Recently I had a chance to ask Daryl Hannah a few classic car questions. In particular, I wanted to know more about the sale of her biodiesel El Camino on ebay.
It's not true that I am a fan of Daryl's on-screen work as a film actress. Nor is it true that I have many of her films on DVD and laser disc. Well, maybe it is true, but that in no way affects my ability to be objective in this important journalistic matter.
With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, on to the interview...
Kelly Rundle (for Fins & Fenders): What was your first car, and do you have a favorite story about it?
Daryl Hannah: My first car was an old jeep with no roof or doors. My friends got over the thrill pretty quick after a few rides in the rain, but I always liked being in touch with the elements.
KR: (Hmmm...my mind is wandering...I better change the subject) What's the story behind your El Camino? Why did you choose it?
DH: I wanted a fuel efficient diesel car, one that could fit my surfboard and bike, and look kinda cool. I had no idea they made a few hundred diesel El Caminos in the 80s until I saw mine on ebay. I'd never even bought anything online until then. All my friends said if the first thing I bought was a car, I'd better stop online shopping right away.
KR: (She's already talking about the ebay thing...why is she changing the subject?) If it was not already converted to biodiesel when you purchased it, why did you make that choice and what was the cost?
DH: For a diesel engine to run on biodiesel, there is no conversion necessary. The diesel was invented by Rudolph Diesel in 1900 to run on vegetable oil so farmers could grow their own fuel. Biodiesel (B100, which is 100% biodiesel) is already thinned to the viscosity of diesel, so no conversion is required. You might have to change the filter more often at first because biodiesel cleans your engine and gets all the dirty diesel gunk out.
The only minor conversion the diesel engine needs is for it to run on S.V.O. or Straight Veggie Oil. That's what I'm moving to next so I can grow my own fuel and i already found another El Camino to try it out on!
KR: (Crap! she knows way more about this than I do...I'll throw her a curve) Some people might be put off by the prospect of having to refine their own fuel. How much trouble is it?
DH: It is possible to make your own biodiesel but not as necessary any more. You can buy biodiesel at the pump now in many places! There is a link to a map of stations on my website. Since biodiesel is non-toxic and not highly flammable you can store it at home, as I do. I'm offering a home fueling station with my El Camino when i auction off the car!
KR: (I'm losing control of this interview...relax, I've still got game) With biodiesel conversions, hybrids, and electric cars such as the Tesla (0-60 mph in 4 seconds), is it becoming more "cool" to be "green"?
DH: Cool or not, these cars and other sustainable vehicular innovations are really the future of transportation. We have to move as quickly as possible to a post-petroleum economy and to a wiser energy matrix. And hopefully the cars will look cool too.
KR: (logical...and great use of alliteration...what's she hiding?) Why are you auctioning your El Camino on ebay, and what is planned for the proceeds?
DH: I love that car! It just floats down the road. It's so comfy. It has been really reliable for me and a great spokes-vehicle for biofuels. I'm auctioning it off to spread the word, get people excited about the possibilities of biodiesel, and share the love. If I could find more of them I'd love to make them available to everyone. As I said we're offering a complete home fueling station to go with it so people can experience how easy it is to kick their petroleum habit. We'll use whatever proceeds there are to keep the website (dhlovelife.com) rolling and ad and sponsor free.
KR: (a talking biodiesel El Camino?...but what does she really want?) What about your new car? What is your dream "green" machine?
DH: For now I'll be driving a somewhat cloned version of my El Camino and I'll be running it on S.V.O. to see how that goes. We got our hands on a thousand gallons of hemp oil at a phenomenal price.
I dream of a strong 4-wheel drive electric car I could charge with my solar panels, and pull my horses behind. A hybrid diesel would be amazing too, because then I could get 100 miles on one gallon of waste grease!
KR: (She's in favor of cloning?...that's not cool...and that horse-pulling thing sounds like animal cruelty) Do you have a favorite classic car..."green" status aside?
DH: I love old cars, old trucks, muscle cars, low riders. I have the Trans Am from Kill Bill which I'm thinking of converting to be an alcohol burner. And an old Buick Skylark I want to make electric.
KR: (Buick Skylark...hey my parents had two...a '61 and a '65...concentrate!) Ecological and energy problems seem overwhelming and even insoluble at times. Why do you think it is still important for people to make lifestyle choices that benefit the environment?
DH: We still want to give our species, other species, and the planet the best shot don't we? It's just common sense to live in a wiser, cleaner, healthier fashion - for yourself and for everything else!
KR: Thanks for talking with Fins & Fenders, Daryl, and good luck with your ebay sale!