Professor Fate’s Hannibal Twin-8 was built for the Blake Edwards’ classic (1965), The Great Race.Based loosely on the 1908 New York to Paris auto race, The Great Race is a slapstick romp through three continents. At the time, The Great Race was considered one of the most expensive movies made. Part of the reason was the vehicles built specially for the movie.
I’ve always been fascinated with Professor Fate’s Hannibal Twin-8 race car. It looked like a truck with its six wheels and high stance. It was sinister and all kinds of awesome. It could lift itself about nine feet in the air, it had a miniature cannon, a heated nose-cone and the ability to lay out a thick smokescreen. Five were built and a few were runners. One was powered by an (unknown) VW powerplant while the other had a Chevrolet Corvair’s horizontally opposed six-cylinder and a three speed manual transmission. Both rear wheels were powered via a chain that was powered by a single transaxle.
The Great Race starred Tony Curtis as Leslie Gallant III (“The Great Leslie”), Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate/Prince Friedrich Hapnick, Natalie Wood as Maggie DuBois and Peter Falk as Maximillian “Max” Meen – among others. To many, it was a Sunday matinee special that was a hoot to watch, it was also considered a large flop. I questioned that as this movie also had one of the largest pie-fights in movie history – although I think that Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles surpassed it years later.
I have to say, Jack Lemmon was absolutely hysterical and my favorite character(s) in this movie. I highly recommend it for a family night.
It would be great to hear if anyone else has information on Professor Fate’s Hannibal Twin-8. If you do, let us know below!