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Two Lane Blacktop and American Graffiti LINKS

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Author Topic: Two Lane Blacktop and American Graffiti LINKS  (Read 2218 times)
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« on: December 17, 2010, 08:15:30 pm »

Two-Lane Blacktop Group, home of the restored Two-Lane Blacktop '55 Chevy built by Richard Ruth for the 1971 movie directed by Monte Hellman and starring James Taylor, Dennis Wilson, and Warren Oates. Below is a photo taken on the backlot of Universal Studios shortly before filming on Two-Lane Blacktop began. The '55 on the left was used to film interior scenes, is commonly referred to as the camera car, and was only used in Two-Lane Blacktop. The '55 in the middle of the three cars was used to film exterior scenes showing the '55 and was later reused in American Graffiti. A third '55 was also constructed for Two-Lane Blacktop for use as a stunt car. The stunt car was also used in both movies, rolled over at the end of American Graffiti, and later sent to the crusher. Both '55s pictured below survive. The camera car has been restored to correct Two-Lane Blacktop appearance (without the camera rigging) and is the car featured on this website. The exterior car was customized into a show car after American Graffiti. *****All new members to the Two-Lane Blacktop Group must be approved by the manager. Please include a brief statement about yourself and why you are interested in joining.

Two Lane Blacktop Group

The story of the American Graffiti '55 Chevy began in 1970 when three 1955 Chevy 150 sedans were built for the 1971 movie Two-Lane Blacktop by Richard Ruth of Competition Engineering in Sunland, California (Jay Eshbach sent in information in 2010 that the cars were built before Ruth moved the shop to Sunland, when it was located at 8217 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.) Ruth patterned the cars after his own big-block '55 Chevy street racer after Two-Lane Blacktop/American Graffiti/Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz went street racing with Ruth while preparing for Two-Lane Blacktop. After that evening, Kurtz ordered two cars just like Ruth's '55 and a third '55 to be used as a stunt car. While Ruth was building the '55s, the studio arranged for General Motors to deliver three big block crate motors to his shop. One of the '55s received a leftover 1969 L-88 427 Chevy big block while the other two were equipped with the new 454s. Ruth installed a Weiand tunnel ram with dual Holleys on the two main cars, and a single four barrel on the stunt car. The stunt car had a full rollcage and was equipped with a Ruth-designed right and left braking system so it could be intentionally thrown into a skid and rolled over for a scheduled rollover scene. Ruth delivered all three cars to the studio painted powder blue, but the studio had them finished with a gray primer appearance to fit the persona of the drag racers played by James Taylor and Dennis Wilson.

Guide to the 3 Two-Lane Blacktop/American Graffiti '55 Chevrolets

* Main Car 1 - Equipped with a 427 crate motor, M-22 Muncie, 4.88 Olds rear, fiberglass front end, doors, and trunk lid, straight axle front suspension when built. Used for exterior shots in Two-Lane Blacktop, modified for American Graffiti.

* Main Car 2 - Equipped with a 454 crate motor, M-22 Muncie, 4.88 Olds rear, fiberglass front end, doors, and trunk lid, straight axle front suspension when built. Used only in Two-Lane Blacktop for interior scenes.

* Stunt Car - All steel-bodied car equipped with a 454 crate motor, TH 400 automatic, Olds rear of unknown gearing. Used Two-Lane Blacktop, modified for American Graffiti. Crushed in the late 1970s.

Richard Ruth built three 55 Chevys for the movie Two-Lane Blacktop. (He can be seen as the Needles gas station mechanic wearing the "Glendale Speedshop" t-shirt.) One was the "camera car". This car was used for all the interior shots. The other two were filmed driving or racing. The Chevy was based on a 1956 Chevy that Richard Ruth had been street racing at the time. The 55 in Two-Lane had a big block 454 with aluminum heads, a tunnel ram intake and dual 4bbl Holley carbs. The transmission was a Munci M-22 "rockcrusher' feeding the power back to an Oldsmobile rear axle with 4.88-1 gears. Ruth fitted the car with a straight axle and four wheel disc brakes. The tilt front end was fiberglass as were the doors and deck lid. Ruth also used plexiglass for the side windows that slid back to front instead of rolling up and down. The wheels were American mags 200-s, 15x6 front and 15x10 rear. They used M&H Racemaster drag slicks for racing and Firestone grand prix rain tires for street use. In the movie the car is said to run "well into the 12's. However later in the movie he beats "Mr. Bardahl". I heard the 55 was capable of low 10's at over 130mph!

Gary Kurtz was involved with both movies. He took the 55 from Two-Lane and made it into the black 55 used in Graffiti! They replaced the "Grump-Lump hood scoop with a smaller one. The American mags gave way to chromed steel wheels. If you look close enough you can see when they mounted the front bumper it had to be raised a few inches to bolt up to the frame rails Richard Ruth installed for the straight front axle.

Two-Lane Blacktop on GeoCities Archive

Automobiles I Have Known Photo Gallery by Richard Guillis

Big Willie and his HEMI powered King Daytona were in the opening scene of 2 Lane Black Top, as were several thousand Brotherhood of Street Racers members.

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