Hooniverse Asks: What's the Greatest Movie Car Flub?

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I remember this TV movie from when I was a kid. It was called High School U.S.A. and it starred Michael J Fox, Nancy McKeon and slew of other then teen TV actors, most of whom are now dead. That’s not what made it notable to me however, and kept it in my otherwise feeble memory for so many years. What did was a scene in the movie where a school official’s late ’70s Trans Am changes to an early ’70s Firebird—with the requisite smaller rear window—throughout a chase and an eventual crash.  It was so DUMB!
That’s just one car-related movie goof that really burns my biscuits. I mean, don’t get me started on Repo Man and the incredible switching Cutlasses! What about you, are there any car-related movie goofs that really make you want to ask for your ticket money back?
Image: Private Hollywood Tours

0 Comments

  1. The Challenger/Camaro from Vanishing Point is the default answer for this question.

    1. um… spoilers. I had planned on watching it when the movie turns 50.
      No I am not being serious but if you excuse me I have some naked mopedding to do.

      1. Sorry ’bout that. Maybe you can wait for the 1997 made-for-TV remake to turn 50, and by then you might have forgotten how I spoiled the ending.

        1. I think there was a remake after 1997 as well. It’s a timeless story of drugs, religious revivals and a radio station with a 3000 mile range.

    2. It was so GREAT to finally be vindicated. For years after initially seeing the movie, I had argued that a Camaro was in the final shot and not a Challenger, suffering the ignorance and derision of less knowledgeable (and less sharp eyed) cohorts! 🙂

    3. Why sure, you wouldn’t want to waste a good Mopar, when you could keep another Camero* out of the hands of a mullet-wearing trailer dweller.
      * – Craigslist spelling applied.

      1. From what I recall, the Challengers used in the movie were actually on loan from Chrysler, so crushing one wasn’t an option.

  2. Just before I moved to Prescott, AZ for college a movie was filmed there. 1994’s remake of The Getaway starred Alec Baldwin, Kim Bassinger and a car chase through and around downtown Prescott. The fun part was, once I had lived there a while and watched the movie I realized there is no way you could turn right out of *that* alley and wind up on *that* street. Unless there were wormholes, but it’s not billed as a sci-fi movie.

      1. It had to do with him going the wrong direction. I’ll delete it until my brain remembers.

  3. Don’t remember the exact movie, but I hate when they film a period piece and show cars made after the year the movie is set in. The worst offenders seem to be things set in the 1970s-1990s.

    1. I can’t remember exactly where it was, so I won’t post it separately, but I recently spotted a W140 in a movie set in the early 80s. Come on, it couldn’t have been THAT hard to find a W126 for the flick if they wanted an S-class!

    2. “The Valachi Papers” is one of the worst offenders. There’s at least one scene where Charles Bronson is driving through NYC (it starts out in the 1920s), and plenty of ’70s cars are visible behind them, through the windows. Just as bad is Joseph Wiseman’s lame attempt at playing an Italian (“Salvatore Maranzano”) – I expect him to start screaming in Yiddish any second. Oy.

    3. Another one is 2003’s Disney movie Eloise at the Plaza (hey, I have three daughters, so I had to watch this one a few times). The main character is a Dennis the Menace type girl who lives at the Plaza in NYC, and it’s set in 1955. There is a scene where she’s on a balcony, looking down at the street, and there are tons of Panther cabs. It’s like they weren’t even trying.

    4. I’ll go obscure for the most irritating example of this. The Yakuza Papers is a ridiculously fast paced series of movies about the rise and fall of a Yakuza boss, and it’s quite good, but it’s also the kind of movie where everything changes in a short scene so it can be difficult to keep things straight. Not helped by the the use of a ’57 Bel Air showing up in the early ’50s and making it seem like the movie did a time jump.

  4. For years I’ve kept my eye out for a clip of that LTD going off a cliff. If you watched TV in the 70’s, you’ve seen the one. I think it was stock footage for Quinn Martin Productions. It didn’t matter what the car started out as, by the time it reached the cliff, it was a dark colored Ford.

  5. The mix of real BMW I6 engine sounds coupled with what sounds like literbike engine sounds really bothers me in this scene from the original Transporter.
    See also: The terrible mismatch between the gratuitous shift lever and pedal shots and what the car is apparently doing.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xewS5I4Eho

    1. What bothers me the most is that these movies and the Fast & Furious crap are directed at car guys. If you take engineerd’s example of “Eloise at the Plaza”…well…the intended audience doesn’t care. With these car movies on the other hand – WHY??

  6. The green VW Beetle in the Bullitt chase. How many times do the bad guys’ Charger & McQueen’s Mustang pass it?!?

    1. I forget how many times the VW is passed during the chase scene, but I DO remember that the number of hubcaps the Bad Guy’s Dodge Chargers loses during the chase: 6

    1. F&F is probably to blame for the decline of the manual transmission. People saw that and thought, “that looks like a LOT of work”.

  7. “What did was a scene in the movie where a school official’s late ’70s Trans Am changes to an early ’70s Firebird—with the requisite smaller rear window—throughout a chase and an eventual crash. It was so DUMB!”
    There are at least a couple of episodes of The Rockford Files where Jim’s Firebird gets wrecked, and the car wrecked is an early ’70s ‘bird with the chrome rear bumper (spray painted flat black, in a pathetic attempt to mimic the black rub strip on the ’74-’75 models)

  8. The Ferrari in Beverly Hills Cop II changes multiple times and there’s not even an excuse for it – it’s not in an action scene, they’re not wrecking one, they’re not doing anything especially risky.

    1. This wrong motorcycle sound is depressingly common.
      But. Good news.
      One of my quiz team was a foley artist (sound effects specialist) on films here in NZ and she’s now in Hollywood. Given her resume, ( L.O.R., Avatar,etc) and her strong views on the subject, (‘sheer inexcusable laziness in these days of digital sampling’ was one repeatable quote.) I have high hopes for this problem to be resolved.

  9. Oddjob drives a 1964 Lincoln in Goldfinger, but the Lincoln that actually gets crushed in the wrecking yard is a ’63 model.

    1. And then the cube gets dropped in the back of a Falcon Ranchero, and the back end doesn’t even sag! It must have had some damn good air shocks.

      There’s some great carspotting (and place spotting) in the video:

      1. That tracking device though…exquisite.
        It hurt more than I was prepared for to see that Lincoln being wrecked. I’ll just leave for a second and flush my bucket of tears.

      2. Right? The Ranchero has a load rating of what , 500 lbs and the Continental was about 3,000 lbs dry? But it was a great scene. It looks like every vehicle in the clip was a FoMoCo. And a nice Falcon Futura coupe, to boot.

      1. I can see how that would rankle, given how committed to realism those early Bond movies were.

  10. There’s some good use and abuse in one of Scandinavia’s most reknown car chases. But the interior scenes do not match the displayed vehicles at all. The Octavia and Kadett wagon crashing around the two minute mark were also so obviously dead already, it’s just…bad.

    The mustard Volvo 164 is still registered and on the road.

  11. There’s a circa 1980 movie called Hot Stuff about some cops who open a pawn shop to lure in the bad guys One of the characters drives around in a Firebird. But when his car is blown up it’s clearly a Camaro. Or vice-versa, really who cares?
    Score: here’s what IMDB says “When the 78 or 79 Trans am explodes, it is replaced with a early model Camaro 70 to 73 for the destroyed car.”

  12. One of the absolute WORST movies for lack of continuity was 1972’s “Gargoyles”: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068622/?ref_=nv_sr_2
    It featured an extended chase scene where the 4 door Chevy/Ford sedans changed seemingly at will; with one scene in which a Ford launches into the air BUT is a Chevy when it touches down! Other than that, it wasn’t too bd for a ‘B’ monster movie!!LOL!!

    1. Wow, I remember that movie. I don’t remember the chase but I liked the movie overall. Of course, I was a kid, but still.

  13. In Batman Begins (2005) 8 year-old Bruce Wayne looks out of his window to see Rachel Dawes standing next to a 1995 (oldest model possible) Oldsmobile Aurora . Bruce would have had to have been at the very least 25 years old while having this flashback since he came back for Joe Chill’s trial while he was in college (minimum age of 18) and then went missing for 7 years. This car is in a scene that happens at least 7 years before its inception.

  14. There’s this so bad it’s good B movie from ’95 called Smoke n Lightnin about a couple of mechanics who take a Presidential limo for a joy ride and get caught up with some baddies. In one of the chase scenes, the main baddie somehow acquires a mid 80’s Ford pickup that can magically transform into a late 70’s Ford. It switches between the two for the rest of the chase.

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