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The cars of Viva Las Vegas


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#1 Porsche718

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 23:30

I have a sense that another current topic may be about to shoot off in another direction, so before that happens I thought I'd start this thread.

 

"Viva Las Vegas". A typical lightweight Elvis Presley movie, with lots of songs and fluff, but has the most fantastic array of '50s cars and US specials. (Oh - and Ann Margaret - vroooom!!!!!

 

What cars can you pick?

 

We have the Elvas, Ol' Yallers, Jaguars, Triumphs and heaps more. Dig out your VHS and see what you can spot.

 

BTW I think there may also be an early Sadler!



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#2 E1pix

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 23:46

A gold McLaren M1B if memory serves… but I mainly focused on Ms. Margret.  :love:

 

My wife came home from work one day and said "Ann-Margret really is an Angel." The Missus had a mostly-deadhead flight, maybe five passengers aboard, Ann being one. They sat together and talked like old friends for over an hour. My wife's favorite passenger ever after serving several million of them.

 

Sorry if derailing.



#3 john aston

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 05:46

I spoke to Andrew Lovett  at Shelsley Walsh hill climb last summer who was using his father's white AC Cobra 260- as driven by Elvis in Viva Las Vegas. Some provenance ..... 



#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 06:28

https://www.imcdb.org/m58725.html

 

:)



#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 07:49

(brought over from the other thread)

There was actually two Elvas available for Elvis to drive in the movie. It is discussed in another thread. "Cars in movies" IIRC.

Tim "the sensei" Murray would be able to track down the correct thread.

It is never quoted as being an Elva in the film. Elvis tells the Cesare Danova character "that I just built it" but he was waiting for an engine to arrive.

There are a few mentions of the ‘Elvis Elvas’ in some of the old movie and musician threads, but this would seem to be the best thread for info:

An Elva Specialist needed!

Here are the most useful posts:

Two different elvas were used in the 'Viva Las Vegas" movie: the garage scenes were made by Dan Blocker's Elva-Maserati without engine, and the racing scenes by a standard Elva disguised to look like the 'Vinegaroon". If you don't trust me, see the movie. The Maserati engine was being repaired (had a cam bearing seizure in the first test) at the time the car was rented to the movie studio. Max Kelley was the engine builder, he made several modifications to the original Maserati tipo 61 engine, a bigger bore to increase to 3-litre capacity and new camshafts for higher Rpm's were the most important. According to the report I've seen, the engine developed between 280 and 290 HP.

I've made some captions of the movie, we can see the differences on the two elvas :

this is the Elva-Maserati , it appeared in the beginning of the movie only over it's trailing vehicle, in the garage scene and the trip on the Joe Brown Drive:
elvamaserati1963garage1mz1.th.jpg


this is the Elva-Climax or Ford (impossible to know which engine is) that appears at the end of the movie, in garage (installing engine) and race scenes:
elvaclimax1963garagescewo0.th.jpg

It is easy to see that they have installed the engine and the spare tire covers of the first Elva on the second Elva, and made fake front air intakes of flat black card paper glued (and secured by scotch tape) to make the second Elva to resemble to the first.

It's also visible the many differences between the two cars: different roll bars and roll bar location, different position of the engine firewall, different colour of the windshield, and many others...

I've made some research about the Elva-Maserati in the past, but I haven't made copies of the emails I received, and when I changed my Internet providers I lost the names of the people that sent me the information, but anyway here is what they informed me about the car history:

-In 1962 Harry Finer bought an Elva Mk6 and installed a Maserati tipo 61 (2.89 litre) engine on it: Bill Krause tried it in the 1962 LA Times GP and hated the car.
-In the first half of 1963 Dan Blocker bought it and hired Max Kelley to prepare the car. Max made modifications, most on the engine, but the engine failed in the first test so, while the engine was being rebuilt, Blocker rent the car to MGM studios, this was between july and september 1963. After that, the car made satisfatory tests in Riverside, but in october failed totally in the Times GP race.
-In 1964 the car was sold to Stan Schooley, who raced it at Kent USRRC (May 10, 1964), but the car only lasted 2 laps.
-In 1965 the car was entered in the 23rd Santa Barbara road races (1965,may 29 & 30) , driven by Robert W. Tharp, but I don't know what happened in the race.

Well guys, this is all I know about the car history.


No photos anymore, alas.

#6 Alan Baker

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 11:07

Viva Las Vegas was released in the UK as Love in Las Vegas. MGM had already used the title Viva Las Vegas in the UK in 1956 for the film everybody else knew as Meet Me in Las Vegas. Either they didn't want anyone confusing the Elvis movie with the older one or they thought people might think it was about someone taking Vauxhall's recently introduced small car to Las Vegas!



#7 Kenzclass

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 13:09

I spoke to Andrew Lovett  at Shelsley Walsh hill climb last summer who was using his father's white AC Cobra 260- as driven by Elvis in Viva Las Vegas. Some provenance ..... 

Does that make it a "King Cobra", then? :rolleyes:


Edited by Kenzclass, 05 August 2018 - 13:15.


#8 john aston

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 18:34

No sir . . But that's alright. Uhuh.  



#9 RA Historian

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 00:10

There also is a brief appearance by a rear engine Maserati Tipo 63.



#10 Kenzclass

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 08:12

There also is a brief appearance by a rear engine Maserati Tipo 63.

And here I was thinking that "Birdcage" was a Robin Williams movie.



#11 JoBo

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 16:45

There also is a brief appearance by a rear engine Maserati Tipo 63.

 

In "Viva Las Vegas" was also a brief appearance of the Maserati A6GCS, chassis #2062, painted in dark blue.

the car is now in Germany.

 

JoBo


Edited by JoBo, 06 August 2018 - 16:46.


#12 E1pix

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 17:22

On second thought I think my "gold McLaren M1B" comment may be in err...

Wasn't that in "Speedway?"

#13 Jim Thurman

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 17:44

On second thought I think my "gold McLaren M1B" comment may be in err...

Wasn't that in "Speedway?"

 

"Speedway" was Elvis' NASCAR movie. Perhaps, you're thinking of "Spinout"?



#14 Cynic2

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 17:50

Weren't most the appearances of T63 Maseratis fairly brief?



#15 E1pix

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 18:23

"Speedway" was Elvis' NASCAR movie. Perhaps, you're thinking of "Spinout"?

That's it... and they all did! ;-)

Thanks Jim.

#16 JacnGille

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 18:57

Does that make it a "King Cobra", then? :rolleyes:

It ain't nuthin but a hound dog.



#17 RA Historian

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 13:47

Weren't most the appearances of T63 Maseratis fairly brief?

Fourth overall at Le Mans in 1961 was not brief. Neither were the wins at the Bridgehampton SCCA National and the 1961 Road America 500.

 

Tom



#18 Tim Murray

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 14:15

Plus an impressive 4th and 5th in the 1961 Targa Florio:

http://www.racingspo...ti/Tipo 63.html

#19 Dave Ware

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 00:43

I recall seeing an ad for that M1B for sale several years ago.  I think the price was $425,000.  Here is the result (with really great pictures) of a quick search:

 

http://www.fantasyju...olet 8-Cylinder

 

Raced by such notables as Graham Hill and Jerry Entin!  Calling Jerry, do you have any stories about the car?  You had your bum in the same place Elvis had his.  How many people can say that?

 

Insert envious emojicon here...

 

For those of us who can't consider the real thing, Aurora did make an HO slot car version:

 

https://www.ebay.com...n elva&_sacat=0

 

In the late '60s I spent some time gazing at this model in the hobby shop display case.  Never bought one.  Should have...



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#20 D-Type

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 17:32

Hmmmm, I wonder.  Did "The King" ever actually drive the car, as opposed to sitting in it in front of a back-projection screen?



#21 dbltop

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 18:06

I wondered the same thing, D-Type.



#22 group7

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 18:27

In the link provided by  Dave Ware to the  auction site with the McLaren M1A driven by Elvis, interesting that they would use a original Elva wheel for the required onboard spare. It would be narrower ? I guess it was a matter of space consideration. I can't imagine the driver changing it   :rolleyes:  would there be a required on board jack as well ? The write up from the auction site states this was required in the pre Can-Am days.

Interesting thread, we will await input from Jerry.



#23 Dave Ware

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 20:25

Hmmmm, I wonder.  Did "The King" ever actually drive the car, as opposed to sitting in it in front of a back-projection screen?

 

Here is another link, with a short video from the film. 

 

https://www.elvis.co...t-mclaren.shtml

 

There's nothing in this video to show that Elvis (or the other actor) actually drove the car.  They both get into it and out of it, but when the car pulls out onto the track you can't see the driver's face.  But the bum-sharing aspect would still be right, unless the seat got changed before Jerry drove it.

 

As I try to remember the story, I think this video clip is the only time he drove the McLaren.  The rest of the time, he was trying to beat it.  Will have to dust off my VHS copy and watch it again!



#24 ddmichael

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 13:28

My son became a massive Elvis fan after I showed him Viva Las Vegas, so I'm quite familiar with it now! Viva is probably his best post-Army effort - decent budget, good songs, strong co-star (something the Colonel didn't like and prevented happening again!) and some good action. I can't recall a shot of him actually driving the Elva, aside from through the wonders of back-projection, though he does sit in it on the back of a moving truck. There are two big accidents in the Las Vegas GP - does anyone know if they're lifted from the Pat Boone remake of State Fair? The one with the XK120 barrel-rolling in a ball of flame is pretty amazing!

 

Elvis drives the white Cobra in Spinout, though there's a scene where the car plunges into a lake and transforms into another similarly-shaped car - he also drives the McLaren for a few seconds. Spinout might be fairly dreadful, but it was written by Theodore J. Flicker who went on to write and direct the brilliant The President's Analyst with James Coburn.

 

In the speedboat racing movie Clambake he uses the Bill Mitchell XP-87 Corvette as his daily driver.



#25 Porsche718

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 23:43

Viva is probably his best post-Army effort - decent budget, good songs, strong co-star (something the Colonel didn't like and prevented happening again!)

 

Actually, the film went seriously over budget. (Probably due to accessing the list of wonderful cars, writing of Jaguars XK120s and the like).

 

The Colonel was furious and reduced the budget for the next few films, which may also explain the quality (or lack thereof) of the next films.



#26 doc knutsen

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 09:27

Here is another link, with a short video from the film. 

 

https://www.elvis.co...t-mclaren.shtml

 

There's nothing in this video to show that Elvis (or the other actor) actually drove the car.  They both get into it and out of it, but when the car pulls out onto the track you can't see the driver's face.  But the bum-sharing aspect would still be right, unless the seat got changed before Jerry drove it.

 

As I try to remember the story, I think this video clip is the only time he drove the McLaren.  The rest of the time, he was trying to beat it.  Will have to dust off my VHS copy and watch it again!

Very dusty track, especially for a Can-Am McLaren running stack trumpets and no air filters. "Instant rebore kit" ?



#27 E1pix

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 15:09

Here is another link, with a short video from the film.

https://www.elvis.co...t-mclaren.shtml

There's nothing in this video to show that Elvis (or the other actor) actually drove the car. They both get into it and out of it, but when the car pulls out onto the track you can't see the driver's face. But the bum-sharing aspect would still be right, unless the seat got changed before Jerry drove it.

As I try to remember the story, I think this video clip is the only time he drove the McLaren. The rest of the time, he was trying to beat it. Will have to dust off my VHS copy and watch it again!

I don't know about you guys, but I love that movie! Cornball sure, but it's got Elvis, and a McLMaren!

I take that to be the Endurance version...

That's Shelley Fabares in the last clip, of Craig T. Nelson's "Coach" fame but maybe more so for singing "Johnny Angel" which may have hit Number 1 on the charts -- presumably when The Beatles were off on holiday.
(Self-check Edit: pre-Beatles)

I believe this movie inspired Elvis' famed "You Ain't Nothin' but a Horndog."

Please know that there are no errors in this post... ;-)

Fun stuff, Thanks Dave!

Edited by E1pix, 12 August 2018 - 15:21.


#28 B Squared

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 22:39

This link shows Elvis in "Spinout" as he gets ready to take off in his Duesenberg (J116) towcar with his Cobra on the trailer. The Thorne family of California owned the one of two built short wheelbase Derham Dual Cowl Phaeton. We used to have the sister car at our house (J 124; owned by our dear friend Homer Fitterling - Homer and Maxine were self-made, like another set of grandparents and owned 25 Duesey Js) and at times my Mom would go shopping or take my brother and I and a couple of friends to school. You could drive them for fun and without worry then for they were not yet considered valuable, and Elvis puts the wood to the Duesenberg a few times too. My family went to see the movie at the Holiday theatre the Friday it came out because of the Duesenberg; great memories.

https://www.google.c...f=1534112711849

#29 Gary Jarlson

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 19:54

My son became a massive Elvis fan after I showed him Viva Las Vegas, so I'm quite familiar with it now! Viva is probably his best post-Army effort - decent budget, good songs, strong co-star (something the Colonel didn't like and prevented happening again!) and some good action. I can't recall a shot of him actually driving the Elva, aside from through the wonders of back-projection, though he does sit in it on the back of a moving truck. There are two big accidents in the Las Vegas GP - does anyone know if they're lifted from the Pat Boone remake of State Fair? The one with the XK120 barrel-rolling in a ball of flame is pretty amazing!

 

Elvis drives the white Cobra in Spinout, though there's a scene where the car plunges into a lake and transforms into another similarly-shaped car - he also drives the McLaren for a few seconds. Spinout might be fairly dreadful, but it was written by Theodore J. Flicker who went on to write and direct the brilliant The President's Analyst with James Coburn.

 

In the speedboat racing movie Clambake he uses the Bill Mitchell XP-87 Corvette as his daily driver.

I lived in Las Vegas at the time they were filming and worked with the location manager to line up local cars for background images:in one exterior, among several cars tearing about, there sitting on a trailer is a friend's Lotus 15 (612-2). The two crashes you mention were both done for this film in and around Las Vegas. The Jaguar fireball was particularly wild. They were filming on a road that passed through a state park and had to have a ranger on hand to monitor things. No one told him there would be pyrotechnics, so when the Jag did the explosion thing, he went went berserk. Running around, waving his arms, screaming for people to stop what they were doing right now. They obeyed because the shot was already in the can. Now, the Jag hitting the telephone pole is another story.



#30 E1pix

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 19:58

They were filming on a road that passed through a state park and had to have a ranger on hand to monitor things.

Valley of Fire, correct?



#31 Gary Jarlson

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 20:14

That's the place.



#32 GreenMachine

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 21:56

... Now, the Jag hitting the telephone pole is another story.


Don't stop there, keep going ... please



#33 E1pix

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 23:34

If a telephone pole in a pool, now that would be a story.  :lol:   ;)



#34 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 05:19

I lived in Las Vegas at the time they were filming and worked with the location manager to line up local cars for background images:in one exterior, among several cars tearing about, there sitting on a trailer is a friend's Lotus 15 (612-2). 

 

Lotus 15 (612-2).  This one...no longer available.  I saw it race at the Monterey Historics a few times...nice...

 

https://www.pistonhe...y-dk924/8699851

 

Vince H.



#35 Gary Jarlson

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 15:51

It's interesting that the sales posting for that Lotus 15 perpetuates a myth that I have no idea of how it started. The seller states that the car's original engine was removed for use in a single seater. First of all, the owner at that time--Dick Levinson--was what you might call of a substantial build. In fact, he tried sitting is a BMC formula junior and we like to never got him out of it. Dick was part owner (through his father) of the Fremont Hotel in Las Vegas. He was single and living the good life. One night he took a fair damsel over to his house to impress her with status as a race driver. He fired up the Lotus, hammered it to about 4K and promptly stuck a rod out of the block. Hardly anyone had ever seen a Climax, much less worked on one so repairs were pretty much out of the question. The mechanic who handled all of Dick street and race cars bought four-cylinder crate motor from a Chevy II as a possible replacement but I never saw that project completed. In the mid-'70s I ran into the mechanic at race in Vegas and he had installed a Datsun four-cylinder so his son could go to driver's school. When it appeared in Viva Las Vegas it didn't have an engine in it.



#36 Gary Jarlson

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 22:30

As to the other Viva Las Vegas crash I mentioned, it wasn't a Jag hitting the pole. I've always called it that because the Jag was the launch vehicle and the "launchee" was a Healey. The scene was filmed at a road race track that had been built around a city recreation dept. drag strip in Henderson, a few miles east of LV (yes, a city rec director ran a big time drag strip.) I was at the filming and talking to some guy (I don't recall if he was a stunt coordinator or what) about the scene, which played out on the track's long, banked final turn that could never be raced on because of a major design flaw. The film crew would only get one attempt at the shot so the Jag driver had to release the Healey at exactly the right place and at the right speed. He did his job, the car nailed the telephone pole (planted for the scene) and there were many cheers all around.



#37 E1pix

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 17:43

Fabulous posts Gary, hope to see a lot more of them down-track. :-)

#38 Jerry Entin

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 02:41

viva-vegas-cars-1-b.jpg
Elvis by the Elva Maserati with Ol Yeller 2 #70 in the background this is from Viva Las Vegas

Also appearing in Viva Las Vegas was Ol Yeller 2. I owned it at the time and Max Balchowsky got it in the movie for me. I paid $2,500 to John Brophy for the car. This was in 1963.
I made around $4,500 for the movie. I gave Max around $800 of the proceeds for watching over the car and getting it in the movie for me.
They wanted to wreck it in the movie and would have paid me $5,000 to total it. I didn't want it wrecked and told Max to tell them no.
This was an MGM movie and Colonel Tom Parker had nothing to do with how much was spent on the race car part. That was called the second unit. That meant the action scenes.
The first unit was the acting and singing part. The Colonel only could say how much Elvis was to get for his part in the movie.

By the way he was no Colonel and his name wasn't really Tom Parker it was Andreas Cornelis Van Kuijk and he was Dutch. The Colonel did get Elvis a very good pay day for Viva Las Vegas. It was $750,000 and 40% of the profits. How much of that Elvis ever saw was questionable.

Edited by Jerry Entin, 13 December 2018 - 00:36.


#39 Jerry Entin

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 03:37

mclaren-and-bob-drake.jpg
Bob Drake in the White Cobra and Cary Loftin talking to him.

As for the Gold McLaren, that was in the Elvis movie called Spinout. At the time of Spinout the McLaren belonged to me. I also had my Cheetah in the movie Spinout.
I had a picture of me next to Elvis in the Cheetah. I haven't found it in many years.

Elvis did drive the McLaren in the movie. This was on a set at MGM Studios. The real driver in the movie was Cary Loftin, a movie stunt man.
The Cobra that appeared in Spinout was driven by Bob Drake.

Bruce Kessler was the second unit director of Spinout and he got my cars in for me. Also in Spinout was the Chuck Jones owned Lola T 70 now know as the Lancer Lola. In the movie Skip Hudson was the driver of that car.

Edited by Jerry Entin, 13 December 2018 - 00:43.


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#40 Jerry Entin

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:03

The white Cobra in Spinout was a 427 engined car with knock off wheels. In the race part of the movie Elvis drove a version of Ol Yeller.
The McLaren in the movie was suppose to be driven by Carl Betz who in the movie was the supposed inventor of the McLaren called the Fox 5.

Edited by Jerry Entin, 05 December 2018 - 11:36.


#41 RobMk2a

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 12:25

https://pics.imcdb.o...8h28m42s205.jpg

 

https://www.imcdb.org/v011474.html

 

Looks like  a TVR Grantura Mk3 also used does anyone know about the car. 

 

Thanks

 

Rob 
 

 



#42 JoBo

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 16:08

https://photos.googl...VhrZ0RwOEFXc2Rn
Elvis by the Elva Maserati with Ol Yeller 2 #70 in the background this is from Viva Las Vegas

Also appearing in Viva Las Vegas was Ol Yeller 2. I owned it at the time and Max Balchowsky got it in the movie for me. I paid $2,500 to John Brophy for the car. This was in 1963.
I made around $4,500 for the movie. I gave Max around $800 of the proceeds for watching over the car and getting it in the movie for me.
They wanted to wreck it in the movie and would have paid me $5,000 to total it. I didn't want it wrecked and told Max to tell them no.
This was an MGM movie and Colonel Tom Parker had nothing to do with how much was spent on the race car part. That was called the second unit. That meant the action scenes.
The first unit was the acting and singing part. The Colonel only could say how much Elvis was to get for his part in the movie.

By the way he was no Colonel and his name wasn't really Tom Parker it was Andreas Cornelis Van Kuijk and he was Dutch. The Colonel did get Elvis a very good pay day for Viva Las Vegas. It was $750,000 and 40% of the profits. How much of that Elvis ever saw was questionable.

 

The blue car in the back is the Maserati A6GCS, chassis #2062.

 

JoBo


Edited by JoBo, 06 December 2018 - 16:08.