• Brian Keene

iWire Helps Build a Movie Car

Photo courtesy of Kathy Applebaum

You read that headline right, iWire helped build a movie car for the new Transformers movie coming out December 2018 - Bumblebee. As a Subaru wiring company you may ask how we got involved with a VW Bug movie?

Well, it all started with a simple phone call. Most calls at iWire start off the same way with our owner Brian answering "iWire, this is Brian". But this was very special. We were being asked by Trevor of MadMann Garage to help with their build for a movie of which he wouldn't tell us at the time (we were thinking another Herbie reboot). MadMann Garage had been trying to figure out how to avoid the troubles they had run into in the past with the original air cooled VW engine on other project cars. While doing their research on Subaru options they discovered that we specialize in this and reached out to us. Not only did we help with the wiring but we also consulted on engine location and equipment placement/routing.

In the movie business, they build cars based on what is needed for specific shots. For our Bug build the crew needed a car that looked original but could have the horsepower needed to push along a car with the additional weight of a driver on the roof and safety equipment that goes with it. This way it looks like Bumblebee is driving the car himself and not the actors, while in reality the driver is in a cage on the top. We're hoping to get some video of it driving since it must have looked pretty bizarre to see the driver on the roof!

For this harness we used a stock OEM ECU from a 1999 Subaru Forester. We also wired from scratch the rest of the harness so everything was plug and play. This included a custom fusebox with wiring for radiator fans, OBD2 port, alternator, and fuel pump controller. It was a pretty standard build without a lot of fluff since the camera can't see the AC or gauges working.

We're very proud of this harness, especially after we got a call a few months after filming with rave reviews from Trevor telling us they had no issues even with the long work days and heat out in the desert. We hope we're able to tell when it's our car vs another movie car. Though the coolest part of the whole build was getting a check from Paramount Pictures in the mail (too bad it wasn't signed by Michael Bay ;D). We're excited to have been a part of this project and can't wait to let you know the other secret projects we've been working on.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Applebaum

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