Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply:
Stephen asks: Your enjoyable columns always provide that long ago feeling of driving down an empty western road (remember the 265 air conditioner – both windows rolled down going 65 mph!), no phones; just the earth and sky. Perhaps you can help me or point me in the right direction. I have an old pickup (1964 Ford F250 Straight 6/223, oil bath air filter & a choke!), It is not running at the moment and in the driveway it just provokes my wife to badger me to get rid of it. Just don’t have the heart, it carried me all over the West in my younger day! Here’s what I’m wondering: Are there outfits that could use my rig as a prop in a movie? Of course ideally they would restore it to its past glory! The body is sound, very little rust, the engine has close to 300,000 miles so needs to go down to the rings. So there it is, your thoughts?
My reply: There are probably movie companies that buy (or rent) people’s cars for props, however I don’t have any contacts. But I doubt it would be helpful in any event because I’ve never heard of them restoring a vehicle at their expense – and then giving it back to the owner.
But I do have some ideas for you.
Get in touch with vocational schools/high school auto shop (if the latter still exist) and offer to let them use your truck as an instructional tool. They fix it for free. The downside is it may take them a long time to get it done and it might not be done professionally.
You didn’t mention why it’s not running. If it’s only because of minor stuff such as needing the carb cleaned/adjusted, the ignition system attended to, etc., then I’d recommend having it flat-bedded to a shop you trust and letting them bring it back to operational status. If it’s just minor cleaning/adjustment/tweaking, the cost shouldn’t be more than a few hundred dollars at the most. Your truck is about as simple a vehicle as it gets.
The big expense with something such as your truck is bodywork/paint. If it’s rusty or or needs a lot of welding, that will get into money.
Would love to know more about your truck – and see some pics!
. . .
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Probably a very bad idea to let someone use your vehicle as a movie prop. Even a simple shoot might involve removing parts in order to get a camera in the perfect location, or “aging” it to look right.
For example, if a director wanted a two shot of a driver and passenger though the windshield, the windshield will need to be removed unless there is some good reason to keep it (like it was broken earlier and they need to keep it that way for continuity). It is very difficult to shoot through windows without causing problems so away with it.
You’re thinking they’ll replace it and return it to you in at least the same condition, but they have better legal departments than you do and that contract you sign will have damage clauses all through it. Not to mention your insurance company won’t like that you rented your car out either.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YKtQrYNKPg is an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage featuring one of the KITT cars from Knight Rider. And remember what Dukes of Hazard did to all those classic Chargers!