Before he was old enough to walk, Harlan Hobbs loved anything with wheels. When he was 2 years old while visiting family in snowy Mammoth CA, his mother awoke to find he and the family dog missing. It did not take long before they followed two small footprints and his four legged companion (the self appointed "babysitter") in the snow covered ground. After following them for a shocking 2 miles, there they were, gazing at tow trucks in a gas station he had seen the day before as they drove in. In 1980 Harlan's mother developed Multiple Sclerosis and she soon lost use of all mobility. He and his sister were her only caregivers.
The schedule of an after school job would not allow for his mother's care so Harlan had to become creative when it came to, saving money, or getting his first car for example. At 16, with only a pieced together home stereo he had been putting together since he was 14, Harlan called every ad with a car being sold for less than $1500 in the Recycler Classifieds, a free ad paper, and offered to trade their car for his stereo. After 2 days and hundreds of calls he found himself the owner of his first car...a 72 VW Bug.
In 1993, as a senior attending Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Harlan started "Street Impressions" a custom auto accessory business he ran from his home. He approached a local burger joint that had a decent size parking lot and not a very busy wednesday night and proposed having a $5 special that he would promote if they allowed him use their parking lot as a meeting place for the valley car clubs once a week, it was successful. The Los Angeles Daily News ran an article on the young entrepreneur in October of '93.
Unfortunately in Nov 2002, the Saturn Harlan had once called one of his favorite cars would soon be the reason he would find himself lying on the ground with a back broken in 3 places, a shattered shoulder, and ribs puncturing his lung, after a rather low speed accident. (An overlooked safety defect that allowed the door to open and release the seatbelt during a side impact crash. Often resulting in ejection.) Harlan was left paralyzed from the chest down and spent the next 5 months in the hospital and a spinal cord rehab in Downey.
With his passion for driving unrelenting he quickly mastered hand controls and was back on the road. After a couple years he started converting his wheelchair accessible Dodge Caravan to be able to go off-road. He learned how to weld and began making modifications. Soon he realized that his creations would have been a favorite of Mad Max, had he ever found himself in a wheelchair.
Hobbs Creation the "Maus Man" (More Below)
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A few years later Harlan decided to join the corporate world and took his drive to succeed and upbeat personality and focused on sales. Sales allowed him the flexible schedule required to continue taking care of his mother. During this time he also found himself a family man. After the attacks of Sept 11th Harlan used his 'Saturn' to display his patriotism. (Newspaper photo from Los Angeles Daily News Sept 14th 2001)
#9 Hobbs is a Los Angeles-based artist who builds structures, usually some sort of robot or creature, out of assorted junk. He's constructed, among other things, a (non-functional) robot from old car parts lying around his front yard and a dinosaur-looking piece called "Cinemasaurus Rex" from discarded film reels. His latest piece, 'Maus Man,' is a Transformers-esque behemoth that he timed for the release of the latest 'Transformers' film; judging from the photos, Hobbs' creation looks much more impressive than the film itself. He's paralyzed from the waist down.(Source: July 15 2014 www.Bustle.com)
With a knack for "thinking outside the box" Harlan has created and Modified a couple of his Wheelchair access vans into creations you would expect to find in a Mad Max Film. He also accomplished the seemingly impossible... make his "everyday use" power wheelchair into a chair you could take truly anywhere with modifications that could be installed while sitting in the chair. See photos below!
After 3 years bouncing along off-road trails, the Caravan could take no more abuse. However, he continued welding and turned to art as a way to keep occupied. In 2010 a pressure sore almost took his life. (Complication of his injury.) After 7 surgeries, he spent the next 2 years in bed healing. Although his passion for the ability to venture off road was still pulsing within and once healed he found himself an old 4x4 Ford Van that was set-up perfectly for him to operate. As Mad Max possessed him again, the welder came out and modifications began.
After finding himself with an overwhelming amount of extra car parts Harlan decided to incorporate his 4x4 van and desire to sculpt. Taking advantage of the soon to be released Transformers movie Harlan began work on his own Transformer, "The Maus Man". A 13 foot tall, 2100 pound sculpture that gained television and newspaper coverage. Once again...article by Los Angeles Daily News, July 2014.
However, the sound of a well tuned engine and love of cars has never relented. In May 2016 Harlan began laying the foundation for Studio Picture Cars.com when he replaced his BMW "company car" with a retired Sheriff Detective unit. All it took was a passing comment by friend Chris Safos who works hand in hand with everybody from producers to transportation and set coordinators, and Harlan took his love of cars to a whole new level and began purchasing retired police cars as well as other vehicles he felt would appeal to the needs of studios and students of filming. His plan is to make cars available to students and those on tight budgets who would ordinarily not be able to obtain a film car due to large deposits or insurance requirements most companies have.