WE THOUGHT WE MIGHT GET 200 PEOPLE INTERESTED. IT MUST HAVE BEEN A GOOD IDEA, BECAUSE WE HAD ABOUT 3000 PEOPLE SHOW UP!
AMONG countless stage and screen roles over the past 35 years, actor Terry Serio has played Aussie rocker Johnny O’keefe in the mini-series Shout! and Bob Hawke and John Howard in Keating! The Musical, for which he won a Helpmann award. But Running On Empty was a young Terry’s first major acting gig, and it’s been part of his life ever since. “To this day, I really don’t think the Australian film industry actually realises what a ‘thing’ Running On Empty was,” says Terry. “The central characters, Mike and Tony and Rebel, they simply loved their racing and their fast cars, and I think that struck a chord with people. “I’ve been chased through airports by people quoting the lines from the film at me,” he laughs. “I’ll be putting my bags on a trolley and people will say: ‘PISSOFF!’ to me and security dudes are like: ‘Whoa – what the hell is going on here?’ “After a decade of this I started thinking: ‘Wow! This movie – it’s transcended generations.’ It’s the only film I’ve ever done that has that degree of what you would call ‘resonance’.”
THERE were a few cool black Chevs cruising Cobar, but none were closer to the movie car than this ’57 (right, behind Running On Empty star Terry Serio), owned by Mark Mclean. “It’s the closest to the real one in Australia,” he claims. “I saw the film as a teenager and I remember saying: ‘One day, I’m gonna own one of those!’” And it happened: as an adult, Mark has built and modified several ’57s over the years. This one was bought a decade ago to build into a BLOWN57 tribute, right down to the rounded rear wheelarches seen on the movie car. Most other details are correct, too, such as a metal mountain poking through the bonnet, the satin paint, the missing front bumper and the de-chroming. The car remains streetable, although it doesn’t get street driven too much. But with its blown big-block Chev, it’s a regular at events like Powercruise, and has run a 10.6 at Willowbank.