E3 Spark Plugs Wonders: Shouldn’t Cars Get Oscars, Too?

Scene inside Automania Studios, a longtime provider of picture cars and sets for the film and television industry

Okay, maybe that headline is taking our love for all-things-automotive a bit far. But do you ever wonder how filmmakers find all those great rides featured in period films like The Help, The Artist or Midnight in Paris, or gearhead-targeted films like Drive? E3 Spark Plugs introduces you to Automania Studios – one of the busiest providers of “picture cars” to the film and television industry.

Based in Oakland, California, Automania Studios has served the film industry since 1982. On the lot is a filmmaker’s dream collection of period cars, trucks and commercial vehicles from multiple eras. These include police cars, hearses, farm trucks, muscle cars, station wagons, a late 1960s catering truck, a boom truck, an antique farm tractor, old dump trucks, an 18,000-pound forklift and dozens of gorgeous tail finned classics. From beaters to beauties, if you’re a filmmaker or TV producer needing a period automobile for your next project, Automania Studios either has it already or can help you procure it.

Automania Studios also offers a range of interior and exterior sets plus props. Garages, vintage gas stations and an outdoor campground scene complete with a fully outfitted 1953 Spartanette travel trailer are among the multiple scene-setting possibilities. A sampling of the props include:

  • Vintage furnishings and appliances
  • Wood and metal caskets
  • An assortment of canister vacuum cleaners
  • Vintage gas pumps
  • Several barber’s chairs
  • Two rows of airplane seats
  • A 1917 dentist’s chair
  • Antique phonographs and records
  • A life-size cigar store Indian
  • Two old telephone booths
  • Clawfoot bathtubs
  • Parking meters
  • Lots of vintage toys, luggage, and automobilia

Founder Bill Silveria, a bonafide gearhead, also has a real talent for creating eclectic art using discarded automotive and machinery parts including lots of spent spark plugs.

“Not only can I can authenticate the accuracy of your chosen picture car for your next shoot, but I can supply it as well,” Silveria says. “Whether it’s an awesome 12,000 square foot studio to shoot in, a period picture car for your next film or a unique prop for an upcoming production, I should without a doubt be on your list of people to call who can help you get it done.”

If you’re a gearhead and a film lover, be sure to watch for Automania Studios’ name in the credits of the next film you see. And if we here at E3 Spark Plugs had any say with the Academy, we’d grant Bill Silveria and Automania an honorary Oscar!