A Bluesmobile Tribute
Dedicated to the Preservation of the Bluesmobile Legend
"It's got a cop motor, a four hundred and forty cubic inch plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks, it was a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas," says Elwood Blues.
The 1980 movie The Blues Brothers is about two unlikely "brothers," Jake and Elwood Blues, who put their band back together to raise money to save their old orphanage. The movie's plot details all sorts of troubles, usually involving the Blues Brothers' car, the powerful and somewhat magical Bluesmobile.
The movie Bluesmobile was a 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan painted black & white to resemble a recycled former police car. The used car look was enhanced with distressed police car markings and graphics. The Monaco model (and it's sibling, the Plymouth Fury) dominated the USA police car market during the 70's. The studio special effects team modeled their fictional version after California Highway Patrol (CHP's) Dodge Monaco's, complete with front vertical pushbars. The prop folks used the "To Serve and Protect" motto found on most LAPD cruiser fenders but not on their Illinois brethren. Hey, it's Hollywood!
Cop Car Specifications More than you wanted to know about vintage Mopars.
There is no truth to the rumor that the cars used in the movie were originally Chicago Police cars. In the movie Elwood says, "I picked it up at the Mount Prospect City Police auction last spring. It's an old Mount Prospect Police Car." Most of the cars used in the movie were probably civilian California Monaco's "dressed" as old police units. The gold interiors were typical for cop cars in California's hot climate. Illinois units usually came with green or black interiors. Gold steering wheels are relatively rare. The steering wheel split horn rings were generally black.
The real Mount Prospect Police Department proudly displays their fully restored 1974 cruiser. Greg Reynolds' 1977 Chicago Police car restoration is also seen around the windy city and it's suburbs. See more of both at http://www.copcars.com. There are no pushbars on either Monaco patrolcar. This is what the Bluesmobile looked like before Jake and Elwood bought it for their "Mission from God". In 1994, the Mount Prospect Historical Society purchased and restored this '74 Dodge Monaco.
Photo By Greg Reynolds
It was presented to the Police Department when completed. Tony "Elwood" Halachoulis, an officer with that department, is officially assigned as caretaker of the car. He oversaw and participated in much of the restoration.
Also, take a look at the http://www.evoaa.org website for more classic Monaco vehicles.
Elwood Blues, played by Dan Aykroyd, mentions the fuel-hungry 440 CID (cubic inch displacement) V-8 motor when praising the car to Jake, the late John Belushi. During the mid-70's gas crisis, most cop cars elected the more frugal 360 CID engine, which survives to this day in virtually every full-sized Dodge truck. State patrol cars favored the 440 high performance engine. The 440 was a screaming 375 horsepower in 1969 but only 275 by 1974.
In movies, license plate numbers or other numbers often have special meaning. The Bluesmobile's license plate number is Illinois BDR 529. This number refers to a bike club in Aykroyd's home turf of Toronto, the "Black Diamond Riders". The clubhouse was located at that city's 529 Jarvis Street.
"Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don't fail me now!," prays Elwood.
Anyone who has seen the movie, wonders how any car could survive all those stunts. No single car had to survive it all. There is documentation for thirteen movie Bluesmobiles used in shooting all these scenes. Some have survived. A fiberglass reference model was also used as a stunt car for the famous reverse flip scene near the end of the movie. (See Reference Model info page below.) Some additional background and technical info is available at http://www.allpar.com/squads/dodge-monaco.html
A Lance Dobersek Creation For more background information, check out Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluesmobile and the Chicago Sun-Times 25th Movie Anniversary article at http://web.archive.org/web/20050728125722/http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-bbcarchase23.html.
The Blues Brothers 2000 Bluesmobile
The second Bluesmobile, seen in the Blues Brothers 2000 movie, was a Ford Crown Victoria. Since they are virtually identical, Crown Vic's from 1989 to 1991 were used for the seventeen movie stunt and "beauty" cars.
The Toronto-based special effects team used several retired Canadian taxi and police cars. Many of those Bluesmobiles were originally serving with the Ontario Provincial Police.
The Blues Brothers 2000 Bluesmobile was also painted as a former police car. The black and white paint scheme echoes the original Bluesmobile. The 2000 Bluesmobile prototype was a fictional Joliet, IL. K9 Patrol Car. Remarks in the movie about the kennel smell and the faded "K9" on the car's roof attest to it's humble beginnings.
Elwood bought the original Bluesmobile at an auction where "they were practically giving them away" and this one he bought for $500 at "Gasperon's Used Government Cars" (Mr. Gasperon is played by blues legend B. B. King). One movie car, a fully race-prepped, high performance, "jumper" stunt vehicle was auctioned on EBay for over $15,000.00 (less than the cost of the custom racing engine)!
The Ford Crown Vic had the Illinois plate BKV 974. The license plate number had no special meaning.
The Very First
According to The Blues Brothers movie, the very first Bluesmobile was a Cadillac of unspecified year. Although the "official" back-story says it was a black 1968 Fleetwood. "The Caddy. Where's the Caddy?" Jake asks Elwood. It's been traded for a microphone. "I can see that." See also http://road.hoftware.com.
The Bluesmobile Reference Model The real-deal movie stunt replica survives.
Car In Transit Where I risk life and limb to bring home my dream car.
Recreating a Bluesmobile You can learn to build a really crappy Dodge.
Variations on a Theme Fans build their own versions of a movie classic. Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Keep It Legal A basic lesson in Mopar speed reading.
More to come....
Got a Bluesmobile of your own? Get the word out! Send pictures and stories.
Visit The Mopar Webring
| Previous | Next | Random | List Sites |
Contact us at Elwood@missconet.com (A.K.A. Tee Mazar)
This web document (including all sub-pages) is �1997-2004 Tibor Mazar. The content may not be redistributed, or reproduced in part or in whole for profit without prior permission in writing from Tibor Mazar. Permission is granted for non-profit users to store or redistribute this document as they desire, providing the document remains intact, including the statement of copyright.