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912 in the Movies

912’s IN THE MOVIES: SPYGAME

Strangely there has been a lot of speculation about the car Robert Redford drives in Tony Scott’s film ‘Spygame’. As with all things on the web, rumour, half truths and mis-information can soon be read as fact as the ‘information’ travels the infamous highway. So here I would like to put the story straight about how my car came to be in the film. It may even be interesting in it’s own right šŸ˜‰

An old Porsche acquaintance Peter Andrews of Transend fame rang me one day to say ‘some folks are looking for some early 911’s for a film’ the only proviso that they are US spec lhd examples. So running the 912 Register I was in the perfect position to call around to find some good cars. As most of the UK 912’s are originally from the US this wasn’t too hard. Many people however were not interested, I didn’t have many details at this stage, nobody knew who, what or where.

After speaking to the production company we arranged for a few cars to go to Shepperton Studios for a ‘casting’. We now knew that the Director was Tony Scott and the film was already in production and starred Robert Redford and Brad Pitt.

The carpark was full of all manner of early Porsches from a London dealer, along with many run of the mill Seventies US cars which were also needed. We were treated to a cup of tea in the canteen whilst the production company organised the cars for inspection by the director. I think many people were thinking they would bump into Bob and Brad, but much to their disappointment this was never a possibility, as shooting had not yet begun here.

The reason they needed US spec cars now became apparent, Robert Redfords character was a US agent working at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The scenes of his character entering and leaving were however to be shot in North London… hence the need for so many incidental cars.

So, when Tony Scott arrived with his entourage, dressed rather flamboyantly in pink spandex leggings, black puffa jacket, baseball cap and dark glasses we were treated to the full Hollywood style casting, minus the couch thankfully. Striding around the lot he eventually spoke to the production company, they then announced my car had been chosen. No matter how blasĆ© I might have been feeling, this did make me feel a little flattered. I have to say I then came down to earth when they asked for the keys and asked me where I wanted to be given a lift too. I hadn’t really thought they would want the car from that moment. They had it for three months in total!

The production company I have to say were fantastic, they provided me with a courtesy car for the duration and paid me quite handsomely. I helped them find some other cars, and pointed them in the direction of the Registry website to find a double for shooting in the States.

The shoot didn’t go without hitches and I was called from the shoot to ask how to disable the alarm which was causing some annoyance as Mr Redford couldn’t turn the thing off, the stress was clearly audible in the voice of the car man.

They also managed to put something rather large in the boot and slam the lid causing three minor mountains to appear. They were great however and paid for a complete bonnet respray by 356 Sportwagen.

When I finally picked up the car, I was told, although I cannot vouch for this, that Brad and Jenny went for a spin around the lot. All in all a fairly ‘A-list’ roster. Well my Mum was impressed…

When the film was finally released imagine my disappointment to hear the engine sound… arghhh! They had dubbed a 911 note in, how could they commit such sacrilege! Not only that but this then caused much discussion on the net and in magazines that this wasn’t even a 912 in the film at all! Thank god for the DVD which has an alternate ending with the undubbed sound, although I have to say, not the best sounding as it was pre-rebuild.

So my car isn’t all you see obviously, the driving scenes which are in the States they used a number of other cars. The scenes coming in and out of CIA headquarters were the ones shot in Stevenage.

So the moral of this tale? Never believe anything you read… except for this of course!

Gavin Joule

IMCDB Database

Robert Redford driving a 912 on location in North London (aka Langley, Virginia) in Spygame.

imagesĀ©Universal Pictures/Beacon Pictures/IMCDB