now located in the USA, perhaps George will announce some show dates sometime or something...
Steve Nicols' Car
Steve Nicols' car, as seen in Street Machine, 1998.
This car is a more recent replica, owned by Steve Nicols, and was shown in Street Machine, September 1998. At the moment he has pretty much done just the paintwork and the Sunraysia wheels, the car still needs a fair amount of work to finish it off (flares, front spoiler, scoop, etc). But for your basic replica to drive around town, it does the job.
Steve Nicols car
This car was used in the video clip for the song Summer Hits by the Australian band Front End Loader, and can be seen for brief glimpses during the clip. It has also been seen driving around Sydney by various people from time to time.
Unknown replica car, "LVV538", from a Burwood car show, mid 1980's.
This final car certainly appears to be a replica, the owner is obviously a Mad Max fan who has decided to give his XB sedan the MFP treatment. Note that the film car didn't have a boot spoiler, and the car above is missing the wheel arch flares. Even though it's not the real thing, it's still an interesting car, but unfortunately I don't know anything more about it! This photo was snapped by Gordon Hayes at a Burwood (Melbourne) car show in the mid 1980's, and we don't know who the owner is / was. If anyone out there recognises this car, please contact me, I'd love to learn more about it. I obviously already tried tracing the license plate through VicRoads, but they won't give out information on who the current owner is without the permission of the current owner! Incidentally, the LVV538 license plates shown would be early to mid 1970's in Victoria, and therefore would be the original plates for this car.
I have now been told that this car was written off around 1986. I did not hear this from the actual owner though - if you're still out there and want to provide some more info about your car, please get in touch.