The real stars of Sorcerer.

I’ve always wanted to know what the trucks in Sorcerer were. Well, here’s one of them — a two-and-a-half-ton GMC M211 U.S. military cargo truck from the early 50s. They were used in Korea.

This is the truck Roy Scheider and Francisco Rabal drove. Aside from the vents on the side of the hood, the larger mirrors and the extra lights, it appears to be pretty stock.

The second truck, the one labeled “Sorcerer,” seems to be a heavily modified M211 (the grill might be from a Ford). Considering the beatings these vehicles took over the course of the film, including their accidental plunges off the suspension bridge, I wonder how many of each one were built? And where they are now?

In a perfect world, Sorcerer would’ve been a mammoth hit, and we all would’ve built Revell models of each truck — and spent hours playing with the AFX Sorcerer slot car set.

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About Toby

I'm a writer. And a dad. And a husband. And a record collector. And a movie geek (if the movies are old). And I really wish I had a hot rod.
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8 Responses to The real stars of Sorcerer.

  1. r says:

    I was touring Universal Studios Hollywood about 1990. Ex wife had 2 brothers that worked there so we got a few extra peeks at things. Wandering around part of the back lot storage we came to a small vehicle lot. I recognized the truck with the saw teeth on the hood immediately. Long story short, one of the lot crew confirmed that both trucks were from the film and were still used. I was able to walk around, touch them and snap a pic. No idea where it is. I was more excited to see the trucks than anything else that day. Some years later I was there again and the other truck was on a set during the tour.

    • Toby says:

      Thanks so much for writing in. I love this story. Like you, those trucks would’ve been the highlight of my Universal tour.

      If you ever come across that photo, please send it in!

  2. Tom says:

    I too have been fascinated with the film and the trucks in particular. For many years, and until recently, I thought the Sorcerer truck was a genuine jungle truck — an amalgamation of Ford grilles used by a dedicated backwoods (jungle) mechanic who worked with what he had, to keep the trucks running. It made sense that Friedkin found a cool old truck and built a personality around it. The trucks all looked like they suffered legitimate damage and decay from an inability to get parts, and logical neglect, etc. So, when I saw the toothy grille, it made absolute sense that this mechanic cannabalized three fairly rare, but probably from one source, Ford F-7 or F-8 early 1950s Ford grilles (could only be three because of the tapering and odd number of teeth) to keep one this one serviceable truck protected from jungle limbs punching thru the radiator and/or breaking headlights. I was absolutely convinced that this was the case and I looked at every still I could find to prove or disprove my theory. I looked closely at the grille to see if I could see a weld — no luck (although the passenger side has a blob of gray…maybe a weld), but this was very professional work to conceal the weld.

    Imagine my surprise when I saw the picture, from the link at http://www.moviestillsdb.com/movies/sorcerer-i76740/LNGUCN, wherein Friedkin is sitting behind the dashboard of Sorcerer, waiting for fresh paint. This leads me to believe that The old truck with the Ford Grille x3, parked in the lot, was a carefully crafted Hollywood icon — nice work, whoever came up with it, and actually created it!

    • Toby says:

      Thanks so much for your comment and that terrific photo.

      • Tom says:

        My pleasure. By far, my favorite movie. Incredibly accurate and small insidious details such as the front-belching exhausts — which I’ve never seen before or since, resonate accuracy to the area, and invite intrigue.

  3. Lenny says:

    I also saw the sorcerer or trucks at Universal Studios in the late 1970s. It might have been the early eighties but I believe it was the late seventies. What was interesting is they were not featured in the tour at all as I just spotted them as we slowly drove by and old vehicle junkyard. But the Theethy Grill apparently off of several Ford trucks immediately got my attention and it was cool because it seemed to me like I was the only one who even noticed.

    • Toby says:

      Thanks for the comment! Maybe one of these days, someone will come through with a snapshot of the trucks in their retirement. Imagine, if the movie’d been a hit, they might be hanging in a Planet Hollywood or something!

  4. M16FAN says:

    Both of them are GMC M211s with one of them, Sorcerer, extremely customized for the movie. I really love both trucks. I just hope they are still in one piece and are in the same condition as they were from the movie.

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