Car movie of the day: ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ (1974)

We kick off a special month with a great car chase

Editor’s note: Car guys, and even car girls, can take only so much of those Hallmark holiday movies that fill the airwaves and cable systems this time of year. As an automotive alternative, we’re offering our own suggestions of our favorite car movies for your viewing pleasure. Check out more of our favorite car movies here.


As you read above, we at ClassicCars.com decided to put together a holiday treat for all you fine folk: Each day in December, we’ll highlight one of our favorite car movies.

While we joked that this was an attempt to get you to click away from wherever you may watch your sappy seasonal flicks, we’ll be honest with ourselves and speak the truth: We just wanted an excuse to watch our favorites again.

And when someone tries to interrupt, we can respond, “But it’s for work…”

Anyway, we thought it would be appropriate to start the month with the original Gone in 60 Seconds, which was made in 1974.

While it may not be the best car film ever made — that will forever be a contentious debate — H.B. Halicki’s movie is certainly in the conversation.

The 1974 film <i>Gone in 60 Seconds</i> may be one of the best car chase may be one of the best car chase movies ever. | H.B. Halicki Junkyard and Mercantile Company Screenshot

The 1974 film Gone in 60 Seconds may be one of the best car chase may be one of the best car chase movies ever. | H.B. Halicki Junkyard and Mercantile Company Screenshot

Gone in 60 Seconds follows Maindrian Pace (played by Halicki), an insurance agent who moonlights as the head of a gang of professional car thieves. He and his team are hired by a South American drug lord to steal 48 specific cars in five days. If they succeed, they get paid $400,000. If not, well, use your imagination.

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The list of cars is impressive, ranging from mid-‘70s Cadillacs and Plymouths to, of course, the 1973 Ford Mustang nicknamed “Eleanor.”

The film is full of so much action that 127 cars were damaged or destroyed, not to mention several people were nearly killed, including Halicki himself. Don’t worry: Everyone wound up being fine in the end.

Not convinced yet? The film has a 40-minute car chase. It’s awesome.

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  • Ryan Corman
    December 2, 2018, 5:27 PM

    Graduated in ’78. Raised in the Indianapolis car culture, saw this at the drive-in when it came out- had a ’67 Impala SS then. Far superior to the Nicholas Cage remake (sorry Nick).
    Launching a Mustang into an entire row of Caddies is sort of a dream for a lifelong GTO guy.
    Great chase, but (imo) not up to "Bullitt" or "It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World"- Hey, Ethel Merman in a ’62 Imperial convertible!- and as far as I can tell, there has never- NEVER- been a better car chase filmed than the one in the DeNiro vehicle "Ronin".
    I know that this is a very highly subjective topic, but I will stand with "Ronin" as #1. And "Mad, Mad World"? Hilarious, an eclectic group of now highly desirable cars (and aircraft!), and Spencer Tracy in his last film wheeling a cop-spec alien looking ’62 Dodge in black, with black steelies and dog dish caps.
    What’s not to like?
    -R

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