Movie Cars – Ford Anglia 105E in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

1959 trade catalog for the Ford Anglia 105E.

The Harry Potter movie series is one of the more remarkable pop culture phenomena of recent years. A series of 8 movies based on the enormously popular fantasy novels written by J.K. Rowling, they are much loved by millions of fans worldwide. For this week’s blog, I decided to focus on the second film of the series: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which was released in November 2002. Directed by Chris Columbus and starring Daniel Radcliffe (as Harry Potter) and Rupert Grint (as Ron Weasley), the film is about Harry Potter’s adventures during his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was a smash hit with movie-going audiences, grossing more than $800,000,000 worldwide.

Although I never became a Harry Potter fan myself, I was surprised and delighted to learn that a car played a notable role in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I was even more delighted to learn that it was a car endowed with magical properties. In the course of the film Harry Potter spent a significant amount of time travelling in an enchanted vintage car: a Ford Anglia 105E.

1960 trade catalog for the Ford Anglia 105E.

First introduced at the 1959 London Motor Show, the Anglia 105E was small economy car built by Ford of England. It was Ford of England’s direct response to the energy crisis brought on the by the closure of the Suez Canal in 1956. A thoroughly conventional economy sedan, the Anglia 105E rode on a 90.5-inch wheelbase and was powered by a 997 cc (61 cubic-inch) inline-four engine, which was good for 41 horsepower. Outwardly, it was clothed with a striking-looking body displaying American styling influences, including a downward-sloped nose, a reverse-angled rear window, and tail fins. Performance-wise, the Anglia 105E was claimed to be capable of a top speed of 75-77 miles per hour and gas mileage of up to 43 miles per gallon. The Anglia 105E was well-received by the British motoring public and went on to have a long and successful production run, with more than 1.1 million examples being built between 1959 and 1968.

Photograph of a light-blue and white Ford Anglia 105E similar to the one portrayed in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The car portrayed in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was a light-blue and white Ford Anglia 105E. Enchanted by Ron Weasley’s father Arthur, the car was blessed with magical properties one can only dream of, including the ability to fly, to become invisible, and to run without ever running out of fuel. The Weasleys’ Anglia figured prominently in three key scenes of the movie. Early in the film, the car was used to rescue Harry Potter from the home of his Uncle Vernon Dursley. A short time later, Harry and Ron Weasley used it to travel to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where they crashed it into the Whomping Willow. In the latter stages of the movie, the Anglia rescued Harry and Ron from Aragog and his family in the Forbidden Forest.

At least 15 Ford Anglia 105E’s were used in the production of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 14 cars were destroyed in the shooting of the scene in which Harry and Ron crashed into the Whomping Willow. One car, a 1966 model, is known to have survived production of the movie and is now on display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, England.

Sources

The Completely New Anglia, The World’s Most Exciting Light Car: Ford (GB): Trade Catalogs: Specific Models: Anglia, 1947-1959, Z. Taylor Vinson Collection, Hagley Museum and Library.

Covello, Mike, Standard Catalog of Imported Cars, 1946-2002; Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications, 2002, p. 321-324.

Ford Anglia 105E Owner’s Club

The National Motor Museum

The World’s Most Exciting Light Car: Ford (GB): Trade Catalogs: Specific Models: Anglia, 1960-1966, Z. Taylor Vinson Collection, Hagley Museum and Library.

The World’s most exciting light car, The Completely New Anglia: Ford (GB): Trade Catalogs: Specific Models: Anglia, 1947-1959, Z. Taylor Vinson Collection, Hagley Museum and Library.

Kenton Jaehnig is the Project Archivist for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.

Hollywood Cars: Fozzie Bear’s 1951 Studebaker Commander in The Muppet Movie

I have long been a fan of Jim Henson’s Muppets. I was introduced to them as a small child during the 1970s, first seeing them on Sesame Street and then later on The Muppet Show. One of my fondest childhood memories of the Muppets was seeing them in their first feature film, The Muppet Movie, which was released in 1979. A musical comedy, The Muppet Movie was a hit with movie-going audiences, and won a Grammy Award and a Golden Globe Award.

Produced by Jim Henson, directed by James Frawley, and featuring an all-star cast (including Charles Durning, Dom DeLuise, and Steve Martin), The Muppet Movie’s plot centered on Kermit the Frog’s and Fozzie Bear’s cross-country trip to Hollywood for an audition, which they hoped would lead to fame and fortune in show business. Along the way, Kermit and Fozzie were joined by a crew of additional Muppet characters, including Miss Piggy (who became Kermit’s love interest) and Gonzo. Throughout their trip, Kermit was relentlessly pursued by the villainous Doc Hopper, who sought to make Kermit an unwilling spokesman for his frog leg restaurant chain. For much of the movie, the Muppets travelled in a distinctive car driven by Fozzie, which he inherited from his hibernating uncle: a 1951 Studebaker Commander.

Trade catalog image of a 1951 Studebaker Commander Regal two door sedan. Note the car’s “bullet nose” styling.

The 1951 Studebaker Commander was built by Studebaker Corporation, a now defunct automobile manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. The 1951 Commander was positioned on the upper end of Studebaker’s model lineup and sold in the $1,800-$2,200 price range. The car was powered by a 232 cubic inch overhead valve V-8 engine, which was a rather advanced power plant for its time. The 1951 Commander also featured Studebaker’s famous “bullet nose” body, which was styled by famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy. It was well received by the American motoring public and became a notable sales success for Studebaker, which sold more than 124,000 Commanders in the course of the 1951 model year.

Two 1951 Studebaker Commanders portrayed Fozzie’s car in The Muppet Movie. For close-up shots in which Fozzie was portrayed driving his car, one of the Commanders was rigged with a camera hidden in its nose, and a steering wheel and a television monitor hidden in its trunk. This allowed the car to be driven by an unseen driver in the trunk while Henson puppeteer Frank Oz portrayed Fozzie driving in the front seat. The other Commander received no mechanical alterations and was used for far-away shots of Fozzie’s car driving down the road. Both cars were painted with poster paint (a psychedelic paint job courtesy of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem), which photographed better than automobile paint, but was vulnerable to rapid deterioration.

Out of the two 1951 Studebaker Commanders used in the production of The Muppet Movie, only the altered car used for the close-up shots is still in existence. This car is now on display at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana. A photograph of this car can be viewed on the Studebaker National Museum’s website.

Sources

Georgano, Nick, ed. The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile Volume 2: M-Z; Norwich, England: The Stationery Office, 2000, p. 1527-1534.

Kowalke, Ron, ed., 4th Edition, Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975, Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications, 1997, p. 768-769.

Muppet Wiki

Studebaker National Museum

The New Studebaker for 1951: Studebaker: Trade Catalogs: Studebaker Range, 1948-1954, Z. Taylor Vinson Collection, Hagley Museum and Library.

Kenton Jaehnig is the Project Archivist for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.

Hollywood Cars: The Bluesmobile

The Blues Brothers is a musical comedy that has achieved cult status with movie fans. Directed by John Landis and released in 1980, it did well at the box office and to this day remains a regular staple for cable television and late night movie showings. The movie starred the late John Belushi and Dan Akyroyd as Jake and Elwood Blues of The Blue Brothers, a real life blues and soul band that first appeared on the television program Saturday Night Live in 1978. Set in the Chicago area, the plot of the movie centered on Jake and Elwood’s efforts to re-unite their old band and raise $5,000 to prevent the foreclosure of the orphanage in which they were raised. They sought to do this while being pursued by a motley collection of assorted law enforcement officials and enemies.

Although The Blues Brothers was billed as a musical comedy, it also featured plenty of action. The movie was renowned for its automotive mayhem, which appeared in the form of spectacular car chases and stunts. In this film, Jake and Elwood spent much of their time driving around Chicagoland and wreaking havoc in a seemingly indestructible ex-Mount Prospect, Illinois police car that became legendary in Hollywood lore: The Bluesmobile.

The Bluesmobile was a 1974 Dodge Monaco Police Pursuit sedan. The car was powered by Dodge’s Magnum 440 V-8 engine, which was mated to a Torqueflite automatic transmission. It was equipped with components from Dodge’s Police Duty package, which included heavy duty brakes, shocks, and steering. The Monaco Police Pursuit was a very popular patrol car in its day and was used by numerous law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, including the Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol. It was also noted for its high performance and durability. According to Dan Akyroyd (who co-wrote the screenplay of The Blues Brothers), the Monaco Police Pursuit was chosen for the movie because he considered it to be “the hottest car used by police during the 1970s.”

A total of thirteen Dodge Monaco Police Pursuit sedans portrayed The Bluesmobile in The Blues Brothers. These cars were obtained from the California Highway Patrol and mocked up to look like ex-Mount Prospect, Illinois police cruisers. In the course of the film’s production, they performed a number of spectacular stunts, including, but not limited to, jumping over an opening drawbridge, driving through a crowded indoor shopping mall, and driving down the streets of downtown Chicago at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. Individual cars were specifically set up to perform different kinds of stunts, depending upon the scene. The film’s producers maintained a twenty-four hour repair shop to keep the cars serviceable during shooting.

Due to the abuse heaped on them, few of the Bluesmobiles survived the shooting of the movie. It is believed that one to three of the original thirteen Bluemobiles remain in existence.

Sources
“The Blues Brothers”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blues_Brothers_(film)

“Bluesmobile”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluesmobile

“The Bluesmobiles”

http://www.allpar.com/history/dodge/bluesmobile.html

“The Dodge Monaco Police Cars”

http://www.allpar.com/squads/dodge-monaco.html

Dodge Police Cars for 1974, Dodge: Trade Catalogs: Fleet Vehicles, Police Cars, 1970-2009, Z. Taylor Vinson Collection, Hagley Museum and Library

Kenton Jaehnig is the Project Archivist/Cataloger for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.

Hollywood Cars: A piston pumpin’ steel belted cavalry

In the song The General Lee, Johnny Cash sings the praises of the iconic second generation Dodge Charger. A Hollywood car beloved by fans of The Dukes of Hazzard, as well as the many films in which it appears, the second-generation Charger (1968, 1969, and 1970 models) has found a place in the hearts of countless automotive enthusiasts.

First introduced in 1966, the Dodge Charger was designed to capture a share of the growing fastback market. The sleek ’66 model proved popular, but less than half as many of the similar ’67 Chargers were sold. This drop in sales led Dodge to consider a redesign for the following year.

The ’68 Charger is lauded as being “one of the best looking Dodge models ever built” in the Standard Catalog of American Cars. With its sculpted ‘Coke-bottle’ shape, buttressed back roof, decorative gas cap, and optional R/T package that included the 440 Magnum V8, the ’68 was a runaway success. It was such a hit that Dodge changed little on the ’69 and ’70 models.

The Charger’s reputation was augmented by the success of two Charger racing models that came out during this period. The Charger 500 was introduced for 1969 and the Charger Daytona, an aero car fitted with a rear wing, came out later that year. While the 500 was reasonably successful, the Daytona was a force to be reckoned with, winning 45 out of the next 59 NASCAR races it ran.

The second generation Charger’s popularity extended to the silver screen and the small screen. Perhaps one of its most famous appearances in film is in Bullitt, in which Steve McQueen, driving a ’68 Mustang, is chased by bad guys driving a ’68 Charger. The Charger can also be seen in Blade, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, and The Fast and the Furious, among other films.

On the small screen, the second generation Charger is arguably best known for its role as the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard. An orange ’69 Charger outfitted with a “Dixie” horn and emblazoned with a Confederate flag and the number ’01,’ the General Lee was driven by Bo and Luke Duke, two “good ol’ boys, never meanin’ no harm,” as Waylon Jennings sings in the theme song.

On the show, the Duke boys foil the weekly schemes of corrupt Boss Hogg and Hazzard sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. This “trouble with the law” leads to many car chases, jumps, and hood slides. Some suggest that the series went through more than 300 second-generation Chargers over the course of six seasons. The Dukes of Hazzard went on to inspire an animated cartoon, several films, video games, two museums in Tennessee, and festivals including Dukesfest, which ran from 2001-2008, and for the last few years, Hazzard Homecoming, which will be held this August in Sperryville, Virginia.

Check out Dodge Charger materials available in the Digital Archives or in the Library Catalog (just search “Dodge Charger”).

Sources:

Bouwkamp, Burton “The Birth and Death of the (Original) Dodge Charger,” http://www.allpar.com/cars/dodge/charger-history.html

Cash, Johnny, “The General Lee,” The Dukes of Hazzard, 1981

Cooter’s Place – The Dukes of Hazzard, www.cootersplace.com

Kowalke, Ron, ed. Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc., 1997.


Laura Muskavitch is a Graduate Assistant for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.

Hollywood Cars: Steve Urkel drove a BMW?!

Click to view the entire catalog in the Hagley Digital Archives.

Yes, that’s right, Steve Urkel, the iconic nerdy character from the 1990s family sitcom, Family Matters, drove a BMW. Many who watched the show may remember Urkel’s car: a tiny, round-shaped, white car that opened from the front. That car was a BMW Isetta, a popular bubblecar in Europe and Canada.

Bubblecars were usually small, economical cars that were round-ish in shape and manufactured mostly in the 1950s and 1960s. The Isetta or ‘Little Iso’ was an Italian bubblecar born in 1953. According to author Andrea Sparrow, the round shape of the Isetta was the inspiration for the shape of future bubblecars. In 1955, its inventor Rennzo Rivolta, sold the rights to manufacture the Isetta to BMW. BMW then introduced the Isetta as the affordable car in its range. Sold throughout continental Europe, the Isetta was eventually exported to the United Kingdom and Canada.

The Isetta had one door that opened from the front and that was attached to the steering wheel. By pushing on the steering wheel, it acted as a joint which opened the door outward allowing passengers to easily get in and out. It had one bench seat which could fit two adults and small engine behind the bench seat. Traditionally manufactured with four wheels, once it was exported to the United Kingdom, British manufacturers changed the set-up to three wheels (see the Reliant Robin post for why three-wheelers were popular in the UK).

Click to view the entire catalog in the Hagley Digital Archives.

From the look of Urkel’s Isetta, it seems to be an Isetta 300. According to the On Screen Cars Blog, the Isetta was featured several times throughout the run of Family Matters. The car’s quirky character and odd shape didn’t fit the standardized look of American cars. However, it did complement Urkel’s oddball demeanor and dress. Though both the car and Urkel didn’t fit the prescribed idea of ‘cool,’ they were both likeable to the Winslow family and to the audience because of their unique qualities.

Sources:
Sparrow, Andrea. The Colour Bubblecars & Microcars Family Album. Dorchester, Dorset, England : Veloce Publishing Plc., 1996: 29-46.

“Steve Urkel’s BMW Isetta.” On Screen Cars. Entry posted January 27, 2010. http://onscreencars.com/tv/family-matters/steve-urkels-bmw-isetta/ (accessed May 24, 2012).

Robin Valencia is the graduate assistant for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.

Hollywood Cars: The Love Bug

Cover of "Meet the Volkswagen" brochure. Click to view the item in its entirety in the Hagley Digital Archives.

As the most famous Volkswagen Beetle in history, The Love Bug, or Herbie as he’s more affectionately known, warmed the hearts of millions with his adorable antics and innocent personality. Painted pearl white with off-center blue and red racing stripes and the number 53, Herbie was not only a likeable character, but a racing legend.

Herbie made his debut in the 1969 flick, The Love Bug, where he helped racing driver, Jim Douglas, get back into the racing circuit. He also starred in other films such as Herbie Rides Again (1974), Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977), Herbie Goes Bananas (1980), and Herbie Fully Loaded (2005). Though Herbie never said a word in his films, he acted on his intentions by taking control of his steering wheel and pedals and producing quirky car noises.

Herbie’s story began when racecar driver Jim Douglas purchased Herbie from Peter Thorndyke’s dealership. Once Douglas and his comedic partner, Tennessee, fixed up Herbie, Douglas entered and won race after race until Thorndyke made it his prerogative to buy Herbie back for his own use in racing. Meanwhile, Douglas started to fall in love with Thorndyke’s assistant Carole Bennett, and Herbie became determined to connect the two lovebirds.

After several failed attempts to buy Herbie back, Thorndyke sabotaged Herbie prior to a race, which caused Herbie and Douglas to lose. Frustrated, Douglas decided to purchase a Lamborghini and sell Herbie back to Thorndyke. A distraught Herbie then destroyed Douglas’ new Lamborghini and drove away in despair. As soon as Herbie had gone missing, Douglas realized how much he needed Herbie and ran in search of his beloved car. After a wild goose chase Douglas and Herbie are reunited and are set to win the final race in the climax of the film.

Herbie, starring in Walt Disney World's Lights, Motors, Action! stunt show. Photo by Emily Cottle.

Following in the tradition of Herbie, Hollywood created its own cast of star cars. Most recently, the release of the third film in the Transformers franchise brought back most of the favorite Transformers cars including Bumblebee, a Chevrolet Camaro (who we will feature in a future blog post). Bumblebee and Herbie, among other cars, became stars in their own right and drove into the hearts of moviegoers everywhere.

Do you have a favorite Hollywood car? Share it in the comments section below and maybe it will become a topic for a future Hollywood cars post!

Sources:
Georgano, Nick, ed. The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile (2 Volume Set) Volume 1: A-L; Volume 2: M-Z. Norwich, England: The Stationery Office, 2000.

Smith, Dave. Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia. 3rd ed. New York: Disney Editions, 2006.

Walsh, Bill, and Don DaGradi. The Love Bug. DVD. Directed by Robert Stevenson. Walt Disney Productions, 1968.

Robin Valencia is the Graduate Assistant for the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection at Hagley Museum and Library.