My Car Quest

November 19, 2018

A Star Wars Hot Rod

by Mike –

When George Lucas made the movie “American Graffiti” in 1973 he re-ignited America’s interest in cars especially hot rods and custom cars. The movie was set in Lucas’ hometown of Modesto, California.

When George Lucas was a kid in Modesto he wanted to be a race car driver and he did race cars when he was in high school and in 1962 during a race he was in a bad accident that almost killed him.

He lost interest in being a race driver after that but he did not lose his interest in cars: hot rods and custom cars modified for speed or jalopys worked on by the owner who was on a tight budget.

This interest in the hot rod and custom car culture carried over into a later movie project – “Star Wars”.

Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder from Star Wars

I saw the Star Wars exhibit on its final stop at The Silicon Valley Tech Museum of Innovation a couple of years ago in San Jose, California. The exhibit displays the actual models used in filming the movie and the photos here were made at the museum (without a flash as required by the museum rules).

I am surprised that I was able to see the actual models used in one of my favorites movies.

Luke Skywalker’s T-34 Landspeeder

The T-34 Landspeeder is powered by repulsorlift technology which allows it to travel very quickly a few feet off the ground. The Skywalker T-34 Landspeeder is right-hand-drive. I am not sure why this matters on a desert planet with no roads. It demonstrates the influence the British have had even at a time long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder from Star Wars

Notice the dents, scrapes and missing paint on Luke’s Landspeeder. He worked on it himself and could not afford a new car just as if he were in Modesto, California in the 1960s. There are similarities between Lukes’ home planet, Tatooine, and Modesto, California.

Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder from Star Wars

Both Tatooine and Modesto are remote farming communities and Luke says about Tatooine,

if there is a bright center of the galaxy this is the farthest planet from it

Many of the characters of “American Graffiti” were also trying to escape from their home town of Modesto just like Luke is eager to leave Tatooine.

Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder from Star Wars

Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder from Star Wars

Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder from Star Wars

I think of Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder as a jalopy that is held together with whatever parts Luke can scrounge and his own ingenuity and skills. It is not necessarily designed to go fast but to be reliable and cheap transportation.

Sell your Landspeeder on My Car Quest – click here.

Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder from Star Wars

Taking a ride into town in the T-34 Landspeeder

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

This was originally published in February 2014.

Summary
A Star Wars Hot Rod
Article Name
A Star Wars Hot Rod
Description
When George Lucas was a kid he wanted to be a race car driver instead he made movies like "American Graffiti" and "Star Wars' which both had hot rod and custom car back stories.
Author

Comments

  1. You should post pics of this on Coachbuiding and Concepts would be a real hoot…
    or if you do not mind I will and will give credit where they came from.

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