What is the most epic scene in a movie involving a crane? Hands down, it has to be the Terminator 3 chase scene, right? If you haven't seen this, stop everything you are doing and watch this immediately!
For the 16th anniversary of Terminator 3, we sat down with Mike Konle, owner of Champion Crane, to talk about Hollywood's most famous crane. Interestingly, Champion Crane bought and sold the famous Demag three times. First, as a normal crane order for their fleet. The crane arrived at the port from Germany corroded because road salt was accidentally left on the crane during shipping. Eventually it was determined that the cost was too high, and the timeline too long to repair, so Demag and Champion agreed to replace the crane with a new one.
Not long after, the movie studios approached Champion about a chase/crash scene in an upcoming movie. They were looking for something "larger than a truck" and wanted to make a full size model. Konle knew he could buy the corroded crane and make a deal with the studios, so he bought the crane again. Champion agreed to fix up the crane for the movie. The studios used foam counterweights, took everything out of the boom except for the butt section, and made a fiberglass model of the other boom sections to cut down on weight and mount cameras. Konle said the stuntman had to practice driving the crane on 5 wheels again and again to get it right. At one point, while no cameras were rolling, the stuntman turned the crane over one and a half times. So they had to stop and do some extra repairs. After the scenes were shot, Champion bought the crane back from the studios, for the third time.
Later on, the crane was sold to a company in Oklahoma. After that, it was sold to another company in Minnesota. We tried to track it down and learned that the terminator crane was last sold at an auction a couple years ago. Somewhere out there, the Terminator Crane lives on!