Back in the 1970s and 1980s, movies and TV shows were full of cars flying through the air. If you were a producer of an action motion picture, you almost always wanted at least one “car jump” because stunts like this sold a lot of movie tickets.
Today, audiences still love to see launching cars but with the advent of CGI, these crazy stunts are now a lost art. You’ll still occasionally see some old-style jumping, often in an older car, but it’s rare to see the types of stunts that Hollywood used to perform.
Here then, is a tribute to those crazy car jumps. Where these guys were going, they didn’t need roads.
Bullitt doesn’t quite feature the flying cars of saying Smokey and the Bandit, but it does have several thrilling moments with a 1968 Ford Mustang and 1968 Dodge Charger R/T lifting all four wheels off the ground. As the legend goes, Steve McQueen performed most of the car chase sequences himself.
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
According to some fans, Smokey And the Bandit is the quintessential car jumping movie. Featuring a star-studded cast, Burt Reynolds and Sally Field sail over a broken bridge in a 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am as hapless cops pile up behind. Often referred to as the Mulberry Bridge Jump, it has been recreated many times to commemorate various anniversaries of the film’s release. Lynch Chevrolet of Mukwonago, WI tells us that the Smokey and the Bandit movie was directly responsible for over 100,000 additional Pontiac Trans-Am sales.
Blues Brothers (1980)
Using a 1974 Dodge Monaco cop car with pursuit suspension, Dan Akroyd and Jim Belushi jump Chicago’s 95th Street Bridge over the Calumet River. Just for the record, this stunt and numerous others in the movie used over 120 Monaco, a record for most cars damaged in a single movie.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, director John Hughes perfectly encapsulates the pure joy of having the wind in your hair, and a car in the air. This movie illustrates why you should never trust a parking valet with your valuable car, especially if it’s a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder.
The movie speed, featuring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, is about a city transit bus that has been wired to explode if the bus slows down under 50 MPH. The movie featured a jump scene in which a GM New Look transit bus jumps across a section of the unfinished highway bridge.
Many of the film’s freeway scenes were filmed on California’s Interstate 105 which was not officially open at the time of filming. The effects team modified a section of the unfinished highway so that the transit bus would have the necessary lift so that it could jump the full fifty-foot gap. The bus used in the jump was empty except for the driver, who wore a shock-absorbing harness that suspended him mid-air above the seat, so he could handle the jolt on landing, and avoid spinal injury,