The Leslie Special, the car driven by Tony Curtis in the 1965 hit movie The Great Race, will again be traveling with the Great Race courtesy of owner Ted Stahl. In the movie, good-guy Curtis drives the white Leslie Special while his rival and villain Professor Fate drives the black Hannibal 8 in a race from New York to Paris. Jack Lemmon plays Professor Fate in Blake Edwards’ comedy about the real-life 1908 event.
Stahl, a three-year veteran of the Great Race, owns two of the three sets of cars. The third set is on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
As it did last year, the Leslie Special will make an appearance at each stop during the opening ceremonies in each city and occasionally bring dignitaries to the stops.
Last year was not the first time the Leslie Special was involved in the Great Race. Former owner Rodney Rucker was a longtime Great Racer and he provided the Leslie Special and the Hannibal 8 in 2003 and 2004 for use in the event. In 2004 at the finish in Monterey, the Leslie Special carried Tony Curtis to the finish line as the Grand Marshall marking the first time he had been in the car in almost 40 years.