I Haven't Lived, I've Died A Few Times: Custom Playart "Harold & Maude" E-Type

This Coventry black cat's nine lives aren't QUITE up yet...

11w ago
Clip from the movie showing the real car, which was built off a '66 2+2, with a Datsun 510 wagon-derived rear body

Clip from the movie showing the real car, which was built off a '66 2+2, with a Datsun 510 wagon-derived rear body

Since watching the movie on an old-school VHS rental as a teenager in the early 2000s (gee, I miss "Flicks & Pics", the iconic Eugene, OR video store that, like so many other great things here, is long in the past, it had the tape), I developed a bit of an identification with Bud Cort's character, Harold Parker Chasen, and my family was much like Harold's but pretended it was richer than it was. The movie in general was great from beginning to end, but the way young Harold scorned his new '71 Series II 4.2 (last of the XK6-powered E-types and the last that can properly be called the American-coined XKE appellation), after his crazy rich mother took the '59 Cadillac Eureka hearse he loved, and vowed to never drive his new Jaguar until he built a sporty hearse from it & followed through, resonated deeply with me. With how I wanted to stuff a Lincoln Continental 4.6 V8 or a 3rd-gen SHO Yamaha/Cosworth V8 in the hand me down '95 Ford Taurus my mother intended to give me "so I had something respectable", and how I refused to let go of most of my then burgeoning herd of 60s, 70s and 80s shitboxes, and how I was expected to behave & live my life, how could I not find kinship with Harold? From then on, I also wanted to build a scale model of the Jaguar hearse from this movie. Obviously, the more sensible of these dreams won out, but it was almost a 20 year road to get to it.

I started this project with the long ago stripped and disassembled, incomplete remains of a 1970s-era Playart Fast Wheels/Woolworths Peelers '66 Jaguar E-type Series 1 4.2 2+2 coupe (casting of the same kind of car the real, destroyed movie car was made from, they did not cut up the '71 from the scene where Harold is displeased with his gift of a new E-type). When found, the casting was a sickening shade of 70s vermilion with a baby blue interior and tacky looking black plastic steering wheel, but it had long shed that look in favor of moldering in my workroom bins in bare zinc. I decided that sculpting my own "breadvan" roofline in the style of a Datsun 510 rear roofline would be easier than chopping and grafting a Hot Wheels 510 roof on and filling that to suit, so on went the JB SteelStik putty, to the tune of the lion's share of 4 tubes by the time body work was completed to my liking.

Body work went on for days, sometimes into the night, with careful and diligent hand sculpting of the JB SteelStik mass on the back of the car, until I had a nice facsimile of rear bumpers and of the movie car's roof.

It started resembling Harold's hearse little by little, and I started accumulating parts & ideas quickly.

Soon, it was ready for paint.

And the interior was finished, trimmed to fit the body that now had extensive fill intrusion inside, with a parts bin steering wheel & a shifter that was scratchbuilt from a straight pin, and done in black with tan seats so as to highlight that I had done *something* to dang near every part of the car.

And before long, the whole car was together and presentable.

DriveTribe even featured the initial build on their frontpage soon after I posted the pics on #liveandletdiecast , and the build was a success on other platforms' #LaLD groups/pages as well.

Who says you can't teach an old mangy alley cat some new tricks???

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