Video: Replica Harold & Maude Jaguar E-Type
One man’s quest to bring the silver screen to his garage.
Movie cars have a unique way of capturing our imagination. Many of the people you meet in this hobby will name a movie car as their inspiration for becoming a car enthusiast.
And a lot of those cars are based on regular production cars. Their minor details and on-screen portrayals giving them life beyond that of a normal car. To some, building a movie car replica is the ultimate goal. A select few will find themselves fortunate and well-heeled enough to own the car actually used in the movie. They own a rolling piece of film history.
But what if the car in question is a custom-built affair? And what happens when that car is famously destroyed at the end of the film? Such is the case for fans of the cult-classic black comedy “Harold & Maude.”
In the movie, 18-year-old Harold is so obsessed with death that he drives a hearse and attends stranger’s funerals. When his mother replaces his hearse with a Jaguar E-Type, he has the E-Type customized to resemble a hearse. Throughout the course of the film, he learns to enjoy life courtesy of Maude, a 79-year-old woman who becomes his friend and lover. As a symbol of this, the movie ends with Harold driving his Jaguar hearse off a cliff.
While the film was largely ignored upon its release, it’s since become popular with a small but growing number of fans. One of those fans, Ken Roberts, set out to build a replica of Harold’s car.
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When he started his journey, Ken was shocked to discover that, in the 45 years since the film’s release, nobody had built such a replica before. After much time and, according to him, thousands of dollars of research, he discovered that the hearse tail section came courtesy of a contemporary Datsun 510 wagon.
Careful attention was paid to make the car perfectly accurate to the movie. The whole process took four years, according to Ken. In this Petrolicious video, he’s proud to show off a small deviation from the original: the banjo case that takes the place of a coffin in the back. It’s a nod to the film, as Maude encourages Harold to take up the banjo.
The result is a stunning replica of a car that was dead and gone before it became famous. For fans of Harold & Maude, that’s about as perfect as it gets.