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Film: Gone in Sixty Seconds (1974)

Chace Research insurance investigator Maindrian Pace and his team lead a double life as expert car thieves. When a Colombian drug lord contracts him to steal 48 cars in a week for $400,000, he has secured all but one, a 1971 Mustang Mach I, codenamed Eleanor. After destroying a 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado because it was owned by a drug trafficker (and packed to the brim with heroin), Eugene Chace, his business partner/brother-in-law, tips off the police to stakeout the International Tower in Long Beach, location of the final Mustang.

Car Chases ensue.

Made by H. B. "Toby" Hallicki, known as The Shoestring Salesman (who did all of his own stunts) on a budget of almost nothing.

Gone in 60 Seconds shows examples of the following tropes:

  • And Starring: Eleanor.
  • As Himself: Parnelli Jones, as well as all the police, emergency responders, and mayor of Carson.
  • Badass Driver: Pace, and Hallicki, who did all of the stunts himself, including the 120 foot jump (which actually compressed twelve vertebrae and resulted in a permanent limp).
  • Because I'm Good At It: Why the team at Chace Research steal cars.
  • B-Movie
  • Cain and Abel: Pace and Eugene, of the brother-in-law variety.
  • Car Chase: While Bullitt is credited with making the trope and Vanishing Point, The French Connection and The Seven Ups codifying it, this film perfects the Car Chase genre. In fact, clocking in at 40 minutes, this is the single longest chase in cinematic history.
  • Cool Car: Made in 1973, virtually all the cars on the market were Cool Cars.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Eugene, Pace's brother-in-law, tipped off the cops about his whereabouts of stealing Eleanor.
  • Hassle-Free Hotwire: How Pace steals Jill's twin. He uses a slide hammer to remove the cover over the ignition cylinder, then sticks a screwdriver in the cylinder to start it (in Real Life, this would only mess up the cylinder and necessitate replacement). He steals a 1969 Rolls Royce later on by attaching another ignition cylinder to some sort of bypass (the model year seems to be deliberate, because all vehicles made for the US starting in the 1970 model year were required to have a steering column lock).
  • Hero Antagonist/Punch Clock Hero: The police, who are only trying to solve a sudden rash of high end car thefts.
  • I Call It Vera: Discussed by Pace and Atlee, then played straight. He gives all 48 cars women's names as codenames.
  • Manly Tears: Pace is noticeably choked up when they destroy the Jill, red Challenger R/T.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Discussed. The team has an underwriter buy Jill, a wrecked 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, then steals an identical Challenger and swap out the engine, transmission and VIN and sell it to a Chrysler dealership (a very real technique), Atlee explains to The New Guy (doubling as Audience Surrogate) that because over a million cars are stolen annually in Los Angeles, the chances of that specific car being being found after undegoing a swap out are 500,000:1.
    "Jill just became a statistic."
    • Naturally, they get caught when the insurance underwriter drives by the dealership and sees the wrecked car he just bought, good as new, with the same license plate, forcing Pace to steal it and take it to the wreckers.
  • Public Secret Message: After stealing the uninsured Mustang, the owner puts an ad in the paper, stating it's unisnured and if returned, no questions would be asked.
  • Real Person Cameo: All the police, emergency responders, mayor of Carson, California, were all real. And Parnelli Jones and his Big Oly Bronco (which he still owns and takes to car shows).
  • Reality Subtext: Pace's line of "Last of the Mustangs" may seem odd to modern viewers since the Mustang has been in continuous production since its introduction in 1964, but he's referring to the Mustang II, introduced for the 1974 model year and based on the much smaller Pinto platform (but, like the Bobcat and Pinto wagons, it had a different rear axle and gas tank location, avoiding the infamous defect).
  • That One Case: Eleanor, the only car to give him trouble. After deciding to return one stolen from Harold Smith, an insurance claims adjuster notorious for denying claims (and screwing over more people than Pace's brother-in-law) just to see him weasel his way out of it, he steals an uninsured Mustang that Pumpkin, his fiancée, insists he return. He then steals another Mustang from the International Tower in Long Beach, only for it to be staked out, resulting in a massive police chase.
  • Throw It In: The train crash at the beginning was an actual crash that Hallicki couldn't pass up, and the Cadillac that clipped Eleanor's bumper causing it to hit a lamp post was an accident, which Hallicki, after regaining consciousness, asked "Did we get coverage?".
  • The Seventies
  • Title Drop: On the Goodyear Blimp, no less.
  • Villain Protagonist: Pace, who is, after all, stealing cars, though he does insist on only stealing insured cars so the owners are compensated.

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