Simply put, movie cars are an integral part of being a car guy. For a lot of us, it is how we became interested in automobiles. They effectively combine the allure of the open road, the untamed power of performance, and, usually, some outrageous stunts that make them larger than life. Some of the most notable being the Bandit’s Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit, the DeLorean DMC-12 from Back to the Future, or the 1993 Toyota Supra from The Fast and the Furious. All of those cars combine those key features that are necessary to make a movie car unforgettable.
Another excellent addition to that list is undoubtedly the 1973 Ford XB Falcon GT351 from the original Mad Max film. The sinister looking Falcon is a perfect fit for Mel Gibson’s character in the Mad Max movie. It’s so awesome that a man in Michigan, Dale Walter (age 50), has invested a heap of money into recreating an exact replica of his childhood dream ride from the infamous Mad Max film.
Mad About Max
So what makes this car cool enough to spend big bucks building an original looking replica? The Mad Max movie is set in Australia, in a dystopian future, where lawless gangs of bikers terrorize local cities. Mel Gibson plays Mad Max himeself, who, after watching the government release criminals, his partner be murdered, and his wife and son killed, gives up on the law and takes a Police Interceptor (the all-black XB Falcon) to get revenge.
This is no ordinary XB Falcon, though, not by a long shot. The Falcon in the Mad Max film is designed to play off of Gibson’s loose-cannon cop demeanor perfectly. All-black paintwork, a revised front bumper, multiple spoilers, new wheels, large wheel arches, side exhaust, and a massive hood blower are what make the movie car stand out. Although the movie car sported all of these modifications to make it look futuristic none of them offered any actual performance gains for the car.
Building The Mad-Max Replica Car
Dale’s love for the car extends back all the way back to when the film was first released. He says that when he was in theaters, he turned to his friend and told him “Someday I’ll own that car.” Dale is no doubt a man of his word then because several decades later he has this perfect recreation.
Getting a perfect recreation is no easy task, though. The Australian Ford Falcon was considerably different than the one sold in the United States. What Dale found was that someone had, in fact, imported one to the U.S. in Washington state – he flew to see it immediately. When he arrived, Dale found a rusted, green 1972 Falcon. The car was in such terrible shape that he says he has never paid more money in his life for a ‘bigger piece of junk.’
Modifications to the Ford Falcon
Dale couldn’t have been troubled less, though. He bought the car on sight and had it sent back to Michigan to begin the restoration/recreation process. The first step was fixing up the 351 Cleveland motor. At the cost of $12,000, Dale had ProFORMANCE engineering take the block, rebuild it, stroked it to 390, and it’s now churning out 450 horsepower! It also makes a damn good noise through the functional quad-side pipes. It is so good, that he refused to put a stereo in the car – good move, Dale.
Movie Magic Aesthetics
Although the motor was stroked out to produce more power that is the only performance modification that Dale did. Since it is a movie car, he wanted to devote more money to turning heads than setting fast times. So the other modifications are all done to make it as authentic as possible.
Starting with the massive hood blower. In the Mad Max film, it is labeled as a supercharger, but like the film, Dale’s does not actually function. The reason for this is because in the movie Gibson can turn the supercharger on or off, a feature you cannot do with a real supercharger. A quick peek inside the cabin, and you will see a bright red button near the shifter that enables the blower’s pulley and belt to spin, but no power is created – just like the movie.
Other interior touches are the steering wheel from the film, a replica of the police radio, and a fake double-barrel shotgun! A police car makes a lot of noise and the Mad Max car was no different. Dale installed a functioning PA system, movie accurate lights, and sirens, and even the horn honks the same.
Outside of the car are the large spoilers on the roof and rear and movie accurate wheels and tires. Decals were also created to be placed on the side of the car so it has the same Police livery as the Australian’s Highway Patrol cars would have had in the film. Dale even has a movie correct Police jacket to go with it all!
A Labor of Love
So what did all of this set Dale back? After picking up it up in Washington, it took Dale five years to piece all of the components together for his car finally. The total cost of all of all his work is around a whopping $125k. That doesn’t even tally in fuel costs, which he says are exceptionally high because it gets around six miles per gallon – not a smart choice in the aftermath of an apocalypse.
Dale says that if someone were to offer him an outrageous (several million) sum of money for the car he would sell it to them. Outside of that, though, he says that it is pretty much priceless to him. We can easily see, and understand, why though because movie cars are like the supermodels of the world to car guys. And to us, a date with Cindy Crawford would likely get eliminated if given as an option against the infamous Mad Max car.