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Film Engines: Where Hollywood Finds Its Cars

One of their biggest clients is Motorhouse Hire. Founded in the early 1970s, it supplies the film and television industries with everything from modern cars, including Porsche 911s and Mercedes sedans, to classics and pre-war vehicles, to military vehicles and racing cars. It is obtained from many through auto clubs, but also from private owners who register their vehicle with Motorhouse in the hope that a movie or TV show may need it. Depending on the value of the car for the movie, fees range from a curled sandwich in the team canteen to a few hundred pounds.

Regardless of whether their cars are in use or not, Motorhouse may ask Kevin to come along to the filming to make sure the vehicles are properly handled. As with Brad Pitt, he may need to teach actors how to drive them too. It’s a huge responsibility as in the hands of an inexperienced Thesp something like his Model T could be fatal.

He gives me a quick lesson in how to use it. After starting the engine, put the handbrake in its central position. Then hold down the left pedal or the gearshift lever. Next, open the hand throttle on the steering wheel a little and move forward – or was it delayed? – the ignition on the opposite side. You should now be rolling forward. Once you’ve increased your speed, move the handbrake forward a little further and release the left pedal to shift into upper or second gear.

To stop, lightly press the left pedal to put the transmission into neutral. The problem is, nervous actors are likely to step on the pedal, shift the T into first gear, and catapult it toward the star, or worse, the director.

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