Moser poses with a ’67 Olds...
Moser poses with a ’67 Olds F-85 Cutlass, which has a reoccurring role in the Sons Of Anarchy TV show on the FX network.
Do some directors just not care? Or is it a matter of education?
Moser: Some directors just don’t care. Some do, but most don’t. It depends on if they’re a car guy or not. Sam Bayer cares [Nightmare On Elms Street, Green Day, Blink 182].
PHR: What movie stands out as one where you really made a difference saving a cool car?
Moser: The Defenders [TV show] would stand out the most. That’s the highest value car I’ve ever worked with. The ’66 Hemi Satellite convertible is only like one of 19. They didn’t want to spend the kind of money it would take to blow that up, and I didn’t want to destroy a convertible. We came up with a really acceptable compromise.
This pair of gold ’67 GTOs...
This pair of gold ’67 GTOs were built for the movie Faster, which starred The Rock and Billy Bob Thornton. They have been used repeatedly in other TV and music video shoots. Moser has a saying: “No real muscle cars were harmed in the filming of this movie.”
I don’t have any problem wrecking an Audi, a brand-new Cadillac, or a Rolls-Royce; it’s the muscle cars to me. We lost our art in the ’80s when we went to the smaller lightweight cars. When I’ve got a director saying we want a muscle car from the ’80s, what the f--- would that be? I really feel like I’ve escaped having to destroy a really correct GTO, Mustang, GTX—any one of them. I haven’t been at that point yet.
PHR: What’s the one thing about your shop that you think would surprise people?
Moser: The multiple cars—that would be it. They think it’s just one car when we’ve got five or six. They have to be identical cars. And the time frame we have to build them in. Usually the most time we have is eight weeks, but normally it’s less than two. That’s the biggest thing.
PHR: Building movie cars is the most visible part of your business, but you also build hot rods and muscle cars. What are you working on now?
At one of PCW's buildings,...
At one of PCW's buildings, Moser showed us not one, but two specially prepared '03 Dodge Caravan minivans. Built for the Ben Affleck movie The Town, these minivans have 350 crate motors, Turbo 350 transmissions, Ford 8.8-inch rearends, fuel cells, and full rollcages. For some strange reason, the director wanted them to roast the rear tires sideways while running from the police. They do!
Having the picture car company has enabled me to live my real passion of building nice cars. We’re doing a ’69 Corvette for director Sam Bayer, a ’72 Charger for Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and a couple of secret projects for Hot Wheels that will be released later in the summer. We’re doing an SS 396 ’67 Chevelle for a colleague of mine [vehicle coordinator Joel Marrow]. One of the numbers-matching ’67 Corvettes I bought for Seven Pounds
that we were going to destroy, I saved instead by making a mold of the car. Now I’m restoring the car.
PHR: You ever take a used-up movie car and build it into a hot rod?
Moser: Yes! The Bucket List Challengers. One was a six-cylinder car that I put the late-model Hemi and the Magnum Force frontend in. GM had teamed up with the Transformers movie with the new Camaro, and Chrysler wanted to get involved with The Bucket List and the launch of the Challenger. The deal I made with them is that they would give me two new Hemis to put in these Challengers, but the engines didn’t show up until four days after we shot the movie—so I got to use them myself afterward.
PHR: Has a movie producer ever asked you to make the hero car from their movie a personal hot rod for them? That’s got to be gratifying.
Moser: Yes. The ’69 Camaro from 2 Fast 2 Furious we did for Neil Moritz was a Yenko clone with the correct date-coded engine.
PHR: How do you find your cars? Some of them are quite old.
Moser: Word of mouth, eBay, Craigslist. For example, the cars in the teens are from a movie called The Great Debaters, which we filmed in Shreveport, Louisiana. I got on a plane and flew to South Carolina, rented a car, looked at the guy’s stuff, got on a plane, and called a car hauler out. The guy there had a picture car company and had rented cars to the movies. He had about 25 cars.