Maybe that should read A Strange Adventure in a cool car. Either way, I recently tracked down the hot rod Ben Cooper drives in the 1956 Republic B noir picture A Strange Adventure (1956), directed by the great William Witney.
It’s a customized 1939 Mercury (its 1940 grill adds a bit of confusion) called The Caribbean, belonging at the time to a young man named Glen Hooker. Glen worked on the car as a teenager and was too young (and unlicensed) to drive it to its first car show. His dad got it there. The car appeared in a number of hot rod magazines before making its motion picture debut.
Glen sold the Merc not long after the film, but years later it made its way back to his garage. He began a much-needed restoration, but sold it again to someone who plans to return it to its former glory.
A Strange Adventure is coming to DVD and Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber. They’ve got the movie, and therefore the car, in show-winning condition.