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Hustle Cars – How those Groovy ’70s Rides were Cast

“American Hustle” boasts not only a cast of Hollywood heavy-hitters and a crazy true-life story base, but a plethora of groovy vintage rides, too.

The American Film Institute named American Hustle the year’s best film, and it’s either already won or is nominated for a slew of film festival and critics awards including seven 2014 Golden Globes nods. judging by the box office figures, moviegoers agree. It boasts a serious Hollywood hotshot cast and a captivating storyline, no doubt. But the real scene stealers are those uber-glam 70s styles (man perms notwithstanding) and those oh, so groovy rides.

The film follows con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) as they’re forced to work for crazed FBI agent Richie DiMasio (Bradley Cooper) amid a world of Jersey powerbrokers and Mafiosi. Jeremy Renner plays Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey politico caught between the con-artists and Feds. And reigning Hollywood sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence plays Irving’s chain-smoking, neurotic wife Rosalyn, who could be the one to bring the entire operation crashing down.

Though Hollywood surely took plenty of creative license, the film is loosely based on the true story of the massive 1980 FBI anti-corruption operation dubbed “Abscam,” which starred a cinematic cast of real-life characters that included faux Arab sheiks, real mobsters, corrupt politicians, US congressmen on the take, and a cigar-chomping con artist who set up stings on the fed’s payroll. The sting operation eventually laid down convictions against a US Senator, six members of the US House of Representatives, one member of the New Jersey State Senate, six members of the Philadelphia City Council, and an INS inspector.

But for us here at E3 Spark Plugs, we’re most in awe of the ultra cool cast of 70s-era cars that fill the set. And producers say finding those rides was no easy feat. That’s because American Hustle is set in and around New York, but principal filming took place in a smattering of towns and cities around Boston – not exactly a big-city car culture kind of place.

Massachusetts’ annual snowfall means many vintage cars take a rust beating. But when Hollywood comes to small town America, everyone wants to play a part. So, the film’s casting department took on the job of fielding extras who just happened to own vintage rides from the late ’60s through the early ’80s. The lucky ones got a firsthand glimpse at moviemaking and were able to see their sweet rides share the spotlight, too.

A few notables – Carmine Polito’s 1977 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz; a two-tone Corvette, a sweet ’69 Buick LeSabre and several 1975 Dodge Coronet taxicabs. Can ya dig it, E3 fans? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.

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