Is The Vanishing Point Challenger Gone Forever?

Jul 4, 2023 2 min read
Is The Vanishing Point Challenger Gone Forever?

This what happened to the Dodge Challenger(s).

From the charming cowboy antics present in the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit to the grungy social commentary and intense chasing of The Vanishing Point the idea of a man on a mission on the run from the law has become an American classic. The Movie’s star is Kowalski, tasked with the challenge of transporting a 1970 Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco.

Planning to accomplish this goal in just 15 hours, Kowalski gets himself into some wild car chases meeting all kinds of helpful strangers along the way. Over his 15 hour journey, he becomes an icon through an obscure radio station that covers the whole experience. That 1970 Dodge Challenger has become as much of a hero as Kowalski himself and the film's tragic end left the image of the white Challenger seared into the brains of generations of car enthusiasts.

While most cars that become so iconic go on to sell for millions of dollars at auction, this mysterious Challenger went silent. The 440ci V8 was mated to a 4-speed pistol grip shifter-equipped manual which helps transfer the massive 440 horsepower. As far as performance goes, the Challenger hits from 0-60 in just 5.8 seconds which is incredible for the time.

The 14-second quarter-mile was more than enough for the movie and the high-horsepower was even regarded as too much for the stock tires. Under the hood, the engine has taken quite a hard beating as the 1,200-mile journey would have had to be completed with an average speed of 85 mph.

This has unfortunately resulted in every one of the five Challengers used for the film being destroyed. Dodge did put out a Vanishing point tribute Challenger with the latest generation of Challenger but the originals have been lost forever. However sad it may be, it is a fitting end to a beautiful car on a mission so filled with chaos and mayhem.

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