Loosely based on the 1908 New York-to-Paris race, the 1965 movie The Great Race cost an expensive, for the time, $8 million to make. Also unusual for a movie then, over $100,000 was spent building special vehicles to be featured in the film's action scenes.
Tony Curtis (as Leslie Galant III) drove the Leslie Special against Jack Lemmon as 'Professor Fate', the movie's villain, in the Hannibal 8.
Professor Fate's Hannibal 8
Painted the prerequisite villainous black, the Hannibal 8, one of approximately five produced, was a 'rocket-propelled' elevator car that was powered by a Volkswagen industrial engine.
1965 Hannibal 8 movie car from The Great Race
The Leslie Special (four were built), was a loose interpretation of the 1907 Thomas Flyer which won the real life race.
The Great Race movie poster
Professor Fate bomb prop from The Great Race
Professor Fate Rocket Car replica
Outside the doors of Johnny Rockets diner at The Petersen Automotive Museum you'll find this Professor Fate Rocket Car replica.
Since the owner was unable to locate the original Rocket Car he decided to construct this replica from scratch to compete his Great Race vehicle collection.
This exact copy of one of the vehicles driven by Jack Lemmon as 'Professor Fate' and Peter Falk as 'Maximilian Meen' was built in 2006, and powered by a Volkswagen engine, is fully drivable.
Buy the DVD in the USA: The Great Race