In the history of onscreen muscle cars, there probably aren’t many that looked more intimidating and vicious as the V8 Interceptor from the Mad Max movies. Let’s learn more about this famous car.
Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you may want to skip the section about the vehicle’s history.
Who drove the V8 Interceptor?
The V8 Interceptor was driven by none other than the lead character, Maximillian Rockatansky (a.k.a Mad Max), played by Mel Gibson. He may not have come into owning it the proper way (more on that later), but you can’t argue that he wasn’t meant to have it.
Mad Max drove the car throughout the entire first movie, Mad Max, and the first half of the next movie, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
History of the V8 Interceptor
The famously souped-up black V8 Interceptor, also called the Pursuit Special, was initially used to try and bribe Max from leaving his position as the top pursuit man on the Main Force Patrol. But he had made up his mind to leave, and the 600 horsepower, dual-overhead cam-engined beast wasn’t enough to get him to change his mind.
Unfortunately, when his family is killed, Max decides that the V8 Interceptor is just the vehicle he needs to enact revenge on his family’s killers, and he steals it from the MFP garage. And so begins the journey of Mad Max and his V8 Interceptor.
Designing the V8 Interceptor
The design of the car was left up to the art director for Mad Max, Jon Dowding. His original designs were planned around modifying a Ford Mustang until they realized how expensive it would be to use a foreign car. They went with a Ford Falcon XB GT.
Jon chose the company Graf-X International to carry out the work to ready the car for the movie. According to Graf-X’s general manager, Ray Beckerley, Jon told them he “…wanted the black car to look evil, it had to look different.”
How has the Interceptor changed throughout the series?
Throughout the Mad Max movies, the V8 Interceptor goes through a few transformations.
In Mad Max, the vehicle made its first appearance in tip-top shape, inside and out. There was some wear and tear by the end of the movie, as Mad Max uses it to run down his enemies, but it’s still intact and running at the end.
Mad Max 2: Fury Road begins with a V8 Interceptor that has been well-worn by the harsh conditions of the wasteland, but has also been tricked out to better handle these conditions. These modifications include:
- Added 2 fuel tanks to allow the vehicle to travel longer distances
- Removed bumper to allow for easier off-roading
- Replaced passenger seat with a custom seat for Max’s dog
- Added several hidden weapons and booby traps
The Interceptor doesn’t make it to the end of Mad Max 2, but pieces of it are used to build his new camel-drawn car in Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome.
Where is the Interceptor now?
The V8 Interceptor spent its first post-production years in the Birdwood Motor Museum in Australia. In 1992, it was sold to the Cars Of The Stars Motor Museum in the United Kingdom.
In 2011, the V8 Interceptor was bought by the Miami Auto Museum, where it’s currently on display. It’s in pretty rough shape, but people still come from far and wide to lay their eyes on this iconic car.