Monday, June 11, 2012


Ron Howard & Cindy Williams pose next to her character's 1958 Edsel.

Charles Martin Smith standing behind the '58 Impala
Once filming was completed for American Graffiti in the Fall of 1972 Transportation Supervisor, Henry Travers was given the task of selling off 8 of the movie cars for the film's production company, LUCASFILM.  He was sent a letter which revealed the amount of money the company expected Travers to get for each movie car.  (Scroll down to the bottom of this post to view a copy of the letter).  The price values ranged from as low as $50 for the 1955 Studebaker driven by Carol's (Mackenzie Phillips) sister to as high as $2,000 for the yellow ’32 coupe driven by John Milner (Paul LeMat).  The anticipated  amount the company expected Travers to get for selling all eight movie cars barely exceeded $4,000. Of course, nobody knew American Graffiti would become an enormous success otherwise the anticipated amount would have been a few dollars higher.

John Milner (Paul LeMat) & friend lean on the now world-famous '32 Ford coupe.

To find buyers an advertisement was placed in the classified section of several local San Francisco Bay Area newspapers which announced, "SPECIAL SALE OF CARS USED IN MOTION PICTURES."  Response to the ad was slow.  Eventually, two cars, the 1958 Edsel driven by Laurie Henderson (Cindy Williams) and the white ’58 Chevrolet Impala driven by Steve Bolander (Ron Howard) and Terry Fields (Charlie Martin Smith) were sold off.  Surprisingly, the other vehicles did not generate much interest.  To encourage sells, Travers lowered the price on the cars.  However, this did nothing to encourage potential buyers.  Even with a reduced price of only $1,500 for the yellow ’32 coupe, nobody bought it.  The chopped 1951 Mercury, (driven by gang members, The Pharaohs) with an asking price of $900 shared a similar fate and as a result both movie cars were hauled down to Southern California and put on display at Universal Studios for several years.

Director, George Lucas leans on the hood of a '61 Ford Falcon while reviewing the script.
The history of the the remaining 4 movie cars is unclear. It is presumed that these cars, which included the ’61 Ford Galaxy cop car operated by Officer Holstein (Jim Bohan), a red 1957 VW driven by Bobby Tucker (Lynne Stewart), the '55 Studebaker, and a 1961 Dodge, did not sell and were hauled to and destroyed at the local junk yard..

Rocky Moreno was the alleged owner of the Studebaker driven by Carol's (Mackenzie Phillips) sister.

Below is a reasonable facsimile of the original letter sent to Travers with the anticipated amount for selling eight of the movie cars.

(Click on above pic to enlarge)
The beat-up '57 VW convertible, without a title, had the asking price of $200.


  • Famelette, Mike.  (May 15, 2008).  Personal Interaction.  [Provided original letter to Travers from Lucasfilms dated 11/1/1972.]
  • Gabahl, Pat. (May 1976).  The American Graffiti cars.  Street Rodder.  Vol. 5.  No. 5. 
  •  Groster, B.G. ( Summer 2010).   American Graffiti Father/Daughter Style.  Northern Reach. Vol. III, Issuer 3.  Northern Reach Media, LLC.  Colville, WA. 99114.



  1. I for one truly appreciate the huge continued effort you continue in order to bring your readers these fantastic articles. Each new picture and every new piece of knowledge wipes me out. Good job dude. If someone doesn't give you an honorary 'Professorship' I'll do it myself. Probably won't be accredited though.

    By the way, the missed opportunity to score one of those cars make me sick. I had just gotten my license. Granted we lived in Hawaii and they only advertized locally, but that's no excuse. I blame my parents.

  2. I don't remember the 61 Dodge, was it in a part of the Movie that ended up on the cutting room floor. I think i saw the back of it at Mels in the beginning of the movie.