Two Lane Blacktop (1971)
In this low-budget film, two car-obsessed vagabonds (played by James “You’ve Got a Friend” and Dennis “Beach Boys” Wilson challenge a middle-aged, glib driver (Warren “Sgt. Hulka” Oates) in his 1970 Pontiac GTO to a cross-country race against rodded 1955 Chevy coupe. Despite its minimalist dialogue and slow pacing, Two Lane Blacktop is considered by many to be the “thinking man’s” car movie.
Vanishing Point (1971)
After driving from straight through from San Francisco to Denver, Kowalski, a man with a checkered past, bets he can make it back to SF in 15 hours. Cops are soon on the trail of Kowalski’s 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 Magnum across Utah and Nevada accompanied by a rock-soul soundtrack and advise to evade the cops broadcast on the radio from blind disc jockey Super Soul. The ending of Vanishing Point is still debated among enthusiasts.
Dirty Larry Crazy Mary (1974)
Two NASCAR hopefuls, driver Larry Rayder and his mechanic Deke Sommers, extort $150,000 for a supermarket manager by holding his wife and daughter hostage. In making their escape they cross pathes with Larry’s “girlfriend” who tags along on the escape in their ’66 Impala. They ditch the Impala for a ’69 Dodge Charger 440 as the police close in.
Gumball Rally (1976)
Gumball Rally was the first move version of the Cannonball Run, made before the folks who created the actual event could get around making their even more dreadful version. This version starred, among others, Golden Globe and Emmy winning actor Raul Julia as we as everyone’s favorite nutcase, Gary Busey. The premise, if you’re not already aware, was an illegal road race from New York to California. Cars included a 427 Cobra, Ferrari Daytona, Porsche 911, Mercedes 300SL, and a great joke about a Jaguar XKE.
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