We decided very early in the long process that was the making of DRIVE, that the camera must be in the driver’s position. This necessitated a right-hand drive vehicle. After an extensive search, an imported-from-Japan 1989 Toyota Master Ace Surf Special was located – the ideal van for DRIVE.


Sculptor and DRIVE-team member Kris Perry then designed and built a custom camera mount; the front-left passenger seat was removed; and the mount bolted in its stead.


By law, a right-hand drive vehicle has to be at least 25 years old. The Surf Special met that requirement, but taking a vintage van 3,000 miles across the country – and through the desert – on a non-stop drive in the middle of the summer was both a risk and a challenge.


As we descended from Flagstaff and started across the Mojave, the temperature was pushing 115 degrees. Our comprehensive pre-shoot testing and trials determined that we would not be able to use the van’s AC – it pushed the ancient and unreliable radiator beyond its limits; thus the entire drive was done with no AC and all the windows rolled down.


The Surf Special’s engine is located directly under the front seats; there is no engine compartment, or hood, extending out in front of the van . . .giving us the clean, unobstructed shot that we needed. But that design also added to the extreme heat both in the engine, and in the van itself – the Surf Special, the equipment, and the filmmakers barely made it.