It’s called “stealing a shot,” a Hollywood term that means shooting commercial footage without a permit. Technically, anytime you whip out a camera in the L.A. Basin with the intent to publish the results (movie, print, interwebs, whatever) for personal gain, you need a permit.

We’re about to “steal a shot” on a forlorn stretch of pavement wedged between scrap yards. A few cracks in the pavement are large enough to swallow small children. Broken bits of glass and metal litter the ground. If this were a movie, a car would be spewn from these fissures, a car like Dax Shepard’s ’67 Lincoln Continental. Like some dark angel’s limo, this pitch-black Conti reeks of malevolence. The way it sits, the way it looks, the way it sounds. As the engine fires up, a dog vomits two blocks away.

At first glance, it’s improbable that a Hollywood A-list actor like Dax would drive such a beast, except for the fact that he’s one of the most approachable, down-to-earth guys you’ll ever meet. And this Conti has been something of a family member—in both hard times and now the good times. But this car, this demonic thing on four wheels, doesn’t seem to suit a Hollywood roller. Maybe a Ferrari, or Lambo, or (God forbid) a Prius would be the expected conveyance.

Truth is, Dax was born and bred in the Motor City, and it’s as much a part of his DNA as his intense blue eyes. “I’m from Detroit,” Dax explained. “My dad sold Fords for a living and my mom worked at the GM proving grounds in Milford. She started as a night shift janitor and worked her way up to fleet manager. “Eventually she started her own company called Shows and Shoots. We’d do new car launches for GM. By the time I was 16, I was sliding Corvettes and Impalas around corners for all the big magazines and driving for press people on Road America. I did that for 14 years. What a great gig.”

Of course, we don’t know any of this as we set up for the action shot. All we’re thinking about is 700-plus brake horsepower wrapped in 5,300 pounds of steel flying sideways into a wall. No good can come of this. We give Dax about 6 seconds of instruction: come around this corner and try to pitch out the rear end. We figure it’ll all be over in a few minutes, and we’ll be home in time to catch the end of Pawn Stars while the Conti is being hooked to a meat wagon.

We hear the injected big-block Ford spool up, a sound akin to the ripping of heavy gauge canvas. The Lincoln’s rear tires are boiling, tearing chunks from the road. Dax rounds the corner in a perfect drift, adding just enough throttle to maintain its arc. As he flies past, a white tornado follows the sedan. A quick review of the images and (as they say in the biz) we have nailed it … on the first pass no less. There’s no real need to replay the scene, save our urge to learn if the guy was just lucky. He does the exact same maneuver another four times. OK, the guy has some talent.

For a time, the Lincoln Continental was the preferred conveyance for all manner of VIPs. Its long wheelbase and wide stance left plenty of room for important people to do important things while seated within. Power windows and doors, cruise control, power seats, and an adjustable steering wheel left the Lincoln the epitome of posh. And those suicide doors were perfect for making grand entrances.

If the car looks familiar, it’s because you’re one of the lucky car nuts who this past August traded the torrid heat for an air-conditioned movie theater. This ’67 Lincoln—and the man behind its wheel—starred in Hit & Run, a stunt-filled action comedy written, produced, directed, edited, and acted by Dax. If you saw this flick, you probably didn’t realize that not only is this Dax’s prized hot rod, but Dax performed all his own stunt driving. That degree of multitasking can often lead to disaster—you’ve heard the old saying “jack of all trades, master of none”—but that clearly isn’t the case here. Hit & Run is arguably the best car-based comedy since Smokey & The Bandit. If you haven’t seen it, you owe yourself to rent it. Hit & Run should be on your Top 10 car movie list, but we digress.

This Lincoln entered Dax’s life around 1999 while he was an anthropology student at UCLA. “A friend of mine had bought the car from some old lady in Iowa,” Dax says. “It had like 37,000 on the odometer and was in good shape. I totally fell in love with it. He moved to New York, ran out of money, and like an idiot, I sold my super-dependable Honda and bought it from him. This was a real low point for me financially. I’m driving around in this great big undependable boat while looking for acting work. I’d been doing some stuff with The Groundlings, a comedy troupe, while going to school but nothing serious. I was freakin’ penniless. Then I get a gig on this show called Punk’d. It goes big-time, and I get in front of a larger audience. For the next several years, I did back-to-back movies. I now had the money to do this stuff—play with cars.”

After a short stint in a Lonestar factory-built Cobra replica (with an actual FE 428 big-block), Dax grew tired of the citations for noise and getting caught in rainstorms without a roof. Though the Conti’s performance was a far cry from the Cobra, he couldn’t part with it. In a move all you hot rodders will applaud, he dumped the Cobra and put the proceeds into the Lincoln. “The Lincoln was terrible to drive,” Dax recalls. “It didn’t stop, couldn’t accelerate, and wouldn’t turn, but I loved the damn thing. That’s when I called Tony Loguzzo with an idea: Let’s turn this three-ton clunker into a CTS-V.”