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Americanized Interceptor "Tribute"

PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:41 am
by CocaineCowboy
Chapter 1: The Research

I've been lurking on these forums for a while now, scouring through posts. I've also read every bit of information I could possibly find on the original car, and potential parts for cloning it.
I can honestly say that no movie car has ever left an impression quite like the original Black-on-Black. The green R/T Charger from Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and the '55 from Two Lane Blacktop both have special places in my heart, but they're so simple in comparison to the Interceptor.

Now, at 20 years young, I've learned the value of a dollar, and I know damn well I can't afford to try and replicate the Interceptor by traditional means.
Thankfully, I've taken the time to try and understand what the famous Pursuit Special actually IS, and that's the most important part of trying to replicate any unique car without being able to create an exact copy.
The MFP's Black-on-Black Pursuit Special is, as I understand it, intended to represent a hand-built supercar of the 70s. It looks menacing, but not in the same way a muscle car does.

I've finally decided to make my attempt at cloning it, with limited resources and budget, using what's available to me here in the USA. This first portion is intended to gather information on what can be used to pull it off.
The XA-XC Ford Falcon is essentially the bastard child of the '70-71 Torino, and the '71-73 Mustang. That can easily be seen at a glance, but I have several questions pertaining to these cars and using them to replicate the most visually-iconic features of the Falcon, and the Interceptor itself.

Let's start with the front end, which I would consider the easiest part of this

As you can see, the front clip of the Mustang is close enough to use without any major modification.
The general slope, the scoop and pin setup, and the top lines of the fenders are near identical. The only modification needed here would be the cut-out for the blower, and changing out the hood pins to match those on the Interceptor.
The grille and front bumper, while generally pretty close, aren't too relevant since they'd be covered by the nose cone.
Two major differences stand out here. The wheel wells are smaller and entirely rounded, compared to the wider and more straight-sided wells of the Falcon. They also come flared from the factory.
Personally, I would just leave the wheel wells alone. The flares are very similarly-sized to those of the Interceptor, and the overall shape of them isn't too important to achieving the look of the movie car.
The second, and more important, difference would be that overly-pronounced line which extends to the doors. On the Falcon, this line is much more subtle and runs the entire length of the car. The body of the Falcon also allows this line to remain close to the center of the body top-to-bottom.
I reckon the best thing to do about that line would be trying to remove it totally. One could try to get creative and form out the Falcon's line, but that would require far too much effort and potentially come out looking awful.
(I didn't mention the Torino here because the front clip isn't even close)

Next, let's talk about the side profile

This is what I'd consider the most challenging part of the Aussie car to match with an American equivalent. It boils down quite a bit to personal preference.
The Mustang's doors seem to be a closer overall match here. Those iconic door handles are definitely an important piece. Both the Torino and the Mustang share some unnecessary body lines which extend into the doors, and would ideally need to be removed entirely. It can be seen that the Torino shares that subtle straight line extending the length of the car, which is a bonus. It also has very similarly-shaped wheel wells.
The Falcon's windows are certainly unique, and their shape is an important part of the car's look. I believe the Torino's windows are closer length-wise, while the Mustang's have a more appropriate height.
Another important point is the length and shape of the tail section. I think the Torino definitely wins here. The length from the rear of the door to the front edge of the wheel well is near-perfect, and allows enough space to add the iconic zoomies. I couldn't see this being possible on the Mustang. The Torino also shares the concave line from the rear of the roof to the tip of the tail, while that of the Mustang is more convex. The Torino does seem to be a bit too long beyond the rear of the wheel well, but I think this difference could be ignored.

Now, the tail itself is somewhere I recommend getting creative

One obvious point here is that the convex curve of the Mustang's tail is way off, while the Torino is pretty close to what we want. The Mustang does, however, share the upswept edges of the bumper. Both American cars' bumpers stick to a line parallel to the bottom edges of the taillights, while the Falcon has a center protrusion which accents the lights. The taillights themselves are different on all 3 cars, although I'd personally call the Mustang's lights a bit closer to the Falcon's. Overall, I'd say the Torino has a much more similar tail. The recessed center section matches up well, and the tail panel itself is laid out similarly. The primary difference is that the Falcon's looks more like one big panel with everything attached to it, while the Torino's is more part of the body with each individual part laid into it. Your best bet here is to just pick what looks nice to you, and modify it however you see fit. I personally think the tail panel of the Torino looks a bit better than the Falcon's, and will likely leave it alone.

How 'bout the interior?
'73 Gran Torino

I doubt it'd be possible to match the famous Falcon's interior 100% without spending way more money than it's worth. You can, however, get pretty close and match the overall feel. The Torino's interior is way off. It's far too outdated and simple. Remember, we're building a supercar here. It needs to have all kinds of gadgets and gauges. The Mustang seems to be the obvious winner here, BUT the interior of the '73 Gran Torino is a lot more modern and also does what we need it to. If most of these pieces can be fit into an older Torino, this gets much easier.

My Conclusions

It seems to me that if I want to build an Americanized tribute to the Pursuit Special, the best possible base car is a '70-71 Torino Cobra. Any Torino equipped with the Sportsroof option will work, though. I would simply need to change out the tail panel for the Cobra one.
I would then need to work out the upper and lower body lines from the fenders, doors, and just behind the doors. The center line is a nice bonus.
Now, the most complex part of this job is the front end. I don't know how much work would be needed to get the Mustang's scooped hood to fit. I'd also like to graft the ends of the Mustang's fenders onto the stock ones, which would also mean adding a slight crease to them to match that center body line. Finishing this would probably mean trying to add the Mustang's grille, as well, but no fine fitting is really necessary as it'll all be covered by a nose cone.
Some fun custom fiberglass work will be required to add the iconic spoilers, and the best option for the nose cone is probably to buy one intended for a Falcon and modify it to fit. It'll then need to be molded to run into the front fender flares, which will need to be added (along with the rear ones). Appropriate headlights, a cut-out for the blower, new wheels/tires and some suspension work will have the exterior finished. The final touch would be the iconic gloss-and-matte paintjob.

For the interior, I reckon it should be possible to obtain the interior pieces from a '73 Gran Torino and fit them in the older one. The Mad Max modifications are the easy part here.

The amount of interior and exterior work required means I'm not too scared of getting a more rough example to start with. If I'm gonna be stripping it down and modifying the hell out of it anyway, I don't mind working some restoration into that to save some money on the car in the first place.

The 351 Cleveland and some basic performance parts for it aren't hard to acquire out here. The 4-speed Top Loader may be a different story. Thankfully, Holley now sells a Weiand "nostalgia" 6-71 blower with a dull finish. They are also now producing the Weiand "nostalgia" swing-arm blower drive in the same finish. I know this part was practically unobtainable a few years ago.

My one concern with building an engine for this thing comes with the Scott injection hat. I know reproductions of these are being made, but I don't think 7 grand is a very fair price for a primitive fuel injection system. Now, there are the ones made just for show, but I feel like the setup would look strange with the carbs sitting on top of the blower. I do suppose it'd give the whole setup the height it needs to be displayed well. I have no interest in a fake blower setup. I get why people do it, but it's not something I'd blow my money on.

So, let's get some discussion going here. Constructive criticism, input on fitting of some of these parts, suggestions for alternatives, etc. Info on a lot of this is few and far between, so it'd be nice to have a central place to discuss it for those working with a tight budget that want to use an American alternative to the Falcon to build their dream car.

Re: Americanized Interceptor "Tribute"

PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:04 am
by MWFV8
Have you considered buying the best Torino or Mustang you can and building up an MFP inspired pursuit special? I don't mean a Black on Black replica but rather the same kind of modifications on an alternative model. We know that other districts had their own pursuit specials and it's not too far a jump to translate those principles over to the States.

I know the Torino got a nosecone for NASCAR.

Re: Americanized Interceptor "Tribute"

PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:20 pm
by CocaineCowboy
That's another possibility. If you think about it, the Black-on-Black is similar to the King Cobra Torino, or the Daytona/Superbird, just with a different intended purpose.

Re: Americanized Interceptor "Tribute"

PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:49 am
by rustycarr
I can throw some info in here as i have built and am still building mine. I also had all these questions when i started.
I looked at many other models as well, Chevelles, Novas, Dodge Demons, Hell even a Ford Maverick. The maverick is pretty close in body lines and come in V8
just a small car, but actually really close to a Falcon at 187" length. Which brings me to the Torino. The Ford Falcon is a small to medium car by American 70's muscle car standards. I was set and determined to
use a Torino until i saw one in person. They are very large, big butted cars (for lack of better words) In comparison the Falcon is 189" ft long the Torino is 206" thats almost a
foot and a half difference. Numbers aside ,seeing it in the flesh is what continued my search. Upon researching, i found that most Americans , pre internet, did not know what
the "Mad Max Car" was. I saw alot of references to Torino, Chevelle, and Javelin. The reason i settled on a Javelin is that they had a limited run from 68-73 and not alot of
people recognize them in America. I actually started with a 68-69.. sold it and regretted it and now have the 72 that im tinkering with. (tranny is out now :cry: ) I grafted 69 fenders onto the 72, hand built the nose and just sourced pieces from everywhere. My scoop is a fiberglass replica. I get alot of attention, but i tell people its not the real deal but they dont care. The main thing is have fun. Ive been a fan of the movies my whole life and i was bound and determined to build one. You could use any car you want, a welder and torch does wonders!! Thats my story!

Re: Americanized Interceptor "Tribute"

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:07 am
by Nuts
Four things I think make an interceptor recognisable in order.

1. The engine sitting out of the bonnet.
2. The Arcadipane front.
3. Zoomies
4. Xb Coupe

Xb coupes are just over the top in price excluding importation and they're rust buckets, you've got to actually see what you're buying too.

However, from your conversation, you should be able to get the first 3 items inexpensively very close! Seen Rustycars front end, good effort, but it would also be possible to adapt one of these real fibreglass Arcadipane front ends onto one of your chosen US cars and its inexpensive to acquire on the scheme of things. Maybe you may have to cut and shunt the nose a bit but you should be able to end up with almost a copy of the interceptor from the front topping it off with a fake 6/71 blower and goodies.

Here's a kit (not sure where the boot part of the wing is) it's like $800 US. Came from the same mould that I used looking at it. Pickup only I see, but ask them how much extra to parcel it up ready to send overseas. ... SwNgdZmQ6a

Re: Americanized Interceptor "Tribute"

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:08 am
by CocaineCowboy
I agree with you on the most recognizable parts of the Interceptor, except for the XB coupe part. I have no doubt that's an important one in Australia, but a lot of people over here still speculate on what kind of car it was, since most have never taken the time to actually research it.
For us Americans, I'd lay the list out like:
1. The blower sticking way up out of the bonnet
2. Zoomies
3. The body kit
4. The stance of the car

I managed to dig up a picture from a dead website that had a ton of info on some of the parts.
I reckon if I could find one of those inline blower intercoolers, that would raise it up enough to make it stick out of the hood real nice. My only other issue is trying to work around paying for a working injection setup without having a pair of tall and blatantly visible carbs sitting under the scoop.

The zoomies and the overall stance aren't tough at all. Just some suspension work, wheels and tires, and the zoomies aren't too expensive.
The body kit is something that may set me back, but I reckon the Falcon kit would fit on there without *too* much trouble. The wheel wells are similar enough that they'll likely accept the flares, and the spoilers shouldn't give me much trouble. The nose cone, however, will be the biggest hassle. I'd also like to somehow swap out the door handles for the Mustang ones. Those newer-style door handles make a big difference for me.

I'm likely to still use a Torino. I get the size difference and all, but I think I've taken a liking to the Torino, and that's more why I'd like to use it. It also comes close to the Interceptor in spirit. The Torino and Cyclone were pretty advanced cars in their day, and the Torino was Ford's pick for NASCAR back then.

I'd like to know if anyone here has any info on the Torino > Mustang front end conversion, or maybe even trying to shove a Falcon front end on there. That'd be more expensive, but cutting out the extra labor with the nosecone would probably make up for the difference. As I said, I'd like to graft on the ends of the Mustang's fenders, and the hood.

I've seen something VERY similar done with an old Ford LTD. Someone grafted on the front of the Fox Mustang in the same manner, and the result actually came out looking surprisingly Australian. Check it out.


Re: Americanized Interceptor "Tribute"

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:35 am
by rustycarr
look up Mad Max Torino on youtube, Randy built a badass Torino, i actually bought one of my first blower setups from him
Good luck and start a thread when you get going!!

Re: Americanized Interceptor "Tribute"

PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:33 pm
by CocaineCowboy
I've seen the photos of his car floating around for ages, and I finally saw his videos. Hell of a car, for sure. Does he hang around here? I'd like to get some info on his blower/scoop setup, assuming it's all functioning.

Re: Americanized Interceptor "Tribute"

PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:59 am
by rustycarr
His blower is functioning now, i bought his old setup but ended up selling it with my first project. He was on here at one time but best bet is to contact him on youtube.

Re: Americanized Interceptor "Tribute"

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:52 am
by furyroadcars
I haven't read all the comments above, but thought I would share a pic of a 70/71 Torino Interceptor in Peurto Rico. I shipped the body kit to him last year. I've got newer pics as well but that are a bit dark so this one shows the look better. I also have another customer in Canada that I shipped body kit parts and rims to. He is just about to paint his Torino. He has done his a little different in that he's made the nose cone to suit the Torino front, where as the one in the pics has the proper front and modified the Torino fenders to suit. His also looks pretty cool. I'll check if I can post pics once he's done.