The Mad Max series is filled with some mind-boggling sets of wheels, but Max Rockatansky’s trustworthy Interceptor is none other than a 1974 Ford Falcon XB GT.
When you think of the Mad Max franchise, what usually comes to mind is a bunch of ridiculously souped-up cars racing through the desert and fighting over fuel. Vehicles—in all their wild, Frankenstein forms—are central to the heart and soul of the Mad Max universe.
But have you ever wondered what car Mad Max and his friends and foes are actually driving in The Wasteland? We're
here to provide some answers.
The Interceptor—1974 Ford Falcon XB GT
One of the most trademark vehicles of the Mad Max franchise is Max’s black V8 Interceptor—or Pursuit Special—which is derived from a 1974 Ford Falcon XB GT.
In the real world, the Ford Falcon XB is an Australia-exclusive sports car produced by Ford between 1973 and 1976. It features a feisty 300-horsepower Cleveland pushrod V8 engine, four-speed transmission, and muscular build designed after the 1960 US Falcon.
In the film, the Falcon is beefed up with armor plating and a
Concorde-style nose, but sanded down and rusted to indicate its history as a quasi “warhorse” in Mad Max’s wandering. As the “last of the V8 Interceptors,” it has been through quite a lot and its constant starving for fuel reflects the gruesome parallel hunger of the last members of the human race.
What happened to the original V8 Interceptor?
Interestingly, after the first Mad Max wrapped in 1977, there weren’t many takers for the iconic black Ford Falcon. Rumor has it that it was gifted to a mechanic for unpaid work, sold back to the production team for the second film, then forgotten in a junkyard until the third film restored it for production once again.
Afterward, it went through a series of bad restorations and was eventually scooped up by several museums before being put up for auction.
While it appears to still be up for grabs if you’re ready to dish out upwards of two million, film enthusiasts agree that imitation Interceptors actually look more convincing than the authentic one today.
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The yellow Interceptor—1974 Ford Falcon Sedan XB
While the black Interceptor has become more widely known as Mad Max’s vehicle of choice, it isn’t his only vehicle in the series.
Equal recognition must go to the yellow V8 Interceptor Max drives several times in the first film when he’s still employed by the Main Force Patrol (MFP).
While the black Pursuit Special is noted to be the newest and fastest V8 Interceptor in the MFP, the yellow Interceptor—a 1974 Ford Falcon XB Sedan—is nearly identical to the real-life Pursuit Special, aside from an extra row of seats and some modifications in the paint design and grille.
With a 0 to 60 time of 7 seconds, the yellow Ford Falcon was likely just as fast as the black Ford Falcon coupe, too.
The Fury Road Interceptor—Ford Fairmont
In the latest installment of the Mad Max franchise, our protagonist is only seen briefly driving his iconic Interceptor before it’s stolen by the War Boys, stripped to bare metal, and renamed Razor Cola.
While filmmakers fashioned this modern adaptation of the original V8 Interceptor after the 1974 Ford Falcon, they used Ford Fairmonts to construct the vehicle instead. Another Australian-produced Ford vehicle, the Fairmont was designed as an upmarket version of the Ford Falcon from 1965 to 1983. Improvements to the Falcon’s design included a more luxurious interior along with better-refined disc brakes and power steering.
Though this real-life modified Falcon could have been interesting to watch in action in the film, it ultimately meets its demise between two giant trucks early on.
The Gigahorse—1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
Of course, part of entering the new era of the Mad Max universe is bearing witness to the absolute monstrosities on wheels that now run rampant in The Wasteland.
Amongst these behemoths is Immortan Joe’s Gigahorse. This ridiculous, tyrannical vehicle is essentially made up of two
Cadillac Coupe DeVille bodies mounted to a truck chassis and powered by two turbocharged V8 engines.
The 1959 Cadillac DeVille was a bit of a legend in its own right when it came out. Its sweeping body style and slab-sided design branded a new look for Cadillacs. With the option to upgrade to an Eldorado engine, you could have 345-horsepower under your hood, too.
Surely the designers didn’t anticipate the 1959 model’s trademark look to inspire such a menacing vehicle as the Gigahorse. But seeing that classic framework assembled so…creatively certainly gives you some more respect for the original.
The War Rig—Tatra, Chevy Fleetmaster, Volkswagen Beetle
Imperator Furiosa’s War Rig is arguably one of the most fascinating car “mosaics” in Fury Road. It contains at least three identifiable vehicles—the tank-like Tatra T815, a Czechoslovakian heavy truck, at its base, with the bodies of a
Volkswagen Beetle and
Chevy Fleetmaster…as forts and decorations, perhaps?
The filmmakers or prop designers—who came up with these crazy vehicles?—definitely seem to be playing on some classic car icons in their assemblies. While the Volkswagen Beetle’s frame is likely one of the most easily recognized in the nation, the Chevy Fleetmaster—produced between 1946 and 1948—gives off a historic aura upon first glance.
By collecting these classic looks almost willy nilly, it’s almost as if the War Rig reflects on a culture that can no longer exist in a post-apocalyptic world. We viewers recognize the atrocity of a Frankenstein-ed Beetle and Fleetmaster, but to the “citizens” of The Wasteland, these beloved vehicles are merely attractive forts and trinkets.
Plymouth Rock—1937 Plymouth Sedan
Though no major Mad Max players drive this one, we couldn’t resist giving a nod to the hysterical porcupine
Plymouth Sedan used by the Buzzards at the beginning of Fury Road.
Underneath all those spikes is the body of a very cool, very classic 1937 Plymouth P4 Sedan. Interestingly, 1937 was the best production year for most of the automobile industry since the start of the Great Depression in 1929. Plymouth managed to be profitable throughout the Depression, but its P4 sedan’s all-steel roof stamping, plumper design, and new shock absorbers was particularly well-received.
The fact that it has evolved into a prickly gasoline warrior in film almost seems like a suitable way to honor such an antique favorite.
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