Sunday, February 28, 2016

Rusty's TV and Movie Car Museum brings a touch of Hollywood to Jackson, Tennessee

If you were a car chase-loving kid of the 1980s, you were living in the golden age of television. You could tune in to an action-packed, hour-long drama nearly every night of the week. And while many of us who fit the profile collected model cars or diecasts, Rusty Robinson took it to the next level. An old bread store in Jackson, Tenn., may not seem like much from the outside, but it houses one of the best TV and movie car collections you’ll ever hope to see. Rusty’s TV and Movie Car Museum is packed with well-known vehicles from the biggest hits of the decade. Many of them were actually used on screen. And while it may not be located in Hollywood, California, it does have a Hollywood Street address in Jackson.

One of the best examples of this type of show was Hardcastle and McCormick. From 1983 to 1986, Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh Kelly hunted down bad guys in their Coyote X sports car. The Coyote X was a fictional model for the show, but it looked kind of like a McClaren M6GT, and it sounded like a Lamborghini on the TV show soundtrack. Technically, it was a Volkswagen Beetle chassis with a kit car body, but it seemed much more awesome than that. The example in Rusty’s was actually used on the show, and although it isn’t something I’d want to take a long trip in, it was still very cool to see it there.

This homely little number is one of the ’76 Pacers used in the 1992 movie Wayne’s World. You can just hear the Bohemian Rhapsody when you look at this Mirth Mobile. After the movies, it was parked at the King’s Dominion theme park in Richmond, Virginia. They had a Wayne’s World-themed roller coaster called “The Hurler,” and this was on display there. Paramount Pictures owned some theme parks back then to compete with Universal Studios, so this obviously would have been a main attraction. Party on. Excellent.

Here’s the 1970 Chevy Nova that starred in the 2007 Quintin Tarantino movie Death Proof. Rusty reports that this is one of the actual cars from the movie. Kurt Russell is a deranged stunt guy who takes unsuspecting women for tragic rides in his specially prepared Nova. It’s built to be deadly for them, but “death proof” for him. Thankfully, all the blood and guts were washed out of the death chamber before it got to the museum. The jacket that Kurt Russell wore in the movie is also on display with the car. I’ll tell you one thing, if he ever shows up in this thing and offers you a ride, do not get in there. Even a taxi would be safer than this.

Rusty’s also has some neat movie memorabilia on display. Here’s the roof of Ricky Bobby’s Wonder Bread stock car from the 2006 movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. This was clearly acquired post-spectacular flip. Will Ferrell’s uniform costume stands next to it. Oh, and if that weren’t enough, his tighty whities from the “Help me Baby Jesus” scene are framed on the wall. It seems like a lot of times movie props like this get discarded or otherwise disappear, never to be seen again. It’s nice to run in to a collector that is not only preserving this stuff, but actually puts in on display for people to look at.

Back in about 2002, Monster Garage was one of the most popular car-related shows on television. Motorcycle fabricator (and future ex-husband of Sandra Bullock) would convert old cars to do something different than what the manufacturer intended. In this case, they turned about an ’86 Mustang GT convertible into “the world’s fastest lawn mower.” Known as “Switchblade,” the bright green mutant was later rendered into die cast toys and other collectables. If you’re being honest, this car is terrible. You wouldn’t want to drive it, and it would be pretty lousy to cut your lawn with. A museum like this is the perfect place for it, because people can still appreciate its impact on pop culture without, you know, having to use it.

Naturally, Rusty’s had all the TV and movie cars you would expect to see, including a General Lee, KITT from Knight Rider, a Blues Mobile, and Herbie. Rusty said he also has ten more cars at home that can be switched out, including a Fall Guy truck, a Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am, and an A-Team van. Looks like I’m going to have to plan a future visit to see that stuff. But in the meantime, we can all just look at the pictures in the slideshow below. Or, as usual, click this link for a nicer version.


  1. I will make this one of my stops. Great pics.

  2. it would be pretty lousy to cut your lawn with. A museum like this is the perfect place for it, because people can still appreciate its impact on pop culture without, you know, having to use it.