God bless the summer movie season, a time when America's youth gets a welcome break from such socially responsible subjects as English and history to concentrate on hormones. Minimum wages earned at the mall or the golf course go immediately toward the important things in life, like the latest big-explosion action movie at the local Mega-Plex. Of course, the chemically imbalanced monsters avoid those pesky "flicks with plots," choosing to instead drop nine bucks for all of the face-sucking, butt-kicking, and sexual innuendo that Hollywood can cram into two hours of screen time.

This summer's retina-searing/eardrum-bursting thriller is "XXX," starring the muscle-bound Vin Diesel as Xander "XXX" Cage, a tattoo-covered thrill-seeker who gets collared by an NSA agent played by Samuel L. Jackson and is sent to do some government dirty work, with predictably (tired pun alert!) explosive results. This movie has all of the requisite blockbuster ingredients--ample-bosomed young women, lots of machine guns, a nearly believable story line, and the hip line "Yo, yo, yo, what is up with that trick?" But what made the harsh critics at HPP sit up and take notice was the uncovering of a purple 1967 GTO in a room full of Ferraris. Once it had been established that this flag-waving American was to be Diesel's personal transportation, we stopped making out with our wives, started taking some notes, and wholeheartedly praised Revolution Studios for producing this film. And as we tried to collect our thoughts in between ear-splitting explosions, we knew that there had to be an interesting story behind the shiny purple Goats on the silver screen.

Eddie Paul claims to be an idiot--not completely out of bounds, considering what the founder of El Segundo-based E. P. Industries has done for a living for the past 30 years. This 54-year-old engineer/stuntman, who has spent much of his life in the film industry,, has located, restored, customized, fabricated, rigged, wrecked, rolled, and jumped just about anything with wheels for many of the action flicks that we know and love. Do you remember Stallone's wickedly chopped Mercury and its blown and nitroused mill in Cobra? Paul built the Merc and the motor. He's taught characters how to ride motorcycles and had bit parts in movies himself. Most recently, Paul modified 58 stunt cars for The "Fast and the Furious," was a stunt driver on "Gone in 60 Seconds," and signed a book deal with MBI about his experiences. The guy can do it all, apparently--and we'll give him insane ... but an idiot?

"I started out as a welder in 1968, just some guy welding motorcycle parts," Paul explains. "Then one day someone walked in and asked if I could build 30 cars in two weeks for "Grease," and like an idiot, I agreed."

That someone happened to be the transportation coordinator for the film. The studio had gone somewhere else to have vintage autos built initially, but six months later they found the projects untouched and the money gone. So in full-blown panic mode, they immediately contacted and propositioned Eddie, and the rest, as they say in Tinseltown, is history. You would think that his involvement in over 25 feature films would have been enough to keep him busy, but just like the XXX GTO, this is only the tip of the iceberg concerning Mr. Paul. His company also specializes in prototype development, and the L.A.-based businessman contracts with industrial, environmental, and aerospace companies, as well as with the military, for everything from hydraulic systems to animatronics. But hearing him recount past projects reveals a passion for the automotive world in which we enthusiasts live (he's a Trans Am lover and has owned GTOs), and we were dying to hear about how Pontiac's original musclecar found its way into "XXX." Once we found him and eventually shut up, he told us.

"One day a guy that I've known for years, Dave Marder, called and told me to bid on a project for the upcoming movie "XXX," Paul starts. "We did, and we ended up getting the job from Revolution Studios that afternoon. So my staff started going through Auto Trader and calling on cars for sale. We use a special way of buying cars, since for some movies we have to get 50 of them in as little as two days. We began by calling up people with 1967 GTOs and telling them that if the vehicles ran and had clear titles, and if they could get them to us, we'd buy them sight unseen. Well, that didn't work. So then we called them up and told them that if it runs, get it to us, and then we chartered limos to take them home in. That worked out real well--people showed up in GTOs with clear titles and we bought five to seven of them, although I can't remember the exact number. One guy even drove an immaculate GTO in from Arizona, so we ended up buying him a plane ticket home. The only LeMans that we knew of at the time was bought without the engine and trans--it was a real rust bucket--so we spent 1,500 bucks on it and an outside company made it a convertible for an action scene. We dropped $15,000 to $20,000 each on all of the other GTOs, and they were nice--at least a few of them had been restored. We didn't check to see if the numbers were matching, but it wouldn't have surprised me."