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Movies have an immense social power, and an incredible global reach. Cars have been used in films for over a century, and some movie cars have made a massive impact on our culture. What kid hasn’t dreamt of driving the Batmobile or having a dad that could afford a Ferrari (“he wouldn’t treat me as bad as Cameron” they would say to themselves)? The massive marketing (paid for, or not) campaign that exists when a car becomes the integral part of a film is undeniably influential. People flock to movie cars as a point of both nostalgia and a way to connect with their childhood heroes. The Fast and the Furious series has single-handily (shut up Transformers, no one can hear you over the GM ads) glorified our car-obsessed culture, while also adding fuel to the fire. Countless young people have developed a passion for cars due, in large part, to the seven-film franchise, while others have found an international voice for their under-appreciated, and expensive hobby. The release of Furious 7 this Friday comes preceded by massive ad pushes, focusing on the truly incredible Lykan HyperSport. Coming with a $3.4 million price tag, the HyperSport is the most expensive car in the franchise, and one of the most valuable cars ever shown on film. After jumping theirs between two buildings, they let it fall tens-of-stories to the ground (all CGI… hopefully). While this audacious stunt will not likely affect the Lebanese car company’s sales, it got us thinking about the top movie cars of all time; cars that are nearly inseparable from their cinematic counterparts. These are the ten that we came up with – it was not easy – that have come to mind over the past several weeks. If we missed your favorite, let us know.
10. Bluesmobile (1974 Dodge Monaco) – Blues Brothers The cigarette lighter might not work, but this beast is a beauty. Equipped with a “cop motor, cop tires, cop suspension, and cop shocks,” this ’74 Monaco was made before catalytic converters were put into use, so “it’ll run good on regular gas.” Having traded in the original Bluesmobile for a microphone, Elwood (Aykroyd) was able to pick up this “440 Magnum” packaged Dodge Monaco at auction from the Mount Prospect, Illinois police department. It’s not the prettiest car on this list, but it has one heck of a loudspeaker system, and can fly if Nazis are ever chasing you.
9. Austin Mini Cooper / Mini Cooper S – The Italian Job The 1969 Italian Job will always beat the 2003 version: end of story. With one of the single most iconic car chases in cinematic history, The Italian Job was able to spur on Austin’s production of the Cooper, and was responsible for a massive uptick in Cooper modification.
7. Eleanor (1967 Mustang Fastback/ 1971 Mustang Sportsroof) – Gone in 60 Seconds The ’67 Fastback is a beautiful car. While the 1971 Gone in 60 Seconds set an exhilarating bar, the 2000 remake was slightly more dignified. The original was marketed for its rampaging sequences of car destruction and mayhem, whereas the remake was more about an intricately-planned heist. However, the original made this list simply because of the filmmakers’ audacity to credit the Mustang – the only Mustang ever credited in a feature film, Eleanor. Becoming Nic Cage’s nemesis in the remake, Eleanor, was his only source of unease in undertaking the mass robbery, consisting of stealing 50 cars in one night. After the film’s release, 1960s Mustangs were ripped from junk yards, given a hood scoop, body modifications, and a rear spoiler, painted gunmetal gray (signature black racing stripes were a must), and sold for crazy amounts of money. In an era dominated by colorful sports cars and Japanese imports, Eleanor represented a return to American-made cars, and the reclamation of a great history of senseless, gas-guzzling muscle.
6. The DeLorean (DMC 12) – Back to The Future Looking like it came from the future, this all stainless-steel creation of John DeLorean has made it into the lexicon of car history. Skyrocketing to fame in the 1980’s, the DeLorean owes most of its success to the genius of Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and a flux capacitor. Gull-wing doors, rear shade and “paint-less” exterior give the DeLorean an unmistakable presence on the road. Unfortunately, DMC went out of business shortly before the release of the film, so no proceeds were ever seen from the 1985 film. A recent resurgence in demand for the unique cars (’80s kids are growing up) lead a Texas businessman to acquire the patents and unused parts in order to continue production of the famous time-traveling car.
5. Twin Mitsubishis (2001 Eclipse Spyder and Evo VIII) – 2 Fast 2 Furious Some say 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, others the 1995 Toyota Supra, but I say the best Fast and the Furious cars were the “twin” Mitsubishis from 2 Fast 2 Furious. When the sequel in the (now seven film) lengthy saga was released, America was obsessed with “tuning” their cars. What high school aged male in 2003 did not want to go out, buy a crappy Honda Civic, and pour thousands of dollars worth of imaginary money into fixing it up? 2 Fast 2 Furious represented the blind obsession that was jump-started by its predecessor, and reached its pinnacle when U.S. Customs bestowed Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Brian (Paul Walker) with a pair of over-the-top Mitsubishis. A ghosted purple paint job and chrome rims on the Eclipse seem to accent Roman’s personality perfectly, as the “more reserved” hardtop Evo is a apt compliment to Brian’s tuner sensibilities. The sheer audacity of these two cars, bright neon paint jobs, and the insane modifications, reflected the culmination of a worldwide craze to “pimp your ride,” paying incredible sums of money to make average cars look/ go fast.
4. Pursuit Special (1973 Ford Falcon XB GT) – Mad Max Remember when Mel Gibson wasn’t crazy? Those were good times. With the impending release of Mad Max: Fury Road, it seems only right to put the original on this list. Assembled by Murray Smith II, Peter Arcadipane, Ray Beckerley and others, the Pursuit Special was simply the Falcon XB GT with a fiberglass nose cone and a crazy, protruding supercharger. Able to chase down marauding hoards of satanic, post-apocalyptic biker gangs, the Pursuit Special is a mean machine.
3. Bandit Car (1977 Pontiac Trans Am) – Smokey and the Bandit If you ever make it into the competitive trucking game, and need a spotter car, look no further than the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am – golden firebird optional. One of the most iconic film cars of all time, the Bandit car was one of the most easily attainable vehicles on this list, which only added to its popularity. Massively appealing to car collectors and movie buffs alike, the Bandit car still makes an appearance on streets all over the world.
2. Bullitt Mustang (1968 Mustang GT) – Bullitt Steve McQueen made Mustang what it is. Giving the “average” priced car celebrity status, McQueen’s jazz-scored film elevated the Mustang into the sights of the rich and famous. Featuring some riveting car chases in and around San Francisco, Bullitt took the hard-boiled, police-centric film to new heights. Leaving an indelible mark on the Mustang, Bullitt stuck with the brand, leading to Ford’s release of a 2008 version of the iconic car for the film’s 40th anniversary.
1. 1974 Aston Martin DB5 – Goldfinger The movie car to end all movie cars. Not only does (almost) every Bond film feature a fantastically expensive luxury car, but each has also been custom fit for the master of espionage. While not the first Bond car, the Aston DB5 is, without a doubt, the most iconic. Sporting a crazy array of far out gadgetry, the Bond DB5 had a smoke screen, revolving license plates, oil slick, tire-shredders, and the infamous ejector seat. One of the most beautiful Bond cars ever selected, the DB5 is the most iconic movie car ever.