Soundeffects Wiki

This is a rare car crash sound effect that is believed to be in the 20th Century Fox Sound Effects library. It's sometimes called the "wilhelm scream for cars" by some who know anything about it, but anyone who has played Driver: You Are The Wheelman on either PS1 or PC will know it as the crashing sound used in game. 

The earliest known films that it's heard in (The French Connection and Vanishing Point) were released in 1971. Most of the known early titles it showed up in are 20th Century Fox films, indicating that 20th Century Fox was the main production company that utilized it within the early years of its existence. It would not be until 1972 when Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids  (1972-1985) started airing on ABC TV on September 9, 1972 to theaters when another movie production company (ABC TV in this case) gained access to it. The latest known usage for it was in the 1988 MGM film "Killer Clowns from Outer Space", though it's  not fully  confirmed that this was when it was last utilized.

It's not known whether or not the sound is copyrighted, but what is known about it is that there's one individual known on YouTube as "77Pacer" who knows more about the sound than anyone else. He has a copy of the PC Port of "Driver: You Are The Wheelman", which 'drives' his love affair for the sound. He loves it so much that he not only adopted the sound for his own sound effects library, but he even utilized it in his own movies (including Return of the Black Thrasher: The Movie). He even has it as the default notification sound on his Android mobile phone. 

NOTE: The reason 20th Century Fox is believed to be the original owner of the sound effect is due to the fact that 19 out of 35 titles the sound effect is used in are 20th Century Fox productions. 13 of the titles also have American Sound Effects engineer Theodore Soderberg (1923-2012), who is believed to be one of the guys who owned the sound. To further prove this theory, Soderberg's Wikipedia article states that he was active from 1970 to 1986, which happens to be the same time frame as the releases of the Movies/TV Shows in which the sound byte was heard. However, this could also be a hint that the sound was recorded in 1970, even though no movies or tv shows released that year are on the list yet.

Used in

TV Shows

  • Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1972-1985)
  • M*A*S*H (1972-1983)
  • The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show (1980)(heard at the beginning of the episode "Get Along, Little Jerry").
  • The Fall Guy (1981-1986)(heard in the Season 3 episodes "Dirty Laundry" and "The Last Drive").
  • Cagney and Lacey (1982-1988)(variant/possible alternate take)(heard in the Season 3 episode "Unusual Occurrence"


  • The French Connection (1971)
  • Vanishing Point (1971)
  • The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
  • The Last American Hero (1973)
  • The Seven-Ups (1973)
  • The Towering Inferno (1974)
  • Race With The Devil (1975)
  • The French Connection II (1975)
  • The Kansas City Massacre (1975)
  • Cannonball (1976)
  • Gator (1976)
  • Silver Streak (1976)
  • Damnation Alley (1977)
  • Smokey and the Bandit (1977)(original mono soundtrack only)
  • Wizards (1977)
  • The Driver (1978)
  • Hooper (1978)
  • The Soldier (1982)
  • The Terminator (1984) (original mono soundtrack only)
  • Commando (1985)
  • Mischief (1985)
  • The Man With One Red Shoe (1985)
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
  • Return of the Black Thrasher: The Movie (2009 original and 2017 Improved Edition)
  • Bonestyx's Return (2020)

NOTE: Each title in bold text is a 20th Century Fox production, titles produced or distributed by other production studios are normal text.

Video Games

PlayStation 1:

  • Driver: You Are The Wheelman (1999)
  • Driver 2: The Wheelman is Back (2000)


  • Vanishing Point (1971)
  • Shaft's Big Score (1972)(high pitched variant)
  • The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
  • The Seven-Ups (1973)
  • 99 and 44/100% Dead (1974)
  • The Towering Inferno (1974)
  • Race With The Devil (1975)
  • Silver Streak (1976)
  • Smokey & the Bandit (1977)
  • The Hunter (1980)
  • Eyewitness (1981)
  • Impulse (1984)
  • Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986)
  • Maximum Overdrive (1986)
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
  • Bonestyx's Return (2020)

YouTube Videos

Audio Samples

This is a version of the Driver crashing sound which has been spliced together with the second half of the equivalent second half heard in the trailer of "The Seven-Ups" (1973) to better match the original master of the sound effect, giving the sound the correct tailoff that is commonly heard in its earliest movie/TV Show appearance.

The original crashing sound file from the PC Port of "Driver: You Are The Wheelman". Originally in .WAV format, but was later converted to .OGG for uploading. Compared to the sound effect listed above, which is supposed to represent the original master, this one is a bit truncated at the end. This particular version of the sound was actually recorded from the parking garage scene in The Driver (1978).

An alternate recording of the sound that was found on a sound effects website back in 2010. This particular sound file was originally titled "crashit.wav", but it was changed to "Crash-hit.ogg" instead, as to avoid the name being suspected to have a curse in it despite the original name being the 2 words "crash" and "hit" mixed together.

An audio file containing a seemingly closer to master copy of the sound, recorded from the ending of the movie Vanishing Point (1971). The original .wav file was in the Cinesound Sound Effects Library, believing that it could be Cinesound.

Clean, Full Length and Unedited Link to the Sound Effect


So far the closest to the original master copy as anyone can get on Sound Effects Wiki, or anywhere on the Internet for that matter. If anybody has a much better sounding version, PLEASE let me know. Thank you very much.