By Margaret Brinson
What do “Ghostbusters,” “The Love Bug” and “The Blues Brothers” have in common? More than likely, the answer is not much, but at Rusty’s TV & Movie Car Museum in Jackson, the flicks’ iconic automobiles rest together, ready for tours from excited children and traveling fanatics alike.
Rusty Robinson, owner and curator of the museum, is a Jackson native who said he has been collecting cars since he was 14 years old.
“My dad gave me his pickup truck, and I took and painted it, and after he saw how good it looked he said, ‘What can I do to get my truck back?’ And I said, ‘You get me a ’66 Mustang and I’ll trade you back,’” Robinson said, laughing at his luck at having a classic first car — even before he got his license.
Wayne Latham, who sold Robinson that first car, spends many slow afternoons at the museum, helping to lead tours and hanging out with friends. The men sit patiently in lawn chairs in front of the doors, on the lookout for visitors.
“I just always loved cars, ever since I was a kid,” Latham said.
Robinson echoed Latham’s long-term interest in cars. His automobile zeal is evidenced not only in his collection, but in the way he steps proudly through the museum when he says he could never choose one car as a favorite.
From classic cars to more contemporary models, Robinson’s collection has grown to include more than 40 vehicles.
“Instead of drinking and smoking, I put all of my money into my cars,” Robinson said.
The collection he has amassed reads like a top-charted TV show and movie list: The half car, half wagon of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” General Lee from “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the Knight Rider, the Mystery Machine of “Scooby Doo,” a race car from “The Fast and the Furious” and more.
While some of the automobiles are replicas, others, such as the cheetah-upholstered, purple-painted MGB from Eddie Murphy’s “Norbit” and the bullet-holed, super-charged racer from “Death Race,” are silver-screen originals.
Robinson said one set of wheels he is most proud of is Batman’s Batmobile.
“I said if I won the lottery I’d go out and get that car,” Robinson said.
Although he never did win the lottery, Robinson was able to acquire the iconic car and its sidekick chopper, both of which are on display at the museum, parked to the side of a black-painted floor that is dotted down the center with yellow traffic lines.
As for his personal vehicle of choice, Robinson said he prefers driving “just the Viper,” referencing the bright-yellow, two-door coup parked in front of the building.
Rusty’s TV & Movie Car Museum is located at 323 Hollywood Drive in Jackson. For hours and admission, check the website, www.rustystvandmoviecars.com, or call to make an appointment.