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Brandon Seiler's Blog on Cars

Building and selling classic celebrity cars (A guide)

 

One of the healthiest ways to live vicariously through a celebrity is to pick one that’s known for a particular car and build a replica of it. Looking back through pop culture history, many of the celebrity vehicles we’ve come to love can now be purchased on the cheap and easily modified to resemble their inspiration. The following is an insider’s guide to doing just that. We start with: 

DAVID HASSELHOFF’s 1982 PONTIAC TRANS AM (KITT)

Before David Hasselhoff couldn’t figure out how to eat a Big Mac, he starred alongside (and inside) the Knight Industries Two Thousand, more commonly known as KITT. In order to build your own KITT car, take a gander at a list of the original’s official specifications from ClassicTvCars.com:

“- Engine: Knight Industries turbojet with modified afterburners
- Acceleration: 0-60mph > .2 seconds (with power boosters), Standing 1/4 mile > 4.286 sec @ 300mph
- Transmission: 8 speed microprocessor turbodrive with auto pilot
- Color: Black
-Other Notables: Modified dash and steering, automatic pilot, ejector seat, electromagnetic hyper-vacuum disc brakes, satellite communications, radar, electronic field disrupter, laser defense, traction spikes, voice analyzer, video recording and playback, grappling hook, ultraphonic chemical analyzer, ultramagnesium charges and T-Tops.” (1)

Whew! That sounds spendy even by today’s standards. But don’t be discouraged, check out the current Ebay Prices for an ’82 Trans Am:

$1,200-$22,000

A thrifty bidder should be able to pick up a solid starter car for around a grand. After that, simple dumpster diving for discarded 80’s computer paraphernalia should suffice for the interior modifications, along with several gallons of superglue. Once complete, feel free to get drunker than David Hasselhoff; the car drives its self! *

*The car will not drive its self

ELVIS’ 1968 CADILLAC ELDORADO COUPE

Elvis owned many Cadillac’s in his day. He also enjoyed shooting inanimate objects that bothered him, which makes his ’68 Eldorado Coupe extremely easy to replicate. From Elvis’Cadillacs. com:

“He reputedly used the car for some thirteen months (this being around the time of Lisa Marie's birth on 1st February, 1968) until one occasion when it wouldn't start, at which point he shot it in the right front fender. A short time afterwards, Elvis gave the Cadillac to Priscilla Presley's stepfather as a gift.” (2)

Chances are you already own a loaded gun. All that’s missing now is the Cadillac, which is selling on Ebay for:

$2,600-$21,900. 

In all likelihood there’ll be a King size deal up for auction in the $2,000 range soon. Bust a cap into the right front fender and the caddy will feel like it’s worth a solid twenty grand before the smoke clears. 

Bam! 

THE DUDE’S 1973 FORD TORINO

Ironically, its going to be hard to find a ’73 Ford Torino in bad enough condition to pay proper homage to the Dude’s cruiser in the cult film classic, “The Big Lebowski”. Your best bet is to hop back onto the Ebay and drop a paltry:

$800-$4,199.99

Which means a solid low ball on a real jalopy shouldn’t cost a dedicated Lebowski enthusiast more than $500. From there the real fun starts with replicating the various damage done to the Torino in the film:

-Run into a dumpster head-on at approximately 26mph.
-Spill beer on the front seats in order to extinguish a mostly smoked joint. 
-Find a vagrant willing to use the back seat as an outhouse before moving on. 
-Smash out the windshield and all windows with a crow bar, don’t neglect to land several solid blows to the hood and fenders. 

Even more ironic, once the damage is sufficient, you’re not going to want to drive the car, nor will it be legal to do so for a number of reasons. That’s when the massive following behind the film finally pays off:

Arrive at a celebratory screening of the film (they do exist) and figure out where the after party is. Once there it shouldn’t be hard to convince a starry-eyed fan that your Torino is one of actual cars used in the film, at which point you’d be a fool to let it go for less than five grand. 

This brings us to the real point. If purchased wisely and manufactured properly, all of the cars mentioned here will be worth more than it cost to transform them into legitimate replicas of their famous counterparts. 

You’ll find then it’s impossible to lose whether you intend to sell your celebrity vehicle or would rather enjoy the nostalgia it brings for years to come; not everyone can be famous, but anyone can feel that way behind the wheel of the right car. 

Sources:

(1) http://www.classictvcars.com/kitt.php
(2) http://elviscadillacs.tripod.com/
(Picture: drive.com.au) 

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About this blog

Brandon Seiler is a bonafide car guy, member of the Northwest Auto Press Association and proud Washingtonian. He covers the latest auto news, technology, and pretty much anything having to do with car culture. You don't have to like cars to read his blogs, you just have to be able to read.

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