Memorable motor vehicles: Museum features cars from films, TV shows

Special to View

Hot rod enthusiasts looking for a car getaway can find one near home at the Hollywood Car Museum at Hot Rod City, 5115 Dean Martin Drive.

This Museum for cars from films and TV shows features more than 100 vehicles, ranging from original Batmobiles and James Bond cars to quirky cartoon and concept cars.

Hollywood Car Museum founder Michael Dezer bought the Hot Rod City land with the intention of developing high-rise condominiums, much like the developments that made him a fortune in Florida. But when the bottom fell out of the real estate market, Dezer decided to dedicate the property to his passion: cars. Most of the complex is packed with automotive-related tradesmen: mechanics, painters, automotive fabricators and more.

“It was an industrial complex that was going to be torn down,” said Steve Levesque, who bills himself the Mayor of Hot Rod City. “(Dezer) revitalized it into something fun that was all about our hobbies and passions.”

About three years ago, the museum concept was launched.

Exhibits at the museum include a host of original Hollywood vehicles and reproductions.

Visitors can see one of the 18 Batmobiles made for “Batman Returns.” They can also check out cars constructed for television shows such as “Knight Rider,” “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “The A-Team.”

Bond fans will find a Land Rover Defender from “Skyfall,” a BD-5 Microjet like the one used in “Octopussy” and a 1985 Renault Taxi used in “A View to a Kill.”

The Lotus Esprit submarine car driven by Roger Moore in 1977’s “The Spy Who Loved Me” was one of six used in the film. Levesque said only three are still known to exist. The one on display in the museum was found in a junkyard in the Bahamas and restored by Las Vegan Rick Dale for his television program “American Restoration.”

Film fans can also see the lifeboat from the Tom Hanks film “Captain Phillips,” a Russian military truck driven by Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, a toothy green alligator car from “Death Race 2000,” a snowmobile from “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” and a 1947 DeSoto taxi from “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

“The Fast and the Furious” stunt cars include a racer driven by Paul Walker.

“When he got killed, a lot of people came over here and brought candles, teddy bears and signs,” Levesque said.

The reproduction of the Clampetts’ truck from “The Beverly Hillbillies” sits alongside the Bonnie and Clyde death car.

While some reproductions aren’t discernibly tributes, others, such as Doc Hudson from “Cars,” are.

“Obviously, this isn’t the original from the movie, because the movie was animated,” Levesque said. “But kids love this. We’re trying to get some cars in here for kids who don’t know who Batman is and some of the older TV shows, but they know who Doc Hudson is.”

A Hot Rod City Hangout Car Show is scheduled at the museum from noon to 4:30 p.m. March 1.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $20 for adults and free for children younger than 16. For more information, visit hotrodcitylasvegas.com or call 702-331-6400.