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1930s classic

US film-maker, now living in Chiang Mai, says his 1939 Fiat reminds him of the Al Capone era

Published on January 23, 2008

1930s classic


His behind-the-scenes role in several period movies has inspired Cleve Reinhard to drive a classic car.

"I'm crazy about classic cars, given their appealing designs and having taken part in many Hollywood films that allowed me to get accustomed to these cars. Many period movies such as gangster films in the 1950s to 1980s needed these classic cars in their scenes," he said.

Reinhard, a US-born film-maker, now lives in Chiang Mai.

Buying a classic car in the US was very difficult as it carries high costs, he said, adding that he had never forgotten his dream and wanted to get one after he took a long break.

"My opportunity opened up when I travelled to Thailand. I thought it was time to buy my favourite car here. I chose to stay in Chiang Mai province according to my friend's suggestion. My friend is also interested in autos and he lived here before me, so I thought it would not be difficult to buy a classic car," he said.

He now owns a Fiat made in 1939.

"I love its design. Its front reminds me of the heyday of Al Capone. Its body is not too big, it's compact. It looks good when we look from the front. The car's condition when I first bought wasn't like it is now," he said.

Reinhard replace all the parts with the exception of the body.

"I modified spare parts from other models to replace the original parts but before I actually installed them, particularly in the body, I modelled them up on a computer to see how good they were.

"I learned this from producing films. Before shooting even a scene, we have to design it on the computer to prevent any possible mistake. I used this experience to apply to my car's restoration. When I was satisfied with the design in the computer, I ordered the parts," he said.

He also decided what colour to paint the car with the computer.

"I observed that the classic cars that the Mafia always used had two colours - grey and black. Both colours reflect misery and power. That's why I painted my car with both colours and I'm not disappointed," he said.

The original engine was no longer working and needed to be replaced.

"I have to drive it in my daily life, so I chose to use a Japanese car engine. The car fulfils my inspiration to drive a car that looks like Al Capone's car but I'm not a Mafioso," he laughed.

Thanadol Rila

 The Nation

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