Taking a passion for cars to the Max
- Credit: Andy russell
For sale: Ford Falcon XB GT 500 Coupe 6.5-litre V8 police interceptor. First owner 'Mad Max', £79,995.
It's not your normal used car but a little bit of film stardom has rolled into Pemberton Cars at Harleston and it's causing a real stir as it rumbles throatily along the roads.
It's a dream come true for Johnny Stokes with the car gaining celebrity status at the specialist used car dealership and valeting centre he opened in London Road six months ago.
Car enthusiast Johnny, who used to work at Aston Martin, Lotus and Morgan dealership Stratton Motor Company at Long Stratton and has a passion for unusual cars, explained that some people say that the black monster car, in full film trim complete with blue police beacon light, is one of the six cars used in the first Mad Max movie, an Australian classic starring Mel Gibson, and is the only recorded example in the UK and possibly Europe.
The Falcon XB GT 500 Coupe - also known as Mad Max's V8 police interceptor - was manufactured and first registered in 1974 in Australia and has covered 43,900 miles. A full commission three years ago included fitting a new Nascar 6,498cc V8 engine giving a top speed of about 170mph.
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Johnny saw the car in the first Max Max movie - his favourite film - when he was just six years old.
"I thought I am going to have that car one day," he said, adding that it was the most expensive car he had ever bought but declined to say how much he had paid for it.
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And when he set up his new business and with his partner, Kat Turton who also works at Pemberton Cars, going to Western Australia to visit her mother he felt the time was right to pursue his Mad Max quest.
"It made me think of the Mad Max car," said Johnny who put an advert on eBay and got a response from the owner in, not Melbourne where the film was made in 1979, but the Isle of Man. And by coincidence he bought the car in April while Kat was in Australia and then collected it from the Isle of Man.
"I let her know she did not have to look for it any more," he said laughing.
The Falcon has attracted plenty of interest both in the dealership's showroom and out on the road where you tend to hear it before you see it.
"They come in here just to look at the car," said Johnny. "I have been driving it around and was in Southwold last week and someone said they had heard I had got one of these."
And he has already been contacted by people interested in buying the car from him.
"There are definitely lots of people who want to buy it and if Mad Max 4 had been made it would be sold," he said.
Mad Max 4: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy, is due to be released later this year or next year.
"It will be a good investment when the film comes out," he said.
And with Ford in Australia closing its two Australian auto plants and ending production of cars, including the iconic Falcon in 2016, it could help the Mad Max car's value.