A Trip Back to Melís: The Cars of American Graffiti

american graffiti ford coupe

Source: American Graffiti, 1973

Remember these screaming machines from American Graffiti? Though it hit theaters in 1973, this movie was actually set in 1962 ñ meaning it showcased some of the sweetest cars from the ë50s and earlier.

Ready for a drive down memory lane? Read below and reminisce about the cars in this fine film (listed by the age of the ride).

John Milnerís í32 Ford Deuce Coupe (pictured above)

This hot rod (canary yellow, not ìpiss yellaí and puke greenî) is an iconic part of this film and is driven by John Milner, a guy known for his drag-racing skills. His ride is called the fastest thing in the Valley and features a beautiful exposed engine.

The car was restored to director George Lucasís specifications, and he wanted it to look just like a hot rod straight from the ë30s. The primer-toned paint was covered in bright yellow, and the red and white seats were dyed black. Thanks to his teamís diligence, this beauty stole the movie.

The Pharoahsí í51 Mercury Coupe †††††††††††

american graffiti mercury

Source: American Graffiti, 1973

More intimidating than The Pharaohs was their giant maroon Mercury. While trying to find the mysterious blonde in the T-Bird (mentioned below), Curt is coerced into a prank involving a police car (also mentioned below) ñ and so we see plenty of the Pharaohs and their Mercury.

The car was found at a stock car track in Sonoma, and Lucas didnít really care about its functionality ñ it was all about how it looked on film. It only took about two weeks to alter and paint the exterior, and the car spent several years on the Universal Studios lot after filming. At one point David Lee Roth and Brian Setzer each owned it!

Bob Falfaís í55 Chevy Sport Coupe†††††††††††

american graffiti chevy

Source: American Graffiti, 1973

The very same car from Two-Lane Blacktop, this í55 Chevy played a pivotal role throughout the movie ñ starting when Bob Falfa rolls up next to John Milnerís Ford. Though Milner calls the í55 Chevy a ìfield car,î this ride isnít meant for the farm ñ lots of power and muscle are behind this beast.

While filming the drag race between Falfa and Milner, one of the Chevyís axles broke twice ñ and then the car nearly ran into some cameramen after missing its planned turn.

The Blonde Mystery Girlís í56 Ford Thunderbird

american graffiti thunderbird

Source: American Graffiti, 1973†

Curt spends the movie seeking his mystery girl, who says something to him out her window that he canít hear with the window up. The ìmost perfect dazzling creature everî is maybe the girl of his dreams because of the flawless T-Bird sheís driving.

Lucas saw the T-Bird in a parking lot and left a note under the wiper blades for the owners, asking if theyíd let the car be in a movie. The carís owner was always just a few feet away from it on set, and when he wasnít wiping off dust or dirt, he was shouting at Suzanne Somers (who played the mystery blonde) about how to properly drive the car.

Steve Bolanderís í58 Impala †††††††††††

american graffiti impala

Source: American Graffiti, 1973†

Throughout the movie, Steveís Impala is an important plot point. Eventually, Terry ìThe Toadî Field borrows it and has quite an adventure (charming woman, getting booze, fighting someone). The Impalaís look encompasses what many people envision when they think about cruisiní.

Originally the Impala was metallic blue, but its paint job in the movie provides a simple color and contrast to the red and white interior. The studio sold the car for $325 after filming ended, and the same guy still owns it today.

The í61 Ford Galaxie Cop Car †††††††††††

american graffiti police car

Source: American Graffiti, 1973†

You just canít mention American Graffiti without talking about the infamous cop car prank, thought up by the Pharaohs and done by Curt. Stand By for Justice has recreated the car for film-lovers to admire.

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