THE Mad Max Interceptor, last of the V8s and the car that launched a thousand imitators. Well, a few dozen at least, and few could claim to be as correct as Kerry Turley’s amazing tribute to the road warrior.
“We watched the DVD about 100 times and tried to get it as close to the movie car as we could,” Kerry says. “I’m not a real Mad Max junkie, I just thought I’ll get the right people onto it – which meant Gordon Hayes and Grant Hodgson. Gordon drove his Monaro across the Nullarbor with a whole heap of bits and pieces. Then he steered my panel guy in the right direction and helped fit a lot of the stuff. He knew where to cut the wheels arches, all that sort of stuff.”
Kerry’s no beginner when it comes to old Falcons: “I used to do GT Falcons and take them to the Nationals. Everything had to have the right colour bolt here, the right wiring loom tape there. Doing this Mad Max car was a lot more enjoyable because everything’s black. No-one’s going to walk up and say: ‘That’s not supposed to be black,’ like some of those guys in the GT scene. It’s just a tough-looking car. Every angle there’s something — it’s just great.”
Gordon unearthed all those little details over the past 30 years or so, but there was one thing he hadn’t noticed until Kerry picked it up.
“A couple of weeks before the car was finished I said: ‘What colour red do you paint the rear shocks?’ Gordon said: ‘Why would you paint them red?’ I said: ‘If you look at the movie, an hour and 22 minutes into it there’s a picture of the car from the back for about half a second and it’s got red shocks on it.”
Gordon and Grant’s research plus Kerry’s attention to detail has resulted in one of the most accurate replicas yet, though there’s little doubt that it’s much nicer than the original. Not surprising as the build budget would have gone a long way towards paying for the entire movie back in 1977! Today, the base car would match the movie’s entire vehicle budget, if you start with something decent like Kerry did.
“It was a really good car — I paid 18 grand for it. Probably the best body for rust we’d ever seen. I got it in South Australia off a friend who had an XA, B and C. It had to be a 351, have a black interior, a nine-inch diff and a top loader and this car ticked every box. If you buy cheap, you buy twice.”
The interior is very straightforward if you’re building a replica of the original car — you need a Peterson 756B blue light, an Eaton split-diff actuator to turn on the blower and a Maxrob steering wheel. The tiller is the hardest part to find; the rest is still available.
Under the bonnet you need a 351 Cleveland — Kerry had Wally White Motorsport rebuild his to stock specs. The blower — as on the movie car — is non-functional and made of a GM 6/71 case with a Weiand front cover. That wild scoop is a Scott Superslot injector that was the duck’s guts in the 60s, though in the 80s Gordon recalls that nobody knew what it was.
“It took me 20 years to figure out what the friggin’ thing was. Mr Gasket and Hilborn scoops were everywhere but those things were nowhere. I found out by accident — I fabricated something out of cardboard and went to a metal guy to ask him to make one for me. An old guy walked in, took one look and said: ‘Oh, a Scott injector hat.’”
These days they’re being reproduced and you can even get them with EFI.
Wheels and tyres aren’t so hard — a set of 15x8 and 15x10 Sunraysia-style rims wrapped in good old BF Goodrich T/A rubber. You’ll have no problems getting 245/50s for the front but the 295s are a bastard to find. BFG only make them in limited runs, so if you see a set, grab them.
If you’re wondering why they used crappy fourby wheels, the original car’s designer and builder Ray Beckerley has a perfectly sound explanation: “They were the cheapest pieces of shit steel wheels we could lay our hands on!”
Once you’ve got all those details out of the way you can turn your hand to the exterior. That’s where the fun really begins and, as with most builds, it’s the little details that can make or break the car. There are many suppliers out there who have all the parts you need to create your very own replica but a word of warning — do your research because there are varying degrees of accuracy. We’ll talk about that more in our next feature - The Last Of The V8’s: The Real Story.