Friday, April 01, 2011

Figari Sales American Graffiti Coupe!

'Keeping the flame alive' says new owner
Popular car to receive upgrades
By Seth Berlestein
Although quoted many times over the years as saying he never would, Rick Figari of San Francisco, CA has announced that he has sold the 1932 Ford 5W Coupe that stole the hearts of so many car enthusiasts in the 1973 movie American Graffiti. The little yellow hot rod that is credited with reviving the hobby of hotrodding has been under the care of Mr. Figari since he purchased the car in 1985. After using the car as a daily driver while in school, he partnered with actor Paul LeMat and put the car on display at car shows all over the world. This proved so popular with the fans that Figari purchased a replica of the 1955 Chevy that the Coupe raced at the end of American Graffiti. "I figured, why not give the people what they wanted. Seeing these two icons together is always a thrill. Even for me after all these years." But the road eventually took it's toll on Rick and his actor friend.
Attack of the clones
"It was a lot of work for very little money" Figari now says. "But it was worth it. In the beginning the fans were so appreciative, but then around 2005, it seemed like every other car show attendee was building a tribute (copy)" He says that a particular group of hardcore clone builders made his life a living nightmare. Phone calls at all hours, sneaking into the arenas after hours to photograph the famous Ford, these builders were relentless. "They built websites, traded pictures, cloned parts, I even caught one guy trying to steal parts" he sighs. But even with all the headaches, the Graffiti caravan continued on bringing happiness to thousands of fans. But after showing up at a recent car show and being parked next to one of the worst offenders, Figari came to a realization, it wasn't ever going to stop. "I made up my mind then and there to part with my dream car". He has received many solicitations to buy the car and he says he kept them all. A particularly lucrative offer had come from a businessman in Japan. "It's a long ways away, let those clone builders chase it to the far east" laughs Figari. Discretion keeps him from disclosing the sale amount, but he did reveal it was in the eight figures. "That guy really wanted it, and I was fed up" hey says. Will he regret it later? He hopes not. Will we ever see Milner's car again? We can only hope. AP INTERNET 2011