A MAN AND HIS CAR

Updated: Sep 2

Martin Sanchez’s Vehicle From a Classic Horror Film Is Now on Display at a Los Angeles Museum


Martin Sanchez is a true car expert. As a collector, he owns a stunt car that was featured in one of best-known horror films of all time, Christine.


Photo Credits: IamTed7 Car Photography



Can you please tell us about yourself and where you grew up?

Yes. My father always told me it’s important to get paid for what’s in your head; knowledge is power. So, I did the best I could in school and put myself through college. I immersed myself into the auto industry and ran a couple of dealership repair facilities, this paved my more than 33-year career with Kelley Blue Book/Cox Automotive, by far one of the best organizations anyone can be a part of.


I grew up in the shadow of Disneyland, in Anaheim, California, four blocks from the Mouse House. We didn't have much. I was the oldest of seven, four girls and three boys in a small three-bedroom home. I was picked on at school for wearing secondhand clothing and shoes, and for using food stamps, but I never let that bother me, I know my parents worked hard and did the best for our large family. Like dad, I liked to build things. I built my first bike with scrap parts and started building them for kids that couldn’t afford them. I would have them participate in hunting down the parts and help with building. The bike builds turned to motorized electric bikes powered by car starter motors, as well as mopeds and motorcycles. Before turning 10, I was working on cars.


Please tell us about your car.

Her name is Christine, a 1958 Plymouth Fury, the only surviving stunt car out of 25 from Stephen King’s Christine.


How did that movie impact you?

At 16, I was turning into a little punk, not listening, hanging with the wrong crowd, teenager stuff. I was heading down the wrong path. My first car was ruined by bullies in school, Even though I rebuilt it, it left me angry. I wanted another project after reading the book Christine. It was decided; she was my next build. My parents objected to the idea. However, I didn't listen. My dad was angry and refused to help me.


After I got the Christine car, however, I distanced myself from the bad influences and focused on Christine. After a few months, my dad stepped in and began to offer advice and help, as well as to coach me about the importance of education and career goals. I will never forget those moments. Because of this car, we saw eye to eye and found common ground, and I listened. It has made me the man I am today. I miss you, dad! Thank you.


So you once built a car inspired by the movie, and now you own a stunt car that was in the movie. What steps are required for the maintenance of your current car?

I would say to maintain her you need human souls. Just kidding; she's only evil on screen! Actually, basic 20-dollar tune-ups, really, although parts are getting harder to get. eBay and shops specializing in vintage Mopar parts are my resources. Funny thing, she still has her screen-used bias ply tires! That would make for a scary drive in itself. Christine's is now retired, and the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles does a wonderful job of keeping her pristine for all to see.


What celebrity has been inside your car?

Malcom Danare who played Moochie and destroyed the car, as well as Alexandra Paul. She was Leigh, the new love interest of Christine's owner. That did not end well


Where can readers see your car?

Christine is currently on display at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles.

 

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Tell us one of your most memorable experiences with Christine.

Christine and my wife Christine almost killed me! My wife and I were going on a date in Christine. I opened her door, and she got in. She slid towards the driver’s side, saw the keys in the ignition and felt it would be thoughtful to start the car. Well, the car was in reverse. It is a manual three-on-the-tree. As I walked behind the car, it lunged at me and almost ran me over. The car continued across the lawn before it stopped. My wife was terrified, and so was I.


On a happy note, when my firstborn started walking, he would follow me into the garage and look up at the huge chrome bumper and say, ‘Kistine’ pretty, daddy's car. All three of my children just loved going to all the parades involving cars in Christine. Precious moments.


What is your involvement with the Hollywood Christmas Parade and Star Car Central, the group of owners and builders of vehicles inspired by or featured in movies and TV?

Every year I bring one of my movie cars to the parade, it's a family tradition. I have met many of my friends there and my kids look forward to seeing cars belonging to Star Car members.


What are some of your favorite things to do?

I love being around my family. I love to tinker, build and fix things. I collect movie cars and film memorabilia. I enjoy helping children's hospitals when I can.


What is your message to our Heart Of Hollywood Magazine readers?

Follow your dreams. Stay away from negative people. Do not ever give up, no matter what is thrown at you.


Connect with Martin

IG: @justtimetraveling




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