The second of two 928s used for driving scenes was a 1979 928 with a five-speed manual transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels, and an all-gold interior. Avnet claims to have taught Tom Cruise how to drive a stick-shift in this car. Since it was a pre-1981 model, it didn’t come with factory Platinum Metallic skin, and thus had to be repainted to match the others. Used for just three days of filming, the ’79 car can be seen primarily in driving scenes with wide shots where the whole car is in view, as well as in portions of the chase scene. It was dubbed the “fill car” because it was used to fill in the gaps in the driving scenes during the editing process.
“The paper trail in the production files suggests that the late Jim Riccio, the film’s transportation captain, rented it from a props or movie-car broker in California — where it was returned after the filming commenced,” says Johnsen.
The third RB 928 was used for just one scene. It is the car Rebecca DeMornay’s character, Lana, knocked out of gear just before it began to roll towards Lake Michigan with the keys locked inside. This, too, was a 1979 five-speed 928, but it was unlike the main five-speed driver in that it had a cream-colored interior. Says Johnsen: “The five-speed ‘fill car’ from California was likely not in Chicago yet when that scene was shot and that is why a different five-speed was used,” based on Brickman’s recollection. Further confirmation that this car was sourced at the last minute came when Johnsen went through the film’s production files at Avnet’s office in Los Angeles, where he found no official documentation for this car.
The fourth and final RB 928 used for filming was the result of the previous said car being knocked out of gear with the keys locked inside. Car four was rented from a production props broker in Cali-fornia and dumped into Lake Michigan. The “dump car,” as it’s referred to, started life as a brown 1979 928 automatic with 16-inch Phone Dials. It was re-sprayed in Platinum Metallic to match the others after it arrived in Chicago. To comply with state pollution regulations as well as to “preserve” the drivetrain and electronics, the dump car was gutted. The missing V8 is obvious on film, as the front ride height is several inches higher than normal when it teeters on the rickety wooden pier. After it was pulled from the lake, it was reassembled and sent back to the California prop broker. Johnsen did find documentation of the “dump car” in the production files, but no VIN number was found.
The fifth and sixth RB 928s were used in the film’s post-production phase. Car number five was either a 1978 or 1979 928, though it is not clear. It didn’t appear in the film, as it had a sunroof — a feature absent on all of the film cars. It played a significant role in the film’s publicity campaign, though. It was the car used in the film’s movie-poster photo session. While American and Japanese posters had an illustration of the 928 with DeMornay sprawled across the hood, the French version of the movie poster used one of the pictures from the photo session. It was only after another conversation with producer Jon Avnet that Johnsen discovered a sixth car — sort of: “The sounds dubbed for the cars were from a 928 in California. So, just for the record, I guess you could consider that to be the sixth car.”