Hero cars aren’t always good. In fact, they can be downright evil.
Of the 3500 or so vehicles crossing Mecum Auctions’ block at Kissimmee, Florida, this January, there’s one evil car lurking in the lineup — an original “Christine” movie car from the 1983 film directed by John Carpenter and adapted from Stephen King’s novel of the same name.
The wicked red-and-white 1958 Plymouth Fury named “Christine” will cross the Mecum block on Friday, Jan. 10, just six lots after another hero of the silver screen — the 1968 “Bullitt Mustang” driven by Steve McQueen. “Christine” has a pre-sale estimate of $400,000-$500,000 — not surprising since this 1958 Plymouth is one of the most famous movie cars of all time.
While McQueen’s Mustang took a beating during the film, “Christine” gave the beatings. Found in derelict condition by character Arnie Cunningham, he restored “Christine” back to new. With each piece he put on her, “Christine” took a bit of Arnie’s soul. In the novel and the film, “Christine” literally took on a life of her own, often by avenging those who wronged her and hew owner. In doing so, she often sustained heavy damage. She was even once completely destroyed by her haters, but like after every other time she had been wrecked, "Christine" rebuilt herself to new condition.
It is believed that 25 1958 Plymouth two-door hardtops were required to create the magic of “Christine” getting wrecked and rebuilt on the big screen. 17 of those Plymouths were completely destroyed, six were used for parts and just two are said to remain. The “Christine” Plymouth on offer by Mecum was a “hero” car used for glamour shots where “Christine” looked new. It appears in several scenes of the film, including at the football field where Arnie necks with Leigh on the hood of "Christine."
After the movie, the 1958 Plymouth was raffled in a promotional giveaway during New Year’s Eve on USA Network’s show “Night Flight.” Roughly 40,000 people entered the sweepstakes. Scott Edminster of New London, Wis., was the lucky winner.
According to Mecum, “Christine” has since undergone a comprehensive restoration and is powered by a small-block Wedge V-8 engine fed by dual four-barrel carburetors perched atop an Offenhauser intake manifold. Backed by a TorqueFlite pushbutton automatic transmission, the car also features power steering and power brakes and is finished in requisite Christine red with a white top. The interior is two-tone red with vinyl and cloth and features the famous AM radio, known as “Christine’s Voice,” red carpeting, correct trim and the Fury-specific 150-mph speedometer. A bumper sticker adorns the rear bumper reading, “Watch out for me, I am pure evil, I am Christine.” Of course, that was never seen in the film “Christine,” but movie buffs may remember seeing it in the movie “Cat’s Eye,” another Stephen King adaptation in which Christine made a cameo appearance.