Famous movie cars often become such a core component of a film, that they are almost a leading character in their own right – but which are cinematic royalty?
Unsurprisingly, it’s not just the revheads that love the iconic vehicles of yesteryear. Iconic cars don’t only appeal to car lovers, but also attract those passionate about engineering, design, art and yes, history. Before cars were built for efficiency and speed, it was about the experience, style, exclusivity and ultimately, craftsmanship – making them timeless, works of art.
Needless to say, the big wigs in Hollywood evidently feel the same. Our favourite films often feature cars as the stars, which in turn has allowed studios to cash in on our love of automobiles around the world. However, not all famous movie cars were created equally, so which are the few that still hold special places in our hearts and became icons of pop culture?
Ten Unforgettable Famous Movie Cars
Nothing heralds cinematic nostalgia quite like the cars that our favourite characters drive, even if there is no actual racing involved. In many cases, these vehicles can become the visual icon for the entire film, and quickly become one of the marketing team’s best assets. Famous movie cars aren’t just props, they’re key elements of the film’s character development – but which did it best?
The Film: Back To The Future (1985)
The Car: 1981 DeLorean DMC-12
The Back Story: When paired with the flux capacitor, the ‘DeLorean Time Machine’ were instrumental in propelling our heroes Doc and Marty McFly to explore a multitude of decades via time travel. In the real world, the DeLorean wasn’t such a hit with buyers, but it’s futuristic design remains as one of the most easily recognisable symbols of the 1980’s even today.
The Film: Mad Max (1979)
The Car: 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon
The Back Story: Apart from the world famous drag queen ‘Priscilla’ tour bus, the Ford Falcon seen in the early Mad Max films is arguably the most iconic vehicle in Australian cinematic history. While the supercharger protruding from the hood was very much fake, the outrageous tyres were crucial in transporting our protagonist across the post apocalyptic ‘Wasteland’.
The Film: The Fast And The Furious (2001)
The Car: 1970 Dodge Charger
The Back Story: The legacy that the extensive ‘Fast and the Furious’ film series will leave behind will no doubt be as the Godfather of cool car movies. However, it can also take credit for introducing old school American muscle cars to a whole new generation. While the ‘69 version of the same car was seen in ‘The Dukes Of Hazzard’, this Charger is now infamous in cinema.
The Film: Goldfinger (1964)
The Car: 1964 Aston Martin DB5
The Back Story: Arguably one of the most famous movie cars of all time, the cars of James Bond have almost become more famous than the spy himself. Light years ahead of its time, the Aston Martin featured in Goldfinger sported machine guns, oil-slick sprayer, ejector seats and even a ‘modern’ navigation system. The car itself sold for a staggering $4.6 million in 2010.
The Film: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
The Car: 1985 Modena GT Spyder California
The Back Story: Although referred to during the film as a ‘Ferrari’, the iconic red Spyder was borrowed as a means for two teens to explore the great city of Chicago whilst ditching school for the day. Director John Hughes envisioned the film to be a love letter to the city, and what better way to showcase it than via the driver’s seat of a convertible?
The Film: Ghostbusters (1984)
The Car: 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor
The Back Story: While the ‘Ectomobile’, or ECTO-1 and ECTO-1A, doesn’t resemble any famous movie cars that we’ve ever witnessed on the big screen, it was crafted from a 1950 Cadillac Miller-Meteor. The limo style converted ambulance was used to cart the Ghostbusters and their gadgets all over New York City, and we haven’t seen anything quite like it since.
The Film: Thelma And Louise (1991)
The Car: 1966 Ford Thunderbird
The Back Story: Another iconic convertible, the Thunderbird used to transport our two beloved heroines across the United States on a road trip that quickly unravels. While the openness and width of the vehicle was it’s primary selection factor thanks to the ease of shooting the film, it quickly developed as a character in it’s own right.
The Film: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
The Car: 1971 Volkswagen T2 Microbus
The Back Story: Although certainly one of the more modern famous movie cars, it’s hard to envision the widespread acclaim that this film received without the iconic yellow Kombi. Studio executives also seemed to appreciate this fact, with Fox Searchlight Pictures even inviting VW bus owners to an early screening at the Vineland Drive In Theatre in California.
The Film: Grease (1978)
The Car: 1948 Ford De Luxe Convertible
The Back Story: While classic American cars are all but a staple piece in this culturally significant masterpiece, perhaps none are more famous than ‘Greased Lightning’. Purchased by Kenickie as an old rust bucket, it was then remodelled into a street racing dream car and in turn, revered namesake of the film itself.
While we could go on about the many famous movie cars that we’ve all come to know and love, honourable mentions should also include the Eleanor of ‘Gone In Sixty Seconds’, the world’s most iconic Beetle ‘Herbie’, the Mini Cooper of both of ‘The Italian Job’ films, and the legendary Trans Am of ‘Smokey And The Bandit’.
Get To Know Your Local Classic Car Expert
Finding a fellow vintage auto enthusiast can feel a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, but rest assured that Wayne’s Garage understands the thrill more than most. Having spent forty years collecting anything and everything from matchbox cars to hub caps, he’s successfully followed his passion to source, collect and stock beautiful and low mileage classic automobiles from around the world. With extensive experience in the automotive industry, it was only a matter of time before Wayne expanded on his love of vintage, iconic vehicles to share his knowledge and passion with the public.
Although his passion is for automobiles built before 1978, with a particular love for Buicks, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Oldsmobiles and even Fords, Wayne is just as passionate about the stories of the owners. Just like the cars, he has found that his fellow classic car enthusiasts all have wildly different attractions and logic behind their passion or hobby, and this often translates into how the car is presented. If it’s even remotely different, rare or just plain unusual, Wayne will overcome the relevant logistical and geographical challenges of bringing the cars to his showroom in Australia.
Wayne’s Garage is a showroom conveniently located at Seventeen Mile Rocks, that specialises in the restoration and sales of vintage automobiles. If you’re on the hunt for Brisbane classic cars – quite simply, Wayne is your man. If you would like to arrange a viewing or inspect any other of our classic vehicles, please get in touch with us today.