In our latest edition of This or That, we’re continuing our selection of movie cars, though with a bit of a twist. Rather than focus our attention on a single film, we’ve carefully picked four different rides from four different movies released in the Seventies. Hero cars, if you will, that may or may not have been “hero cars” by the very basic definition. And rather than offer a few of the obvious, here are four that are iconic yet may have you thinking twice. Let’s take a look at this week’s platter of power, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.
1970 Dodge Challenger R/T
Released in 1971, Vanishing Point gets little ink outside of top-10-car-chase lists, but those who know, know. It’s been a car cult classic for decades. If you’re not familiar with the film, the main character – Kowalski, portrayed by Barry Newman – is a hired gun who delivers cars across the country; the latest in his long resume that is unveiled during flashbacks throughout the movie. After dropping off an Imperial in Denver, Colorado, Kowalski is tasked with transporting what is supposed to be a supercharged 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, similar to this example for sale, to San Francisco, California, within 48 hours. Even then, it probably wasn’t an impossible task, but Kowalski bets that he can make it before Sunday night, which sets off a Desert Southwest chase. While the Dodge meets an inglorious end, the seller of our featured example states:
This 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T has been highly maintained and has only 81,000 original miles. This Challenger is in excellent condition. This vehicle is original and unrestored. The car has had some exterior paint (in its original HEMI orange) at some point in its life, but it looks great and is very honest. This car drives excellent and is very tight. Has the original style Goodyear Polyglass tires. The interior is in amazing condition. Vintage Air conditioning installed.
1966 Chevrolet Impala
More than one car chase movie has started with some sort of heist, and the 1974 release of Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry was no exception. In this case, it’s a $150,000 haul from a local supermarket executed by NASCAR hopeful Larry Rayder (Peter Fonda) and mechanic pal Deke Sommers (Adam Roarke). Helping their escape plan is a four-door 1966 Chevrolet Impala, similar to our featured example, along with Larry’s former one-night stand, Mary Coombs (Susan George). Pursued by local authorities, the trio ultimately ditch the Impala for a more thrifty 1969 Dodge Charger R/T conveniently commandeered at a flea market. It’s another cult classic with an inglorious ending, whereas portions of the seller’s listing of our featured Chevy states:
Sitting right in the fat part of the affordability-versus-condition curve is this handsome 4-door hardtop, featuring low ‘believed-actual’ miles on the body, a strong-running 283 V-8, and a classic White-over-Red color combination…Fortunately, this Imp has clearly lived an easy life by the looks of the sheetmetal, and with a believed actual mileage of just over 36K, it’s obvious it was only driven on special occasions. It is a survivor finish though, so there’s some light patina and minor surface rust to consider…The sheetmetal is still straight, with good gaps and body lines…All the correct brightwork and trim is still intact and in decent shape…The front bench seat cover was replaced at some point since it’s all-vinyl, whereas the rear seat cover, door panels, headliner, and plush red carpets are all original Code 847 red cloth-and-vinyl spec…the original dash with bright red paint and aluminum panels is a wonderful complement of the exterior theme. The wide instrument panel shows crisp markings on the gauges, a retro-style AM/FM/AUX stereo was installed in the factory slot, and the factory A/C system is still in place, although it could use a R134a refrigerant charge (it has been converted) to blow cold again. The 283 V-8 under the hood may very well be the car’s original, but it’s been covered with years of dirt and grime so pulling a VIN stamp has proved difficult. It is correctly coded with a GF suffix code, and it remains completely stock…The 2-speed PowerGlide automatic transmission feeds the original 10-bolt rear end, which carries highway-friendly rear gears so it’s a fantastic cruiser.