Double Nickels (1977) – ripper car movies

They enforced the speed limit… but broke every rule of the road


California Highway Patrol buddies, Smokey (director Jack Vacek pulling double duties) and Ed (Edward Abrahms) are happily living a carefree 1970s life of fun, booze and women, when a fluke roadside encounter offers them a chance to earn some extra scratch.

First published in the April 2024 issue of Street Machine

Their new acquaintance, George (George Cole), runs a repossession team and is looking for extra staff to help recover cars and boats, and he thinks the duo have just the means and street smarts to make the perfect pairing.

The boys get busy repossessing all manner of new and luxury rides, but a couple of unusual encounters raise their suspicions. They’re smacked by a curveball when they learn they’re flat-out stealing cars, but some stern words with George reveal he seems to be innocent in the whole affair.

George has been acting as a middleman for local gangster Lewis Sloan (Tex Taylor), who he believed was working with a local insurance company. However, it turns out the whole thing is a front for a car-theft ring. Lewis tries to appease Smokey, Ed and George by claiming he’s sorting out debts to loan sharks, but the boys don’t buy it and soon hatch a plan to nail Lewis and his cronies while ensuring none of the shit sticks to their own involvement.

With token spunks Tami and Pokie (sisters Heidi and Patrice Schubert) along for the ride, this flick spotlights all that was hot during the 1970s: custom vans, CB culture, dune buggies, flared jeans and smoky pegleg burnouts. Although the acting and storyline leave plenty to be desired, the car action is cool, plentiful and fiery, even involving a couple of stunt concepts I’d never seen over my nearly 50 years of watching car-action movies.

This film oozes Gone in 60 Seconds vibes, which is no coincidence – lead actor and director, Jack Vacek, not only starred in H.B. Halicki’s 1974 box-office smash, but was also the cinematographer of the flick. For Double Nickels, Vacek acted and directed as per his Halicki mentor, but also drew on the Halicki formula of casting family and friends in major roles. If donning both acting and directing caps wasn’t enough, Vacek was also the screenwriter, executive producer, producer and editor for this flick. Phew!

VERDICT: 2.5/5

Was this a box-office smash? Definitely not. Is it a carefree option to while away a lazy Sunday? Most certainly. Though it feels just like an extended episode of CHiPs (even the bongo music and intro font is on point), the collection of chase scenes in Double Nickels harks back to a golden era of movie and TV action, which will make you crack a smile via the copious body-rolling and smoky fishtailing. However, it is the two cops racing each other to the donut shop that firmly stamps the
ultimate cliche.


  • 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
  • 1973 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
  • 1957 Chevrolet 3100 Task Force
  • 1974 Dodge Monaco
  • 1974 Fiat 124 Spyder
  • 1975 Ford Econoline
  • 1971 Ford Pinto
  • 1977 Cadillac Coupe de Ville
  • 1977 Mercedes Benz 450SEL
  • Custom sandrail dune buggy


  • Jack Vacek
  • Edward Abrahms
  • George Cole
  • Patrice Schubert
  • Tex Taylor
  • Heidi Schubert
  • Daryl Blankenship

Jack Vacek

All types of car chases pad this movie out, while plenty of explosions and smoky one-wheeler burnouts are befitting of the era.

Two California police officers agree to repossess some cars to earn extra cash, but soon learn they are committing grand theft auto.

YouTube, DVD.

Many actors from Double Nickels also appeared in the original Gone in 60 Seconds, with the starring Cadillac sporting a matching ‘Ronald Moran Cadillac’ plate to pay homage to that iconic flick.