My Car Quest

December 6, 2022

Carey Loftin – One Of The Best Movie Stunt Drivers Liked To Drive Fast

by Mike – 

Carey Loftin was one of the best stunt drivers in the movie business.

A friend of mine, who used to hang out with Carey Loftin and Max Balchowsky, on occasion, shares information that I have never heard before.

Carey Loftin In The Movies and TV

Loftin performed some of the exciting driving scenes for Steve McQueen in Bullitt and was the truck driver in Steven Spielberg’s Duel.

Carey Loftin and one of his Bizzarrini GT 5300s, photo courtesy of Dave Loftin (from Darren Frank)

Carey Loftin and one of his Bizzarrini GT 5300s, photo courtesy of Dave Loftin (from Darren Frank)

Other films in which he was involved: Vanishing Point, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Walt Disney’s The Love Bug, The French Connection and many others listed in his International Movie Database biography.

Carey Loftin drove the truck that killed Edith Keeler in the Star Trek episode, The City on the Edge of Forever. The car chase in Against All Odds, where he was the driver of the black Ferrari, was made when he was 68 years old.

Loftin also had acting roles in a few movies and TV shows.

Ol' Yaller, one of Max Balchowsky's race cars, being used as a camera car on <em>Bullitt.</em>

Ol’ Yaller, one of Max Balchowsky’s race cars, being used as a camera car on Bullitt.

Ol' Yaller, one of Max Balchowsky's race cars, being used as a camera car on <em>Bullitt.</em>

Ol’ Yaller, one of Max Balchowsky’s race cars, being used as a camera car on Bullitt.

Carey Loftin had the habit of bringing his own cars to the movie set and using them as background cars. If you look closely at the opening scenes of Bullitt in the garage is a green Bizzarrini briefly in the background, on the right in the image below.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 in Bullitt

Above is the Bullitt scene – the Bizzarrini, to the right, is difficult to see but it is more clear when you watch the movie.

It is likely that this car in the opening scenes of Bullitt is this maroon Bizzarrini below (chassis No. 0286). This car has evidence that it was once green and there were not many green Bizzarrinis. This car is now in Canada being restored.

Bizzarrini GT 5300

Loftin owned several Bizzarrini GT 5300s and two Iso Rivolta GTs, which he and Steve McQueen were known to drive around town.

New Stories

A friend of mine (a long time Bizzarrini GT 5300 owner) who used to hang out with Carey Loftin and Max Balchowsky on occasion told me that it was impossible to tell who owned which car because Loftin and Balchowsky would trade off cars depending on their mood and maybe the condition of the car.

My friend was driving one of Loftin’s Bizzarrini GT 5300s heading North on Highway One just south of Big Sur one day when a driver, who apparently was not familiar with the winding road, came around the corner across the center line. The Bizzarrini had to move quickly and unfortunately kissed the hillside with the nose of the Bizzarrini. The Bizzarrini was drivable and my friend drove it all the way back to Balchowsky’s shop.

Carey Loftin drove his cars fast and he had a few speeding tickets in his day. There is also an unsubstantiated story about one of Loftin’s Bizzarrinis rolling off a cliff on Highway One and being destroyed.

Motorcycles

Loftin liked motorcycles and was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2001.

Carey Loftin and Dale Robertson on a motorcycle

Carey Loftin with Actor Rory Calhoun in the Sidecar

Carey Loftin

Carey Loftin

Carey Loftin died in Huntington Beach, California on March 4, 1997 of natural causes he was 83 years old.

I like that he died naturally at a good age considering his profession was very dangerous.

###

Steve McQueen in Bullitt

Steve McQueen in Bullitt

Summary
Carey Loftin – One Of The Best Movie Stunt Drivers Liked To Drive Fast
Article Name
Carey Loftin – One Of The Best Movie Stunt Drivers Liked To Drive Fast
Description
Carey Loftin - one of the great movie stunt drivers and a fast driver of fast cars. He worked with Steve McQueen on Bullitt and many other movies.
Author

Comments

  1. Fascinating character, I have seen most of these movies. It must have been fun to hang out with him and his friends.

  2. georgeg20 says

    Wow, how lucky can you get to have such a place in the automotive movie history? the Bullitt chase is perhaps the most famous movie chase in history… and what great time off screen…

  3. Was Loftin ever married or have any kids? I can’t find very much info about him. I’ve always admired stuntman………such bravery.

    • I believe he did have a family. This is a link to his IMDB profile: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0517444/

    • Andrea Daniel says

      This is a late reply. i hope it gets through. His family and mine were neighbors in Studio City, California – named for Republic Studios. I recall there were two sons. I knew he was a stunt man but didn’t think much about it until the internet came along and I decided to look up his name.

    • Melinda Loftin says

      Carey did have a family. He had two sons, Doug and Jim who he was very close to. He was married as well. He has one grandson, Brian who he was also very close to. I am married to Brian. Carey was the most wonderful, loving, and giving grandpa and is missed very much! It’s wonderful to read all the kind comments here about him and they mean so much to his grandson as well.

      • Andrea Daniel says

        Thanks Melinda. I just saw this today. To us children on the street, the Loftin’s were just another friendly family on Rhodes Avenue. There was no pretense about any of them.

  4. I worked with Carey on 5 or 6 films and he could really get the job done even up to 70 years old. Not only a great stuntman a fun guy to be around and a real gentleman, many fond memories. I feel fortunate to have known and worked with him. Joie Chitwood Jr

  5. I worked as an extra in 1973 on Spielberg’s “The Sugarland Express” and Carey was the stunt coordinator for the film. In fact, he was the very first person I met in the film business! He was very friendly always and liked to tell stories of various movies on which he had worked, i.e., Bullitt and It’s a Mad…World. He had a blue Bizzarrini that he was driving on our set. He said that he owned several. I remember him doing a crash seen (stunt) at 3:20 a.m. one morning on our film and he walked away like it was just a walk in the park. Quite an incredible man. I read somewhere that he got paid $100,000 for the stunts in Mad World which I guess would be over 1 million dollars today. Sorry to hear that he’s passed away. I’ll always remember his smile and laugh, his gray hair, the blue Bizzarrini, and how personable he was to me.

    • Wallace Wyss says

      I met Loftin at a bar when I saw his green Bizzarrini parked outside.He had a story about how he had to take over driving from McQueen during Bullitt. He had a wife when I knew him in his final years, but earlier, one time I believe on a film set a babe attached herself to him thinking he was the star because of his Bizzarrini. He might have married her. I bought his yellow Bitz in my role as a barn finder, for I think somewhere between $30 and $60K. His wife cried when I towed it away, knowing that the Bitz cars were part of his identity. I found out about it when the Iso Bitz club threw a party at his house and I saw the home-grown re-upholstery job had never been completed.

  6. wallace wyss says

    I didn’t keep the SN. I can’t remember the color. It was covered with dirt when he opened the garage door. I know the dashboard was all in shards. There is a Bizzarrini register I have on file, I haven’t printed it out and don’t know if it’s ;listed. I gather the Register is quite out of date now but I remember when I first came across it there were cars listed there that I barn found. without my name attached since I didn’t register them. One Bizzarrini I am interested in hearing about its fate is the one Carey had where it caught on fire and cracked the windscreen so he sold the whole car for $3000 to a Mike Boen who lived in the small town of Mt.Baldy Viilage (maybe 50 people) I thought how hard could it be to find that car in such a small town but in that register it listed later owners so that lead fizzled out. Maybe the IBOC makes this Register available….though how useful would it be if it was issued decades ago?

  7. David Loftin says

    My great uncle… my goodness do I have story being late for a flight coming out of the Colorado mountains after a family reunion…. Holy $&$$… that rental car had no brakes or tires when we pulled into Hertz..

  8. I think Loftin’s attraction to the Bizzarrini was what helped him in his film career–where stars like McQueen would jump from one brand to another, Loftin would stick with the Bitz so when he drove it onto the lot, producers nd directors would ask an associate “What is that car?” and “Who’s driving it?” and then when they needed a stuntman the call would go out to find that guy with that wild car. The general impression was :”Anybody ho can drive something that wild must be hell on wheels.”.

    Carey told me he would drive the car to a location where he would be doing some stunt driving even if it wasn’t planned to be in the film, and get more attention locally than the stars, as once happened in New Orleans.

Speak Your Mind

*