Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Old Greenur (Bullitt Tribute)

The Legendary Motor Cars Bullitt Mustang... let's call it a tribute, not a replica.

I watched an interesting Legendary Motor Cars episode on Velocity channel, with an interesting factoid buried in it.  Peter Klut's shop built a Bullitt tribute for a client.  Let's call it a tribute, not a replica, because while it appears identical to the movie car, it has full A-arm/coil-over front suspension and a ditto 4-link rear suspension, rack & pinion steering, and four wheel disc brakes.  So it's modern underneath.

The interesting factoid was that Max Balchowsky built the movie cars.  Warner Brothers had a product placement deal with Ford, which shipped two green 1968 Mustang GT's to Max in Los Angeles.  Max modified the cars for the film, which mostly involved strengthening undercarriages and removing body trim for the minimalist "Bullitt look."

Max in Old Yeller II
What's interesting is that Max Balchowsky was not involved in the Hollywood movie car scene.  He owned an independent garage and was involved in the California road racing scene.  Most notably, Max raced his own specials.  He used whatever was at hand to build the cars, which would not have won prizes for appearance or advanced engineering.  But Old Yeller I & II were fast cars.  Max built the only Buick nail head V-8 to stay with Europe's overhead cams--or Cadillac and Chevy V-8's, for that matter.   People as famous as Dan Gurney had guest drives in Max's cars.

Max racing Old Yeller I back-in-the-day.  Photo: Tam's Old Race Cars.

Old Yeller II, restored, at a modern vintage race.

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