Joe Strummer Wanted His Dodge Back

by Joe Ferguson on January 26, 2013

Joe Strummer, one of the most renowned rock stars of all time, is the central figure in a new documentary by British filmmaker Nick Hall entitled I Need A Dodge! Joe Strummer on the Run. The documentary focuses on Strummer’s love affair with Spain and more importantly, his love affair with an abandoned silver gray Dodge 3700 GT.

After the rise and fall of The Clash (the late ‘70s/early ‘80s punk group known as “The Only Band That Matters”), front-man and tortured artist Strummer fled his celebrity life in England and spent much of his time in the 1980s carousing in Spain.

While in Spain, he had purchased and subsequently abandoned what would be a kind of Holy Grail of his life – a Dodge 3700 GT. His reason for abandoning such a sweet ride is understandable. Strummer rushed home to England for the birth of his daughter, who in a way he had already abandoned when he left her pregnant mother alone.

In his rush to get back home, Joe Strummer left his favorite automobile at a Spanish auto repair garage.

The documentary isn’t just about Joe Strummer losing his car. It also attempts to reveal a side of Strummer that most didn’t get the chance to see. Known in his early years as a rabble-rouser and indignant punk, his later years spent as a mentor and collaborator sometimes go overlooked.

I Need a Dodge pieces together the tail of Strummer aiding and producing Spanish band 091’s 1986 album “Más de 100 Lobos” while searching for his lost automobile up until the 1990s.

Strummer died ten years ago, never finding the precious car he sought after for so long. You may ask why he didn’t just buy a new one. Probably because of sentimental attachment and also trying to make up for a past where he did abandon the things he loved.

His search for the Dodge wasn’t about a cool car, it was about redemption. It’s clear to see that if he had indeed found his car, he would’ve done whatever he could to repair any damage caused by his own neglect. From oil changes up to transmission repair, Strummer was ready to commit to his Dodge this time; it’s kind of heartbreaking he never had the chance.

Still a ways away from being released due to soundtrack and archival footage copyright issues, this automotive and passion-fueled story is sure to unite car and music fans (at least for the duration of the movie).

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