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Great Cars from Six Great Car Chase Movies


Which car/film combos did we pick out?

From Gumball to GT – here are six car/film combos that stick in our minds. What would you add?

Steve McQueen established a Hollywood standard for high-action car chase scenes when he raced a 1968 Mustang GT390 Fastback in the classic film ‘Bullitt’. Ford is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic film by returning to the streets of San Francisco to launch Ford’s new 2019 Mustang Bullitt. In what is believed to be the first time that the original hero car has been in San Francisco since the movie was filmed back in 1968, its owners Sean and Samantha Kiernan brought the original movie Mustang to participate in the media event. Once believed lost forever, the vehicle has been making the rounds this year, having recently been at the Festival of Speed in Goodwood, in July, and appearing at the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise in Detroit, in late August.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
How often do you get to see a Mini race against a 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible? In a Bond film, no less? This unusual chase featured in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” involves a bunch of evildoers sliding around an ice racing circuit, and shows that it’s the skill of the pilots rather than strength of their gadgets that makes this a thrilling chase scene. The Cougar was powered by a Cobra Jet 428 with a four-barrel carburettor and boasted a gross rating of 335 horsepower at 5200 rpm; it was capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds and achieving a 14-second quarter mile — under regular track conditions. For this race, the driver, Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, played by Diana Rigg, managed to pilot her way through snow and ice to evade the bad guys driving in a Mercedes 220S, all while bouncing aside Minis and Ford Escorts that got in her way.

The Blues Brothers
Jake and Elwood step into their 1974 Dodge Monaco on a mission from God, saying,
“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses. What could possibly go wrong?” How about a demolition-derby-like chase through the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois, with the police, the army, a country music group, and a bunch of Nazis on the brothers’ tail. More than a hundred cars were wrecked at speeds of up to 120mph, and the mall was reduced to rubble.

In this 1971 film, a 25-year-old Steven Spielberg delivered a debut that was all about the chase and nothing but the chase. The entire movie follows one terrified man (played by Dennis Weaver) driving a beat-up orange Plymouth Valiant while being aggressively pursued by a mysterious, ominous, rusty 18-wheel 1960 Peterbilt 281 tanker truck. Three cars were actually used for the filming: a 1971 model with a 225 Slant Six engine, a 1970 model with a 318 V-8 engine, and a 1972 model with a 225 Slant Six engine; all of them equipped with a TorqueFlite automatic transmission.

The Italian Job
This 2003 remake of the 1969 classic showcases Mini throughout the film, demonstrating the little car’s agility as it manoeuvres through traffic, careens down stairs, weaves through subway tunnels, and races down sidewalks as only Mini can. Although audiences will see only three Minis — one red, one white, and one blue — filming the escape with the gold during the height of rush hour traffic in Los Angeles actually took 32 cars.

Gumball Rally
This campy but clever 1976 film about an illegal cross-country road romp was inspired by the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash run by Brock Yates, and it employed and destroyed a lot of cars, including a 1966 Ford Shelby Cobra 427 “Side Oiler,” a 1974 Ferrari Daytona, a 1974 Porsche 911 Targa, a 1971 Dodge Polara 440 police car, and a 1970 1/2 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. The principle protagonists in the Gumball Rally were the two-man teams, including Raúl Juliá in the Ferrari and Michael Sarrazin in the Shelby Cobra who were really trying to win this thing.