We’ve taken it upon ourselves to start watching a bunch of cheesy old movies and hunt for good car footage, filtering the gearhead-approved ones from the boring stuff to save you the time and effort. This week, we endured Clambake, an Elvis flick from 1967 and, according to IMDB.com, the last movie to bring him a million-dollar paycheck.
The film is a mistaken-identity comedy set around the backdrop of a resort in Miami, Florida, and its powerboat racing. This alone brings some gearhead goodness for those of you with horsepower interests broad enough to include boats. There’s some great, real footage of racing in fantastically styled hulls, plus a clip of Elvis wrenching on a dual-quad Ford FE mill.
The competition is based on the real American Power Boat Association races that went on at Miami’s Marine Stadium in the ’60s. The landmark stadium seen in the movie was built in 1964, but has been abandoned since the hurricanes of 1992. It still stands, and there’s a web site here dedicated to its rebirth.
For pure car guys, the main draw of Clambake is the inclusion of the car driven by Elvis in the opening and closing scenes. It’s the 1959 Sting Ray, a design study by GM’s Bill Mitchell and Larry Shinoda that’s built on Chevy’s earlier prototype chassis that was destined for LeMans before it was banned due to factory involvement. The concept car was originally silver, but was painted red and treated a clear plastic hood scoop for its scenes in Clambake. The ’59 Sting Ray has been restored in its original trim and is owned by the GM Heritage Center. We hope it does not soon see the auction block.
Clambake will also treat you to an adorable 23-year-old Shelly Fabares (you probably know her from TV’s Coach) who was also seen with Elvis in Spinout in 1966, and who has admitted to giving the King his money’s worth on the casting couch. There’s also some ’60s bikini-chick booty shaking, and while we fast-forwarded past most of the songs, there’s one that’s set in a playground that reminded us of all the glorious bone-breaking, tooth-chipping jungle gyms and merry-go-rounds of our youth.
On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is Little Women and 10 is Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, we give it a 6.