For most of us, our first exposure to a real car came from the movies. While stunts and speed are enhanced by Hollywood Magic, there’s still something thrilling about seeing a powerful piece of machinery tearing up the road, flying through the air and surviving until the end credits.
In honor of Oscar Week, we thought we’d share our list of the seven most iconic movie cars of all time. If you happen to find yourself holding the pink slips for one of these vehicles, we’ve also provided a suggested cover, to keep your iconic car protected against the elements.
1. Bullitt – 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback
Lt. Bullitt: You believe what you want. You work your side of the street, and I’ll work mine.
Trying to protect a witness on the mean streets of San Francisco? Don’t know who you can trust. Are you the kind of cop who does what he needs to, and damn the rules. Are you prepared to participate in one of the most gripping chase scenes filmed for a motion picture?
Then you need the 1968 Fold Mustang Fastback
Frank Bullitt’s (Steve McQueen’s) car is a 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback. The bad guys drive a 1968 Dodge Charger 440 Magnum. The Charger is just barely faster than the Mustang, with a 13.6-second quarter-mile compared to the Mustang’s 13.8-second.
McQueen was known to be an expert driver, performing many of the car and motorcycle stunts in movies like “Bullitt” and “The Great Escape”.
2. Back to the Future – Delorean DMC-12
Marty McFly: You made a time machine… out of a DeLorean?
Jumping jigawatts! If you’re trying to get back to the future before you stop your parents from falling in love and thereby erasing your own existence, you need to be behind the wheel of the DeLorean DMC-12.
Designed by Italian automobile designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, and engineered by Lotus Cars of England, the DMC-12 consisted of stainless steel body panels, a rear-mounted 2.85 litre V-6 PRV engine, and stylish gullwing doors, which only require 14-inches (35.5cm) of side clearance to open.
While the DeLorean Motor Company folded shortly after the film opened, the sleek stainless steel design lives on, in a place where you don’t need roads.
While the Delorean could easily go from 0-60 in 8.8 seconds, experts contest that the car couldn’t have reached the required 88 mph necessary for time travel, especially when driving around a mall parking lot.
3. The Blues Brothers – 1974 Dodge Monaco
Elwood: There’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, its dark out, and we’re wearing sunglasses.
Joliet Jake: Hit it!
When you’re on a mission from God, you need a car that can make it to Chicago in record time, brakes that allow you to pull off insane parking maneuvers and shocks that can withstand a jump off the 95th St. Bridge.
Look no further than the Bluesmobile.
The Bluesmobile is a decommissioned police 1974 Dodge Monaco sedan with a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant, cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks and it was made before catalytic converters so it gets great power on regular gas.
The key player in one of the most over the top chase scenes ever conceived, this machine will get you where you need to go, no matter how many police cars are after you.
At the time of the film’s release, it set a world record for the most cars destroyed in one film; it held this distinction until 1998 when it was surpassed by its own sequel.
4. Smokey and the Bandit – 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
Cledus Snow: Atlanta to Texarkana and back in twenty-eight hours? That ain’t never been done before, not in no rig.
Bandit: That’s cause *we* ain’t never done it in no rig.
Eastbound and down? Trying to get from Texas to Atlanta with a truckload of contraband beer? You need a really speedy car to keep one very determined Sheriff from catching you, specifically the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.
The Pontiac Trans Am benefitted from a then new and distinctive, slant-nose facelift that included inset square headlights. Pontiac offered the 400 cu in (6.6 L) engine with a single 4-barrel Rochester Quadrajet carburetor RPO and a maximum torque of 325 lb.⋅ft. at 2400 rpm, as opposed to the regular 6.6 L 400 (RPO L78) rated at 180 Hp (130 kW).
While Burt Reynolds left us this past year, his legacy lives on, every time one of these speed machines comes racing down the highway.
Trans-Am sales went up 70% after Smokey and the Bandit opened. The president of Pontiac Motor Company appreciated it so much that he offered Burt Reynolds a free Pontiac every year for life. Unfortunately, it was for the life of the President of Pontiac who passed on six years (and six cars) later.
5. Bonnie and Clyde – 1934 Ford Model B (V8)
Bonnie Parker: Would you know what kind of car this is?
C.W. Moss: This is a 4-Cylinder Ford Coupe.
Bonnie Parker: No, this is a stolen 4-Cylinder Ford Coupe.
The only historical car on the list, the real-life Bonnie and Clyde stole a V8 Ford and used it to commit a string of robberies across the Midwest. Their story ended when their car was riddled with over 100 armor piercing bullets at close range.
Offering an 85hp engine a 221 cu. in. engine with dual carburetors, three-speed transmission and 4-wheel mechanical brakes, the car made for a fast, stylish and roomy getaway car.
Arthur Penn’s film adaptation starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway and the final scene showing the famed duo getting gunned down shocked audiences and ushered in a new kind of film-making that changed how violence could be depicted on screen.
Before his untimely demise, Clyde Barrow wrote a letter to Henry Ford praising the speed and power of the Ford V8.
“For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got ever other car skinned and even if my business hasen’t been strickly legal it don’t hurt enything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8. [sic]”
6. Ghostbusters – Ecto 1 – The 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance Limo
Peter Venkman: I make it a rule never to get involved with possessed people. Actually, it’s more of a guideline than a rule…
When you’re the world’s best (and only) paranormal entrapment and elimination service, you need a vehicle that can carry four unlicensed nuclear accelerators around New York City while dodging ghosts, slimers, the EPA and the biggest marshmallow to ever walk the earth.
Who ya gonna call? Ecto 1 a.k.a. the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance Limo.
The Miller-Meteor was a rare creation, made by two former competitors with a limited production. Only about 400 vehicles were made. The power plant was a 6.3-liter V-8, good for 320 horsepower. Seems like a lot until you factor in the cars’ curb weight: around three tons. The tailfins were the largest to appear on a production car. They’re the same from the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado.
At nearly 20 feet in length, the Cadillac Miller-Meteor isn’t the easiest to navigate, but at least you get a smooth ride thanks to its air suspension system.
Early scripts called for a 1975 Cadillac ambulance. Though by the time the final shooting script was locked in, the 1959 model was settled on, though the purchase price was too low at $1,400. The cost Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) mentions in the film, $4,800, was more believable.
7. Goldfinger (James Bond) – Aston Martin DB5
Q: Do try to bring it back in one piece 007.
Trying to save the world from nefarious megalomaniacs and their evil henchmen? Hoping to seduce Pussy Galore and convert her from a foe to an ally? Then the only car for you in the Aston Martin DB5.
The high-performance DB5 Vantage was introduced in 1964 featuring three twin-choke 45DCOE side-draft Weber carburetors and revised camshaft profiles, delivering greater top-end performance Only 65 DB5 Vantage coupés were built, so finding one isn’t easy. Also, the ejector seat and usual countermeasures are extra.
Aston Martins Have Appeared In Half Of All Bond Films. After the DB5 appeared in Goldfinger, it was established as Bond’s signature vehicle. Since then it’s appeared in Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Living Daylights, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre.
Disagree with our list? Share your ideas in the comments. Remember, the car needs to have been featured in a full-length film that was shown in theaters. We’ll do TV cars another time.
Own an iconic movie car? Want to drive your car to a movie? Our free guide will help you extend the life of your car.
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