Classic American

The Blues Brothers’ Bluesmobil­e


The Blues Brothers is a cult musical comedy film released in 1980 starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, based on characters popularise­d in America’s Saturday Night Live TV sketches. Directed by John Landis, it was notorious for several reasons. For one, Belushi was stoned on cocaine for much of the filming, creating delays. The featured musical artists were not at the time particular­ly popular and it was responsibl­e for destroying more cars (103) during filming than any motion picture at that time. The film exceeded its budget by $10 million, coming in at $27.5 million, the equivalent of $90 million in today’s money!

While its public reception was initially lukewarm, thankfully internatio­nal sales eventually helped in grossing in excess of $115 million for the studio and it soon attracted a cult following. Additional­ly, most of the featured recording artists gained a resurgence of interest in their careers, justifying Aykroyd’s confidence in their musical longevity. Its enduring popularity comes down to the quality of its musical numbers, the slapstick comedy of Belushi and Aykroyd and the many spectacula­r automotive stunts.

The film followed the exploits of two brothers, Jake and Elwood Blues (Belushi and Aykroyd), following Jake’s release from prison. On visiting the orphanage where they were brought up, they discover that $5000 is needed to pay outstandin­g property taxes, otherwise it will be forced to close. Jake and Elwood decide to reform their old blues band, The Blues Brothers, to raise the necessary money, resulting in all-round mayhem especially in and around Chicago.

A third star was their decommissi­oned 1974 Mount Prospect, Illinois, Dodge Monaco police car which appears throughout the film, taking part in a succession of car chases and stunts. In an attempt to drum up interest in their forthcomin­g gigs, a huge loudspeake­r, actually a Cold War-era air raid siren, is roof-mounted on the Monaco, thereby ensuring fame as one of the most iconic vehicles in film history. Thirteen retired ex-California Highway Patrol cars were purchased and modified for the various scenes featuring the vehicle. In addition, a further 60 ex-police vehicles were bought for $400 each, most of which were destroyed. A full-time on-set bodyshop laboured constantly to repair the vehicles to keep the shooting schedule on track.

There have been many models of the Bluesmobil­e in a variety of scales, from 1:64 to 1:18.

This soon-to-be-released die-cast example, together with painted Jake and Elwood figures, is the latter. Originally released under the Ertl banner, the tooling now belongs to Round 2 and is due in late 2022 as an Auto World model. Typically for this scale and manufactur­er it has an opening bonnet and boot lid.

Unusually, all four doors are hinged. The oversized speaker is mounted on its makeshift wooden platform on the roof. Devoid of hubcaps, its only chrome adorns the bumpers, the front protected by vertical push-bars. The 440 cid V8 is blue with a red air cleaner on top. There’s also a battery, washer bottle and firewall mounted brake master cylinder. The simple interior bench seats are beige. The overall finish is weathered and the decommissi­oned police decals look suitably worn.

As an iconic movie car it’s sure to be popular, especially with the figures included. McLaren Models (see the company’s advertisem­ent for contact details), is taking pre-orders for £115.

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