Sometimes you have to pinch yourself. I had to do just that last month when I got a chance to drive Black Beauty from Columbia Pictures’ upcoming The Green Hornet. The decked-out 1965 Chrysler Imperial has been touring the country in promotion of the film, and they made a stop in the Dallas area with an offer for press members to drive the vehicle. Even amidst a packed week, I couldn’t resist the offer so I went out to the Carl’s Jr. to cover the event. Hit the jump to check out a video from inside the car as I take it for a brief spin, tons of pictures, and highlights of my discussion with the handler of the Black Beauty.
For those not up to speed, The Green Hornet was originally a radio play in the 1930s that expanded to a variety of different mediums. The story revolves around Britt Reid who dresses up at night to fight crime as the Green Hornet along with his sidekick Kato, who drives their decked out vehicle Black Beauty. In the 1960s, The Green Hornet evolved into a television show that introduced the U.S. to Bruce Lee when he starred as Kato. Although the television show was short lived, the brand has continued in various mediums. Now, Seth Rogen stars as Reid while Jay Chou stars as Kato in Michel Gondry’s The Green Hornet, set for release January 14th in 2D and 3D.
First, I have to thank Columbia Pictures and everyone involved for setting up the event. Secondly, I have to mention that the car was an automatic but wasn’t street legal. If you look, there are no plates on the car, the turn signals don’t work, and a number of other issues. Thus, we had to stick to the shopping strip where the event was being held. That means the drive is brief, but I still had some fun. Also, that is James Wallace of Gordon and the Whale who graciously recorded me from inside the Black Beauty.
Our initial concern was that the audio from inside the vehicle itself would be completely drowned out from the engine. This is one of the working vehicles they customized for the film, and under the hood is a big block V8. There isn’t much to the inside of the vehicle as far as sound dampening is concerned so it was pretty loud. Luckily, the sound did pick up. Also on hand was Kato’s custom Harley Davidson. Essentially, it was a blacked out Harley V-Rod, but I won’t complain because it was a perfect fit for me.
Highlights of my discussion with Black Beauty handler Dave Salley:
- 29 versions of the vehicle used in the film. Some for static shots, some with guns that moved, etc.
- 454 Big Block V8 producing over 500 horsepower.
- Art Carr Turbo 400 transmission with a Ford 9” differential and a panhard bar. It may not turn tight, but it will stay on the ground.
- Three AR-15 machine guns mounted in the front doors.
- 20-inch custom rims.
- This was one of the stunt cars in the film.
All week we will be running interviews with the cast and crew from The Green Hornet. Also, look for our review on Friday. There is positive buzz around the film as it approaches release on Friday, and I hear the much maligned 3D post-conversion is pretty good. Also, if the film is a success, there are plans for sequels.
Here’s the video and images: