He has one of those familiar faces that you know you’ve seen before. Greg Grunberg has a long list of roles on TV and the silver screen. You might remember him for his lovable, starring role on Felicity. Or you might recall him bringing villains to justice alongside Jennifer Garner on Alias. But now everyone knows him from a little show on NBC called Heroes. Every week, 15 million people watch as Officer Matt Parkman uses his extraordinary ability to read people’s minds to track down an elusive serial killer.
He has one of those familiar faces that you know you’ve seen before. Greg Grunberg has a long list of roles on TV and the silver screen.
You might remember him for his lovable, starring role on Felicity. Or you might recall him bringing villains to justice alongside Jennifer Garner on Alias. But now everyone knows him from a little show on NBC called Heroes. Every week, 15 million people watch as Officer Matt Parkman uses his extraordinary ability to read people’s minds to track down an elusive serial killer.
With a successful TV career, he has also established himself as a seasoned movie actor with such films as Hollow Man, Austin Powers: Goldmember, Ladykillers and Mission Impossible 3, just to name a few. In addition to Heroes, he has numerous other projects in the works-including a feature film being shot abroad.
But when he’s finished chasing down killers and international villains, Grunberg can usually be found pursuing his next big passion-cars. And that’s exactly where Celebrity Car caught up with our “hero.”
“I love cars, I always have. Every kind of car or truck on the road is able to bring out some sort of memory from my past. It’s always been that way, since I was a kid, sitting in the back of my parents’ station wagon, driving down the road and looking out the huge back window at all the cars around me. Watching all the cars was like watching a movie.
“Growing up, I always played with Matchbox Cars. My Big Wheel set was my best friend. Die-cast muscle cars lined the shelves in my room growing up. And because I was a TV and movie nut, it quickly became, and remains, a dream of mine to collect the cars that were immortalized on TV or in the movies.”
Like many people, Grunberg’s first ride was handed down to him, in this case from his older brother.
“It was a brown-on-brown Datsun 200 SX. Yeah, baby! Now that car was sexy! Not! I still blame that car for my lack of chicks back when I was single. It had to have been the car, right?” he says with a laugh.
After the Datsun, Grunberg remained practical, moving on to a sport-utility vehicle.
“The (Jeep) Grand Wagoneer is the first real adult car I owned, and it just feels so substantial . . . I loved it.
“When I was first able to buy what I wanted to drive; I bought the Porsche 928 S4. Automatic and powerful, it ate up almost all of the money I made on Felicity. It was in the shop all the time.”
That childhood fascination with sports cars continues today, as Grunberg enjoys his new all-wheeldrive Porsche Carrera 4.
“The Porsche satisfies my selfish passion for sports cars and power, and is kind of a reward for the tons of long hours filming. Sort of a gift that my wife approves of that I can enjoy every day. It’s pretty much the ultimate sports car to me. I love that thing.”
He got his hands on his 1969 Ford Bronco while working on Alias.
“The Bronco was the actual picture car on the show Alias that I costarred in for four seasons. I have always loved that car and actually went with my buddy, J. J. Abrams (the creator of the show), to pick out the truck from a great Bronco restorer, here in L.A., (Calif.) called Rocky Roads. J. J. bought the truck for his wife, and then sold it to ABC to use on the show. After they were done using it, I bought it and fixed it up. Fans of the show will remember it as Will’s truck.”
Seeing the Bronco in person, you can’t help but smile. But getting to its pristine state took some work.
“I replaced the original engine with a 5.0 V8; the original engine was completely blown. I also changed the exhaust, put in an Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor, and I recently overhauled the electrical system with a brand-new harness. I also upgraded the seats and installed a premium Alpine stereo system. In my opinion, she’s done. I don’t want to change anything else. I may replace the transmission down the line, but that’s something I can hold off for a little bit.”
So having both the Porsche and the Ford Bronco, we had to ask, is Grunberg an exotic sports-car lover or into old-school machinery?
“I’m definitely into muscle cars right now. I always seem to be into the cars I don’t have at the moment. And since I drive a somewhat exotic, every time I pass a muscle car on the road I get the shakes, like a junkie chasing a fix. One day soon . . . just don’t tell my wife!
“If I could have any car right now, it would be the Bandit [Trans-Am] from Smokey and the Bandit. I dream about that thing sitting in my garage. That will be my next purchase for sure.
“Ironically, a buddy of mine owns one and I just can’t get it out of my head. It’s like in high school when you had a friend that was dating a girl you had the hots for. You kept telling yourself she’d be better off with you. That’s the way I feel about that car. I plan on trying to buy every cool car I used to see in TV and movies from now on. If my car collection doesn’t grow from here, you’ll know I haven’t been working very much.”