|The original movie car now has 348 Tri-Power and a 3-speed turbo-hydro automatic transmission.|
Mike clarified, as one of the reasons for wanting to sell his car now is the rising capitol gains tax. If you sell your diamond ring or your house the federal government wants to tax you at 20-28% depending on what your selling and it may go up to 40% next year. "So, I thought I'd just go ahead and give my money to my family rather than the government while I still have control over it," he said. I told 'em 'What ever they sell the car for anything over $285 is pure profit to me, 'cause that's what I paid Henry Travers for it back in 1972.'" [laughs]
Changing the subject briefly, Mike mentioned that his friends Jeff and Steve made him a beautiful copy of the original license plate as a present. "I gave them the original movie license plate that Henry Travers [American Graffiti Transportation Supervisor] gave to me so they could take a few pictures of it. I think it's made of particle board. Its much nicer than the ones they sell. Too bad they aren't selling them."
|An example of one of the poor versions of the Impala License plate|
Mike had always kept in touch with Henry Travers and family ever since he first purchased the car from him back in 1972, before the film had even come out. So he knows a lot of gossip and such so I asked him to confirm a rumor. I asked him if its true that Henry Travers gave the original Milner coupe license plates to Rick Figari (owner of the movie Milner coupe). Mike replied, they told me they sold them to him quite a while ago. But, they just gave me the one for the '58 impala. They just took it off the wall where it was mounted and said here you go [laughs]. We also discussed a few other film-related things. He told me that he recently spoke with Jackie Travers (widow of Henry Travers) and she told Mike that her Son-in-Law is the owner of the original American Graffiti Vespa driven by Toad, [believed to be a 1959, Piaggio Vespa GS 160]. "It's beat up and needs a lot of work," he said, "but they tracked down some information on it and found out it was used by actors like Charleston Heston while working on movies. He and gangs of others used Vespas for traveling around on the back lot of the movie studio and to get back and forth to the commissary.
|Even the tough guy movie stars in Hollywood had a natural liking for the Vespa; Marlon Brando, Dean Martin, John Wayne, and Charlton Heston were all seen riding Vespas between sets, and off screen as well.|
Mike also mentioned that Jackie is trying to unload some of her American Graffiti mementos that her late husband, Henry had put together such as the prototype posters and pictures that you would never have seen before. The people in Petaluma were trying to get her to donate the items to the museum but she wants to sell them. So keep your ears open and eyeballs peeled for the time when Jackie is ready to sell the classic rare mementos from the nostalgic film.
|An unusual sized (30 x 40) Quad Sheet from England advertising both the film and the great double soundtrack album. Notice the use of the term, "birds" as a phrase only used in the UK. Here we used to call young girls "chicks."|
Attempting to share his car's legacy before he sees it for one last time, Mike left his Impala with Dave Acheson for a while so he and mechanics could copy it and make an accurate clone of it. I reminded Mike, "That was nice of you," [We both chuckled]. David Acheson who lives in Oregon built a beautiful ’32 Graffiti coupe and sold it to Jeff Zastrow. Yours truly had the opportunity to drive the coupe a few months ago in Novato, CA and it was awesome. Mike said, "if I were ever going to build a Graffiti ’32 yellow coupe clone I’d build it exactly as Dave did." I know he'll make an excellent 58 Impala clone. Did you read that Dave?
Reiterating his disdain for taxes, Mike complained, "The whole capitol gains thing really makes me mad whenever I think about it. My CPA said to me, the best-case scenario is 20% and the worst-case scenario, if they change it next year, is 40%. I'm not giving the government 40% of the price of my car, that's a rip off!" I don't blame him one bit. The government is over-taxing the low and middle class. Perhaps the legislators should take a pay cut if they want to generate more income for the country, I said.
So, as soon as we learn of the fate of the beautiful Impala we'll notify you right here on Kip Pullman's American Graffiti Blog. Until then: Brush your teeth and keep your ears clean!