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This Summer, director George Miller straps audiences into the rumble seat to experience the concussive force of a Road War as only he can deliver it—Mad Max: Fury Road, the filmmaking mastermind’s much-anticipated return to the epic post-apocalyptic world he created more than 30 years ago with the seminal Mad Max films.

Often imitated, never duplicated, Miller’s singular brand of immersive, propulsive filmmaking elevates vehicular mayhem to operatic levels using real cars in live stunts orchestrated on a massive scale. Like Mad Max himself, these vehicles are old school Road Warriors—their histories etched in steel rather than flesh—so when one goes out in a blaze of glory, you feel it.  “We’re 45 years after the fall of the world, and the cars that remain are those of a less sophisticated technology,” Miller details.  “If anything breaks down, you can’t go and get a new computer chip, so what remain are the more robust vehicles—the muscle cars and hot rods.  Like everything else in this world, they’re found objects that have survived the apocalypse, so pieces can take on a nearly religious significance, and each vehicle has been customized in a very detailed and personalized way.”

Not mere showpieces, the film’s nearly 150 cars, trucks and bikes were designed, built and modified by production designer and chief “Rev-Head” Colin Gibson and his team to not only survive months of hard driving on the wide open deserts of Namibia, but to fit the logic of the story and the role each plays in the action.  “We design to the story and react to the reality, and each adds truth to the other,” Gibson confirms.  “Technically, the desert terrain and climate made for logistic problems—overheating, wear on suspension, clogged aspirators, etc.—but those very antagonisms added to the beauty and sheer physics of the action with swirling dust, spat sand and airborne vehicles.”

These are the vehicles of Mad Max: Fury Road…

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Name:  Interceptor

Driver: Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy)

Model: XB Ford FALCON Coupe

Origin:  MFP Prototype

“In the Westerns, the cowboys had their favorite horse and Max has his Interceptor,” Miller observes.  Hatched by Rev-Heads as a supercharged prototype during civilization’s last gasp, Max Rockatansky’s signature black Interceptor is now, like the man who drives it, a wounded survivor on the wastes, haunted and reshaped by Road Wars past.  “It’s in just as bad shape as he is—it keeps getting destroyed and resurrected,” Miller adds.  The Interceptor began life as a 1974 XB Ford Falcon Coupe, Australia’s variant of the Ford muscle car, which was modified with a Concorde front end, Scott SuperSlot Injector hat and belt-driven blower before blazing into legend in 1979’s Mad Max.  Though the weathered but still sexy death machine meets its fiery end in 1981’s The Road Warrior, we meet it again in Mad Max: Fury Road, “A legend spotted in the gutter,” Gibson details, “rusted through and rattling with one too many repairs and far too few original parts.”

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Name: The War Rig

Driver: Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) 

Model:  Tatra / Chev Fleetmaster, Trailer with truck & VW Bug Shells, Pod

Origin:  The Citadel

Cargo:  The Five Wives—Toast (Zoë Kravitz), Capable (Riley Keough), Splendid (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), The Dag (Abbey Lee) and Fragile (Courtney Eaton)  

Branded, intimidating, and every bit as impenetrable as its driver, the Citadel’s elite War Rig is a fortified war machine with the soul of a hot rod, and the most valuable vehicle on the dunes.  A bastardized Czechoslovakian Tatra and Chev Fleetmaster, this six-wheel-drive 18-wheeler is a self-contained nerve center powered by twin V8 engines end-to-end, with an elephantine scoop in the front and carrying a massive double-payload of a bulky fuel tank and trailing fuel pod.  The War Rig never leaves the Citadel without elite Warboys perched in VW Bug and truck cabin shells welded onto the hull, as well as tracking with her across the desert in a convoy of Citadel cars and motorcycles.  “The War Rig is a distinct presence in the film, so we spent a huge amount of time designing it,” Miller offers.  “It’s covered in tar and pitch.  They put spikes and skeletons on it to keep people away, and to project a sense of dread to anyone who would want to attack it.”  The War Rig interior reflects the strategic and intuitive mind of its driver, from racks of tools to concealed weapons, all the way to a steering wheel fashioned into a wire-work skull—a personalized subversion of the Immortan’s signature motif.  When Furiosa commandeers the War Rig with Immortan Joe’s five prized Wives hidden in the hold, the furious warlord marshals all his gangs to pursue them across the Wasteland, and Mad Max becomes swept up with the rebels in the high-octane Road War that follows.

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Name: The Giga-horse

Driver: Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne)

Model:  TWIN 1959 Cadillac Devilles

Origin:  The Citadel

An imposing Frankenstein monster of metal and blades, the Giga-Horse is terrifying just standing still.  In action, with the tyrannical Immortan Joe at the helm, it’s a rolling fever dream of excess, carnality and brute force.  When Immortan takes the wheel, his own nightmarish visage is reflected in the masked screaming skull steering wheel, with his signature motif of a skull within a burning ring surrounding him on all sides.  Miller describes the Giga-Horse as a “Cadillac on steroids”—a fuel-injected double threat that mates a pair of 1959 Cadillac Devilles, which have been split, widened and mounted one atop the other to jut arrogantly skyward from its bladed maw to its jacked-up tail fins.  The beast is powered through a custom gearbox that harmonizes its twin V16 engine and two-meter-high double rear wheels.  “Armed with whaler’s harpoon and the devil’s own flamethrower, the Giga-Horse is likely the first thing you hear and the last thing you see on the Fury Road,” Gibson smiles.

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Name:  THE NUXCAR

Driver:  Nux (Nicholas Hoult)

Model:  Chevrolet 5-Door Coupe

Origin:  The Citadel

As a gun driver and true believer in Immortan Joe’s army of Warboys, Nux venerates his Master with a skull and mask totem mounted to the hood of the Nuxcar that leads the way as he races toward battle glory in his quest to ride eternal with Immortan on the highways of Valhalla.  “But his true god is the engine, his real church, the car,” Gibson notes.  A super-turbocharged, nitrous-boosted, 5-window deuce coupe, Nux’s chariot is every hot rodder’s dream—a polished steel chassis fitted with a coiled V8 engine, canted wheels and swooping, wing-like exhaust pipes.  Inside, the car’s interior is festooned with random toys and objects he’s found over the length of his short life, from his eyeball stick shift to his doll-face steering wheel.  “There’s a joy in the insanity of it all,” Miller observes, “and Nux, being young, has the kind of joyous rambunctiousness of someone who grew up this world and knows nothing of what came before.”

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Name:  BIGFOOT 

Driver:  RICTUS ERECTUS (NATHAN JONES)

Model:  1940s FARGO TRUCK 

Origin:  The Citadel

At nearly seven feet tall, Rictus Erectus—the homunculus son of Immortan Joe—needs a lot of car, and his weapon of choice is Bigfoot, a modified 1940s Fargo workhorse with a harpoon and belt-driven machine gun in the back.  Housed within its beaten steel frame, this monster truck is powered by a supercharged V8 tamed by a turbo 400 auto transmission that drives its cartoonishly large 66-inch Terra tires via a planetary gear reduction hub set in heavy duty axles from an ex-military supertanker. With four feet of suspension and almost 600 cubic inches of displacement, Bigfoot, Gibson states, “is the only vehicle capable of climbing a fallen mountain.”

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Name: The Doof Wagon

Driver: Coma—the Doof Warrior (iOTA)

Model: 8 x 8 M.A.N. MISSILE CARRIER

Origin:  The Citadel

Cargo: Righteous Sound

In the world of the Road Warrior, there are machines built for transport, combat or speed, but only one built to rock.  A rolling intimidator and rally machine, the Doof Wagon is sonic carmageddon on wheels—pumping Immortan Joe’s gang of Warboys full of kamikaze gusto as their torqued-out, supercharged V8 engines bomb into battle.  “What would rise above all that noise but a traveling rock concert?” Miller posits.  The Doof Wagon is a gantry-like mobile stage stacked high with gargantuan speakers, PA systems and repurposed air-conditioning ducts to reverberate the distorted lick and driving bass of Immortan’s demented house band:  Taiko drummers strapped to repurposed metal ducting beating a brutal rhythm for Coma, the blind guitarist swinging from a bungee cord as he shreds metal and flame from a double-necked electric guitar/flamethrower. “Every army needs a Little Drummer Boy,” Gibson offers.  “George imagined one bigger and louder than ever seen before, so the kid with a drum became Spinal Tap on wheels.”

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Name: THE PEACEMAKER

Driver: Bullet Farmer (Richard Carter)

Model: Ripsaw Tank, 1970s VALIANT

ORIGIN:THE BULLET FARM 

If the Road War was waged on unbroken flatlands, it would be anyone’s game.  But in this mercurial Wasteland, with its omnipresent threat of toxic storms, sand pits and hungry bogs, the Bullet Farmer shines.  “George, in his storytelling, has some great punctuation to the chase—one of which is the Night Bog, which immobilizes a lot of vehicles,” Gibson offers.  “And what can go through a bog but a tank?”  A brassy 1970s Valiant chassis welded to the body of a U.S.-made Ripsaw Tank, the Bullet Farmer’s signature assault vehicle marries machine gun, tank tread and torpedo over a water-cooled Merlin V8.  Styled with aviation parts, a shark mouth finish of bullets, and carrying an enormous armory befitting Immortan Joe’s exclusive weapons dealer, this unstoppable, highly-maneuverable, and visually striking war machine can surpass more than 60 kilometers-an-hour and give not a quarter to the treacherous terrain.

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Name:  THE PLOUGHBOY

Driver:  BULLET FARM WARRIOR

Models:  EH WAGON

Origin:  BULLET FARM

The Bullet Farmer Convoy is equally deadly as they trawl the wastes in menacing Claw Cars—designed to harpoon, crush, and, yes, claw anything in their wake—repurposed from, among other vehicles, an International Ute, and a viciously toothed Ford F250 tow truck.  Included in this heavily armed convoy is the Ploughboy, an EH wagon jacked up over an off-road frame and rigged with harpoon and hydraulic-driven plough to till the battlefield for spoils, whether metal or flesh

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