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Vanishing Point & Challengers on Film

The 1971 movie, Vanishing Point, is the cult classic car chase film. From start to finish, Kowalski (the lead role played by Barry Newman) sets off for the ride of his life. However, the main star is the vehicle, a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, white in colour with Colorado license plates, OA-5599. I have many more images but they are reference style. The images below offer the best views of the entire car and are merely for viewing pleasure, not to point out what the car did or didn't have! I have also added images from other films that have White 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T's in them. These are: the Fox TV 1996 remake of Vanishing Point, Quentin Tarantino's movie, Death Proof, Audioslave's video clip "Show Me How To Live" and from the movie, Terminal Velocity. There are heaps of cool images, so, enjoy!!!


Vanishing Point Challenger Specifications

I see and hear a lot of info about the Vanishing Point vehicles. "They had this, they had that" and more often than not, it's wrong. I've done a lot of research over many years, just out of interest and have lived, breathed and am lucky enough to own my own version of this car, my interpretation of the perfect getaway vehicle. I guess, in short, I'm a Vanishing Point freak. There's a list below of the specs for both the 1971 and 1996 Vanishing Point Challengers. One main note is the cars colour. The 1971 original VP Challengers were painted Chrysler Paint code: EW1. That's 1969-70 Dodge colour "White" and 1969-70 Plymouth colour "Alpine White". The movie made them appear as a more vivid white in colour whereas Alpine White in reality is more cream-coloured in appearance. This is one of the reasons I chose a sharper Bright white colour (PW7).


1971 Vanishing Point Challenger Specs



Vehicle: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T (JS23U0)
Colour: Alpine White or Bright White ("reality correctness")
License Plate: 1970 Colorado State: OA-5599 (Front & Rear Mounted)
Engine: High Performance 440ci Magnum with 4bbl
Transmission: A833 4-Speed Manual with Pistol Grip Shifter
Differential: 8-3/4" SureGrip with 4.10:1 Rear Gears
Wheels: 15x7" Rallye Wheels with OR without Trim Rings
Tyres: E 60 X 15 RWL Goodyear Polyglas GTs
Mirrors: Driver Chrome Mirror Only. Never truly known what it's off
Rear Tail Panel Colour: Body Colour (White)
Fuel Cap: Body Coloured Standard Gas Cap
Bumper: Front Bumper Over-Riders ("Bumperettes")
Seats: Black Vinyl Bucket Seats with Houndstooth Inserts
Steering Wheel: Rim-Blow
Misc Interior Items: Console Delete, Manual Windows & Rallye Cluster

* Five Challengers were used for the original Vanishing Point movie. There were four 440 Challenger R/Ts and one 383 Challenger R/T. The 383 was a TF727 automatic car with green interior. It was used for some exterior shots and it towed the engine-less, explosive loaded, 1967 Camaro up to speed so it could hit the bulldozers. Quote from director: "We towed the Camaro with the fifth car, the 383 auto. I used that because if you miss a gear and your line goes slack, you lose the car. I'd rather use an auto than risk a chance of losing the car. That 383 auto car was a good running car! In fact, it would probably run as fast as the 440 4-speeds.

Chrysler "loaned" the producers these 5 White Dodge Challenger R/Ts. Not all of the Challengers were originally white. Rumour is 2 were painted white for the film. During the scene where Kowalski has a flat tyre, you can see green paint where the dents are. ALL five were given back to Chrysler at the end of shooting, although several of them had many of their parts salvaged to repair the others during filming. They were in pretty bad state and worth bugger all back then. It is believed that Chrysler had them all crushed.



1996 Fox Vanishing Point Remake Challenger Specs



Vehicle: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T (JS23U0/V)
Colour: Alpine White or Bright White ("reality correctness")
License Plate: New Mexico State KSZ-620. (Rear Mounted Only)
Engine: (Perceived as) 426 Hemi (Actually used: 440ci 4bbl & 6bbl)
Transmission: A833 4-Speed Manual with Pistol Grip Shifter
Differential: 8-3/4" SureGrip with 3.55 or 4.56 Gears
Wheels: 15x7" Chrysler Rallye Wheels with Trim Rings
Tyres: RWL BFGoodrich Radial T/As
Mirrors: Two Exterior "Racing" Mirrors Painted Body Colour (White)
Rear Tail Panel Colour: Black (Satin)
Fuel Cap: Flip Top Racing "FUEL" Cap
Bumper: Front Bumper Over-Riders ("Bumperettes")
Seats: Black Vinyl Bucket Seats with Houndstooth Inserts
Steering Wheel: Rim-Blow (and in scenes Padded 3-Spoke)
Misc Interior Items: Console, Manual Windows & Rallye Cluster


* For the 1996 Vanishing Point remake, five Challengers were (again) used. In this version, unlike the original, the car was perceived as a "426 Hemi" (not a 440ci). While one of the VP cars in the remake had a 426 Hemi in it, the Hemi Challenger engine bay shot (when you first see the Challenger and Kowalski's tightening the wingnut on the air cleaner) is ("apparently") a well staged camera trick. It's actually a scene shot under a 1968-1969 Dodge Charger, hence the incorrect for a 1970 vehicle, chrome air cleaner, Charger hood, etc. Not sure why they did this when they had a Hemi Challenger on set....maybe the director liked the chrome air cleaner better? Who knows!

Challenger (Unit) 1 was the "Main Camera Car" and had the Hemi in it. Challenger (Unit 2) had a 440 + TF727 Auto with 4.56 rear gears and was used as the "Main Stunt Car". Challenger (Unit 3) was a "Backup Replica Car" for Unit 1. Challenger (Unit 5) was the "Backup Replica Car" for Unit 2. Challenger (Unit 4) was the "Camera Mounting Rig Car".

Stephens Performance in Alabama, USA, were hired to source, build and get the cars together. At the end of the shooting, the producers agreed to sell Stephen's Performance three of the five Challengers used. 1 is as-is from the movie complete with movie dirt and grime (Unit 2). This vehicle can often be seen doing the rounds at American car events. Another is a pristine show quality vehicle with the 426 Hemi in it (Unit 1). Both Unit 1 and 2 are on display at Stephens Performance muscle car museum. Units 4 and 5 were destroyed during filming. Unit 3 is (apparently) in safe storage.



My (Carlwalski's) Vanishing Point Challenger Specs



Vehicle: 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T (JS23U0)
Colour: Bright White
License Plate: 1970 Colorado State: OA-5599 (Front & Rear Mounted)
Engine: 540ci Aluminium EFI Hemi
Transmission: 6-Speed TorqueFlite-727 (Gear Vendors Autoshift)
Shifter: Custom Made Tilt-Pistol Grip Shifter with OD/GV Button
Differential: Dana 60 with Powerlock & 3:54 Gears
Wheels: 15x7" & 15x8" Chrysler Rallye Wheels with Trim Rings
Tyres: RWL BFGoodrich Radial T/As - 275/60 Rear, 245/60 Front
Mirrors: Two Exterior Chrome "Racing" Mirrors
Rear Tail Panel Colour: Body Colour (Bright White)
Fuel Cap: Body Coloured Standard Gas Cap
Bumper: Clean Front Bumper - No Over-Riders (No "Bumperettes")
Seats: Full Black Vinyl Bucket Seats (No Inserts)
Steering Wheel: "Tuff" Wheel with Tilt Steering Column
Misc Interior Items: Console, Power Windows & Brakes & Rallye Cluster
Misc Exterior Items: Hood Pins & Exhaust Cutouts