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Have you seen this ‘Jurassic Park’ car? Local magician shares tricks for bringing movie classics to life
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Jeff McClure visits his latest Jurassic Park Ford Explorer replica Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, at his Gainesville home. McClure has built two replicas and plans on building another soon. - photo by Scott Rogers

Jeff McClure, a Gainesville-based magician, not only suspends belief with his sleight of hand and illusions, he also brings aspects of movies into the real world.

Painted in a striking yellow, green and brown, an exact replica of the Ford Explorer from “Jurassic Park” sits in his driveway. 

“The pizza guy always knows which house to go to,” McClure said, while smiling at the vehicle. 

The professional magician put six months of work into the Explorer, painting the interior and exterior, assembling the parts, creating the center console, designing a touch screen system and adding other modifications. He even placed other important props from the movie in the vehicle, including the amber bone cane used by character John Hammond and the water glasses that tremble as the T. rex walked near the car in the series’ first film. He also keeps a Barbasol canister on the dashboard, which was used in the first “Jurassic Park” movie to hide dinosaur DNA.

“To the people that see it, it’s just that extra wow factor,” McClure said. 

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Jeff McClure's current Jurassic Park Ford Explorer replica is the second one he has built. The Gainesville magician has already built two and has plans to build another. - photo by Scott Rogers

The Explorer also contains an immersive element with a program identical to the tour in the 1993 movie. An interactive map of the fictional Jurassic Park appears on the touch screen secured in the car, and a recording sounds over the car’s speakers, playing the “Jurassic Park” theme song and facts about the different dinosaurs featured in the film series. 

Although it’s hard to believe, McClure admits that he’s not a huge fan of “Jurassic Park.” 

As a side hustle to his magician business, Got Magic Entertainment, McClure said he has crafted custom-built props, movie replicas and costumes for the past 25 years. 

“I started making props for the Gainesville Theatre Alliance when I was a student there from my late teens to early 20s,” he recounted. “I then started buying props and costumes as a fun thing. I started realizing there were things about them that I didn’t like, so I would start making them better. I then realized there was a market for the better (props).”

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Jeff McClure has built two Jurassic Park Ford Explorer replicas and plans to build another soon. - photo by Scott Rogers

McClure said the vehicle replica project came about unexpectedly six years ago when his friend told him about a “Jurassic Park” Explorer sitting in a junkyard. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity, McClure purchased the vehicle for $800. 

After breathing life back into the car with a new engine, transmission and other modifications, he sold it to be used in a Michael J Fox Foundation fundraiser. McClure said his son was devastated that he gave up the vehicle. Motivated by his child and his growing enthusiasm for the “Jurassic Park” Explorer, he set out to make another one. 

Two years ago he purchased a purple 1994 Explorer and used it as the base for the film duplicate. The second replica is the one found outside his home today. 

In the next couple of weeks, the Explorer will be sent off to it’s new home, the Volo Car Museum in Illinois. McClure has already set his sights on creating a third one.

“Aside from the business and my son liking it so much, it’s just cool that it’s such a fun icebreaker,” McClure said. “Anybody will come up and talk.”

Since his first Jurassic Park Explorer project, McClure replicated the Pizza Planet truck from “Toy Story,” glowing rocket and all. 

He’s currently in the process of finishing a Lightning McQueen race car from the Disney movie, “Cars” and the Mystery Machine from “Scooby Doo.” 

Those interested in using one of McClure’s movie replica vehicles for an event, photoshoot, birthday party or other special occasion, can email him at gotmagic@charter.net or call 770-654-5554.


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The interior of Jeff McClure's Jurassic Park Ford Explorer replica. The Gainesville magician has already built two replicas and has plans to build another. - photo by Scott Rogers
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