Herkimer Battle Jitney - what and where is it?

Jul 18, 2007 Full story: Hemmings Auto Blogs 10

Mystery Men was a great movie. How can you beat William H. Macy, Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria and Janeane Garofalo in the same movie AND driving around in a 1959 Rambler Rebel Cross Country? Tooling around on the ... via Hemmings Auto Blogs

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Houston, TX

#1 Jan 5, 2008
I have heard two seemingly believable stories as to where this vehicle originated, as well as what I turned up myself, however I wish to make it clear, I have not been able to verify either one at this point though.

#1 - The Herkimer Battle Jitney was a actual military vehicle produced in a US / UK co-op in the early to mid 1950's, there are only 5 remaining in the world and are in the hands of private collectors valued at roughly 30 million dollars each in running condition.

#2 - It was strictly a prop built by a currently non-exsistant company called
KPK/ Dynamic Truck Equipment. Specifically for the movie. The source for this however, is one single individual, who is feverishly posting wherever he can that this is the case.

#3-(my theory)I still think it looks like a futurliner,
(reference - http://www.futurliner.com/ ) that's undergone decades of modifications and mutations. However, like I said initially though, I have been unable to verify any of these theories. Though from what I've been able to find it's very likely one of the three

Tallahassee, FL

#2 Nov 9, 2008

Given the interest generated by the MM film, and the absence of any mention on the internet of a real military vehicle, I'm guessing it was a prop, and that the builders took some inspiration from the Futurliner.

Tallahassee, FL

#3 Nov 10, 2008
One day later, mystery solved. On the DVD director commentary, Kinka Usher says it was built for the film. He calls it a cross between a train and an WWII tank/transport.

I'd like to know more about its design and where the name came from, etc.

Portland, OR

#4 Feb 18, 2010
Bebop wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L ist_of_fictional_vehicles
Given the interest generated by the MM film, and the absence of any mention on the internet of a real military vehicle, I'm guessing it was a prop, and that the builders took some inspiration from the Futurliner.
watch the film now. the first time scene the herk is in a stamped metal emblem that says PAKAWALUP is in frame. a google search turned up the 457th b17 ww2 squadron. either the fab company did its home work or the director did, or maybe some ones grandpa was in that squad. any way thats all ive come up with.

Berkeley, CA

#5 Aug 12, 2010
The vehicle featured in Mystery Men was one of a fleet of prototype armored assault transports. The vehicle was named the Z17 Marauder. Contracted by the US government, the Zephyr manufacturing company built around 100 of these heavy combat troop transport vehicles. Built between 1948-1950, they were found to be impracticle for the changing type of warfare. The Z17 was named for the number of persons that could be accomidated (17), and Z for the Zephyr manufacturing company. The Zephyr manufacturing company was previously known for building fire engines.
Robert Bell

Glennville, GA

#6 Dec 25, 2010
I am not sure why people feel the need to just make up stuff - the Zephyr manufacturing company exists, and has existed since 1927, but makes brooms.

You guys should try this "Google" thing sometime.

It is so hard to believe that a studio can build a prop vehicle? I mean, look at all the amazing machines they have build over the years, often for lower budget films than this!

Remember the "Damnation Alley" machine? Far more work than what went into the "Herkimer Battle Jitney".

Sometimes the obvious answer is the correct one. As to what happened to the prop, it is probably rotting in a back lot somewhere or was cut up for scrap.

Lake Havasu City, AZ

#7 Jan 26, 2011
Where can I find that thing Ben stiller rides in Mystery Men? It had two wheels and one seat, and I think I heard someone refer to it as a "moter sykul". I heard it was created on a secret base on the moon, and they only made five before an engineer contracted Space Madness and killed everyone.
Hope this helps


#8 Oct 14, 2011
I think the vehicle in 'Mystery Men' was based off of, or at least inspired by General Motors Futurliner. http://www.futurliner.com/
Saul Tene

United States

#9 Mar 17, 2012
Herkimer made model vehicles and parts in the 1950s. Kerkimer Tool & Model Works, Herkimer, NY.
Sorry Folks

Frankfort, KY

#10 Feb 18, 2013
Sorry to dredge up such an old thread, but I do have a bit of info to share on this. I'm sure google or some other search engine will back me up.

The Herkimer Battle Jitney, was built for the movie. It's running gear was a 79 ford semi truck with the cab removed, and the body was a modified Airstream camper It only had one seat and the driver couldn't see much out of the windshield. It came up on ebay about 5 or six years ago, and had pictures from many angles, including the inside. The Herkimer emblem on the front was broken, and the hatch on the rear, which was made of plywood, had obviously been exposed to the weather for several years. The opening bid was 10,000$ and it never got any bids. I kept a watch on it for a long time, hoping it would be re-listed at a lower price, but it never happened. I saw pics of it a year or so later sitting in a lobby or museum somewhere. Hopefully that means someone bought it in a private deal, and is keeping it safe.

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