Friday, 5 July 2013

Surfite appears in drive-in movies

It's Maximum Mini movie time once more, as I keep on stumbling upon exploitation films with Mini based cars in them. We've seen a James Bond spoof, a French Nouvelle Vague flick, a Spanish comic book adaptiation and a British Science Fiction movie, all featuring some very unusual Mini powered creatures. But where is Hollywood in this list? Don't look further as I've found it. Below you'll find a scene from 'The Village of the Giants' - your typical mid-1960's American B-movie, made for the drive in. It's about a group of partying teens who get lost in a California village, turn into giants and start terrorizing the village folk. Now that is a plot.

The cool bit comes when Surfite comes in, my favourite vehicle from 'Kalifornia Kar Kustomizer' Ed Roth. The late Roth built the car in 1964 after he found a Mini (not a Cooper) in a scrap yard. It's an asymetric single seater with a very short wheelbase and surfboard carrier next to the driver. I understand that Village of the Giants is not the only movie it appears in - it also speeds along in this other gem of the Beach Party film genre: Beach Blanket Bingo. That one is about a motorcycle gang kidnapping a pop star who is finally rescued by a mermaid named Lorelei... Surfite lives in the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada these days.

Ed Roth's Surfite can only carry a board and a surfer, well... maybe two
Picture courtesy
Surfite is said to have a 1269cc Mini engine, although it was based on a Mini 850
Picture courtesy

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