Malcolm (1986) – ripper car movies

A comedy of hopes and schemes


PAINFULLY shy Malcolm Hughes (Friels) makes up for a lack of social graces with a keen aptitude for mechanics, inventing crafty gadgets like a letterbox that runs on toy train tracks from his front gate to deliver the mail to the window.

Malcolm movie poster

Tram-loving Malcolm works at a Melbourne tram maintenance depot, but when his boss finds out that he’s built a custom mini-tram during work hours and taken it out for a joyride, he’s fired from his dream job.

Suddenly unemployed, Malcolm decides to take on a boarder to help make ends meet. Enter Frank (Hargreaves), fresh out of jail and with more criminal mischief on his mind. Frank’s soon joined by his straight-talking girlfriend, Judith (Davies).

Quick-tempered and a tad dim-witted, Frank initially doesn’t know what to make of the chronically awkward Malcolm, but kind-hearted Judith finds herself charmed by his unassuming nature and mechanical smarts.

When Malcolm overhears that Frank and Judith are planning a robbery, he’s all too keen to be a part of it and sets about creating a series of devices to help them. In the film’s most iconic scene, Malcolm demonstrates to Frank the unusual getaway car he’s built – a yellow Honda Z360 that splits down the middle into separate halves (each with its own motor) to elude the cops.

Suitably impressed, Frank realises that Malcolm’s ingenuity could help this motley trio pull off a particularly ambitious and lucrative bank heist, one that can only work by employing Malcolm’s many and varied contraptions.


QUIRKY, warm-hearted and witty, Malcolm is a classic 80s Aussie comedy anchored by fantastic performances from the three leads. And in addition to the unforgettable split-in-half Honda, there’s plenty of awesome automotive eye candy to enjoy in the background, from then-new Commodores and Falcons to HQs, XBs and Valiants that were still plentiful on Aussie roads in 1986. Above all, the simple joy Malcolm finds in perfecting his mechanical inventions is something street machiners can surely relate to.


  • 1972 Honda Z360
  • 1972 Ford Transit van
  • 1980 Toyota LiteAce
  • 1977 HZ Holden
  • 1984 VK Commodore
  • 1984 Ford XF Falcon
  • 1973 HQ Holden Kingswood
  • 1973 Ford XB Falcon
  • 1971 VH Valiant Charger XL


  • Colin Friels
  • Lindy Davies
  • John Hargreaves
  • Chris Haywood
  • Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell
  • Beverley Phillips

Nadia Tass

A Honda Z360 splits into two independently powered halves to evade a pursuing police car; a Ford Transit van is jerry-rigged with gadgets to help carry out a bank heist.

A socially awkward mechanical genius forms an unlikely alliance with his two new housemates in an elaborate bank robbery plan.

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