The above video has been disabled as a link but I recommend viewing it on YouTube. Not only is it riveting in-and-of-itself, but it also provides a glimpse of the gorgeous interior of a 1967 Shelby Mustang and is the subject of this post.
Jim Morrison freaked out when he heard The Doors sold the rights to Light My Fire to Buick while he was on a bender, a curious reaction given his supposed dislike of the song and love of cars, or one car. Morrison starred in and produced a celluloid paeon to that vehicle in what may be the greatest car ad in automotive history. It’s a short clip of him driving his 1967 Shelby Mustang through the desert and it’s part of a film called HWY: An American Pastoral that Morrison, the Shelby-era’s Kurt Cobain, made with some friends in 1969. A primitive version of the clip haunted YouTube until filmmaker Tom DiCillo remastered it for When You’re Strange, his 2010 documentary about Morrison.
It’s not clear why he’s hitchhiking at the beginning of the clip and behind the wheel seconds later, aside from maybe referencing the psycho drifter in Riders On the Storm, but we soon find a very contemporary-looking Morrison burning through a Roadrunner landscape with the radio on when a DJ cuts in to announce his death in Paris that morning. (Presumably dubbed in after the fact, the announcement nonetheless lends credence to the notion that Morrison faked his own death and is today running a truck wash near Barstow.) In art as in life, the Lizard King yowls at the road, drinks a beer and spins out amidst some yuccas.
The car, like the driver, is hot, sexy and gone, man, gone. Morrison reportedly wrapped it around a telephone pole on Santa Monica Boulevard one day in 1970 and never drove it again. But chatroom debates over the persistence of Morrison’s “Blue Lady” heat up whenever Mustang Monthly runs an article about it or some newbie claims to know it’s whereabouts. That’s when the naysayers slide out from other their cars to rattle off the missing VIN, the un-transferred title and other well-worn proofs that the Shelby was scrapped. These are the killjoys who believe that Jim Morrison died in a bathtub in Paris. And for every one of them there are legions of gas-huffing carheads for whom the prospect of Mr. Mojo rising from the desert in his 1967 GT500 is just too cool a possibility to summarily dis.
There’s a filmmaker out in Texas who’s working on a documentary called Morrison’s Mustang. It’s a wonderful idea and I’m curious to see what he’ll scramble up on the now mythical muscle car which, if it exists, is probably moldering beneath a thick blanket of money in Vladimir Putin’s garage.