Hooniverse Asks – What Car-Related Story Should Get the Hollywood Treatment?

There’s been Tucker, The Man and His Dream, and then there was. . . oh, I don’t know, Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang? Sure there have been a number – a small number in fact – of movies about cars and the people who built them, but don’t you think there could be a whole lot more?
What about Henry Ford and his Model T, Hitler’s influence on the creation of the Beetle, or the Enzo Ferrari story? There’s enough good movie plot fodder out there in the industry alone for multiple Academy contenders. For me personally, it’s shocking that no one has made a movie anout Ralph Nader and his war against GM and the swing axle Corvair. Did you know that GM tried to get Nader to sleep with a hooker so they could get incriminating pictures to discredit the consumer crusader? See, That’s some good movie drama right there.
You like to go to the movies, right? And when you’re there at the drive-in, sucking on your economy-sized coke, and shoving popcorn into your mouth like it was Luudes and you were Leif Garrett, wouldn’t you like to be watching a flick about something that was important to you rather than about love and war or aliens who want to eat our anuses?
So what car story deserves to be made into a movie? Hell, I work in the same town as Warner Brothers, you give me a good pitch and I have a mind to march right down there and get thrown off the lot. Again.
Image source: [impawards.com]

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  1. tonyola Avatar

    Liz Carmichael and the Dale cars of the '70s. Fraud! Cross-dressing! Transsexuals! Prison! Bail-jumping! Ugly failed cars! What's not to love here?
    <img src="http://www.onehellofaneye.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/GeraldineElizabeth-Carmichael_Dale-815×1024.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. Beer_Rover Avatar

      Potential title: "Plan 9 From Transsexual Transylvania"

  2. scroggzilla Avatar

    <img src="http://www.vintageracecar.com/mag/magi/db/pics/1206738769_24637.f_magi_grs.gif"&gt;
    Maybe a story about Mr. Reventlow and his Scarabs…..
    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2510/4189841357_987552318f_o.jpg"&gt;
    ….or Mr. Cunningham and the cars that bore his name

    1. M44Power Avatar

      I think a good title would be "Lutz: Man, Mouth, and Machine."

  3. With_a_G Avatar


  4. Alff Avatar

    A mob flick telling the story of how a crew from the old country took control of one of America's top thee automakers. Working title: "Red Ink, Black Hand"

  5. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2010/03/john-delorean.jpg&quot; width="400">
    Drugs, Conspiracies, Charismatic Characters, a car that everyone knows, it's got it all!!!

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      That would be my movie of choice out of "Lutz" and "Iacocca"

    2. muthalovin Avatar

      That would be my choice of films. Hell, it could be a damned trilogy: "Lutz" "Iacocca" and DeLorean"
      There could even be hobbits!

  6. engineerd Avatar

    Ford vs. Ferrari. Maybe a movie based on the book Go Like Hell.
    Or for more drama, sex, fast living, cheating, and fast cars:
    <img width=500 src="http://cdn.allleftturns.com/www/sites/default/files/articles/Smokey%20Yunick.jpg"&gt;
    Photo from allleftturns.com

    1. VonPinto Avatar

      They're supposedly already on that. And, as I'm sure you saw over the past week or so, the people behind Mad Men are also working on a one-hour series about LeMan in the 1960s.

      1. engineerd Avatar

        Oh yeah! With Brad Pitt and Josh Brolin. Gag.

    2. mad_science Avatar

      Smokey Yunick for President!

    3. P161911 Avatar

      You could even have a Smokey Trilogy to parallel the books.

    4. OA5599 Avatar

      Or for more drama, sex, fast living, cheating, and fast cars:
      Isn't that what this is?
      <img src="http://movie.masjo.com/images/smokey-and-the-bandit–special-edition.jpg"&gt;

  7. OA5599 Avatar

    Delorean's story has it all. A business maverick who designed trendsetting great cars at Pontiac and later started his own company to develop his eponymous back to the futuriffic model. Hot babes, nose candy, and his loss of his company despite aquittal make the story that much more interesting.
    <img src="http://www3.images.coolspotters.com/photos/222855/john-delorean-and-pontiac-gto-gallery.jpg"&gt;
    Zora Arkus-Duntov would be another good subject, though probably less interesting to a general audience and more for gearheads. Along his route to become the father of the Corvette, he was a motorcycle racer, a racecar driver, he escaped the Nazis, developed aftermarket OHV heads for flathead engines, worked on the Allard, and drove at LeMans.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/71/Duntov_%26_the_Sting_Ray.jpg"&gt;

  8. engineerd Avatar

    Oh, and there is a show being produced for international sale based on the book Shelby: The Man, The Cars, The Legend centered around Le Mans in the '60s. Reportedly, Tony and Ridley Scott are are producing it. I haven't heard whether it will be picked up by any US stations, but I'm sure hoping so!

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Ol' Carroll's probably waiting around to sue for every time his name is mentioned in the show.

  9. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    [I'm going to pretend it's Tuesday…]
    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/Hailwood-Honda6-IOM67.jpg"&gt;
    The '67 Isle of Man Senior TT:
    — Ago vs. Hailwood, in a season-long championship battle
    — Traditional European juggernaut MV vs. the radical six-cylinder from emerging leader Honda
    — The high point of relevancy and significance of not only the Island TT, but perhaps real road courses in general (on two or four wheels). It was truly the most important motorcycle race in the world, on the oldest and most difficult track in racing.
    — It was one hell of a race, a dead heat after over 200 miles or racing
    — Ago tragically lost his drivechain on the very last lap, leaving the question of who really would have come out ahead at the very last forever unanswered. Hollywood couldn't have scripted anything better.
    7min 20sec video of the 1967 Senior TT at Manxtube.com
    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/spencer-roberts-83.jpg"&gt;
    The other one that comes to mind is the 1983 Motorcycle GP season, which is often compared to the '67 season:
    — The brilliant riding of enigmatic and fragile Freddie Spencer vs. the gutsy, macho, calculating King Kenny Roberts
    — Spencer's lithe but underpowered Honda triple vs. Yamaha's brahma bull V4.
    — One of the closest title chases in history, punctuated by angry exchanges between the two riders and, like the '67 season, decided at the very last race.

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      I approve this comment. Wholeheartedly!

    2. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      Can we double feature it with a biopic about Britten?

  10. scroggzilla Avatar

    Also, we need movies based on the following…
    1) Bernd and Elly Rosemeyer (it's Titanic meets The Aviator with Nazis!)
    2) A film adaptation of Joe Saward's book, "The Grand Prix Sabateurs"; a true story of 3 grand prix drivers who became British spies in occupied France during WWII (it's James Bond with race cars and Nazis!)
    3) Moss and Jenks' win at the '55 Mille Miglia (it's a buddy movie with race cars made by ex-Nazis!)

    1. Armand4 Avatar

      John Fitch– Ex P-51 pilot (with several confirmed kills– dead Nazis!) goes to work for Mercedes after the war (ex-Nazis!) and drives some of the most dominant cars of the '50s. In '55, Mercedes is leading Le Mans when Pierre Levegh crashes, killing 80 people. Fitch is the one who points out to the Mercedes team that it really doesn't seem like a good PR move to keep racing after a German car killed so many French civilians, and they agree and pull the 300SLRs out of the race. Later, Fitch becomes an important innovator in the field of vehicle safety. Everybody learns a valuable lesson about the dangers of racing and the sense of community that binds car people, even ones who had been shooting at each other ten years before.
      Of course, with all these storylines that include Nazis, we might want to try the History Channel.

      1. ptschett Avatar

        A car show on the History Channel? That'll never work.

    2. Rockford Brodie Avatar
      Rockford Brodie

      Overheard at The History Channel: “Hire this man!”

  11. Black Steelies Avatar

    EV1: The story of the car that lived and lost.
    Summer blockbuster… maybe??

  12. Armand4 Avatar

    Wasn't someone going to make a movie about Phil Hill, Wolfgang Von Trips and the quest for the world championship? Tobey Maguire had been mentioned as playing Hill, which had some people up in arms but probably would have worked pretty well. Hill was an interesting man, who seems to have been motivated less by a competitive drive than by the joy of driving good cars as fast as they could go, and his competition with his friend (which ended tragically when Von Trips was killed) could make for a pretty good flick.

    1. scroggzilla Avatar

      I've still not seen Michael Cannell's book, "The Limit", on which the film was to be based. I did, however, find Mr. Cannell's blog.

    2. Michael Cannll Avatar
      Michael Cannll

      Armand4, this movie is to be based on my book, The Limit, which comes out in November. Tobey Maguire has signed on to play Phil Hill. It is yet to be determined who will play Wolfgang von Trips, Enzo Ferrari etc. You can read more at: http://www.crimsoncars.blogspot.com

  13. $kaycog Avatar

    The Ford GT, starting with the GT40 at LeMans and leading up to today with the talk of a Ford GT hybrid.
    <img src="http://allanrosenberg.com/assets/images/Auto/Full/Ford-GT-@-LeMans.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    1. engineerd Avatar

      Hell yeah!

    2. Vavon Avatar

      Surprise, surprise!!! 😉

  14. newedgeperformance Avatar

    Bill Caswell and his rally adventures…the Underdog taking on the big teams at the Mexican round of the WRC. I cannot believe it hadn't been mentioned in this thread.

  15. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/John_Surtees.JPG&quot; height="402">
    Oh, and I'd have to throw John Surtees's story into the ring. The only World Champion on both 2 and 4 wheels, plus a dramatic defection from Ferrari to Honda. And he's always been such a clean-cut, decent guy that you'd end up with a film you could take your kids to.

  16. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    This guy.
    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/green.autoblog.com/media/2008/01/bricklin-450.jpg"&gt;
    There's already been a documentary produced by his son (vanity publishing, anyone?) but I'd love to see the man who gave the US the Yugo get the full Michael Bay treatment.

  17. Kenwood Avatar

    Ferdinand Peich and his rise through the ranks and how he had a hand in the development of the 917, Audi Quattro, his dismissal of the 5000's sudden unintended accelleration: "We must teach American Banker's wives how to drive" and his campaign to collect as many car brands as he can. I'd really like to hear about his fight to buy Rolls Royce and what happened when he found out that BMW swooped in when he wasn't looking and bought the rights to the name "Rolls Royce" and the logo for a pittance.

  18. Beer_Rover Avatar

    Colin Chapman's Lotus story would make an amazing movie. It has plenty of plot elements. Early amateur racing success followed by the founding of a new marque, tax and bookkeeping shenanigans, F1 racing during the Modern Golden age, Indy 500 victory, and finally the Delorean connection and rumors of Drug smuggling and a conveniently timed death that some people still think was faked.
    What's not to like?
    <img src="http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Colin-Chapman.jpg"&gt;

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      I agree.
      I think a docudrama would be really cool to do on Lotus.

  19. Vavon Avatar

    <img src="http://modx.admin.autohub.ro/assets/images/Citroen/ETAI_Andre_Citroen.jpg&quot; width="600">
    The life of André Citroën.
    – Great engineer
    – Marketing genius
    – Raids across Africa and China
    – World War 1
    – Roaring 20's
    – Gambling addiction
    – Traction Avant
    That could make a great movie.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Not to mention the heartbreak of Citroen losing control of his own company when it was bankrupted by the Traction Avant and his death soon after.

  20. Ate Up With Motor Avatar
    Ate Up With Motor

    Brock Yates' often-hilarious account of Enzo Ferrari running the Alfa Romeo works racing team in the thirties, including a race-fixing scandal in Tripoli and culminating in an inspiring, rally-the-underdog victory over the government-sponsored German supercars just before the war.

  21. Gearhead Avatar

    Remember, in order to sell this has to appeal to much more than the Gearhead audience. Also, it has to be someone Average Joe Public has actually heard of, so that rules out the Andre Citroens of the world. DeLorean would be my first choice… give him the Oliver Stone treatment.
    Personally, I would like to see a story about the rockstar lives of one of the 70's racers like James Hunt or Barry Sheene: could be completely fictional, but would absolutely have to be period-correct (think Grand Prix.)

  22. Tomsk Avatar

    <img src="http://www.autoevolution.com/images/sport_history/gallery/medium/nascar-medium_51.jpg&quot; width="500">
    The story of A.J. Foyt. Not only has the guy won almost all there is to win (Indy 500, Daytona 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans), but also survived pretty much everything there is to survive (crashing a stock car at Riverside and nearly being pronounced dead before Parnelli Jones noticed he had a mouthful of dirt, being attacked by a tiger, being attacked by killer bees, shattering his feet in a crash at Road America, nearly drowning after his bulldozer rolled over into a lake) and dished out his own brand of Texas justice (ask Arie Luyendyk, Robin Miller and a couple laptop computers about that one).
    Not sure who you could get to play young A.J., but Anthony Hopkins would make a good present-day A.J. (though he may have to gain about 70 lb.).

  23. tonyola Avatar

    There is no evidence that the Dodge Brothers were Jewish. They grew up as Methodists and as adults were members of the Presbyterian church. Talk about conspiracy theories… http://books.google.com/books?id=P9NPkoZWSpwC&amp

    1. P161911 Avatar

      This probably goes a long way in confusing people.
      <img src="http://marygormanimages.com/images/gallery/Dodge_Bros._Logo-Web.jpg?1281399026"width=500&gt;

  24. cmcpokey Avatar

    you know there was an Enzo Ferrari movie, right? It's not very good, but there is a good bit of car porn in it.

  25. scroggzilla Avatar

    I'd also like to see a Cannonball movie based on Brock Yates' book, "Cannonball".

  26. P161911 Avatar

    All these great ideas and the last movie related to a real person in the automotive world that I can think of is Flash Of Genius about the guy that invented the intermittent wiper. It might be a good movie, but the subject just seems too boring to me.

    1. Alff Avatar

      I saw that movie – there were brief flashes of activity followed by long pauses.

  27. Alff Avatar

    The fictional story of a seemingly washed up racer (we'll call him "Joe") who is hired for one last season to mentor an up and coming driver who is a little rough around the edges. The team is led by a manipulative, win-at-all costs owner. The younger racer is likable enough but is pushed relentlessy by a hard charging, greedy manager. For human interest, we'll make the manager his brother.
    I think it could be a winner.

  28. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

    -I don't know there hasn't been one, but AUWM's articles involving Yutaka Katayama certainly make his story look movieworthy. ('Lost in Transmission'?)
    -It doesn't seem suited for dramatic interpretation, but Rokon's convoluted production history is something I'd like to see a documentary on.
    <img src="http://www.ozebook.com/rokon2.jpg"&gt;
    -Speaking of convoluted production history: And then there was one: The prolonged history of the last Studebaker.

  29. Red Delta Avatar
    Red Delta

    Watched 'Tucker' recently. I love those cars.
    Have to agree with the DeLorean movie. Has Hollywood written all over it.

  30. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    Bunkie Knudsen would really be well-served by the "Mad Men" treatment.

  31. CptSevere Avatar

    I don't know about it being a feature film, but I'd love to see at least a documentary about the original Carrera Panamericana races in Mexico during the early fifties. It would be a killer flick, at least for Hoons. A 2000 mile race to commemorate the opening of the Pan American Highway, run on the road itself, with everything from Ferraris to Packards competing. There must have been some interesting undercurrents among the racers, i.e. the Ferrari crowd getting indignant over Ak Miller competing successfully against them in a hot rod. Also, there were some pretty horrendous wrecks, involving maiming and death. It would make an epic picture, I'm convinced of this.

    1. scroggzilla Avatar

      I'd settle for seeing the 2 films that Shell Oil made for the 53 and 54 races.

  32. michael cannell Avatar
    michael cannell

    Cpt. Severe, I understand that Stephen Mitchell is at work on a documentary about the Carrera. You can read more on his blog: http://emcpb.blogspot.com/