Mad Cars

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     Ever wonder what the cars were in Mad Max? Did you guess maybe an early ’70’s Ford Torino, a strange Mustang, or even an AMC Javelin?

Well…not quite. As Mad Max was filmed in Australia, all (or most) cars used in the movie were Australian, and most of those have been modified. Max’s black Pursuit Special (or Interceptor if you will) was modified the most. It started out life as a 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT, a car that is exclusively Australian. Starting out stock, it came with a 351 Cleveland, a 4-speed manual transmission, and a 9″ rear end. The drive-train was kept, along with most of the original interior (except for steering wheel, dash light, blower switch, and overhead console), and thus mostly body modifications were made.

The XB Ford Falcon was produced in Australia between the years of 1973 and 1976. It came after the XA Falcon which was made in ’72 and ’73, and it proceeded the XC Falcon which was made from mid ’76 to ’79. Only 949 XB GT coupes were built, a very rare car! Let us show you a picture of a stock ’73 Ford Falcon XB GT, with no body modifications. Just like how the black car started out.

Note that this is not a real GT. It is missing the GT side flutes (which are just in front of the rear wheels, Max’s black car has them, and this one is also missing the thin trim running along the top of the doors that GT’s are supposed to have). But can you tell what was done to make this already sweet-looking factory production car into the more sinister black beauty that graced the big screen? Modifications include a nosecone designed by Peter Arcadipane, sometimes called a “Monza” nosecone although it has nothing to do with the Chevy Monza. Then upon close inspection, you will notice that the trunk spoiler is not the same as the XC Cobra spoiler. It is also generally considered to be an Arcadiplane original, whereas the Cobra spoiler was made by Ford Australia. Perhaps part of a sedan/coupe kit that might have once been available, if the mould for this much smaller than Cobra trunk spoiler is still out there someplace it is certainly very elusive. The remaining body kit was entirely custom made, no “off-the-shelf” parts were used. The roof spoiler and wheel arch flares were hand made items blended into the body, and so they were never actually available as consumer items.

     Another addition to the black car was the prolific Weiand 6-71 Supercharger bulging though the hood. This supercharger had a real Scott injector hat (now a nostalgic drag racing piece) sitting above it, yet all of this was just a movie prop mind you, and was not functional in real life. The internals (rotors) were taken out, and it sat on a stand above the block, and also above a four-barrel carburetor which is what actually fed the gas/air mix to the engine. You will also note that Max’s black car had side pipes, or “Zoomies.” Eight tips in all, yet only a couple (the rear ones) were actually functional. The tips were flared in MM1, and not flared in MM2 (different Zoomies altogether in that movie). In MM2, the car also had a different blower assembly. 

     Thus the variation of the Interceptor between the two films extends beyond the nomadic toughness added for the Road Warrior film. Many subtle differences were caused by the fact that the Interceptor was stripped back in order for it to be offered up for sale as a post-production movie prop in Victoria. Under the strict Victorian law, in order for the Interceptor to obtain the “Certificate of road-worthiness” required for a marketplace sale, the blower, wide wheels and exhaust had to be removed from the car. The removed parts were then unfortunately stolen, and so when the car was re-commissioned for the second film, a similar blower, zoomie exhaust and a pair of rear wheels had to be re-obtained or were re-made. The wheels on Max’s black car in MM1 were Sunraysias, 8 spoke design.

Original car after filming MM2

As you can tell, the car’s interior was also stripped, and fuel tanks were added where the trunk would be, and the the whole car was given a stressed outback postwar look. If you didn’t already know it, there were actually two black Interceptors used in MM2. The original car (from MM1) was used for most of the close up and interior shots, while the duplicate was used for driving scenes, and ultimately the wreck at the end. The original MM1 interceptor can now be seen, although somewhat slightly restored incorrectly, at the Cars of the Stars Museum in Keswick England.

About the MFP, this stands for Main Force Patrol, as you probably all know, a fictitious police force created for the movie. Well there are a few other terms you may be curious about, which are the names for the cars. Interceptor (the most common), Pursuit, and then Pursuit Special. What you can easily tell from Mad Max 1, is that Max’s and March Hare’s yellow cop cars were Interceptors, Big Bopper was a Pursuit car, the car that the Nightrider stole was a Pursuit Special (referred to by Sarse of March Hare, “…breaks custody, wastes a rookie, and takes off in a Pursuit Special, we’ve been on him ever since), and then Max’s black car is most commonly called an Interceptor. 

     This last phrasing “Interceptor” is probably due in most part to MM2, as the crippled guy refers to it as the “last of the V8 Interceptors.” What you probably didn’t hear in MM1 was that Max’s black car was referred to as a Pursuit Special. Around the time that Max pulls up to the scene when he gets shot, you will faintly hear the Main Force Patrol’s female dispatcher say something to the effect that a Pursuit Special has been stolen, and that they request its return. This is how we know that the black cars are really both Pursuit Specials (the fastest and most modified MFP cars), although Interceptor is the most recognized name, and probably always will be.


Max’s yellow interceptor, is also a ford XB Falcon, although this one was actually a 1974 ex-Victorica police sedan. It had a 351 Cleveland and an FMX automatic originally, and also in the movie. As a police car, it was white, and you can still see that white paint under the hood in the beginning of MM1. The Big Bopper vehicle is also an XB sedan, believed to be a 1975 model, and March Hare’s Interceptor is an XA sedan, believed to be 1972 vintage. The Nightrider’s vehicle is a 1972 Holden (GM or Chevy in Australia) Monaro HQ LS. HQ is a model like XA and XB. LS denotes a sub-class of a model like a GT would be to an XB.


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