Making up the infamous list of cars to be pinched were a slew of American machines, but there was also the odd timeless European – all with female nicknames, of course. Alongside ‘Eleanor’ – a ‘bitsa’ early-70s Sportsroof Mustang rather than the remake’s 1967 Fastback – were ‘Terri’ (a 1971 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow), ‘Marilyn’ (a 1969 De Tomaso Mangusta), and ‘Paula’ (an early Ferrari V12, possibly an Inter).
Other rarities included ‘Lorna’ (a 1968 Intermeccanica Italia GFX) and ‘Annie’ (a 1974 Manta Mirage), but despite the calibre and diversity of the automotive leads, the undoubted star was Henry Blight Halicki. He was not only the film’s protagonist, director, writer and producer – but he also bankrolled the film, and performed stunts when those hired to complete them lost their nerve. Halicki would ultimately give his life to franchise, too, when he was killed in a freak accident while filming the unfinished sequel in 1989.