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Movie star cars

THERE could be a future movie star waiting to be discovered in your garage. A sports management company has branched out to find cars for movies, television shows and ads.

Vantage Management opened its Star Cars arm last month and wants to expand its books. It's now looking for some new talent, director Shan Railton says.

He says someone could have the next "General Lee" or "Mad Max Interceptor" parked in their driveway.

"If you think about all the ads on telly or the movies or even basic photos for magazines, they all have to come from somewhere," Railton says.

"The criteria is any car or thing you couldn't find in a standard car lot or rent from Avis. It might be a classic or something rare, or something outrageous. It could be a new FPV or Monaro, a WRX or an old Dodge pick-up.

"The cars don't even have to be in good condition. We needed a car for someone who was supposed to be down and out, and the car had to match. All we can say is we probably don't need any white Commodores, unless it's a 1978 white Commodore in perfect condition."

Railton says Star Cars works much the same way as a fashion model agency. Vantage gets a call from a film or magazine production company and checks its books for a car to match. Once a match is found, Vantage works out a deal.

Its cut is 17.5 per cent as an agent fee. The owner's only commitment is to turn up with the car at the agreed time and place.

"If you have a car that fits our very wide criteria, there is no reason why you wouldn't register it," Railton says. "It costs owners nothing except their car's time.

"If someone wanted to use your car I'd get a brief of where, when and who is going to drive it. We email that info to the owner and it's up to them to say yes or no within a certain time.

"Some production companies want their own people to drive the car, but that, of course, has to be part of the contract. And someone on our books who doesn't want to accept a job, doesn't have to."

Railton says the system works for everyone. Production companies save time and money and clients can make money. How much usually depends on the value of the car.

"It's a sliding scale based on the insurance value of the car and the job," Railton says.

"We had a job involving street machines on the Gold Coast, but there had to be 80s cars and they had to be American. That job was $400 a day for each car, and they were just parked on the street. That's about the cheapest job because it's not worth it to us or our clients to do it for less than that.

"At the other end of the spectrum, we had a car used for three months. The production company spent $30,000 fully restoring it, then paid the owner $15,000 for the job."

Feature film work (Vantage found cars for House of Wax, which starred Paris Hilton) makes up about a third of all Star Car jobs.

The balance is split between TV shows, ads and magazine photo shoots.

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