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Six famous movie cars — and the iconic stories behind them

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Six famous movie cars — and the iconic stories behind them

Walk past a movie being made on the streets of NYC, and you invariably come upon period-appropriate cars that are as done up — or done down — as the stars themselves.  “Except for buildings and clothing, there are not a lot of ways to telegraph an era. Vintage cars take you back like few other things do,” said Jamie Kitman, one of the local  collectors and professional car-wranglers who rent their autos for films. Here are five showbiz auto buffs — some of whom actually drive on camera — and their A-list whips.


1978 Checker Cab

Featured in “The Post”, “A Bronx Tale,” “A Beautiful Mind”

Checker Cabs run in Victor Coiro’s blood. His uncle owned and drove a city cab. But Coiro and his Checker hustle gigs instead of fares. His 1978 ride has transported Martin Scorsese for a British scotch commercial and Ellen DeGeneres once handled it recklessly as a gag for her show: “She drove on the curb and I yelled, ‘Hey, you’re gonna bend the rim!’ ” the 59-year-old recalled.

Coiro, who is semi-retired from owning an electronics store and resides on Staten Island, rescued this taxi from a taco joint in Florida, where it was painted white and sat out front as a promotional piece. He paid $2,000 for the vehicle in 1989 and spent another $25,000 restoring it. The car’s first role was in “Sleepers.” And it helped Coiro himself land a bit part in 2017’s “The Post,” where he drives Meryl Streep’s character to the Plaza Hotel. (He earned $175 on top of the “few hundred dollars” rental fee for the car.)

“[Streep] got in, complimented me on the cab and asked if I was in SAG, which I am; then she went back into character.”

While waiting curbside for directors to yell “Action!” he’s heard more curious comments: “Kids tend to ask me if this is what the new cabs will look like.”


1962 Chrysler Imperial

Featured in “The Many Saints of Newark”, “Godfather of Harlem”

Maya Frank’s prized Imperial was used during the fall of 2018 in the much-anticipated “Sopranos” prequel movie, “The Many Saints of Newark,” which is slated for a September release.

“I was looking online for 1960s cars that could be rented out for movies and fell in love with the look of this one,” said the 49-year-old Long Islander of buying the car for $4,000.  The Imperial was in such poor shape that Frank, an actor and stunt driver, replaced “pretty much every mechanical thing” in it.

Still, it’s not exactly a car you would take out for a Sunday jaunt. On one occasion, while traveling to the “Saints” set, the engine caught fire. Another time, going from a “Saints” set in The Bronx to one in Paterson, NJ, the brakes gave out. “I drove with the emergency brake!” said Frank, who plays background roles in the movie, for which she and the car earned $400 to $1,000 per day.


1979 Peugeot

Featured in “Things Heard & Seen” (pictured), “The Black List”

In late 2019, David Cohen received a call from Picture Car Services, a company that supplies vehicles for movies, looking for a pair of matching, late 1970s Saabs with automatic transmissions, for the upcoming Amanda Seyfried movie “Things Heard & Seen” for Netflix. But he had bad news: “Those cars are extremely rare and will never be found.”

The 50-year-old Bronx resident, with his Lost Soul Film Cars partner Matt  Messano, owns some 300 autos, kept in North Jersey, but none fit the bill. He did, however, have a burgundy 1979 Peugeot. “It’s the same genre car,” he told The Post. “Distinctly foreign and quirky.” Though he only had one, Cohen spotted a matching model, albeit in a different shade, on eBay. “Picture Cars bought that one and I painted mine to match.”

Cohen won’t say how much he was paid but the former EMT worker will reap emotional coin while watching the flick. “I love seeing my cars in the movies,” he said. “You leave a small mark on society and a record of having done something.”


1960 Studebaker Station Wagon and  1958 Dodge Coronet Lancer

Both featured in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Bringing a single car to a TV or film set can be challenging. For an episode of Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Dave Evans, 63, had two — a 1960 Studebaker station wagon and a 1958 Dodge Coronet Lancer — dressing a shot that showed Abe Weissman (Tony Shalhoub) on a Queens street.

Evans, a retired shop teacher in Masapequa, LI, used to collect autos for fun. But in 1982, a set decorator spotted a 1959 Nash Metropolitan and a 1957 DeSoto Firesweep in his driveway — those cars wound up in the  movie “The Flamingo Kid.” Now Evans has a dozen vintage rides he rents out for filming.

He doubled as a kind of choreographer on the “Maisel” set. “You get told to move a car back six inches, move it seven inches to the side, turn it around,” he said. Vintage cars add complications: “Skinny tires, non-power brakes and steering, light switches that are hard to find . . . Many actors  in Manhattan don’t own cars. [They can’t be expected to] deal with vehicles older than they are.”


1968 Lancia Fulvia Berlina 2c

Featured in “Fosse/Verdon”, “Pan Am,” “The Americans”

Six years ago, Jamie Kitman, now 63 and living near Nyack, NY, convinced his mechanic to sell him a 1968 Lancia Fulvia Berlina 2C.

“I had no realization of how good it would be for movies,” he told The Post. “I just wanted it to drive.”

He ended up turning it into a replica of a Madrid taxi when a prop master on the FX miniseries “Fosse/Verdon” reached out. “Those cars are normally gray with cream-colored panels,” said Kitman (below left), who owns Octane Film Cars and sometimes works with his son Ike (beloe right). “We had the body partially wrapped for the cream. Digital decals and taxi lights were put on.”

Kitman enjoys seeing his cars on the screen — “I watch and go, ‘That’s MINE! That’s MINE!’ ”

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Former President Obama’s dog Bo dies

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Former President Obama's dog Bo dies

Former President Obama’s dog Bo died Saturday, the ex-commander in chief revealed in a Twitter thread.

The cause of death was cancer. He was 12 years old.

“Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion. For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, gentle presence in our lives — happy to see us on our good days, our bad days, and everyday in between,” Obama wrote.

“He tolerated all the fuss that came with being in the White House, had a big bark but no bite, loved to jump in the pool in the summer, was unflappable with children, lived for scraps around the dinner table, and had great hair,” Obama continued. “He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected. We will miss him dearly.”

Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, moved into the White House shortly after Obama took office, and was colloquially known as the first dog. He was joined by a second canine of the same breed named Sunny in 2013.

The former president’s post swiftly went viral on Twitter, where it was met with an outpouring of sympathy from Bo fans.

“It always made the day incalculably better to see Bo wandering around the west wing,” said former Obama administration Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.

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New Zealand trying to eradicate hedgehog ‘killing machines’

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New Zealand trying to eradicate hedgehog 'killing machines'

Everyone loves the hedgehog – except for New Zealand.

The creature that inspired Beatrix Potter’s “Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle” and the popular video game character Sonic was introduced to the country decades ago when New Zealand was still a British colony to remind the colonizers of their gardens at home. But with no natural predators on the island nation, the hedgehog population soared and is now a scourge of “killing machines.”

“Unchecked by the food chain, they meander blissfully through forests and gardens, hoovering up an astonishing number of native creatures,” the Guardian reports.

 “It’s increasingly coming to light how much damage they can do,” Nick Foster, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Otago who is researching hedgehogs, told the paper. A single, dedicated hedgehog will consume numerous native lizards, bird eggs, and wētā – a kind of large flightless cricket found only in New Zealand. One study found 283 wētā legs in a single hedgehog stomach. “That means in a 24-hour period this hedgehog has guzzled up 60 or so animals,” Foster said. “It’s a banquet.”

New Zealand is now trying to eradicate the animals by 2050, by way of trapping, hunting, and poisoning them — a plan that is despised by some locals due to the “cuteness” of the animals.

Foster told the Guardian there is “a bit of a psychological barrier” when it comes to hedgehog eradication. “It has been proposed to ship them all back to the UK. European hedgehogs aren’t doing so well in Europe. Still in good numbers, but they are declining.”

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Melting glacier reveals ‘open-air museum’ of World War I relics

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Adamello White War Museum, Temu, Valle Camonica, Lombardy. Image shot 08/2014. Exact date unknown.

Thawing ice has revealed a treasure trove of previously hidden World War I artifacts in the Italian Alps. 

Last month, a team from the Stelvio National Park White’s War Museum excavated a cave shelter, built by Austrian soldiers, atop Mount Scorluzzo and acquired 300 “exciting” artifacts, ranging from coins to corpses, helmets and weapons. 

No one had been inside the space, which was hidden and closed off by ice, in nearly 100 years. But as a result of rising temperatures, a glacier preventing access to the shelter had sufficiently melted in 2017 to allow researchers into what they’ve discovered to be a goldmine of items.

As the ice melted, relics — including bodies — have continued to appear in the area summer after summer. 

“A corpse is found every two or three years, usually in places where there was fighting on the glacier,” museum staffer Marco Ghizzoni told The Guardian.

“The findings in the cave on Mount Scorluzzo give us, after over a hundred years, a slice of life at over 3,000 meters above sea level, where the time stopped on November 3, 1918 when the last Austrian soldier closed the door and rushed downhill,” according to a museum press release, CNN reported. 

Inside, a world last accessed close to a century ago has offered researchers an abundance of antiques from a bygone era. Some of the recovered artifacts will be part of a collection set to open at the museum next year.

“It’s a sort of open-air museum,” historian Stefano Morosini told CNN of the northern Italy cave, where 20 servicemen lived their “very poor daily” lives while fighting Italian troops during the war. “Soldiers had to fight against the extreme environment, fight against the snow or the avalanches, but also fight against the enemy,” he went on. “The artifacts are a representation, like a time machine, of … the extreme conditions of life during the First World War.”

Italy’s White War Museum.

Alamy Stock Photo

Adamello White War Museum, Temu, Valle Camonica, Lombardy. Image shot 08/2014. Exact date unknown.

An upcoming exhibit here will display some of the findings from the cave expeditions.

Alamy Stock Photo

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