Or maybe you do, and just want to talk about the baddest movie car around.
The last time we posted about the Vanishing Point Challenger, it was clear that our readers were major fans of the movie and the iconic car. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, stop here, go watch it, go watch the second version (it’s not a remake, not a sequel), and come back. For those of us who have seen it, you know it’s one long car chase, and it’s fantastic. Following the movie, the Challengers used in the movie were destroyed, to learn why, see here, however, we have more to talk about. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about the Vanishing Point Challenger.
Where is the Vanishing Point Challenger? Find out here.
Richard Zanuck, 20th Century Fox studio executive, was the first to envision the 1970 Dodge Challenger as the movie’s hero car. This decision came about due to Chrysler’s recurring policy of renting cars to the studio for one dollar a day making them the go-to company for picture cars on set.
While the car can be spotted doing some pretty incredible stunts, very few components had to be changed from stock. Apart from the heavy-duty shock absorbers, the cars could handle everything the producers threw at them with largely stock internals. Among the vehicles used in the film were five Alpine white Challengers, all of the R/T trim. While four of the five cars used came with the 440ci equipped with a 4-speed manual, number five packed a 383ci under the hood which was controlled with an automatic transmission. The automatic was likely the car used for particularly difficult stunts in which the driver had to have complete focus instead of thinking about shifting.
The studio never had any need to add power, in fact, Newman even stated that the vehicle's 390 horsepower was almost too much even going as far as to say “it was almost as if there was too much power for the body. You’d put it in first and it would almost rear back!”
Carey Loftin was in charge of the stunts, he was a highly respected stunt driver and tended to make cars jump off the ground at high speeds. This man knew a good car when he saw it, his vehicle of choice was the Challenger due to the advanced suspension and massive horsepower numbers for the time.
While the movie depicts the epic journey of the iconic white Challenger, not all of the vehicles used were white. This is visibly confirmable during a scene in which Kowalski has a flat tire, you can see the green paint in the dents if you look closely.
While many believe that the Challengers used were equipped with the 426 Hemi V8, most of the cars had a 440ci V8 under the hood.
While the 1996 version hints at the color white as a symbolic reference to a clean slate, the original film’s director have stated that the only reason that white was used was to contrast against the background colors and stand out.
Another fun fact is that in the final scene in which Kowalski drives his beautiful white stallion into a pair of bulldozers, none of the five challengers were used. The shell of a 1967 Camaro with explosives replacing the engine and transmission was used and was towed behind the 383ci Challenger into the barricade.