Giving Hollywood a Helping “Hand”

Posted on November 1, 1990 by Donna Englander, staff writer

“It has to be a 1950s-period limousine with a paper shredder to shove someone’s hand into and double sunroofs that open inward for a person to get stuck in.” That was the order Tri-Star Pictures gave to Empire Coach in Brooklyn, NY, for its upcoming film “Hudson Hawk” starring Bruce Willis.

Tri-Star provided the 1955 Chrysler Imperial. The vehicle was an original factory limousine, one of the few built by Chrysler in the 1950s, that came complete with an electric partition. Working from a plan given to them by a designer from the studio, Empire stretched the already long car another 42 inches, installed four televisions, a leather interior, custom wood trim, and the paper shredder and double sunroofs. This deadline job had to be completed in three months.

Willis, who is a car collector himself, inspected the vehicle, which he liked but had some of the colors changed. Empire is currently looking for a Buick Roadmaster for Willis’ personal collection.

“We hope to do other jobs for studios even though the work is so demanding,” says Marsha Tortora, president of Empire. The movie was filmed in New York with the car shipped to Yugoslavia and Italy for outside shots and is due out next spring.


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