Friday, June 10, 2011

Mystery Machine and more for sale!

My kids would lose their minds if I pulled up in the Mystery Machine!

As if it’s not difficult enough to negotiate Chicago area streets and highways in a regular car, Brian Grams took a spin in the Mystery Machine. Well, a Mystery Machine. You can, too — if the price is right.

Designed for promotional purposes by the now-defunct Hanna-Barbera Productions, it’s a real-life version of the iconic, funkified ride used by Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby (and sometimes Scrappy) in the popular “Scooby-Doo” cartoon series — not a leftover from the panned 2002 flick featuring Freddie Prinze Jr. or its 2004 sequel.

Grams expects it to generate the most interest and perhaps fetch $25,000 or more as his family’s sprawling 51-year-old Volo Auto Museum in northwest suburban Volo hosts its first-ever Hollywood car auction.

Online bidding through eBay runs through Wednesday. Feel free to shop on site and kick the tires (gently, very gently). It’s “no-reserve,” too, meaning the highest bidder wins regardless of the price — high or low.

Rusty Robinson will be keeping an eye on the action. Over the years he has purchased a couple of Hollywood cars from Volo, including a Mitsubishi Eclipse from “The Fast and the Furious” and the Ford Mustang from Jason Statham’s 2008 “Death Race” remake. The latter even has a functional ejector seat.

And while Robinson claims he could have doubled his money by selling it back to the studio for a “Death Race” sequel, he declined.

“That Mustang looks like it’s been shot with bullets and everything else — it’s a rough-looking car,” says Robinson, who runs Rusty’s TV & Car Museum in Jackson, Tenn. (rustystvand “But people would probably walk over a $500,000 Ferrari, right over the top, to get a look at it. It’s got a history.”

In the same vein, get ready for some serious (and seriously restrictive) scrutiny if you’re thinking of snatching up the Scooby gang’s ghost-hunting van, constructed around a 1963 Dodge A-100. Apparently flower-shaped hubcaps and a psychedelic paint job have that effect.

“It’s so difficult to drive, because people are [driving] next to you,” says Grams, who recently took it on a mini road trip. “If you want to change lanes, you can’t, because one guy’s sitting next to you taking a picture, so you can’t get in that lane. But as soon as that guy pulls away, the next guy pulls in right behind him and starts taking pictures.”

And the gas mileage stinks. “It’s a guzzler,” Grams says.

In which case, maybe a compact VW Bug might suit you better. And not just any Bug — a tricked-out Bug personally piloted by the ever-embattled actress Lindsay Lohan in 2005’s “Herbie: Fully Loaded.”

Unlike typical Bugs, it sports a stunt mechanism that pushes the car onto two side wheels. Grams gave it a whirl and “about crapped myself.”

Some of the other 21 showbiz models for sale include ones from the “Fast and the Furious” movies, a locally used 18-wheeler that ferried the late Heath Ledger (as the Joker) in “The Dark Knight,” and the so-called “Coyote” from TV’s “Hardcastle and McCormick.” While those, the Herbie stunt Bug and a couple of Indiana Jones vehicles saw onscreen action, several others did not.

Here’s what’s isn’t being auctioned, no matter how much you might beg: a very limited edition Batmobile from the campy 1960s “Batman” television series starring Adam West. Signed by West and the car’s designer, George Barris, it’s likely worth even more than the $200,000 Volo once got for a wheelie-popping Dodge Charger manned by muscled actor Vin Diesel.

“The Hollywood cars really are to get people into the showrooms,” says Grams, whose 30-acre grounds include a landscaped park, a beer garden and several buildings that house everything from ’57 Chevy Bel Airs and ’65 Mustang Convertibles to 1970s Chevelles and ancient Model Ts.

“We’re kind of rolling the dice on this one,” Grams says of the auction. “We could lose our butts or we could do OK.”


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