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Mad Max turns 30

While Mad Max turned Gibson into an international star, the host of vehicles used and abused were the real stars.

...most successful movies and continues to dominate lists of classic car films and car chases.

Mad Max celebrates its 30th anniversary this year amid speculation that Mad Max 4 will begin shooting next year with actor Jeremy Renner replacing Mel Gibson in the lead. It is also believed video games based on the Mad Max series will be released in the next couple of years.

While Mad Max turned Gibson into an international star, the host of vehicles used and abused were the real stars. Most notable is the black "Interceptor" driven with such lethal results by Gibsons' character Max Rockatansky.

The car is a limited edition 1973 GT351 Ford Falcon XB Coupe with a 5.7-litre V8 351 Cleveland engine and a four-speed manual transmission. Only 949 XB GT coupes were built. It features a massive Weiand 6-71 Supercharger protruding from the bonnet and huge pipes sticking out of the side like a V8 Supercar.

At the end of filming, the car was stripped of its supercharger and pipes so it could be sold. It was bought back for the sequel and then discarded as a wreck.

The car has since been restored and is now on display in the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in England, along with KITT from Knight Rider, several Batmobiles, a De Lorean DMC-12 from Back to the Future, Mr's Bean Austin Mini and several Bond cars.

Before he went on a vengeful rampage, Max also drove a 1975 Holden HJ Sandman panelvan with a Statesman front end while his yellow police pursuit vehicle was a 1974 Ford Falcon XB sedan, V8 351.

A host of other cars, pick-ups, utes, caravans and motorcycles were used in the film. Director George Miller's own blue Mazda Bongo van was also featured, spinning out of control in the opening chase scene.

Most of the cars were XA, XB and XC Falcons, but in case you thought Miller was a Ford fan there was also a 1972 Holden HQ Monaro driven by the villain, ‘Nighrider’. He was the head of the Armalite motorcycle gang, who mainly rode Kawasakis — 1977 KZ-1000, 1975 KH250 and a Z900 — plus Honda CB750s and CB900s.

Fourteen vehicles were destroyed in the movie's graphic chases and crashes.