TV Pilot Olds
No Fame But Lots of Attention
John Gunell - June 04, 2014 02:20 PM
It started as a '72 Olds Cutlass and became the only "Hamilton" from a fictitious car company.Courtesy of John Gunnell
The modification is obvious with the front view.Courtesy of John Gunnell
From a distance, it has the Olds styling left intact, but the work of Cinema Vehicles Services Collection comes out quickly.Courtesy of John Gunnell
Making a pilot for a TV series doesn’t guarantee fame or fortune. Harry and Cindy Lenius of Minocqua, Wisconsin still love their ‘72 Olds Cutlass 4-4-2 “Hamilton” hardtop. The car was customized for use in “The Prince of Motor City,” a pilot for a TV show that didn’t make the cut.
This show was about a fictitious automaker called Hamilton Motors. Warren Christie portrayed Billy Hamilton, the son of the car company’s owner, who was characterized as an “automotive legend.” Actors Rutger Hauer and Andie MacDowell also starred in the TV pilot.
Prior to its Hollywood career, the 4-4-2 resided in Southern California. At one point, the car was drag raced and the So Cal climate was kind, so the Olds stayed rust free. The 4-4-2 came to the attention of the TV show producers, who decided to turn it into a Hamilton.
A design team from the Cinema Vehicle Services Collection (www.cinemavehicles.com) did a restyling job on the original Oldsmobile coupe body, built around 2010. It was painted in a Candy Apple Red color and had a custom grille, a unique hood treatment, custom front fender vents, gold body trim, a modular rear bumper and special “Hamilton” nameplates and badges, as well as special body graphics.
The pilot was completed and did come out as planned, but the show concept was quickly cancelled. Two other “Hamilton” cars were being custom built at that time, but never completed. They were sent to the crusher and only this one was completed and actually used in filming.
In May 2010, Cinema Vehicle Services took the car to Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic Auction in Indianapolis, Indiana, where it sold for $10,000. A man from Madison, Wisconsin, bought it and eventually sold it to the current owners. They enjoy driving around in the car and “getting smiles and thumbs up signs” wherever they go.