Nitpick Car chase scenes

This one of my favorites. Some might say it is the first modern car chase.
But that Charger would have smoked the Mustang. The stunt drivers have said they had to hold back on the Charger to make the scene more dramatic.

What are some others?

Maybe on the straights, but the Charger is a barge in the corners. It would wallow like a garbage scow next to a nimble Mustang.

The chase took place in San Francisco, so straights aren’t in great abundance.

I’ll let myself out.

I watched that clip and they do a really fine job of conveying the relative skills of the drivers.

At 3:50 to 3:54, the Challenger takes the corner a bit too hot, with a lot of tire squealing. He’s missed his apex, he’s not tracked-out fully, he’s leaving a lot of tiresmoke as he gets back on the gas too soon. This is rank amateur behaviour.

In the same corner, the Mustang comes through much more cleanly, hitting the corner apex a lot closer, hitting his track-out point a lot better, and both corner-entry and corner-exit are clean, without drama.

Again at 4:03-ish (if memory serves), again at 5:30-ish. Mustang-driver is driving better. At 5:40-ish, the Challenger is tail-slapping the walls, even, in case the cornering of before wasn’t obvious enough: the Mustang driver is vastly superior

All the horsepower in the world doesn’t matter in a corner if you haven’t got the skill to manage the car.

But with respect, it’s not just whether one car is more powerful than another, it’s whether one car can corner better than another, and whether the drivers can manage their cars. What was cool about that chase is they took the pains to convey that sort of thing, showing in a visual language how much more skilled the chaser was, compared to the guys he was chasing.

ETA: Just to drive it home, they’ve got audio of the Mustang driver double-clutching, and the Challenger does not.

Why hell did the guy in the Volkswagen keep on going? Any sane person would have let the two cars pass.

I do note, though the lack of quick cuts you see today. They let things unfold and made sure you knew where the cars were in relation to each other at all time.

The last minutes (and I stress minutes) are on the highway.

Is it Dirty Harry who is chased all over town, and can’t get away from, an RC car bomb? The skill of the guy driving the bomb car is preposterous. It would be too idiotic, but wasn’t the bomber driving his car as he was steering the RC car?

How about the “To Live and Die in L.A.” car chase? It’s ‘85, so the cars are not nearly as cool as in Bullitt…

…but bonus points for high degree of difficulty, what with the dozens of forklifts and semis to maneuver through, cutting in front of a train, obligatory drive down the L.A. River basin, and finally going the wrong way down a busy freeway to avoid multiple bad guys with automatic weapons.

I’m told that the classic nitpick is the car chase scene with sound effects of a manual transmission being run through the gears. Then at the end of the scene the driver stops the car, reaches up, and throws the transmission lever into Park.

Sorry, no specific instances to cite.

(And no matter how hard or prolonged the chase, tires never have to be replaced.)

I really doubt that. There was a 50 hp gap between them (Mustang 390 had 325 hp, Charger 440 R/T had 375. But the Mustang had about a 650lb weight advantage, which is huge.

On a perfect day, the Charger is only .2 fastef in the quarter mile (13.6 vs 13.8), but the lighter, smaller Mustang would eat it for lunch in the corners. Horsepower wasn’t all that big an advatage with those cars as both were severely traction limited.

I’ve driven old Chargers. Thry drive like a bleemin’ family sedan, and thd body flex is terrible. If I had to race the streets of San Fransisvo, I’d take the Mustang every time.

Well, given that the driver of the Charger was one of the best stunt drivers in the business and most of the stunt driving in the Mustang was Steve McQueen, I don’t think the skills of the drivers are the reason for that. Rather, the Charger’s handling really sucks. McQueen was no slouch as a driver, but he wasn’t allowed to drive the most dangerous stunts and couldn’t pull off some of the most technical of the stunts. But most of the time, including some crazy dangerous high speed stuff, McQueen is behind the wheel.

At 3:40 the Mustang does what looks like a Scandinavian flick, definitely an advanced cornering technique.

But that one had self-generating hubcaps.

There’s one nitpick I’ve read for Duel (in a sense, that whole film is a car chase). This isn’t something I or the vast majority of people would notice, but apparently there are some really hardcore truck fans who can identify a truck engine by the sound. And they complain that the truck used in the movie has the air cleaner from a Caterpillar engine, but the editors dubbed in the sound of a Cummins engine for the truck scenes. Or something like that; I don’t remember the specific engines.

And extra bonus points for William Petersen’s commitment to his “I Am the Ultimate Badass” facial expression. (Fully justified by the character’s personality, as established early on in the movie.)

They are driving in the correct direction. The other cars are driving the wrong way.

In the interests of linguistic precision, what I was trying to convey was that the character of the Challenger-driver was not as talented behind the wheel as the character of the Mustang-driver. In the words of a schmoking neighbour of mine just bellowed (unrelatedly): “Shit just got meta, yo.”

Just to reiterate, the driver of the Challenger was acting like a less-talented driver in a pretty convincing way to me. The stunt drivers were acting, while driving. That is… well, that’s cool. Even if that’s something that stands out only to car grognards.

Those cars are well, well, well before my time. I can’t really speak to their qualities relative to each other other than the Challenger looks obviously a lot heavier, they were doing some pretty keen driving on cars rocking leaf springs, solid axles, and a boat anchor of an engine. My figurative hat’s off.

Yeah, I can get behind all that.

I can also say that both cars would lose badly in a chase like that to a modern family car, let aline a modern sports car. That Charger’s 13.6s in the quarter mile was a decent number for the time. However, that’s also the same quarter mile time as a 2021 Hyundai Sonata, which would also crush it in the turns.

A small-block Mustang would have been nimble, but that Mustang had a heavy 390 big-block up front. They were front-heavy cars that didn’t handle, brake, or accelerate well.
Years ago, Musclecar Review magazine had an extensive article on the 4 (2 of each) cars used in the chase scenes. The Chargers were nearly stock, as a Charger R/T was a pretty well-balanced car for the time. The Mustangs required a lot of mods, to the suspension and engines.

Those gross horsepower ratings were pretty useless for comparison. The 440 made about 300-310 net hp. The 390 was kind of a stone, and only made about 225 net hp. The later 428CJ was a far better engine.

And those 13 second quarter mile times were unobtainable by either of these cars, in stock trim. For a more realistic comparison, look at Car Life Magazine tests, as they used stock cars and consistent testing methods. Their 390 Mustang did 15.5 @ 91 mph. The Charger ran 14.6 at 96.

The VW probably had Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal in it and they were on their way down to the bay where they would float away.