Hot Rod Movies
CALIFORNIA KID (1974)
A sadistic small town sherriff has a habit of deliberately forcing speedsters to their deaths on mountain roads leading into town. The brother of one of the victims rolls into town in his hot rod to investigate his brother's death. Made for TV movie.
It is 1958, and in a small town named Clarksburg, travelers who exceed the speed limit become the victims an over-zealous Sheriff (Vic Morrow) and a corrupt court. Even the cab driver who ferries the drivers back to their cars is in on the corrupt scheme. But the sherriff is more than over-zealous. His humanity is damaged by personal tragedy, and when speeding drivers attempt to run, he punishes them by running them off the road with fatal results. However, one day, the brother (Martin Sheen) of one of his victims drives into the town in a mean 1934 Ford hot rod looking for a showdown with the Sheriff, and the stage is set for a duel of wits and driving ability. He captures the attention of a waitress (Michelle Phillips) with a husband in lockup, and a good-guy mechanic (Nick Nolte). When the mechanics teenage brother becomes the next victim of the Sherriff, things threaten to boil over. But the California Kid has a plan to let the Sherriff's bring himself down.
Until 1961, all road striping in California was white. Many shots show yellow center striping. It may have been possible for the double yellow lines to be present but single dashed striping was white until the rules changed 1971. California, as with most of the USA repainted from 1971-1975. The film is set in 1958.
When "The Kid" shows his car to the Sheriff, the fuel induction setup appears to be four 2-barrel carburetors on a small block Chevy. Later, when "The Kid" is working on his car at the garage, the engine has a Holley 4-barrel carburetor.
The engine in the real '34 Ford was just a plain 302 Ford with a single four barrel carb. To make it appear more of a hot rod engine, the engine actually shown to Sheriff Roy Childress is the 327 Chevy from the yellow '32 coupe from American Graffiti with 4 two barrel carbs.
The car his brother was driving is a coupe with the small rear side glass, but the one in the junk yard was a sedan with the larger side glass. Share this
During one chase, the striping on the road is yellow, a second take the striping is white. During the time of filming, the USA was changing from white road striping to yellow
Crew or equipment visible
When Michael is in the junk yard, walking along the side of the wreakedcar his brother was killed in, you can see the reflection of a large studio light in the side window of that car for a brief moment.
Directors: Richard T. Heffron
Written by: Richard Compton
Actors: Nick Nolte - Buzz Stafford
Michelle Phillips - Maggie
Stuart Margolin - Deputy
Vic Morrow - Sheriff Roy Childress
Martin Sheen - Michael McCord
Filming Locations: Piru, California, USA
Format: Color (Technicolor), DVD, NTSC
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Timeless Media Group
DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
Release Date: 25 September 1974 (USA)
Run Time: 74 minutes