Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
July 31, 2015

Don’t you just hate it when you hear about a new “car movie” coming out, only to be at best disappointed and at worst angered by the finished product? The first “The Fast & Furious” was like that for me; I mean really, at that time nobody called nitrous oxide “Nawss” except maybe the dweebie import posers that didn’t know any better (but then that’s who the movie was aimed at, sadly). Unfortunately, because of that franchise’s incredible success, “NOS” is no longer an acronym for Nitrous Oxide Systems but now a generic term like Kleenex or Xerox, and that’s just annoying. Anyway, a few years ago we heard about a movie being made called Clutch and were told it was the lovechild of a true car guy, Jay Rowlands, who also wrote, directed, and starred in it. Our first impression was, “Oh no, not again,” but Jay (a Facebook friend) sent us a copy to review and this one’s actually pretty good.

Billed as “the one [movie] made by a true muscle car enthusiast,” Clutch features American muscle cars, real car sounds, drivers, stunts, and no CGI. Clutch is a full feature length (110 minutes) dramatic action film that, in the words of the creator, “Tells the story of a struggling small town racer who finds out there are no short cuts to victory lane. Race driver Travis Engels risks his life, friends, and freedom when he takes a wrong turn in his attempts to support his racing. Clutch is a full-throttle effort to tell a story about the truth and integrity of basic humanity while combining the elements of action, romance, comedy, and human emotion. Filmed entirely in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and packed with the most popular American musclecars ever, Clutch is a tribute to the Hollywood car films of the ’60s and ’70s.”

Though the main hero cars are mostly GM iron, the movie does start out with a moody scene involving a ’62 Lincoln Continental, and there is a lot of vintage Trans Am racing featuring a handful of Mustangs and even a GT40. This is where the movie excels—the racing action (filmed at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wa) is pretty good and the technical bits are pretty accurate. The one technical thing that was a little “off” for my taste was in the beginning, when a stuck float prompts them to run and get an entirely different carburetor to fix it, while the other race cars are already leaving the grid to go on-track and they’re facing disqualification. Hey guys, ever heard of just tapping the float bowl with a wrench? Works every time.

Some of the establishing scenes run on too long, but in this case that’s fine because it’s good car porn. There is also one blatant Edelbrock stroke-job but that’s understandable from a shoestring-budget project that needs all the financial help it can get. There’s also some good street racing action (though it takes place in daylight, which we’ve never witnessed in reality), quality wrenching, and even a very short bit of female nudity! At the end of the movie, the takeaway for us was that it’s a very entertaining movie for car guys, the production values were far better than expected, the music was pretty cool, and it didn’t make me want to go punch a wall like most car movies do. In fact, I’d recommend it to any car guy or girl reading this.

The movie is produced by Jay’s Renegade Productions, and is available for $19.95 ($24.95 for BluRay) at www.clutchthemovie.com. If you want to watch a trailer, check it out at www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8KupAUczy4 or below.