My Car Quest

August 5, 2020

Clive Cussler Has Died

A great friend of the classic car world.

by Wallace Wyss –

Clive Cussler, the bestselling author whose novels Raise the Titanic! and, much to his greater disappointment, Sahara, were made into movies, died Monday at his home in Scottsdale, AZ. He was 88. His death was announced by his wife.

Clive Cussler

Raise the Titanic was his first big hit. His Dirk Pitt series, featuring a modern day swashbuckling hero, also spawned movie versions like Sahara. All the Dirk Pitt novels had references to classic cars as Cussler had a museum in Arvada, CO with more than 100 cars.

He was sometimes seen on the car auction scene, selling a car surplus to his needs. He liked cars from the 1930s to the ’50s and had many town cars, a favorite style. Almost every Dirk Pitt book has the bearded Cussler on the back cover with one of his classic cars.

He wrote as many as 80 books, many with co-authors and some more recent ones with his son, Dirk. He sold five to Hollywood. One movie was, Sahara, staring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz. But he didn’t like the control an author loses once he sells his books and after selling Sahara he went back to the buyer, Philip Anschutz’s Crusader Entertainment, and complained about the 1992 novel’s storyline and dialogue being changed without his permission and being frozen out of the film’s development. He took out his checkbook and bought back the other books, paying out several million. The movie got panned.

Surprisingly, Sahara was not his first movie. Raise the Titanic! was also made into a movie back in 1980. The film, starring Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, David Selby, Anne Archer, and Sir Alec Guinness, but that was a flop. It took him many years more before he listened to Hollywood overtures.

Besides the Dirk Pitt series there were the Isaac Bell Adventures and Fargo Adventures series. The 6′ 3″ author had a strong interest in shipwrecks, and founded the non-profit National Underwater and Marine Agency. Sometimes the activities of his marine firm and those of his fictional hero were hard to tell apart.

He also wrote non-fiction and his book Sea Hunters was so impressive that the State University of New York Maritime College gave him a doctorate, accepting the book in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis.

Another real life adventure was publicized when Cussler claimed to have found the missing Confederate submarine, the Hunley. Another marine researcher sued, saying Cussler’s NUMA group was using maps provided by him but he lost the suit and the sub was recovered.

Cussler was married twice. He married Barbara Knight in 1955, and they remained married for nearly 50 years until her death in 2003. Together they had three children — Teri, Dirk, and Dayna — who have given him four grandchildren..

He had homes in Arizona and Colorado. His love of cars partially came from the fact he once owned a car repair garage right next to the Interstate 10 freeway in a Los Angeles suburb. He became a skin diving enthusiast and that’s how Dirk Pitt had so much diving knowledge. He will be missed by those who like a rip-roaring novel…

1929 Duesenberg

1929 Duesenberg at the Cussler Museum

THE AUTHIOR: Wallace Wyss is a broadcaster, co-host of Autotalk, a radio show emanating from KUCR-FM Riverside.

Sahara by Clive Cussler

Summary
Clive Cussler Has Died
Article Name
Clive Cussler Has Died
Description
Clive Cussler was sometimes seen on the car auction scene, selling a car surplus to his needs. He liked cars from the 1930s to the '50s and had many town cars, a favorite style. Almost every Dirk Pitt book has the bearded Cussler on the back cover with one of his classic cars.
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Comments

  1. imwithstoopid says

    Well, what can one say except, so much good, fun, and informative books not to come.
    Good sir, sad to say R.I.P.

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