For those of you around back then, the 70’s were awesome. We had bell-bottoms, disco and the Pontiac Trans Am. We were also inundated with the 70’s style car chase. You see, in the 1970’s they would generally use the same car throughout the entire chase scene. If directors could, they would try to get away with using only one car for a more authentic look and feel. Damage that occurred during filming could now be seen throughout the entire chase. These were filmed before computers, high end editing software and product placement. The results are some of the best car chases ever captured on film.
1. Vanishing Point: 1970
1970 Dodge Challenger
Kowalski. He was an ex-motorcycle racer, ex-racecar driver and ex-cop who’s all hopped up on speed (the drugs, not MPH). His job? Transport a supercharged 1970 Dodge Challenger to someone else in the movie who is not in any way important. There is also a naked chick on a motorcycle whose kinda’ hot.
2. The French Connection: 1971
1971 Pontiac LeMans
It’s Gene Hackman, a 1971 Pontiac LeMans and an elevated subway platform in the boroughs of NY. It was also the first rated “R” movie to win an Academy Award for Best Picture… go figure.
3. Fear is the Key: 1972 – Part 1
1972 Ford Gran Torino
Barry Newman, who plays Kowalski in “Vanishing Point” is back, but this time driving a 1972 Ford Gran Torino. He plays Talbot, a Dude who’s searching for the answers that will lead to the hopeful capture of his family’s murderers.
On a sad note, the entire movie is actually crap, but the chase makes it worth checking out.
4. The Seven-Up’s: 1973
1973 Pontiac Ventura
Very similar to “The French Connection”, but this time it’s Roy Scheider (Jaws) and a 1973 Pontiac Ventura. This is very close to the 1971 Pontiac LeMans that Hackman drove in the above. You know in hindsight, they probably could have just named this movie “The French Connection II: Cops Who Drive Pontiac’s”, although I’m not sure if that’s Oscar worthy.
5. White Lightning: 1973
1971 Ford LTD
Burt Reynolds plays an ex-moonshiner who’s all pissed off because Ned Beatty shot and killed his younger brother. This flick is actually the prequel to another movie called “Gator”, that takes place a few years down the line. Reynolds however drives a boat in that one. I mean that’s cool an all, but this one’s better… trust me.
6. McQ: 1974
1971 Cadilliac DeVille / 1970 Plymouth Satellite
Ok, this is not the best car chase in the movie. The best one had to do with a 1972 Pontiac Trans Am, but I couldn’t find it anywhere so you guys are getting this one. It’s the second best chase in the movie and takes place on a beach, which is nice, because most people love the beach.
7. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry: 1974
1969 Dodge Charger / 1972 Dodge Polara
You’ve got a 1969 Dodge Charger (BOOYA!), a U-boat sized ’72 Dodge Polara cop car and a helicopter that’s being flown by a REALLY tweaked county Sheriff. This chase is often over looked, but is seriously one of the coolest ever done.
8. Blazing Magnum: 1976
1971 Ford Mustang / 1969 Buick Special
Ok, I’ll say it, this movie sucked. Basic plot: A Police Captain searches for the people who murdered his little sister… bla… bla… bla. HOWEVER, there is a bitchen’ car chase that goes back to what I said in the beginning of this post in regards to the amount of damage that the cars take – that alone makes it worth watching.
9. The Driver: 1978
1974 Chevy C-10 Stepside / 1974 Pontiac Trans Am
So, have you guys guessed what this movie is about yet? No… well then, I can’t help ya’. Just hit the play button and enjoy Ryan O’Neal flinging around a pretty hairy Chevy Stepside pick-up.
10. Smokey & the Bandit 1977
1977 Trans Am / 1977 Pontiac LeMans
I will not lie ladies and gentleman, this is my favorite movie of all time next to the Cannonball Run. Its one-liners, car chases and ridiculous plot constitute about 2-hrs. of pure hilarity. It has also got Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason. For those of you young guys who haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and get this classic, two hour long, Trans Am commercial.
I FORGOT ONE… SHIT! I hate when I do that… anyway, here it is. The chase scene from the original “MAD MAX” in 1979. This is where Max Rockatanski was born.
Yo’ Samsquanch – DUUUDE… thanks for pointing that out man.