Studebaker National Museum & Razorfly Studios announce the start of Fozzie Bear’s Studebaker restoration

Studebaker National Museum & Razorfly Studios announce the start of Fozzie Bear’s Studebaker restoration

Studebaker National Museum

The Muppets hold a special place in the hearts of many as does their first feature film, the 1979 classic The Muppet Movie. The Studebaker National Museum (the Museum) is home to the iconic bullet-nosed 1951 Studebaker Commander driven by Fozzie Bear and Kermit in the movie. Computer-generated imagery was not yet available, so there were two Muppet cars used during the filming of the movie.

After filming ended, one car was not preserved and no longer exists. The other car spent years exposed to the elements on the Warner Brothers studio back lot. It was later acquired by the Studebaker Drivers Club’s Orange Empire chapter and subsequently gifted to the Museum.

By restoring this incredible vehicle, the Studebaker National Museum will preserve a valuable piece of movie history and also tell the story of its transformation from an everyday 1951 Studebaker Commander into a movie car capable of being “driven” by Muppets. Its complex operational and cosmetic modifications yielded some of the film’s most memorable special effects, a story that appeals to both young and old alike.

Studebaker National Museum

“This project is so special to Museum staff, the community and Muppet fans around the world. We are thrilled to be partnering with RazorFly Studios to begin the restoration of Fozzie’s Studebaker, and want to thank their team and all our supporters thus far for making this a reality. We are one step closer to returning a bear to his natural habitat—a Studebaker.” -Kyle Sater, Studebaker National Museum Curator

The Museum is working with RazorFly Studios out of Sylva, North Carolina. RazorFly Studios is an International Academy Award-winning costume, prop house, and custom car builder, specializing in building screen-accurate replica vehicles. Their work, which includes a time-traveling DeLorean, has been seen on CNN, Car & Driver, Top Gear UK, Auto Heroes, and at a number of comic conventions.

“We are honored to be working with the Studebaker National Museum, and are humbled to have been chosen to partner with the Museum to restore “a Bear’s Natural Habitat.” This is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity and it’s absolutely amazing to be a part of American car history AND American cinematic history as well. We have spent countless hours rewatching scenes from The Muppet Movie to make sure that this restoration is (motion) picture-perfect!“ -Mark Zoran, Owner, Razorfly Studios

Learn more about their work at https://www.razorflystudios.com/.

The Muppet Car’s condition necessitates a comprehensive “ground-up” restoration. The team at RazorFly will thoroughly document the car’s disassembly, and, using screen shots of the film, restore the mechanical systems, interior and exterior appearance, and also the trunk’s remote driver compartment where the stunt person operated the car during filming. When the restoration is complete, the car will be fully operational and safe.

The restoration will begin in January 2024 and is scheduled for completion in eighteen months. The Museum plans to have the car back in South Bend the summer of 2025.

The Museum has secured approximately $60,000 in funding for this project which is enough to move this project forward with Razorfly Studios’ generous partnership. We will continue to seek donations for special components of the restoration and to build an exhibit in the Museum that brings the movie magic to life! If you would like to support this incredible project, donations are being accepted through the Museum webpage at Restore the Studebaker Muppet Car! (neoncrm.com).

Both the Museum and RazorFly Studios will be sharing regular updates on the car’s progress — please follow:

Studebaker National Museum
Facebook: facebook.com/StudebakerMuseum/
YouTube: @StudebakerMuseum
Instagram: @studebakermuseum
Twitter/X: @studebakermus
Tik-Tok: @studebakermuseum
Blog: https://www.studebakermuseum.org/blog/

RazorFly Studios
Facebook: facebook.com/razorflystudios.com
Instagram: @razorflystudios
Twitter/X: @RazorflyStudios

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