Old School Americana & Nostalgia

Cars

What Was the Car in ‘Death Proof’? All About the Movie’s Incredible Rides

What Was the Car in ‘Death Proof’? All About the Movie’s Incredible Rides

Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof features a unique car of horror, a matte black 1970 Chevy Nova sporting a skull and crossed electric bolts. However, unlike most vehicles used in films, this one showed off some movie magic.

Stuntman Mike, portrayed by Kurt Russell, is a movie slasher with a unique murder weapon. His 1970 Chevy Nova, known as ‘death-proof,’ is a car rigged for stunts, turning it into a deadly tool when Mike drives it.

One of the things that makes it deadly is the reinforced rolling cage. Normally, this is hidden with movie smoke and mirrors. However, in 2007’s Death Proof, the feature is on full display. Unlike typical factory Chevy Novas, the one featured in the film is also equipped with a stroked 350 V8 engine, according to Hot Cars.

One minor detail a lot of fans may have noticed is the unique hood ornament the Chevy Nova (and later, Mike’s ’69 Dodge Charger) sports. It’s a fighting-mad chrome rubber ducky. Hardcore movie nerds might recognize it from the 1978 trucker epic, Convoy. Mike mentions being a stuntman in projects folks have forgotten about. Perhaps the chrome ducky is a memento of his stalling career.

Reportedly, a surviving Nova was sold to the real stuntman for a token sum of $500. The stuntman subsequently gave the Death Proof car to his teen son, making it one hell of a starter car.

Death Proof featured three other cars: a 1971 Dodge Challenger, a 1969 Dodge Charger, and a ’71 Mustang Mach. After his lethal Chevy is totaled, Stuntman Mike opts for a remarkably stylish switch. He goes for a matte black ’69 Dodge Charger.

Meanwhile, the ladies of the film are seen driving the 71 Mustang Mach and the 1971 Dodge Challenger. Of course, it’s the white Charger that faces off against Mike’s Challenger in one of the most tense car chases in movie history.

The white Dodge Challenger featured in Death Proof is part of the first generation of this iconic lineup. Initially introduced in 1969 for the 1970 model year, the Challenger entered the scene to rival the Mercury Cougar and Pontiac Firebird in the pony car category. It also aimed to compete with the Ford Mustang, albeit with a delayed response to this legendary vehicle.

The Charger used in Death Proof was modified to look like the one featured in 1971’s Vanishing Point. The Death Proof white Dodge Challenger used on-screen changed hands multiple times over the years. Initially bought by a production assistant, it was later taken for a restoration project before being acquired by a European collector film firm. This Dodge Challenger appeared in a 2016 eBay auction, selling for $32,500.