Two Lane Blacktop is a 1971 movie starring singer and songwriter James Taylor plus Warren Oates, Laurie Bird, and Dennis Wilson. Directed by Monte Hellman the film was not a commercial success and is considered a cult classic. Two Lane Blacktop takes place along America’s main street, U.S. Route 66 during the pre-Interstate Highway days. It has also become popular with fans of Route 66 that originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through the southwest to California, before ending at Los Angeles for a total of 2,448 miles.
In the film the two street racers (Taylor and Wilson) are plying their trade on the streets of Southern California until they encounter Oates and challenge him to a cross country race to Washington DC. The prize for the winner is to be the loser’s car. The race eventually leads them to Memphis, TN, where the street racers decide to do some legit drag racing in search of fast cash at Lakeland Raceway.
The Movie Two Lane Blacktop
The 55 Chevy featured in the 1971 Monte Hellman film Two Lane Blacktop was originally constructed by Richard Ruth and built for speed. There were 1 or 2 other versions of the car used for in car scenes. However the main star car was a real street/strip 55 Chevy that looked just like most of the hot rod 55 Chevrolet’s of the early 1970’s. One of these spare cars were used in the movie American Graffiti. Just a few of the features of this the 1955 Chevy reveals a handmade aluminum hood scoop, Weiand tunnel ram intake with twin Holley 450 mechanical carbs, fenderwell exhaust headers, and a roller cam. The result is some serious horsepower.
James Taylor, Laurie Bird, and Dennis Wilson
The car also has a fiberglass flip front end, and cut out rear wheel wells for the oversized race tires with American Racing 200S custom wheels that is attached to the stock width differential.
Stars of Two Lane Blacktop
James Taylor and Laurie Bird