Museum display gets rave reviews from movie buffs

You hear that a lot these days at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nev. — especially if you’re near the new exhibit “Movie Cars – Cinematic Stars on Wheels.”

According to exhibit admirers, the pink car is really a star.

A crowd favorite is this poppin’ pink 2001 Honda S2000

“It gets a lot of attention,” said Esther Isaac, sales and marketing manager of the National Automobile Museum in Reno. “There was a family in here with a teenage girl. She came around the corner with enthusiasm.”

The teen spotted the 2001 Honda S2000 painted a custom shade of pink that “pops”.

The pink Honda is one of five vehicles that are part of a special exhibit at the museum, “Movie Cars: Cinematic Stars on Wheels” through April 14, 2010.

Each of the five cars on loan from the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, was featured in a Hollywood movies, appearing with such human stars as Elvis Presley, John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Pierce Bronson and Halle Berry.

The pink Honda S2000 roadster played its big role in the 2003 film “2 Fast 2 Furious,” which offered a glimpse into the lifestyle of modern day tuner car aficionados.

Sitting next to the Honda in the museum is the 2002 modified Jaguar XKR used in the 2002 James Bond movie “Die Another Day,” starring Bronson and Berry.

“It was used by the bad guys in the chase scene,” Isaac said of the green Jag, which she described as “menacing” looking.

The Jaguar’s “extra equipment” includes fake missiles that fired through the grille, rocket launchers on the doors, mortar bombs in the trunk and a machine gun mounted behind the driver.
    
It’s not the typical car displayed at the museum, which features more than 200 antique, vintage, classic, special interest and one-of-a-kind automobiles.
 
“You look for something that is going to be of interest to different people,” Isaac said of the special exhibit.
    
The Jag was part of the chase scene on ice with Bond’s Aston Martin. Both cars were rebuilt on shortened Ford Explorer four-wheel drive chassis for improved grip and better handling in the movie. The movie Jaguar has a Ford V-8 engine producing 400 horsepower mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
    
The pink Honda is equipped with a special ground effects kind and 18-inch rims for a movie sequence in which it jumped a bridge. The car features a Paxton supercharger, increasing its horsepower rating from 240 to 340.
    
Along with the Honda and the Jag, here are the “movie star” cars:
Shagmobile, the 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle that was specially modified for the 1999 movie “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” Painted in a wild pattern with vibrant colors, the Beetle appeared as a time machine that allowed Austin Powers, played by Mike Meyers to return to 1969 to complete an important task.
    
Grease Lightning, a stock 1946 Ford two-door sedan transformed into a convertible for the 1978 movie “Grease,” about teenage life in the 1950s, starring Travolta and Newton-John.
The car, built by famous Hollywood car customizer George Barris, has giant fins, a clear plastic hood and wild paint scheme.
 
Mongrel T Custom Roadster, another car built by Barris for the 1967 movie musical “Easy Come, Easy Go,” starring Presley. The car is named “Mongrel” because it incorporates a variety of parts from different vehicles.  For the Mongrel T, Barris lengthened a 1927 Ford Model T Touring body, added a Rolls-Royce radiator, antique brass headlights, 280 Ford V-8 power train and Radar alloy wheels. It also features fabric-covered doors and wood panels. The seats are covered in multicolored Icelandic sheepskin, with backrests made of Hansen surfboards. The paint colors are Metalflake Rainbow Kandy.

The five movie star cars are displayed near a group of the national museum’s own vehicles that appeared in films, including the famous 1949 Mercury of the 1955 “Rebel Without a Cause,” starring James Dean.
    
Other museum movie cars are the 1892 Philion featured in the 1942 film “Magnificent Ambersons” and 1951 film “Excuse My Dust,” and the 1938 Phantom Corsair featured in the 1938 film “The Young in Heart.”
   
The Museum’s 1912 Rambler was featured in “Titanic,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet that won an amazing 11 Academy Awards.  The Museum’s 1912 Sterns was used as a pattern for the car featured in the “Titanic” love scene.
   
The 1960 Flying Caduceus had a cameo role in the 2005 movie “World’s Fastest Indian” starring Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro, land-speed world record setter with his 1920 motorcycle.  The record still stands.

Movie Night at the Museum
As a special treat on the last Thursday of the month car aficionados can check out the movie cars exhibit and then see a movie featuring one of the movie cars.  The special $10 admission price includes the entire collection and the movie.  The National Automobile Museum opens at 5:30 p.m. for the last Thursday event with the movie starting at 7 p.m.

Hours of Operation
The National Automobile Museum, at 10 S. Lake St. in downtown Reno, is open Mon. – Sat. from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sun. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $4 for children 6 to 18 years.  Children age 5 and younger are free.   Parking is free. For more information, call (775) 333-9300 or visit www.automuseum.org.

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