What happened to the ‘Vanishing Point’ Challenger?

Among muscle car fans there are a few Hollywood car chase scenes that stand out in our minds, such as the one seen in the 1971 movie Vanishing Point. The story is based on a challenge: get from Denver to San Fransisco in a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T in 15-hours or less. Most of the movie is a car chase and none of the cars used for it, survived.

Fortunately, in 1997 the movie was remade and all five Challengers used for it were saved. Ted Stephens, owner of Stephen’s performance in Anderson, Alabama, owns all of them.

In the video Stephens comments on some of the controversy around the original Challengers from the original movie, “we have a reliable source that was at a salvage auction in Los Angeles in 1971, those five cars were sold for scrap. Every single one of them.”

Stephens added that if one did survive no one knows where it is and it would be impossible to trace. “The only way that you’ll ever experience a screen-used Dodge Challenger from the legendary Vanishing Point is to go to the 1996 TV remake, and that’s exactly what this car is.”

Vanishing Point has developed a cult following that remains strong. According to Stephens the television remake shares the same story line with the original movie, the same characters, and same car but notes it was made to be relevant in the mid ‘90s.

Stephens said he was able to retain all five movie cars  because they were owned by the production company. “Nobody really cared about keeping movie cars up,” he said. “Now they’re important. Back then, just like Bullitt, all those cars disappeared.”

When production was complete Stephens picked up the cars and restored the car known as “unit one,” which served as the main hero car for close-ups and interior driving shots. “We just left them dirty like they came,” Stephens said the other cars.

Are you a fan of the Vanishing Point challengers? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author

Nicole Ellan James

As an automotive journalist and avid car enthusiast, Nicole Ellan James has a passion for automotive that is reflected in every aspect of her lifestyle. Follow Nicole on Instagram and Facebook - @nicoleeellan
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