Mad Max fans would sit in awe in front of a beautifully made Ford Falcon Pursuit Special replica from the post-apocalyptic movie series, but police officers in Queensland, Australia were less impressed with the extra equipment it was carrying. Following a routine inspection, the modifications done to the vehicle were deemed unsafe and illegal, with the owner fined and the vehicle classified as unroadworthy.
As noted on the Facebook page of myPolice Gladstone Region, the replica was spotted by a Calliope Highway Patrol unit. Naturally, the black-themed Interceptor caught their attention which prompted an inspection. Although officers honestly admit that the modified Ford Falcon XC is “a very cool looking vehicle”, they suggest there are “a few glaring issues” with it.
First of all, the fitting of the working blue imitation police light on the dashboard was not officially approved. Then the “engine components” protruding through the bonnet without a cover are not compatible with the “special rules relating to cutting the bonnet and height of the scoop” which is designed to keep pedestrians safe in the event of a crash.
Finally, the side exhaust pipes were also flagged as a safety risk for pedestrians since they can get really hot. “It also had exhaust hanging out the side of the vehicle, which again, exhaust pipes get hot. If someone brushes past that’s a risk to people as well,” the police statement said.
For all those reasons, the police issued a fine and a “defect notice” to the owner who was sent for a roadworthy inspection.
The replica is owned by a movie car collector
According to Which Car, this specially prepared Ford Falcon XC is owned by Rod Coverdale, a movie car collector. Coverdale said he has been driving the Intecepretor for the past 12 years without an issue, and while he had been stopped by the police before, it was only for a photo. Given the iconic nature of the vehicle, he was even invited to attend police recruit graduations by officers in the past.
“I have been driving this car in the NT for the past 12 years without any issues,” he said in the comments section of Queensland police’s Facebook posting. “It’s on club rego and only gets driven on club sanctioned outings or to and from special events. I have been pulled over in the NT, but every time it was so the police officer could have a photo. I was even invited to attend police recruit graduations in it.”
The owner said that he rarely drives the replica on the road so he believes a simple warning would be enough instead of a defect notice. “Although I fully understand the rules and regulations, given the fact it’s only driven maybe six times a year, a simple warning would have been sufficient rather than a full-on defect,” he wrote in the comments.
Australia’s pretty strict with mods
Australian law is strict when it comes to vehicle modifications, which need to follow specific standards. As described in the official website of the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland, owners “may need to have the modifications to their vehicle inspected and certified to ensure the modifications have been performed in accordance with the Queensland Road Vehicle Modification Handbook”. ABC reports that those who are caught driving an unsafe vehicle in Queensland could be fined $275 and lose three demerit points.