Monday, July 07, 2014

SHTF: Hollywood's Look Alike Post-Apocalyptic Vehicles

I've seen most of the bad post-apocalyptic movies and television shows out there. There's a subset of these movies that also feature a vehicle as a co-star for the lead actor. Mad Max wouldn't be a movie without the V8 Interceptor for instance.

There have been a few movies from the past thirty of so years which have featured an ultimate end of the world battle wagon. To the uneducated eye, these vehicles look the same and many wonder if they are indeed the same vehicle repurposed by Hollywood. Actually, that's not the case with these three movie vehicles.

Ark II

A 1970's children's show from CBS that featured the Ark II, an end of the world repository of knowledge vehicle. Crewed by a diverse cast of young people (and a talking chimpanzee named Adam!), the Ark II drove around a world destroyed as a result of ecological catastrophe, pollution and overpopulation and which left most of the world strangely looking like a Southern California back lot.

The Ark II featured a fold out back with a smaller vehicle called a Rover, all kinds of neat computers and gizmos inside, a laser beam (for peaceful purposes only) on the front grill and a sunroof that allowed the chimp to see outside on an elevating chair.

Sadly, this show only lasted one season and I think I'm the only person left after the end of the world who remembers it.

The Battletruck - From the 1980's film extraordinaire, Battletruck AKA Warlords of the 21st Century (and several other names in other countries), the Battletruck ran around the wastelands of the U.S.A. following a devastating world wide conflict over oil. Commanded by a renegade colonel and his motley band of American, Australian and New Zealand troops (which is never explained IN the movie but the directors made the decision because the movie was shot Down under), the Battletruck goes around wreaking havoc raiding small towns, villages and communities.

Going for the Bigger and Better Than the Roadwarrior title, Battletruck not only featured an up armored vehicle, but also equipped with multiple machine guns, firing ports and other stuff. And nope, it's not built on the same chassis as the Ark II or our other famous land leviathan...

The Landmaster from Damnation Alley. The Landmaster was designed by Dean Jeffries, the famous Hollywood auto set designer for the film and using trick photography, made it appear as if there were two of these beasts when only one was built. 

The Landmaster came equipped with machine guns, a multiple rocket launcher on the roof, external cameras, safety shutters and could float. It also used standard truck parts both in the movie (as pointed out by George Peppard's character), but also by the designers. The tri-wheels really worked and the vehicle really was powered by a massive stock 18 wheeler engine. 

The Landmaster has been restored to original condition and is allegedly on view at different auto shows. As for the Battletruck and Ark II, their conditions are unknown at this time. Reportedly, the Ark II was carved up for another children's show also produced by CBS.  

So, the next time you're online and some genius points out that the Ark II was also seen in Damnation Alley, set 'em straight and send them here for the straight poop. That is, before the poop hits the fan.

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