View Full Version : Christine fans, this is my story, it's long however worth the read

Movie Stunt Car
10-07-2012, 10:06 PM
I found my first car in my early teens taking a short cut to school, it was buried up past its door sills in dirt and overgrown grass in a backyard. I felt the need to climb the fence and go into the yard to check her out. She was a 1969 Pontiac rag top with a 400 engine and factory tri-power that had been damaged and forgotten long ago. After a couple years pestering the owner he finally sold her to me for 100 bucks. I experienced a lot of good times putting that old car together. I loved that car so much that it my friends nicknamed her "Christine" after the book. My auto shop teacher told me I should read it since I am so obsessed with my car. I was already reading it and absolutely loved it and began my search for a 58 Plymouth 2 door hard top since I thought it was cooler looking at the time. After picking up some original Plymouth brochures from the swap meet I was in awe at the designer’s forward look creation. I could not find a 2 door hardtop anywhere: I guess I had a little competition with John Carpenter. When Christine came out on film I was blown away at how it mimicked a bit of my life. The Pontiac I loved so much was vandalized in high school by a bunch of idiots. "Shitters" After seeing that awesome Plymouth I was quickly possessed by her! A new obsession was born.

Late summer of ‘83 I was a supervisor of a valet parking company I met the man who helped me later find Christine during an argument over parking in the hotel red zone. My valet had threatened to tow his vintage autos if he left them in the red. I quickly quelled the situation, introduced myself as the supervisor and allowed him to leave them there. This man was Al Newman of "Classic Wheels of Anaheim". They were in the classic car business, movies, restorations etc. Al was grateful that he invited me to his shop for a tour to see Eddie Munster's chain bicycle as well as the "Munsters" mobile they were working on. His shop was awesome, almost like Darnell's with old cars and parts everywhere. I asked him where I could get a 58 Plymouth 2 door hardtop. He laughed and said, "Christine fan huh"? Yes, to the extreme! We talked for a while about how he helped with some of the car coordination; they supplied a couple of the cars, including the one in Lebay's yard. By the way, that car was actually found like that. Hollywood did add their magic though. He mentioned that they were all to be crushed after filming but he would make some calls. A few weeks went by and I got a call from Al stating that he had found a 58 Plymouth. He said there was two of them. One had no engine and the front end was smashed and the other was also bad but running on its own power and I could have it for 900 dollars but it had to be flat bedded. I got to the bank to get the funds and paid for her. When I was paying Al he says, "Oh, did I mention it was one of the Christine cars from the film? Holy s%@ I shouted, no way! 2 hours go by and we chatted about the cars and what role they played in the film but he did not know the actual condition. I didn't care at that point.

Saturday came around and she was delivered. Oh my! Was I ever shocked at the condition. There was no way I could ever get this car back together again. My parents were not too happy, I went to Al’s and asked for help. It needs everything! What is with all the rubber moldings, braces and muscle 2 labels? "That was the # 2 stunt car used in the Moochie chase scene I told you about", “She's yours now”, Al says to me with a chuckle. Seeing the look of disappointment on my face he said you can go look at the other one and let me know if you want it. I took a trip to where the Camaro ram car was and sure enough it was pretty banged up. No engine and the front end was smashed hard. So I decided to keep my Christine. The other car was sold to a Southern California individual and I continued to follow its progress through the years.

Al gave me the number to Bill and Ed’s auto wrecking and said make sure you let them know you bought a Christine Plymouth. That is where they all were sent to be scrapped after the film.. I was allowed to roam the yard picking through wrecked Christine's. I picked up doubles, triples of everything I could. It was awesome. Aaron and John: I thank you for not taking everything. I could not afford to build a show car so I just put her back together as “Christine” and she became my daily driver through the early 90’s and was put into storage soon after. I only took her out once in a while but not often. I really never took her to any shows because no one really appreciated her and was often scoffed behind my back for saying I had a movie legend.

The “Offspring” band used her in a video once and she made the cover too. Christine through the years made candid appearances in some commercials and sitcoms but that was a long time ago. It was after seeing the Barrett Jackson promo “Christine” sell for 167,400 that I decided that she is finally appreciated and I should bring her out into the world. I have also tracked all the Christine cars and many of the parts out there. I made many of the parts available in 2003-2004 and these live on in collections and in restorations, even a custom made couch.

So that is my story, the Christine cars were NEVER supposed to get into public hands and runners were labeled Muscle One, Two, etc and were supposed to be destroyed. Because of Al Newman and my passion for old cars I have my Christine and I know every part on all these cars that was retrofitted to handle the abuse they took, they have little secrets, Earl knows.. When contacted regarding Coach and Derek's car, thru precise photographic locations I had them take of the car without disclosing why, matched the photos I had and the Moochie car that were offered to me back in 84. I was able to authenticate his car as being the same car sold to a gentlemen in Simi Valley from the Camaro smash scene. I have photos of this car when it was first put back together before Jim owned it.

Back then nobody cared about these which made it easy for me to find parts. She was brought back to life using parts donated by her sacrificed sisters all for our enjoyment on the silver screen. I truly believe had it not been for this film, these cars would be lost to time sitting in fields and barns rotting away to oblivion. “Christine” increased awareness of these finned Forward Look cars and stimulated huge interest all over the world. I am glad I kept her all these years and never parted with her.

By the way: I still have that Pontiac, it just comes back after I sell it, now that's a different story!

Martin {oo)=v=(oo}

Movie Stunt Car
01-07-2013, 11:34 PM