‘Twilight’ Rides: Bella’s Beat-Up Pickup Comes To Life On Book-Turned-Movie’s Set

'It shows how she's different from everybody here,' Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black) says of the '53 Chevy.

PORTLAND, Oregon — A few Twilight Tuesdays ago, we introduced you to one of the iconic automobiles in Stephenie Meyer’s blood-soaked, heart-wrenching realm: the Mercedes S55 AMG driven by Dr. Carlisle Cullen . But if that kick-ass automobile is the Millennium Falcon of “Twilight,” then this week’s special guest is the franchise’s iconic U.S.S. Enterprise.

There, parked on the street in front of the house that never changed, was my new — well new to me — truck. It was a faded red color, with big, rounded fenders and a bulbous cab. To my surprise, I loved it. I didn’t know if it would run, but I could see myself in it. Plus, it was one of those solid iron affairs that never gets damaged — the kind you see at the scene of an accident, paint unscratched, surrounded by the pieces of the foreign car it had destroyed. – Bella’s narration from “Twilight,” Page 8

“Bella’s truck is bigger and it’s different,” “Twilight” star Taylor Lautner explained when we caught up with him on set, giving us a tour of the iconic auto. “You’ll see Edward in the Volvo, and [Carlisle's] Mercedes, and the Range Rover and all those expensive things, and Bella pulls up … with this red truck. It’s just this old truck — and I love it, because it shows how she’s different from everybody here.”

I cut the engine as soon as I was in a spot, so that the thunderous volume wouldn’t draw attention to me. – Page 14

When MTV visited the Portland set , we found Bella’s reddish-orange ’53 Chevy pickup resting quietly in a driveway alongside the mansion being used for the Cullen garage and meadow scenes. Much as it is described in the novels, it looked like it would require a tow truck if it wanted to go anywhere. Seeing the vehicle in person sends an extra shiver down a fan’s spine, since most of the “Twilight” vehicles were suggested to Meyer by her brothers Jacob and Paul, but the Chevy came straight out of her own imagination. Naturally, the Internet was recently flooded with fans grabbing video and photos of themselves next to Bella’s ride during the days it was on the streets. (For more on “Twilight” fans, check out this week’s Twilight Tuesday blog post!)

“Bella’s truck is awesome,” marveled Ashley Greene when we spoke with her . “I’ve gotten to see all the Cullen cars, and that was pretty cool.”

“But she’s very different from the Cullens,” Lautner explained of the truck’s relationship to its owner. “[That's why] the truck’s very interesting. It’s old, and it’s beat-up.”

When I got to the truck, it was almost the last car in the lot. It seemed like a haven, already the closest thing to home I had in this damp green hole. I sat inside for a while, just staring out the windshield blankly. But soon I was cold enough to need the heater, so I turned the key and the engine roared to life. I headed back to Charlie’s house, fighting tears the whole way there. – Page 28

The truck is the sanctuary of Isabella Marie Swan, particularly during those difficult first days at Forks High School. It helps her navigate the rain-slicked streets of the town — and, during one pivotal sequence in the novel (and movie, as seen in the trailer), it almost leads to her death.

I was standing by the back corner of the truck, struggling to fight back the sudden wave of emotion the snow chains had brought on, when I heard an odd sound. … Edward Cullen was standing four cars down from me, starting at me in horror. His face stood out from a sea of faces, all frozen in the same mask of shock. But of more immediate importance was the dark blue van that was skidding, tires locked and squealing against the brakes, spinning wildly across the ice of the parking lot. It was going to hit the back corner of my truck, and I was standing between them. I didn’t even have time to close my eyes. – Page 57

“It’s from Jacob,” Lautner explained of his significance to the vehicle, purchased from Jacob’s dad by Bella’s father, Charlie (Billy Burke). “Jacob is part of the Quileute tribe, so they’re not really rich or anything. So that’s why he’s driving an old beat-up truck too.”

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t see you behind the wheel, Jake,” [Charlie] said disapprovingly. “We get permits on the rez,” Jacob said. – Page 236

In a beautiful display of art imitating life, the 16-year-old Lautner appeared on the “Twilight” set just days after earning his own driver’s license, eager to prove to the film’s producers that he could get behind the wheel. Just like Bella, his first days of driving were spent behind the wheel of the ’53 Chevy.

“I’ve got my license in my back pocket to show them I’m OK, and I won’t kill them — hopefully,” he said. “And I’m going test out driving Bella’s truck.

“It’s really old and beat-up, and that’s the one without the power steering,” he said of getting used to Bella’s ride. “So I’m going to be driving with my dad right next to me.”

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