Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
This was the first real car movie I remember seeing. I didn't really get the story as a kid, or maybe I didn't care. The film revolved around an insurance salesmen and his crew. This man steals cars, remodels them, and turns quite a profit. In the movie some big-shot offers him huge money to steal 48 specific cars. He accepts the offer and begins collecting the list of cars. Honestly, the first hour of the movie is extremely uneventful. After seeing it a few times, I began starting the movie at the final car chase, which is where the action really begins. 93 cars are destroyed in the final, forty-minute long, car chase. The film was written, directed, and produced by HB Halicki. He is also the main character in the film. Halicki began the make a sequel, and died while doing his own stunt for the film. It was never finished.
I actually can't seem to find this film streaming anywhere, but I know for a fact it is extremely cheap on DVD.
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
A remake on the 1974 film, Gone in 60 Seconds stars the one and only Nicolas Cage. It also has Angelina Jolie and Timothy Oliphant, but who cares compared to the Cage. The film's plot is similar, Cage portrays an ex-car thief. His brother is somehow in debt to some crazy British guy and owes him big. This British guy tells Cage that he must steal 50 specific cars in a few days to keep his brother alive. Production-wise, this film is much better. I'm not entirely sure the story is, but it holds my attention more. Obviously the acting is literally the best ever because Cage.
Vanishing Point (1971)
This film is heavily, heavily referenced in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, which I'll get to eventually. In this film, a car delivery man has to deliver a brand new, stock, 1970 Dodge Challenger. He makes a bet with somebody he can go from Denver to San Francisco in something like 15 hours. He runs into all sorts of shenanigans in the process, and it becomes a very scenic drive across the mid-west. There is even a wonderful blind black man who DJs while listening to police radio, helping the main character keep the police off his tail. It has one hell of an ending too. Another film I can't seem to find streaming, my apologies.
Death Race 2000 (1975)
This film is also on my list of best post-apocalyptic movies. The plot is very simple. There is a giant race across the United States, and drivers get points for each person they hit. The plot gets a little more complicated, but I don't want to give it away. The film stars David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone pre-Rocky. It's strange seeing Stallone as a bad guy, especially in a role like this. I think the newer Death Race movie is similar to this, but it never looked good enough to actually watch. Maybe I should! Let me know.
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
While I'm well aware this film isn't great, but it's fun. I'm not saying it is anything but fun. The film is about an undercover cop trying to get his way into the street racing scene to catch some thieves. These aren't your everyday thieves, though, they steal from semi-trucks that are in motion! Like I said, the film isn't perfect, and features way too many imports with way too many decals, but it has fast cars going fast, and really should you expect more from it? The film has spawn numerous, very successful sequels.
Fast and Furious (2009)
With this title, it almost seems like a remake or something. It isn't, it is actually the fourth in the series. I have actually only seen the first, a little of the second one, and the fourth one. It is apparently more of a direct sequel to the first one than 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift, the second and third films respectively. This film is about the former undercover cop, now FBI agent tracking a drug dealer who runs drugs from Mexico in expensive, high-profile cars. Apparently Fast Five, the sequel to this film, it phenomenal. I've been told it is easily the best, I'll find out soon!
Death Proof (2007)
Released theatrically as one of the two features in Grindhouse, I know this Quentin Tarantino film disappointed many. It was advertised as a car movie, and it is, it just takes a solid hour to get to that point. The film tells two separate but related stories. A former stuntman, Stuntman Mike hangs around at bars all night, but never drinks. He enjoys the food, atmosphere, but mainly the people. He essentially finds women, then kills them with his "death proof" car. He has this stunt car that is created to allow it to be in wrecks, but the driver will never die no matter how bad the crash. It got so much bad talk for having lengthy dialogue scenes and nothing really happening for lengthy periods of time. Come on guys, it's Tarantino.