My Car Quest

July 22, 2024

The Millennium Falcon – The Ultimate Hot Rod Space Ship

by Mike Gulett –

The new “Star Wars” movie is set to be released on December 18, 2015. What better time to write about, and read about, the hot rods in space created by George Lucas?

The Millennium Falcon did not get much respect in George Lucas’ first “Star Wars” movie, “A New Hope”.

When Luke Skywalker first saw the Millennium Falcon he said,

“What a piece of junk!”

Han Solo replies,

“She’ll make point five past lightspeed. She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid. I’ve made a lot of special modifications myself.”

The first time Princess Leia saw the Millennium Falcon she said to Han Solo,

“You came in that thing? You’re braver than I thought.”

I have heard that before from pretty girls, a long time ago, far, far away, about my ’62 Dodge Dart and ’56 Chrysler.

The Millennium Falcon

The Millennium Falcon

Clearly Han Solo had a lot to prove with The Millennium Falcon and his “special modifications”. This is similar to a hot rod builder here on Earth proving he can go faster than the other cars or maybe the Police.

On Earth they proved it on the dry lake beds of Southern California and the Bonneville Salt Flats. In the “Star Wars” universe they proved it by escaping from the big Corellian battle ships of the evil Empire’s Imperial Fleet, either helping the Rebel Alliance, or smuggling contraband in secret compartments; like smuggling moonshine using hopped up cars with special built secret compartments or tanks to hold the moonshine. Eventually these moonshine cars transformed into Nascar race cars. George Lucas knew the story and it applied perfectly to the Star Wars universe.

The Millennium Falcon

George Lucas

I previously compared the George Lucas fascination with hot rod space ships to his having grown up in a small farming town in California where building hot rods was one activity that kept kids out of trouble.

Like old time hot rods on Earth the Millennium Falcon has a deceptively shabby appearance and was made into a very fast ship starting life as a freighter, which is a much slower ship than the Falcon became. Sort of like the ’32 Ford was a family car converted into a very fast hot rod as a result of “special modifications”.

The Millennium Falcon

The Millennium Falcon looks like a worn out junker yet it has the modifications that boosted its speed, shielding and performance to impressive and maybe illegal levels. A space ship “sleeper”.

Because of the many modifications the Falcon can be unpredictable and the power system doesn’t always work as desired. Han Solo has applied a hard knock on a bulkhead with his fist to jump start the Falcon on occasion. Who hasn’t done that to an old car here on Earth?

I saw the Star Wars exhibit on its final stop at The Silicon Valley Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California a couple of years ago. 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).

These are photos of the actual Millennium Falcon.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

The Millennium Falcon

The Millennium Falcon

The Millennium Falcon

The Millennium Falcon - The Ultimate Hot Rod Space Ship
Article Name
The Millennium Falcon - The Ultimate Hot Rod Space Ship
The Millennium Falcon is George Lucas' homage to the Earth bound hot rods of his youth.


  1. Bob Schneider says

    Mike, you have outdone your literary abilities ! I will forward this on Facebook to some friend(s) who are ‘Star Wars’ crazy & musically on tour on the east cost. Also a friend has a piece of property in your area that engulfs what is left of a piece of property originally owned by Steinbeck. Friend is car crazy like you & I.

    • Thank you Bob – compliments are always welcome. What a strange coincidence that you know the person who now owns the Steinbeck property! Monte Sereno is a very small place the whole town only has 3500 residences.

  2. Bob Schneider says

    Mike, it is truly a small world ! If memory serves what (was) left of the original dwelling was the fireplace & then to (maybe) the opposite wall. Ah memories ! Maybe I should have stayed out there some 30 years ago. I remember Apple’s dinky little building & a Quonset hut full of rows of old electronics. What great achievements have come from that small area !

    • Wim van de Kimmenade says

      Hey Bob,
      Talking about old electronics, I discovered that the fact that we have todays means of communication, is due to the whiskers of a cat! I can proove it, but I reckon that I am not the only one who is aware of this! (and that the world sometimes is smaller than we think, I found this out by discovering that Mike and I have common friends who live in different continents). Of course I have seen many times Star Wars,but also the Thunderbirds from an UK production and remember miss Penelope! But the Milennium Hotrod called Falcon must have figured in episodes I don´t remember or perhaps haven´t seen!

  3. Cindy Meitle says

    What a fun piece. My friend Dave Dorman is a living legend amongst Star Wars fans, known for his posters and illustrations. I’m forwarding this to him. He will love it.

  4. I can’t resist. Mike May the force be with you for writing this story.

  5. I love it
    The “Millenium Falcon” is the nickname I coined for the Lambo Espada when we were on a New Zealand Classic tour with a bunch of mostly sports cars.
    Parked alongside Lotus Elise, Lotus Exige, MGs and the like, it looked so big but out on track it is a lot more nimble that it appears.
    Passing a Lotus on the inside of the sweeper, like whipping past a starfighter in the dog fight, sealed its entitlement to the badge. A sleeper indeed.

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