In every story ever told there is a protagonist and an antagonist. Both come in many forms; people, animals, objects, even the supernatural.
Car chases are not any different.
The Mustang 350 versus the Charger from Bullitt. A 1971 Pontiac Lemans four door versus a commandeered train in The French Connection. The 1970 Dodge Monaco “Bluesmobile” versus the..er... 1970 Dodge Monaco Police from the original Blues Brothers. All fine examples of the hero and villain.
So what are some mashups that could make the perfect concoction of the Hero and the Villain in a car chase?
Well, generationally, if this were the 1980’s, a Buick Grand National would be a perfect fit for the anti-hero, a good soul with some bad behavior. The all black “vader” look tied to a power plant that lays out a faster 0-60 time than a Porsche of the same era creates the ideal mixture for the protagonist in this scenario. Added bonus for it being a tail happy, rear wheel drive beast doing tail flicks around each corner.
But who would play the yang to its yin? A thought would be lent to its biggest American competitor, the Corvette. Perhaps would it be more digestible to choose a car from across the pond, such as the Ferrari 308, to make the chase an American versus European competition? Muscle versus elegance. No, I think the ideal counterpart is in the Mercedes tuned AMG Hammer. Black on Black versus Black on Black. Both with ample horsepower and the “bull in the China shop” approach at laying down rubber. What a car chase that would be...
Now, a take on the generational differences, the new versus the old. Many movies and TV shows have done takes on this dynamic play, always showing that the “old school” version still has a few tricks left and after learning a thing or two throughout the story, is able to defeat its newer, “better” rival. Like Ricky Bobby versus Jean Girard in Talladega Nights. How does this play out in a car chase? I think keeping the cars similar either by type or by make and model would solidify this point. A Datsun 240z with its inline 6 cylinder engine and Solex carburetors would face its modern equivalent, which is arguably the Nissan 370z. Granted the 370z would knock the pants off of the 240z in every aspect with no contest, but it'd be a symbolic example none the less. To make it more realistic, we could even dial it back to a more comfortable competition level with the 300zx Fairlady with its twin turbo V6 engine. Still, the 300z is leaps and bounds ahead of the 240z, but at least it’s not as dramatic of a difference in such a race. Plus, the whole point is that the older car is the underdog!
Now if there was no factor in planning the hero and the villain, what is the ultimate good guy car, and the ultimate bad guy car? The opinions on this subject would vary as much as the number of people on Earth.
My personal view, I rather like the match-up I mentioned earlier with the GN and the AMG Hammer. However, the ultimate good guy car for a car chase scene would be the 1980 Aston Martin V8 Vantage. V8 power going to the correct set of wheels and a beautiful symphony coming from the exhaust. A muscle car ala’ Great Britain. A track record for representing the good thanks to James Bond, it has already proven itself through heritage.
What would the evilest of evil cars be that is chasing our hero? If we were keeping with the British spy theme, then the award would go to a Lada of some sort. But that is not going to happen here. I think the ultimate bad guy car would be a matte black, murdered out Lamborghini Aventador. It’s menacing appearance, sharp angles, and overall presence on the road as it drives give it the persona of the ultimate baddie.
Now, is it evenly matched? No, of course not, the 80’s era performance of the Aston Martin is no match for the Aventador. But with a little movie magic, it would be a fun scene to watch. All I know is I am cheering for the Vantage.
What cars would you choose?