Film Star cars - Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens

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glenn torrens glenn torrens

Who knew that Glenn Torrens and his cars get out and about with the glitterati?

No-one took much notice of the two blokes punching-on under the tawdry blue and pink neon lights outside Porky’s strip club in Sydney’s infamous red-light district of Kings Cross. It seemed to be just another typical after-midnight footpath fight, like thousands of other biffos over the decades.

Sitting in my 1980 Volvo 262C coupe, I’d been watching the scuffle but I wasn’t showing any concern either… "Cut!" said a distant voice and the two actors immediately separated. "That was great!" continued the voice.

ford-falcon-taxi.jpgAnother one for the show, a period correct XF Falcon taxi

Next to where the ‘fight’ had been was an XF Falcon with a TAXI sign on top, a ripper Mitsubishi Sigma (a Turbo!), a perfect Datsun Bluebird, an example of Toyota’s last rear-drive Celica, a gorgeous VB Commodore SL sedan and an XB Ford Fairmont. My Volvo and these other 1980s cars were ideal era-correct props for an ABC TV mini-series set in 1985.

film-cars.jpgJeez I love your Sigma. Is it a turbo?

It’s about a big red-headed Queenslander, Les Norton, the main character in a series of books penned by Aussie author, the late, great Robert G Barrett. The popular books about bouncer Les and his nefarious mates are filled with plain and simple larrikin Aussie humour, spiced with a hint of Sydney’s underworld of the 1970s and 80s.

rego-sticker.jpgThe TV producers do a good job with the details such as number plates and this lovely fakey old rego label

One  week later, my brown ’79 VB Commodore wagon – now with temporary TAXI signs – was parked with several other cool cars at the Sydney Cricket Ground. With a few other props scattered around, the Les Norton producers had done quite a convincing job of creating an airport departure lounge.

volvo.jpgWith several other cars, my Volvo was used to give an 80s vibe to the now-quiet Kings Cross district of Sydney

Mini-series such as Les Norton – plus TV commercials, movies, fashion shoots and soap-operas – need a background of people and cars to create a scene. Over the years I’ve leaned against the wall in the Home & Away diner a few times, worn some hi-vis and a hardhat for a Woolies ad and cheered in a footy promo. Plus, my now-sold red VW Beetle Karmann Cabriolet was a regular in Packed To The Rafters.

ford-falcon.jpgWhite vinyl roof, Landau badge and XB Falcon. Choice, mate

Sometime your car will be driven by an actor and the TV producers usually prefer original, clean, unmodified, showroom-spec cars (noisy exhausts and bling wheels are usually a no-go) and will often cover your car’s rego plates with fake ones.

holden-commodore.jpgA rather tasty looking Commodore SL/E. Nice

The pay is modest – as is the number of days you can expect to ‘work’ – but in between the sometimes long waits while cameras and actors are positioned, it’s a good fun way to spend the day or night!

film-cars-2.jpgThere’s plenty of equipment involved in TV and movie production

Sometimes, too, there is the opportunity for some star-spotting and name-dropping. So, my dear Unique Cars readers, with Les Norton hitting the small screen about now, you can tell your mates you know the owner of that chop-top Volvo and brown Commodore wagon! 


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