The Bluesmobile: Building an Icon | The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® The Daily Drive
By Paul Herrold
“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we have received a total tank of gas, fifty percent pack of cigarettes, it’s darkish, and we’re sporting sunglasses…Hit it!”
Nevertheless only a modest strike during the time of its launch, The Blues Brothers has considering that attained cult status. What legendary film critic Gene Siskel regarded as the “best movie ever created in Chicago” has turn out to be a image of both equally the town as nicely as its rich songs heritage, exposing a era to blues and soul legends. But in spite of starring Dan Aykroyd, the late John Belushi, and even featuring cameos from Steven Spielberg and Carrie Fisher, there was one legendary character who rose to stardom over the rest—the Bluesmobile.
The precise Bluesmobile—a 1974 Dodge Monaco—was a decommissioned police vehicle, just as it was in the motion picture. Mainly because of all the stunt driving prepared for the movie, the creation crew had a lot of Monacos on hand: 13 similar automobiles were all obtained from a law enforcement auction in California. By the end of manufacturing, having said that, all 13 were wrecked. Due to the fact there was no actual Bluesmobile still left, quite a few vehicle aficionados took it upon them selves to build their individual replicas. Enter Brian Scanlon, Western Springs, Illinois, resident and lifelong Blues Brothers superfan.
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For Brian, the strategy for this job took root early. Despite the fact that the Eighties featured quite a few iconic motion picture cars—the Delorean from Again to the Long run, KITT from Knight Rider, Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1—Brian’s mind remained fixated on the Bluesmobile. “I saw the movie as a child, and for some purpose each the film and the vehicle itself just stuck with me. I held indicating to myself that a person of these times I’m heading to have to purchase a person or build 1.”
Of training course, priorities adjust around time. Even when balancing a career, marriage, and household, the Bluesmobile normally occupied the again of Brian’s mind. “Six many years back, I eventually resolved that the time was appropriate,” stated Brian. “I experienced some more funds and common Dodge Monacos weren’t really costly again then, so I ended up going to Northern Illinois to obtain a 1976 Dodge Monaco with the 400-cubic-inch V8 motor.” The automobile was nearly identical to the just one in the film, apart from with a couple of far more interior gildings and a fancier front close. No subject. Brian diligently worked to “de-luxury” the Monaco, shifting the front end’s flip-up headlights and cornering lamps to much better resemble the 1974 design. “I realized from the quite commencing that I was likely to do all the get the job done myself,” explained Brian. “This project meant so considerably to me. I wished to possibly thrive or fall short by myself.”
So, with the assist of a pretty affected individual spouse and son, Brian set out to construct his Bluesmobile. Around the training course of 8 months, every single moment of cost-free time—mostly nights and weekends—was used converting the car or truck in his garage. It was through this period that Brian’s spouse Alma instructed he get started a weblog. “There experienced to be other people like me that required to create, not just a Bluesmobile, but any sort of motion picture or dream auto.” Brian recounted. He commenced to document the course of action, uploading each and every little bit of the transformation. The end result remaining him pleasantly stunned. “A whole lot of individuals started pursuing me on the blog and presented me all sorts of encouragement,” stated Brian. “I also identified some Bluesmobile distinct internet websites that helped me obtain the areas I required.”
Finally, immediately after combing via the film body-by-frame and very carefully inspecting just about every shot of the automobile to get every element right—Brian experienced concluded his labor of like. “I was so very pleased of myself,” claimed Brian of the culmination of his lifelong purpose. “But then I remembered pondering, ‘OK… Now what?’”
Brian tried bringing his generation to a couple of community car or truck displays and cruise evenings, but was satisfied with a lukewarm, mixed reception. “Some men and women would get it, some didn’t.” Comic-downsides, nonetheless, proved to be much more interesting. To increase to the developing enthusiasm, Brian saved his web site up-to-date with his Bluesmobile’s adventures, publishing shots of the automobile from various Chicago places applied in the motion picture. As time went on, he moved his posts to Facebook and Instagram, amassing a larger adhering to. Soon he began to obtain some unusual—but not unwelcome—requests.
“One evening I acquired a bizarre email from a gentleman in Australia who was going to be browsing Chicago with his spouse,” stated Brian. The fellow Blues Brothers superfan was coming in for a conference, and to celebrate his birthday. He asked Brian to choose him and his spouse to a couple of filming areas in the vehicle. “I claimed to myself, ‘Why not?’” Brian chauffeured the few all-around the Windy City, viewing The Blues Brothers’ iconic spots and posing the Bluesmobile for pictures. “He loved it,” explained Brian. “I didn’t charge him something, but he did give me a very great idea and that acquired me thinking…I could make a business out of this!”
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A “Rent the Bluesmobile” web site was shortly additional to Brian’s web page, giving guided movie excursions in the auto. Small by very little, calls begun coming in from persons who wanted to go for a ride. “The summer time of 2019 is when matters definitely took off,” stated Brian. “I been given a cellular phone simply call from the producers of Netflix’s Comedians in Vehicles Obtaining Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld. They requested if they could use the car or truck on the show.” When the episode aired that July, the cell phone started out ringing off the hook. “People from all above the country had been asking if they could do corporate activities and conventions with the car.”
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In the slide of the identical year, formal Blues Brothers reps identified as. They ended up arranging a big PR party in Chicago for the forthcoming 40th anniversary of the film, and had seen what Brian and his Bluesmobile had been up to via his weblog and social media accounts. Whilst COVID set programs on maintain, Brian was questioned if he would like to husband or wife up with Blues Brothers Accredited Ventures and have his motor vehicle turn into an authorised aspect of the BBAV brand. “I agreed. Of system!”
Toward the conclude of 2020, Jim Belushi named, explaining that he was coming to Skokie to boost his new organization undertaking. He required to use the vehicle. “My only query was, ‘Do you want it with the roof speaker?’” Brian experienced just completed constructing the legendary accessory. “Jim came around, bought in the car, and drove it to Skokie. It was a large strike!” Dan Aykroyd has also pushed the automobile. “It’s a amusing dynamic concerning the two of them,” Brian pointed out. “If it’s just Jim by himself, Jim will travel the automobile. But if Dan is around, Dan Normally drives—no issue.” Brian when caught Dan sitting down in the auto when there was a little bit of downtime amongst events. “He commenced fidgeting with matters and seeking about the auto. A huge smile came throughout his face. It was magical for me.”
Brian hardly ever anticipated his weekend hobby to obtain this much recognition. “I did it purely for the love of the motion picture, purely for the enjoy of the car—and to be equipped to share that with people throughout the country is just past awesome.” Brian considers this total journey—including its humble beginnings—a fulfilling encounter. “I’m not the renowned 1: the motor vehicle is. But I can say that I constructed that, I established this issue and that is what presents me intense pleasure.” Extra than just a prop – Brian has created an icon, a vehicle that persons from all more than the world and across several generations will get pleasure from and cherish, just like the motion picture by itself.
Paul is Main Editor at the Sons of Speed, and a regular visitor on the Car or truck Stuff Podcast
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