Welcome to Fraser Fast Facts • Vol. 1, Issue 14
Animal House Deathmobile
The Delta House Deathmobile, possibly the most iconic movie car in history
aka Flounder's brother’s 1964/1966 Lincoln Continental
Of course, we’re eluding to the 1978 runaway-hit National Lampoon’s Animal House, and Faber College, Delta Tau Chi fraternity pledge Flounder (Stephen Furst) brother’s 1966 black Lincoln Continental, powered by a 430ci MEL engine with a twin-range Turbo Drive Lincoln transmission.
After a typical Delta frat-boys excursion of beer-drenched driving, an all-girls college pitstop, and a side-swiping exodus from a roadhouse, the pristine Lincoln is basically trashed, and thus ingeniously reincarnated as the Deathmobile.
The Deathmobile started its life as a sleek black 1966 Lincoln Continental that was summarily converted into one of the greatest parade-crashers of all time by famed Hollywood car customizer George Barris, who also created the Batmobile.
For the homecoming parade, the ominous Deathmobile was disguised in a beautiful birthday cake, adorned with the loveable 50’s-appropriate phrase “Eat Me” on the side, The Deathmobile was forged by the Delta house brothers for the express goal sealing their expulsion with a the vengeful ramming Dean Wormer’s judging stand.
The character Otter, played by actor Tim Matheson, demanded to be in the Deathmobile for the parade scenes, even though there was absolutely no cinematic benefit to being in the shots. “I just needed to be in that vehicle.” He noted. Matheson shared that seeing out of the Deathmobile was virtually impossible, and stunt driver Bud Ekins, earned his money driving the crazy thing. Matheson goes on to say he was literally “hanging on for dear life”, as stunt driver Ekins blurts out “I can’t see a damn thing”, and guns the gas pedal for “ramming speed”, and crashes into the flimsy, but solid-enough, wooden bleacher stands.
Amusingly, the Lincoln was much harder to destroy than the production crew anticipated. For the pre-parade scene, they had to use a heavy-equipment skip loader to bang up the front and rear of the car enough for it to register on screen. And, in the final scenes, they brought in a backhoe to gradually dent and pierce the Deathmobile so the damage could be “clearly seen” on screen. Creator George Barris referred to the car as being “consumed” in the movie’s closing scenes. Props to Lincoln for making ‘real’ sturdy cars back then.
Want to own the original Deathmobile? It was auctioned for less than $20,000 in 2009. We’re sure you can get it for an Otis Redding song.
COOL FRASER FAST FACTS INCLUDE:
- The Lincolns used in the film were a 1964 and 1966, but the movie was set in 1962. (Thus the title of this article.)
- The “head” mounted on the hood of the Deathmobile is from the statue of Emil Faber, the school’s founder.
- Delta Tau Chi is an actual Fraternity at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY
- Deathmobile clones exist, and are readily available to rent for Halloween parties, bachelor parties, and yes, even parades.
- Amazon still has the 1/18-scale die-cast model for sale, at a modest $174.99, plus shipping.
- There’s even a slot-car version of the Deathmobile.
- The Deathmobile, as a unmodified Lincoln, has shown up surprisingly often in popular films. One reason is because of its uncommon “suicide door” design. The back doors hinge at the rear and have been known to scoop people under the car when it is moving with the doors open.
- The license plate on the pre-Deathmobile Lincoln begins with the initials “FNG”, a derogatory military term, “F#$kin’ New Guy”, for newcomers during the Vietnam War.
- DeWayne Jessie’s performance as the character “Otis Day” was so successful that he legally changed his name to Otis Day and subsequently toured and recorded with “Otis Day and the Knights”.
- More money was spent on advertising and promotion for the film than on the film itself.
- According to movie director John Landis, Universal Pictures President Ned Tanen objected so strongly to the Dexter Lake Club scene that he interrupted a screening of the film and ordered the scene be removed immediately, claiming it would cause race riots in the theaters. In response, Landis screened the film for Richard Pryor, who then wrote a note to Tanen which read: “Ned, ‘Animal House’ is f#$king funny, and white people are crazy. ~Richard.”
If you want to trick out a vintage Lincoln Continental, or Deathmobile, of your own, bolt in a world-class FRASER remanufactured engine and get that bad boy up to ramming speed!
Thinking about building a replica with an american-made engine? Fraser has the right engine ready for you!