The black car featured in the movie was a real-life technological wonder, the Dodge M4S. A joint effort of the Dodge Division of Chrysler Motors and PPG Industries, one of the highly sophisticated PPG Pace Cars for the PPG-CART Indy Car World Series. The M4S was designed and constructed at an estimated cost of $1.5 million, and featured performance and technology to match that lofty figure. The innovative body design was developed in the Chrysler studios, while PPG developed the finish - a special bronze pearl paint job formulated just for this car. The M4S was powered by a Chrysler 2.2-liter four-cylinder one-of-a-kind engine that exceeded 194 mph. According to Gary Hellerstein, transportation coordinator for this film, a total of seven versions of the M4S were needed for filming. The original, on loan from Dodge, was used for close-ups and details. Two more "drivers", consisting of perfectly detailed bodies on dune buggy chassis, were used for stunt driving chores. There were four "shells", empty bodies on bare, towable frames, that were sacrificed in various crash scenes.
While filming a chase sequence shot on a mountainside outside of Tuscon, a crew member was killed and another was critically injured. According to supplementary material on the DVD a camera car was overloaded and overturned. This was the only serious accident during the filming.
The "futuristic" weapon wielded by The Wraith is a Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun, with a folding stock. It was a 12-gauge tactical shotgun made in Italy, and has the unusual property of functioning in both pump and semi-automatic modes. The odd hook on the weapon is for firing the weapon one-handed with the stock extended, as it wraps around the forearm.
No explanation is given for the unusual metal bar body attachments that disappear after a kill, though some fans believe these are similar to support braces given people who've gone through severe physical trauma.
Packard Walsh drove a late-1970s Chevrolet Corvette with a custom paint job and nose clip, with the tail of an 84 Vette; Oggie drove a 1986 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z; Minty drove a 1977 Pontiac Firebird with a highly-visible (but apparently non-functional) supercharger; Skank and Gutterboy drove a beat-up 1966 Plymouth Barracuda; Rughead was driving a late-70's Chevrolet pickup. The couple who are cheated out of their car in the first race were driving a similar Daytona Turbo Z. The police drove a variety of mid-1980's Plymouth Caravelles and Gran Furys, as well as early-1980's Chevrolet Malibus; Sheriff Loomis drove a "civilian" Plymouth Caravelle.
This film contains recognizable elements from a clutch of other popular films: lights flying along lonely roadways and up into the night sky (Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)), heavy, mechanical breathing from a lone menacing figure dressed in an all-black body suit (Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)), road pirates terrorizing a wasteland territory in their modified cars (The Road Warrior (1981))), waving a handkerchief between two cars to start a two-car road race (Rebel Without a Cause (1955)) and a dark car from Hell (The Car (1977)). "I don't know, but whoever he was, he's weird and pissed off!" is a strikingly similar line to one spoken in The Thing (1982).
The place where The Wraith arrives to Earth is a desert crossroad. In several beliefs and superstitions a desert crossroad is considered a place to meet supernatural beings, in addition to deal treats with The Devil.