Down On The Movie Set: Beetle Taxis and Cabover Kenworths
WhoIsTheLeader last edited by WhoIsTheLeader
I featured a pair of Volkswagen Beetle taxis in Mexico City Taxi livery yesterday and I walked back to see if the shoot had begun. Turns out I was just in time to catch some interesting sights in the last good light of the day.
First, the Beetle Taxi. The Super Beetle was nowhere to be seen but I spotted the earlier standard Beetle struggling in traffic. The driver stalled at least once and seemed to be really struggling with the clutch.
The Mexico City Taxi seemed hilariously out of place here. I also noticed it had no license plate, which is probably fine legally but not great for accuracy.
It's hard to see but they had a sort of open air market set up awaiting dusk so they could artificially light the scene to their satisfaction. It's one of the larger shoots I've seen that didn't close a road. A crew member said it was the show MacGyver, currently on its 5th season. If any of y'all watch it let me know if you spot this scene.
Not too far away a rare cabover Kenworth semi was showing off its parallel parking chops not far away from a box truck more or less exactly failing to do the same. I never quite understood why these existed but clearly it has earned its keep to still be in service in often cramped and chaotic movie sets.
The town square had all its roads narrowed a few years ago to increase sidewalk space and to force cars to slow around, but it was causing the cumbersome equipment haulers some trouble. The crew shuttles in particular seemed to be having some trouble (background, below).
That looks like a generator built into the back behind the sleeper cab. It also appears to have a lengthened chassis with a hitch point that seems to my untrained eyes likely to produce terrifying handling characteristics when towing. I'm not sure I understand the point of this highly specialized vehicle but I've seen it around for a long time so it must work well. This stuff belongs to one of the area's larger movie equipment renters who supply many filming operations with their equipment.
Not too far away was this mobile mess hall built on another cabover Kenworth chassis. It's rare to see a cab over semi, but a cabover American box truck? The amount of money sunk into this one to outfit it as a kitchen doubtless has kept it economical to repair all these years.
I always find the highly specialized film gear hauling equipment to be fascinating. They're so well suited to a very particular purpose. This one looks like every other box truck from the rear but has a complete kitchen inside with glass doors to keep out the weather when the primary rear doors are open. Look at that little fold out step!
Which of these movie cars would you drive home in, Oppo? The Beetle Taxi is pretty cool but just think of all you could do with that climate controlled mobile kitchen! It would make a killer camper conversion.
TheBarber last edited by
@whoistheleader That truck with the kitchen is pretty awesome. I'd take it. It's damn near livable already! It's pretty cool to see all that specialized gear. On such seemingly unconventional platforms even.
@thebarber This is basically the only context where it makes sense to still operate a 70s cabover vehicle designed to take advantage of a payload capacity loophole long since closed. A new truck is expensive enough to outfit it would have be crashed or have the upfit totally trashed to be uneconomical to repair.
That said, that extended chassis cabover seems like something I'd not want to rent to someone for liability reasons. That looks scary if the rear were to break any traction and you were pulling a fully laden trailer.
@whoistheleader That's really cool to see those cab over trucks!
They were a thing, because the overall length of class 8 trucks combined with trailers used to be regulated. Those regulations went away long ago. Length limits are still a thing in Europe, where can over trucks are the norm.
Just Jeepin' last edited by
Wait, MacGyver is back?!
I tried to rewatch the original recently but the pilot started out so terribly I gave up.
@just-jeepin Macgyver has been back and it has some unrealistic Beetle Taxis!
They were a thing, because the overall length of class 8 trucks combined with trailers used to be regulated.
It is exactly the fact that the law was changed decades ago that makes seeing any can over heavy duty in the wild rare. It's odd to see one in a role like this but clearly they're kept because they have so much money sunk in the upfits. These are not at all valuable trucks and few want to have to deal with them.
@whoistheleader Yep! A local moving company had one for local service that I used to see running around until a couple of years ago. Other than that one, I think I've seen two in the last 20 years.
@shop-teacher And yet here is a day cab cabover box truck too, something that I didn't even know existed in the first place before it was turned into a mobile kitchen. It's such a gloriously wacky assortment. I usually do a double take when I see one coming the other way on the interstate.
Taylor Martin last edited by
Film sets are ridiculous in terms of the gear they have. My school has very small films shoots (no mess trucks, but they do have some grip trucks and generators) and it still impresses me how much goes into them.
The green on that taxi is my favorite color, it's the perfect shade. When does the movie come out (and what is it)?
@whoistheleader That is indeed a whacky combo. I too do a double take when I see one of these old cab overs.
@taylor-martin it's an episode of the TV show Macgyver which I don't watch so I don't know.
It really is staggering how much goes into these. This was one of the more gear heavy ones I've seen at that exact location though sometimes they close down roads for other shoots and that usually requires more.