Cars famous from TV and movies star on Woodward – Detroit Free Press
Superheroes, monsters and more will prowl Woodward during Dream Cruise week, thanks to local car fans who collect and create vehicles like those featured in popular movies and TV shows.
The parade could include the Batmobile, the Munster Koach, Lois Lane’s Nash Rambler from the 1952-58 TV show “The Adventures of Superman,” the ’66 Chrysler Imperial sedan that introduced Bruce Lee to American audiences in “The Green Hornet” or the shaggy Mutt Cutts dog-grooming van from “Dumb and Dumber.”
“It’s fun to take these cars out and see people smile,” said collector Mel Guthrie, who owns the original Monkees Mobile and replicas of other cars from TV and movies. “People love it. None of us take it too seriously. We just try to keep the cars running and bring them out on the road so people can share our enjoyment. It’s a blast to see kids’ eyes light up as when they see these cars.”
The cars add to the something-for-everyone appeal that makes the Dream Cruise unique. Some of the cars are the ones that appeared in the TV shows and movies. Others are replicas.
“I’ve had muscle cars – the reaction is totally different,” said Mark Marougi, who has owned cars from “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Fast and Furious,” “The Green Hornet” and more. “People relate to these cars in a completely different way. You can’t have these cars if you don’t want attention.”
Marougi will have his Green Hornet from the 1960s TV show out this week, and maybe a General Lee Dodge Charger from the “Dukes” TV show, though he’s a little concerned people might mistake his affection for the genial comedy for support for the Confederate battle flag on the car’s roof.
Of course, most kids today have never heard of TV shows like “The Monkees,” “Dukes” or “The Green Hornet.”
That led to the creation of the Mutt Cutts van. The collectors decided a “Dumb and Dumber” replica would appeal to younger generations. They bought a 1990 Ford Econoline van, covered it in carpet, and an inexpensive new Dream Cruise favorite was born.
“The detailing on it is actually better than on the van they had in the movies,” Guthrie says.
A homemade Cadillac Eldorado Ecto-1 “Ghostbusters” replica is another favorite a collector built himself.
“Maybe a ‘Scooby Doo’ van,” Guthrie said.
Some cars become more famous for their on-screen work than for anything they did on the road, said Matt Anderson, curator of transportation at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.
“The DeLorean was not a very good car, but it’s beloved because of the ‘Back to the Future’ movies,” he said. And “1980s Pontiac Firebirds are becoming collectible because people remember ‘Knight Rider.’ ”
The Monkees Mobile, based on a Pontiac GTO, was built by Hollywood car guru Dean Jeffries. Its chromed 389 cubic-inch V8 had a working supercharger, but the show’s producers quickly realized that putting four popular young actors behind the wheel of a street rocket was a bad idea. They disconnected the supercharger to reduce temptation. The actors playing the fictional Monkees rock group each got a GTO muscle car from Pontiac, though. Legend has it they still had to get bailed out a few times for speeding and other shenanigans, Guthrie says.
Guthrie’s newest car is a replica of the Munster Koach, the hot-rodded hearse from the 1960s comedy about a family of monsters trying to fit into modern American life. It arrived this spring. It has just 78 miles on the odometer, but that’ll rise as it makes the rounds during Cruise Week.
Guthrie and some of the other collectors expect to park in front of the Redcoat Tavern, 31542 Woodward in Royal Oak, on Saturday.
Contact Mark Phelan: 313-222-6731, email@example.com or on Twitter @mark_phelan