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Welcome to Fraser Fast Facts • Vol. 1, Issue 412

The Car

What EVIL Drives!

Still in the Top 100 "Most Enjoyable Bad Movies Ever Made"!

fff the car movie coverThe Car – 1977
1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III
Release date was Friday the 13th, May 1977.

In this B-Movie horror classic, a small desert town is terrorized by a powerful, wickedly-possessed car, and the local sheriff who may be the only one who can stop it.

The make and model of “The Car” was a 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III black coupe.

“The Car” was specially built for this film by renowned automotive designer George Barris who had built many special vehicles for the film and TV industry including the Batmobile for Batman in 1966, and cost $84,000.00 to build.

fff the car movie sceneTwelve men worked on building four versions of “the car” for the movie over a period of ten months. Actual fabrication took eight weeks. One build was used for close-ups, and the other three were used for stunt work. Two of the cars were destroyed while making the movie, one in the house crash scene, the other in the barrel-roll over the police cars.

The final gloss-black close-up car was auctioned off in 1983, and assumed shipped to a European collector.

The technical specifications of the four versions of “the car” were as follows. They were built on a Lincoln Mark III chassis, with a 460 cu. in. V-8 engine, and deep-recessed chrome-plated Cragar wheels. The 18-gauge steel frame weighed 5,500 pounds alone, and was 20 feet long and 9 feet wide. The stunt cars had locked 4:11 differentials, (to allow easier spinning,) a heavy-duty suspension, and roll bars,

fff the car 1971 lincoln continental mark iiiIn order to give “the car” a “sinister” look the roof was lowered three inches, its side fenders were altered that same length, again both higher and longer, and the belt-line was raised.

The Cars’ bodywork was painted in pearl and charcoal coloring. The cars’ windows were laminated in two different shades, smoked on the inside and amber on the outside, so drivers and cameras could see out, but the observer could not see in.

There were no fiberglass replicas made, but the fourth all-steel car built, which was loosely put together over a late 70’s Thunderbird frame, was shot out of a car-cannon for the final scene over the canyon.

fff the car menacing

The sheriff’s department patrol cars in the film are all the same 1977 Pontiac LeMans, in the same color (brown), and have same sheriff logo on the doors as the car driven by Sheriff Buford T. Justice in “Smokey and the Bandit”.

Major stunts in the movie included a stuntman’s first-time ever jump; a 196-foot fall from a bridge and a “barrel roll” by “the car” over two other vehicles.

On a disturbing note, The late Church of Satan leader Anton LaVey was given a “Technical Adviser” credit on the film. His quote, “Oh great brothers of the night who rideth upon the hot winds of hell, who dwelleth in the Devil’s lair; move and appear”, is given in the opening credits.


  • The working title of the film was “Wheels”.
  • This film is listed in “The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made” in John Wilson’s book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE.
  • Some of the film’s foreign language titles had the following literal English translations: “Mechanical Hell” (France); “The Black Car” (Italy); “The Devil on Wheels” (Germany) and “The Car: Devil’s Machine” (Portugal), and in Yougoslavia it was called “Auto Ubica” (Killing Car).
  • The unique tone of the car’s horn is the Hadley Ambassador Rectangular Bell horn, and the distinctive sound the horn of The Car makes, spells out the letter X in Morse code.


  • During the opening murder scene of the two bicyclists, one of the helicopters used for filming can be heard hovering over the bicyclists.
  • During the final chase on the motorbike, it alternates from night to day.
  • During the scene where the car is terrorizing the school band practice, a group of cowboys try to distract it. One of them gets knocked off his horse; as he falls, the movie frame is actually upside-down.
  • You can also see the reflection of the camera operation in the trombone the boy is play, during the close up at the 42 minute mark.
  • Crew can be seen moving around in the reflection of “The Car” bumper in a close up towards the end the the cemetery scene
  • When Wade is in the hospital after having been floored by the Car’s door, all of his doctor’s lines have clearly been dubbed.
  • Wade gains a pair of gloves when he is climbing the rope in the canyon.
  • When the Sheriff first talks to the abused wife Bertha at the police station, her bruises change from one scene to the next.
  • When the girl cycler is killed, The Car had been squeezing her over to a low concrete wall next to the side of the road, but when she actually goes over the side, there is no wall.
  • A flaming “dummy” is clearly ejected from the police car after it is pushed over the cliff.

Thinking about building a replica with an american-made engine? Fraser has the right engine ready for you!