Skip to main content

They're Gonna Put You in the Movies

Lots of Internet chatter between Wisconsin old car clubs about a number of "casting calls" to line up 1930-1935 cars for a new movie that will be shot in different locations around the state very soon.

The movie "Public Enemies" about Depression era gangster John Dillinger will star Johnny Depp. It's natural to shoot it in Wisconsin, as Dillinger's infamous hideout in Little Bohemia was in the Badger State. I'm told there is even a man living here in Iola whose Uncle once had his Plymouth coupe commandeered by the Dillinger gang for awhile. 

From what I hear, there's a possibility that some filming will take place at an old bank in Baraboo (where my oldest son teaches) and at a courthouse in Darlington (where my middle son works on the newspaper). Other locations I've heard about are Richland Center, Milwaukee and Fond do Lac.

The old-car casting call has appeared in several newspaper stories and the car club Internet chatter is about certain precautions collectors should take when doing filmwork. How much is the pay, if any? How is insurance handled? How will the car be used? How will it be treated? Who will drive it?

This is all very good advice. But let me add that when I was younger - about 28 I believe - I had one of my cars in a film called "Next Stop Greenwich Village" that was shot in New York City. Now the '53 Pontiac sedan I owned then was not very valuable. I think I paid $175 for the car. The pay for working on the film was low - about $50 a day. The insurance thing never came up. No one drove the car but me. (My elbow even got in the movie!) We got some perks (a free lunch with some actors) the first day and nothing after that.

Was it worth doing? Yes. After my expenses, I did not really make anything, but it was fun. I never forgot the experience. To this day, I stil have the fake "Empire State" licensae plate they made for the car out of painted fiberboard. And I love seeing the old film when it's on TV.

Most papers that ran the casting call story did not give contact information. Car owners were simply instructed to go someplace to see if their car qualified. So in case you're interested and missed your cue, you can contact Howard Bachrach at (312) 287-7950 or email him at

Personally, I think that Universal Studios should get in touch with Wayne Lensing at the Historic Auto Attractions Museum in Roscoe, Ill. ( and see if there's any way to get his "John Dillinger" 1932 Studebaker in the film. This car was used in an Indiana bank robbery. Just think how much publicity could be generated by advertising that a Dillinger film will have a real Dillinger car featured in it. That's better than seeing Johnny Depp (unless you're my youngest granddaughter, who goes ape over him).

If you're not into movies but love famous old cars, click the link above and check out Historic Auto Attractions. You may want to visit there someday. It's cool!

Where to Bid

Car Auciton

Check out the Old Cars Auction Calendar

The Old Cars Auction Calendar has the when and where you are looking for when it comes to classic car auctions.