“Once in a lifetime” is an overused trope these days. Who knows what the future might hold? The last couple of decades have certainly held their share of surprises. In September of 2021, however, Lloyd’s Classic Car Auctions in Australia liquidated a fleet of 13 vehicles. The rides came with an unparalleled pedigree. The vehicles were from the movie Mad Max: Fury Road. That’s never going to happen again.
The Vehicles of Mad Max: Fury Road Go Up for Auction
Like the vehicles and Mad Max movies themselves, this event was high stakes and high octane. It was a sealed bid auction open to anybody on the planet. As such, nobody knew the competition until the moment the envelopes were opened and the bids compared. Just like the movie that birthed them, the sale of these unique rides was winner takes all.
Movies imbue a person or item with a certain sense of immortality. When you think of Ursula Andress today, you don’t imagine an 85-year-old retiree who splits her time between Switzerland and Rome. You envision femme fatale Honey Rider strolling out of the surf in the 1962 Bond film Dr. No.
In the same way, physical objects used on-screen acquire a certain gravitas well beyond their innate worth. A saltshaker purchased for a quarter in 1968 is worth about a quarter today. However, let Dr. Bones McCoy use that saltshaker as a medical analysis device on the set of the original Star Trek series, and it becomes something altogether different. So, it is with the mother-of-all-movie-vehicle auctions held in September of 2021 in Australia.
The single personality driving all of this mayhem is the archetypal renaissance man, George Miller. Born in Queensland, Australia, to Greek immigrant parents, Miller and his twin brother John both trained as physicians at the University of New South Wales. In his final year of med school, George somehow made time to produce a one-minute short film that won a local movie award.
Later, while working as a practicing physician, movies were never far from his mind. In 1979 he took the plunge and co-wrote and directed Mad Max. With that, it seems his doctoring days were over.
Mad Max launched Mel Gibson’s career and took George Miller to some unexpected places. His filmography now includes such disparate titles as The Witches of Eastwick, Lorenzo’s Oil, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Babe and Happy Feet, a children’s film about penguin migration for which he won an Academy Award.
Mad Max and the 1981 sequel The Road Warrior sparked a genre of post-apocalyptic movies that continues to this day. The 1985 treatment Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome with Tina Turner was fairly forgettable. But by 2015 it was time for a proper sequel.
Mad Max: Fury Road was a tour de force. Praised by critics and fans alike, Fury Road ultimately grossed more than $375 million. The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and took home six, making it the most lauded Australian movie in history. Fury Road has been heralded as one of the greatest action films of all time.
The narrative picks up the continuing travails of Max Rockatansky, a former cop-turned-nomad who now wanders a hellish, post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland populated by psychopathic lunatics with deep-seated agendas. Mel Gibson ably established the character of Max. British actor Tom Hardy takes up the ball in Fury Road and runs with it.
When I saw Fury Road in the theater, I left exhausted. The movie is a two-hour assault on the senses that is as relentless as it is chaotic and dark. Now that I have seen it several times, I can appreciate the movie’s nuance, but that first run was a pummeling. A big part of the film’s appeal, in addition to some superb acting and exceptionally tight writing, was the vehicles.
Behind The Wheels
All of the Mad Max films orbit around a societal collapse that arises after mankind begins fighting wars over resources. The films are set in the desert, where gasoline and water become the primary catalysts driving barter, chaos, and mayhem.
Where The Road Warrior suffered from a dearth of firearms and ammunition, one of the central characters in Fury Road hails from a place called the Bullet Farm. It appears the gun shortage is no longer a problem.
Colin Gibson served as head production designer and art director for the film. It was his task to scour both Australia and Namibia, sourcing derelict junkers to use as raw material for his mechanical transformations. The end result was, to say the least, epic.
The action on the big screen was real. Each of these bodged-together mechanical monsters had to be legit drivable. By the time filming commenced, he had created some 150 different frankencars. Now 13 of these operational demonic hotrods are for sale. Here are the high points.
The War Rig
The War Rig served as the primary set for the movie. Most of the voluminous action took place on and around this Luciferian long hauler.
Here’s what Lloyd’s had to say:
“Mutant lovechild of semi-trailer and hot rod, twin V8’s end-to-end, six-wheel-drive, 18-wheeled leviathan charged with the barter of fluids and firearms that binds the three city-states of the Wasteland in tenuous alliance. She (and ‘she’ she most definitely is) bestrides the Fury Road, a beast of war as much a beast of burden, piloted by the most trusted warrior and heralded driver of the Citadel, Furiosa…Bring it on.”
You’ll not be picking up Junior from his after-school play date in this thing, but it just drips cool. If ever you find yourself behind the wheel and between fueling points, the War Rig will also ably run on raw, unrefined testosterone.
The Razor Cola
I will admit to a lifelong passionate love affair with this car. My son and I rebuilt a 1972 Mach 1 Fastback Mustang as a homeschool project because it was the closest thing we could find on this side of the pond to Max Rockatansky’s hopped-up Interceptor.
Per the Fury Road narrative, the War Boys capture Max’s sexy-cool ride. They then upgraded and polished it to a high silver sheen. The iconic car began life as a 1973 XB Falcon coupe, a muscle car unique to Australia.
Lloyd’s described it thusly:
“Recently salvaged along with the full-life Max, the XB Interceptor has been resurrected in the crucible of the Citadel, jacked up on off-road rails and supersized wheels, double-aspirated V8 blower now topped by skull sucking air…sits atop the shiny-chrome assassin, jockeying hundreds of horsepower and a handful of hate down mankind’s final straight to a finishing line ever closer and ever more … final.”
This is the car you could actually take through the pickup line at your kid’s local grade school. Presuming, of course, the local cops don’t mind you cruising about in a right-hand-drive muscle car that looks like it is garaged in hell itself.
The Doof Wagon
This thing began life as a real-life M.A.N. military missile carrier. Warner Brothers described it in promotional materials as a “sonic carmageddon.”
Once Colin Gibson got done with it, the Doof Wagon sported a supercharged V8, a mobile stage, an entire wall of speakers and sub-woofers, and monstrous institutional air conditioning ducts to focus the ear-splitting metal thrash so as to render it intolerable to deafened banshees.
Lloyd’s said this:
“Every army has a little drummer boy to keep the beat and stir the heart, and the War Boys of the Wasteland are no exception. Here, mounted drummers pound a taiko beat on huge resonators built of aircon duct, while Coma The Doof Warrior, blind and disfigured, slung in a web of bungy and spread-eagled before a stack of speakers, hurtles across the desert landscape on a repurposed 8 x 8 M.A.N. missile-carrier.
“The wail of the banshee, the distorted lick and demented, driving bass, the call to arms and the baying for blood, all music to the ears and grist to the mill, a symphony, a song, a single scream, the soundtrack to the end of civilization.
“But we go out dancing…”
Wow. Just Wow.
An outsized villain needed an outsized ride, and the Gigahorse delivered. This unholy mutated union of not one but two 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville touring cars served as the primary transportation for Immortan Joe—the obese, repugnant, and psychotic dictator of the water-rationing Citadel.
I’m not sure exactly where you’d actually drive something like this, but you’d undoubtedly stop traffic.
Lloyd’s said this:
“A pair of 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Villes in flagrante delicto are split, widened, and mounted one to the other, pitched at a rakish angle by huge double rear wheels and powered by twin V8’s slaved to a handmade gearbox capable of harnessing and harmonizing the ultimate power of the ultimate leader.
“The flagship of the Citadel’s Armada, The Gigahorse is memory of past glory and pledge of future victory. Armed with a whaler’s harpoon and the devil’s own flamethrower, The Gigahorse is likely the first thing you hear and the last thing you see on the Fury Road.”
By the time you read this, the auction for the vehicles of Mad Max: Fury Road will be over, and some lucky sods will be driving away in all this sweet iron. If your surname is Buffet, Musk, or Trump, the Lloyd’s auction for the vehicles in Mad Max: Fury Road is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to one-up the neighbors.
As for myself, I just resigned myself to sitting back in Mississippi and dreaming about what might have been.
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2022 issue of Tactical Life magazine. Get your copy today at OutdoorGroupStore.com.