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"The Love Bug" (1968)


AK Buickman

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As I watched Herbie show his magic in the 1968 movie, "The Love Bug", I just happened to notice many Buicks in the background. I did not watch this film frame by frame to see how many Buicks appear; I just watched it one time through. The film was shot in the San Fransisco area. This is what I saw:<BR>(2) '55 Super 2-dr hardtops<BR>'56 40/60 Series 2-dr hdtp<BR>'53 40 Series sedan<BR>'66 Electra 225<BR>'64 Electra 225<BR>'66 Special<BR>'67 LeSabre or Wildcat<BR>'65 Riviera, possibly a Gran Sport (there was an unidentifiable nameplate on the left rear body panel, above the rear bumper and below the trunklid where the "Gran Sport" nameplate is located. It could be a dealer nameplate, but most California dealers used license plate frames to advertise their business)<BR>The opening title sequence shows a demolition derby using many makes of 1930's, '40's, '50's, and '60's cars, including Buicks.<P>AK Buickman, BCA #1955...........

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<I>The Love Bug</I> is without a doubt the best car-spotting movie of all time, bar none. I just posted as such on the AACA side last week, in fact.<P>Watching this movie in slow motion during the race and chase sequences is mind boggling for the car-savvy! It's truly remarkable what was out there club racing in CA in 1968. In one scene you can see such varied makes as: AC, Allard, Austin-Healy, Kurtis, Arnolt-Bristol,... and many others. <P>The street scenes in San Francisco are very revealing, too. The percentage of imported cars, especially English cars, is much higher than in any other similar scenes I've witnessed.<P><BR>Of couse, the picture starts off with a painful, prolonged segment of a filmed figure-8 demolition race. Many rare '50's classics are lost in these scenes, including a Lowey Studebaker coupe and several hardtops (even a few convertibles!). A '55 Buick is rather ingloriously featured in a prominent role here, running the track with it's hood up over the windshield. <P>Why did figure-8 races die out anyway? I remember watching them as a kid on ABC's Wide World of Sports. confused.gif" border="0<P>Finally, Buickman, you missed the rarest, most interesting Buick in the whole movie. The bad guy's car (this is a kids movie, after all), the "Thorndyke Special", is actually a Buick powered Apollo! There was a long thread on this forum about 6 months ago concerning the spotting of one of these rare sports cars. (I think there were only about 125 built, as I recall). I'd love to have one of these Ferrari look-alikes to be at the next National. Maybe someday we can get one to be featured in the Bugle.

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I saw a movie recently on cable called "The woman chaser" It starred that guy that played the mechanic from Seinfeld. In this movie he drove a '60 lesabre convertible. There were lots of scenes with the car, one that I noticed is when he started the car with the key. (how disapointing) One of my favorite things to do in my car with someone unfamiliar with the gas pedal starter, is start the car with both hands on the wheel.

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Guest Skyking

Maybe we should start our own bloopers post. I always loved car chase scenes where hubcaps come flying off and the next scene they are back on the car. confused.gif" border="0

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And here I thought only Belinda Carlisle could pretend to drive '60 LeSabre convertibles! (Check out the old music video for "We Got the Beat" for that one!)<P>Key starting the LeSabre isn't the least like foolishness you can spot in movie cars. In a movie from the early '70's (<I>White Lightning</I>?) Burt Reynolds is driving a tricked out '71 LTD moonshine runner with a floor shifted manual, until he brings it to a stop in every scene and shifts the collumn lever to Park! rolleyes.gif" border="0smile.gif" border="0

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Another movie with a lot of Buicks spotted during the street scenes is "The French Connection" (1971)<BR>One scene shows three '69-'70 Electra's in a row, one being a beautiful Bamboo Creme 4-dr hardtop. During the famous chase scene, a 1970 Electra 225 2-dr hardtop almost gets broadsided by Gene Hackman's Pontiac. Many other '69-'70 Electras can be seen in the background throughout the film. It is possible that Buick may have supplied these 1-2 year old Electras for the movie.<BR>Other Buicks spotted in the movie include:<BR>'65 Skylark<BR>'57 Special 2-dr hardtop<BR>'67 LeSabre<BR>'68-'69 Rivieras<BR>'65 Wildcat 2-dr hardtop<BR>'68 Skylark<BR>'69 LeSabre<BR>'70 Skylark<BR>'62 LeSabre<BR>'66-'67 Riviera<BR>Many other make cars are seen in this film, with a lot of shots of the feature car, a<BR> 1971 (?) Lincoln Mark III.<BR>Happy film viewing!!<P>AK Buickman, BCA #1955..........

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Old movies are fun for watching cars from the period. My wife thinks I am nuts when I point out the old iron on the streets. As to all the Buicks in "The French Connection", hey it was the Bronx in 1971! Buick Electras in NYC were VERY popular...... grin.gif" border="0 <BR>One of my favorite car bloopers was in a low grade horror flick called "Blood and Lace". The late 60's and early 70's Ford products had problems with the neutral safety switch. When they got worn, you would have to grab the shift lever and pull it into Park so the switch would let the car start.<BR>Well, one of the characters was driving a Ford <BR>and, matter of factly, just grabbed the shift lever and pulled it to get the car started in one of the scenes. shocked.gif" border="0 It must have been his own car. grin.gif" border="0 <BR>The all time best one was in an old Bob Hope and Bing Crosby road movie called "The Road to Hong Kong" (it was made in the 60's, I am not that old! LOL).<BR>They come running out of a building all dressed up in costumes and get ready to get into a black 61 Buick. The crowd outside looks at them and starts laughing hysterically. Hope just replies calmly "What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a BUICK before?" shocked.gif" border="0 <BR>I am sure there are more good ones out there!<P>Mark<P>(originally type 60 Buick, but meant 61) rolleyes.gif" border="0 <P><BR>[ 12-23-2001: Message edited by: dcm422@aol.com ]<P>[ 12-27-2001: Message edited by: dcm422@aol.com ]<p>[ 12-27-2001: Message edited by: dcm422@aol.com ]

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There was a watchable B-movie called "Dudes" where the 2 stars drove a '59 Buick, and it was features on the casette box also. Someone once told me of another movie that featured a '59 even more prominently, but I cannot recall the title... anyone know?<P>MARK ~ 59-4637

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I've never seen "Dudes", but did acquire one of the posters for the movie, which shows the '59 Buick aiming at you with all four headlights blazing.<P>Awhile back, there was a '59 Buick 4-door hardtop with the roof cut off that was for sale on Ebay. This car had evidently been featured prominently in a movie called "Escape from LA". Perhaps this is the movie, Mark, that you were thinking of.<P>The only movie I can think of with a '59 was a movie from the late '70's called "American Hot Wax". This was a good film history of Alan Freed, a Cincinnati D.J. who helped organize some early rock-and-roll shows. In one seen, we see a beautiful black '59 Electra 225 Riviera Sedan (model 4829) pull up in front of a house. There are some other great car shots in this film.<P>On the subject of '59's, I visited my doctor a couple of weeks ago and picked up a Jan., 2001 issue of "Biography" while sitting in the waiting room. I spotted a New York Life insurance ad which featured a large number of small photos, one of which depicted a ticker tape parade for astronauts in New York City. The picture shows three astronauts riding on the convertible top boot of a black '59 Buick, and people along the parade route are holding signs saying "Welcome Home Astronauts". Does anyone have any idea when this photo was taken or where copies of it could be obtained?<P>Brian Laurance, BCA #5168<BR>1959 Electra 4-door hardtop<BR>1971 Centurion Formal Coupe<BR>1989 LeSabre Limited Coupe

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Thanks Brian. I've seen that New York Life ad on TV a few times, it always gets a sudden shout of "YEAH!!" from me, much to the annoyance of my family. That beautiful black convert is only on screen for maybe 2 seconds, tho it is seen driving. Is that drive up scene in AHW the only shot of the '59? It must not be what I am thinking of- I recall being told the '59 was featured more prominently in this mystery movie than in "Dudes".<p>[ 12-24-2001: Message edited by: WQ59B ]

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Mark, the '59 225 appears only very briefly in "American Hot Wax", so it is clearly not the movie you had heard of. Have you looked into "Escape from L.A." to see whether that might be the one?<P>Interesting that New York Life did a television commercial with that shot of the '59 convertible included.

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Guest 70 Electra

Speaking of Bob Hope movies, there is great one that I think is called "Bachelor in Paradise" from about 1961.<P>It's an excellent car movie if you like old Mopars--it has EVERY Chrysler product featured very prominently. They're all top of the line convertibles! The whole thing plays like a thinly veiled commercial.<P>One of the only non-Chrysler cars is a 58 Impala convertible. As I recall, it was driven into a swimming pool.<P>On the subject of 60 Buicks (one of my favorites), the neo-classic "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" included a 60 Electra flattop 4dr driven by the Judge Reinholdt character.<P>In "Bullit", there is a 60 Buick 2 dr hardtop that drives by in the back ground during the car wash scene.<P>One of my favorite car movies is Stanley Kramer's "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, World". In addition to having about a zillion stars in the movie, there's LOTS of great iron including a sharp 61 Impala rental car that Terry-Thomas wrecks, a beautiful 56 Ford Sunliner convertible driven by Don Knotts, and a 48 (?) Ford convertible driven by Phil Silvers that is trashed. And don't forget the 57 Ford that Jimmy Durante crashes in the opening scenes!<P>A super movie for those that like early 70's cars is "The Seven-Ups". It was a sequel to the French Connection, and features loads of 73 vintage GM cars, especially Grandville Pontiacs.

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Fans of 1960 Buicks will enjoy spotting the 4-door hardtop that appears in a couple of scenes of Tom Hanks' "That Thing You Do". There are other Buicks in this one, including a '61 or '62 Skylark, two '61 LeSabre/Invicta cars appearing in one scene, a '63 or '64 Riviera, a 1956 Special or Century 4-door Riviera, and a 1965 Electra 225 convertible. Besides the Buicks, this is a really fun movie.<P>"La Bamba" is notable for all the sharp '57 Buicks.<P>By the way, the Buicks in "Road to Hong Kong" were 1961 models -- not 1960 models.<P>Heard today that the new Jim Carrey movie -- "The Majestic" -- has many great old cars, including about three late '40's Buick sedans in a single scene. Looking forward to catching this one.

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I'm telling you guys, rent the original <I>Love Bug</I> and all thoughts of car spotting in interesting movies will disappear! If you have to rent a good movie to carspot in, rent <I>American Grafitti</I>, but don't look for too many Buicks there. George Lucas is an old hot-rodder and there are a preponderance of light-bodied, hot-rod friendly cars in this one.<P>By the way, car spotting in movies can be painful. There are numerous cars in the <I> The Love Bug</I> many cars that were junk in 1968 are lost forever on camera. Even the Apollo is pretty well shot by the end of the movie. But the absolute worst violator for this was the movie <I>Christine</I>. When that movie was shot in 1982 it was reported that 1/3 of the existing 2-door hardtop 1958 Plymouth Furys then in existence were destroyed (about 70+ cars!)! mad.gif" border="0frown.gif" border="0 And they were already beginning to appreciate in value at that point.

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Guest scott mich bca # 6619

I recently enjoyed the movie "Vertigo" staring Jimmy Stewart. circa 1958<P>There is a lot of footage of Jimmy driving a '55-ish Desoto.<P>Set in the mid to late 50's, all the street scenes are a wonderful car show.<P>Many many Buicks ('53's thru '57's) can be seen driven and parked.<P>Scott Mich

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Check out Harold and Maude on video or cable. was on Bravo last friday night. ruth Gordon (maude) stole a 68 or69 riviera, as she was known to do, and did some trick driving until she parked it and later borrowed a early 70's mach 1. movie also features a great 59 caddy hearse

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Guest COMPACTBC

Dave Moon, if you want to see a Buick Apollo at the Buick 100 year reunion, talk to BCA #1 Greg Fields, he had one at the Orange County Chapter show in 1999 and I think he still owns it. rolleyes.gif" border="0<p>[ 12-30-2001: Message edited by: COMPACTBC ]

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DAVE--<BR>The bulk of the cars used in <I>Christine</I> were Belvederes. Car interior scenes showed red & black door panels, and the Fury was only available with gold & white panels. Easy to repaint a Fury red, not so easy to repro door panels. Special Interest Autos # 153 had a feature on the '58 Fury with a big sidebar regarding <I>Christine</I>. Tho it was fraught with mistakes, it states "as many as 40 Belvederes (were) consumed".

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest wildcat65401

wwweeelll, the original "gone in 60 seconds" has loads of great stuff also.<BR> there an excellant scene at a caddy dealership when they make a "3caddysambo" as we'd say in dublin.<BR> watched this movie recently and it made me realise i was obviously seriously car mad already. what a bad movie and it was at the time "the best car-chase movie i'd ever seen" now i prefer "the driver" with ryan o niell though most of the cars are'nt old enough for me.<BR> ever seen bruce willis totally destroy that orange bmw to the sound of "manic depression" by jimi hendrix. now thats one to rember.<BR> see ya later

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I read in a Mopar magazine the other day about the Dukes of Hazzard. They destroyed 51 Chargers during the run of the show. <P>What makes my blood boil is the fact that hollywood is still wrecking classic cars from as far back as the mid 60's. I don't understand how they get their hands on these cars. I wonder if anyone has ever seen a car they recently sold destroyed in a movie.

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Guest wildcat65401

know what you mean tom, my wife laughs at me as i cringe every time i see one get destroyed.<BR> by the way i've heard dukes of hazzard figures way higher. not cool. frown.gif" border="0frown.gif" border="0

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On a recent coming-attraction commercial for the series "Tomb Raider", I saw a quick flash of the rear of a car on a street in the distance, which I think was a 1970 Buick Estate Wagon. I did not watch the whole episode to confirm this. <P><BR>AK Buickman..................

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Just got back from seeing movie "The Beautiful Mind". First third of movie is set in late 40's to mid 50's. Watched them shoot up and dump a really nice Buick (3-holer - couldn't tell what it was) in the river - I think it was a late 40's model from the grill. Car chase scene with a 52 Buick (my 55 doesn't handle like that). Noticed at least 1 54, 1 55 and a 58 Buick through various parts of the movie, either in the foreground or parked in background.<P>And my Dads old station wagon, a green 1970 Vista Cruiser with that neat sun window on top!! ( may have been a 71 - couldn't see the grill for positive ID) <P>Fortunatley, my wife focused more on the plot so I could figure out the other parts of the movie I wasn't paying attention to...

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AK<P>I think it came out late last year, like December? It won 4 Golden Globe awards, and apparantly is based on the true story of John Nash, a professor at Princton Universiy. It has a surprise twist about half way through - we may go back to see it again and look for clues (and cars)now that we know the ending. I recommend it.<P>If you do go see it, watch for the green 55 Roadmaster. When John is sitting on the screened in porch in the last third of the movie, look over his left shoulder and you will see it parked across the street with the stainless fender guard along the rear quarter panel and the unmistakable housing for the backup lights. <P>The movie has a web site - lets see if I can do the link thing right:<P><A HREF="http://abeautifulmind.com" TARGET=_blank>The Beautiful Mind Buick Spotters Movie Site</A><P>Enjoy!<p>[ 02-09-2002: Message edited by: KAD36 ]

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