Home Entertainment Reel Rides: Movie Cars That Captured Our Hearts (Number 3 Will Trigger You)
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Reel Rides: Movie Cars That Captured Our Hearts (Number 3 Will Trigger You)

Cameron Eittreim January 29, 2024

When you watch a movie, sometimes a car can be as exciting as the featured actors. These are vehicles that make you sit up and take notice. They might be super fast, cool, or even magical. Think about your favorite car chases where cars zoom and dart around. Or maybe you like shiny, sleek cars that look like they’re from the future. Some of these cars are so special, they almost feel like they’re part of the cast and tell their own story.

In movies, a car can be a hero, a mystery, or a ride toward adventure. And there’s one car on our list that’s sure to surprise you. It’s not just famous; it’s got a twist that you might not expect. Whether you thinking of Marty McFly and the DeLorean in Back to The Future or that memorable bone crusher in Mad Max, the auto industry and the movie business have been integral partners for decades. Remember some of the coolest cars that have ever been on the big screen right here.

Aston Martin DB5
Photo Credit: Aston

James Bond’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5

The DB5 has appeared in several James Bond films, including Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, Skyfall, and Spectre, making it a recurring element in the franchise. What made this particular car so unique was the design and the performance. Let’s be honest, nothing looks quite like an Aston. But there’s also something so classy about these cars that it only made sense to use one in a movie franchise like the Bond films (via 007).

Photo Credit: Top Gear

The DB5 wasn’t the best-performing car of its era but there was something classy and unique about this car. Beyond the Bond films, the DB5 has made appearances in various other media, including video games, television shows, and even other movies. Aston Martin is a renowned automaker and when it comes to class and style, the DB5 has quite a legacy.

Batmobile/Tumbler, Batman Begins
Photo Credit: Miramax

Batman Tumbler

The Batman Tumbler made its debut in Batman Begins and there was something about the car that everyone fell in love with. The unique, battle tank-inspired design was completely different than the Batmobile models that came before it. The inside of the Tumbler was just as futuristic as the outside with a fully digital dashboard and a unique, fighter jet-like seating position where Batman would lie down to drive. If you thought this was a computer-generated ride, you were wrong indeed (via Car Scoops).

Photo Credit: DJ Storms Blog

The Batman Tumbler was a physical vehicle that was designed for the movie. A lot of fabrication went into the design of the Tumbler and needless to say, it turned out great. Several Tumblers were built for the films, each with different capabilities. Some were made for speed, others for jumping, and one could even separate into the “Batpod” motorcycle. Despite its bulky appearance, the Tumbler was surprisingly agile. It was powered by a 5.7-liter Chevy V8 engine and could reportedly go from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds.

Photo Credit: Mecum

DeLorean DMC-12 (Back To The Future)

Many of us grew up around the DMC-12. The iconic sports car that was featured in the Back to The Future franchise was an actual production vehicle as well. The Gullwing design of the car was not the only iconic part of the design and the sleek aluminum look of the car was unique too. For its role in the films, the DeLorean was equipped with a “flux capacitor” and other fictional time-traveling components. The actual production version of the DMC-12 didn’t have as much technology incorporated into it but was still a unique ride (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Architectural Digest

Approximately 9,000 DeLorean cars were made before the company went bankrupt in 1982, making the car an incredibly rare collectible today. However, in recent years there has been a push to produce a brand new EV-powered version of the DeLorean. The future may be bright for the DeLorean brand but this car changed the game.

Photo Credit: Mecum

1968 Ford Mustang Fastback (Bullitt)

The 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback is one of the most expensive classic rides you can get today. Part of the reason for its success was the movie Bullitt. Only two 1968 Ford Mustang Fastbacks were used in the making of Bullitt. The forest green paint job ended up being a hit with consumers and the sales numbers were high. In January 2020, the “Bullitt” hero car set a record for the most expensive Mustang ever sold at auction, fetching $3.74 million (via Britannica).

Photo Credit: Mecum

The car chase in Bullitt not only made the Mustang Fastback famous but also set a new standard for realism in cinematic car chases. The most memorable part about the movie was the car chase even though the actual Mustang probably wouldn’t perform quite as well in a chase.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

1970 Dodge Charger (The Fast and the Furious)

The Dodge Charger featured in The Fast and the Furious was one of the most iconic rides on the road. What started as a small garage talk between Dom and Brian in the first film evolved into the car playing an integral part in the following films. The supercharger protruding from the hood of the Charger in the movie is purely cosmetic. In reality, the car was not supercharged. The blower setup was added to give the Charger a more menacing look (via Auto Show Austin).

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

Again, this wasn’t just a computer-generated model. There was an actual Charger model that was built with a powerful blower under the hood. The original 1970 Charger was heavily modified for its role in the film. This included suspension changes, a roll cage for safety, and cosmetic alterations to fit the character of Dominic Toretto.

Photo Credit: Mecum

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

Few cars have made the cultural impact that the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder did when it appeared in an iconic film. The breathtaking design, featuring sleek lines, a long hood, and a convertible top was iconic Ferrari. The 250 GT SWB California Spyder was powered by a 3.0-liter V12 engine, capable of producing up to 280 horsepower. Ferrari was designing great cars around this period and the California Spyder was iconic (via The Drive).

Photo Credit: Mecum

The Ferrari California Spyder ended up selling quite well, so much so that Ferrari recently brought the nameplate back in a modern form. And of course, who can forget the iconic Ferrari red paint job, which was standard fare for these cars around that time? Ferrari was an innovator when it came to early sports car models and California built on that reputation.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

1969 Mustang Boss 429 (John Wick)

The John Wick movie franchise is one that resonated with moviegoers well from the start. Keanu Reeves did a fantastic job of portraying a renegade while at the same time driving a noticeable Boss 429 Mustang. The Boss 429 Mustang was created to satisfy NASCAR’s homologation requirements. Ford needed to produce at least 500 of these cars to qualify the Boss 429 engine for racing. Obviously, in the movie, the racing heritage wasn’t evident but it was a driving force (via Muscle Car).

Photo Credit: Mecum

Like other action movies such as The Punisher, where a muscle car was an integral part of the movie, the same can be said for the Boss Mustang in John Wick. The car has a sort of symbolism with the movie franchise now and you’d rarely recognize John Wick without it. The Boss 429 was one of the most impressive Mustang models of its heyday. There were a lot of powerful and fun-to-drive Mustang models that came out during this era but the Mustang Boss 429 was the most renowned.

Photo Credit: Auto Evolution

1976 Lotus Esprit Series I (The Spy Who Loved Me)

The car nicknamed Wet Nellie – was it a boat or a car? It was an actual production car that was heavily modified for the James Bond film. Based on a 1976 Lotus Esprit, the car was nothing like the production model that it was based on. The Esprit Series I featured a mid-engine layout, which enhanced its balance and handling. It was powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, producing around 160 horsepower. The Series I Lotus Esprit was produced in limited numbers from 1976 to 1978, making it a rare and sought-after model among collectors (via Hot Cars).

Photo Credit: Auto Evolution

There’s no denying that this car was the quintessential bond mobile. There was nothing else like it used in a movie at the time, which made it a pretty unique creation. James Bond has had some cool rides over the past couple of decades, but this one takes the cake. Of course, anything with a Lotus badge on it from this era is going to have a unique look to it.

Photo Credit: Motorious

1966 Ford Thunderbird (Thelma & Louise)

The Thunderbird in Thelma & Louise is a 1966 convertible. This was a movie that was released at a pivotal time in the ’90s when the demographic was rapidly changing. Moviegoers wanted to see something edgier and Thelma & Louise was that movie. The Thunderbird was one of the most iconic Fords ever built but also connected with female drivers incredibly well. The convertible that was used for the movie had a distinct factory paint job and options package (via Pinterest).

Photo Credit: Motorious

The 1966 model is part of the fourth generation of Thunderbirds (1964-1966), known for their more formal styling compared to earlier models. The 390 cubic-inch V8 that’s under the hood gave the car some serious power at the wheels. The Thunderbird isn’t the most well-known iconic car to the casual moviegoers. But if you remember this movie, you remember the iconic Thunderbird.

Photo Credit: Mecum

1969 Dodge Charger General Lee (The Dukes of Hazzard)

The 1969 Dodge Charger, famously known as the “General Lee” from the television series The Dukes of Hazzard, is one of the most iconic cars in American pop culture. What was it about the Charger that made it so iconic? Was it the bright orange paint job or the stunts? Well, it was one of the most iconic cars of the muscle car era. Dodge sold more than a few of these cars and the main reason was attributed to the success the brand had on the NASCAR circuit (via Top Speed).

Photo Credit: Silodrome

The General Lee is known for its bright orange paint job and the confederate flag on the hood. More modern versions of the car have removed the flag from the hood but the bright orange paint job was still something that remained.

Ectomobile
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Ectomobile – 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor (Ghostbusters)

The Ectomobile, or “Ecto-1,” from the Ghostbusters franchise, is a modified 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor that served as the iconic mode of transportation for the Ghostbusters team. Cadillac wasn’t always just a high-end luxury car builder. The company also sold family-friendly rides as well. Take one look at the Meteor and you’ll know why. Of course, the Ghostbusters ride was outfitted with all kinds of technology that would make anyone in the 1980s proud (via Quatrell Cadillac).

Photo Credit: Mecum

The base vehicle, a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor, was originally built as a combination car, which could serve both as an ambulance and a hearse. For its role in Ghostbusters, the car was outfitted with a host of fictional paranormal detection and containment equipment, along with the distinctive “No Ghosts” logo.

1973 XB GT Ford Falcon, Mad Max
Photo Credit: Sixpacktech

1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Pursuit Special (Mad Max)

The 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Pursuit Special, famously known as the “Interceptor,” is one of the most iconic cars in the post-apocalyptic Mad Max film. Believe it or not, this was an Australian-based muscle car. Bringing this kind of performance and power to the screen wasn’t an easy task. The car was heavily modified to have an end-of-the-world look and feel to it. There was no expense spared to give the car a unique look and feel (via Fandom).

1973 XB GT Ford Falcon, Mad Max
Photo Credit: Sixpacktech

Mel Gibson looked right at home driving this car off into the sunset. The XB GT itself was produced in limited quantities which is why the car is so noticeable even in these films. The Falcon itself was a well-known muscle car but it wasn’t a very successful experiment for Ford.

Photo Credit: VW Owners

1963 Volkswagen Beetle (Herbie)

The 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, famously known as “Herbie,” is a beloved character in the Herbie film series, starting with “The Love Bug” in 1968. The Beetle was already one of the most popular cars in the world when it made its way to the silver screen. But there was something about Herbie that made the car even more memorable. First and foremost the unique paint job complete with the racing stripes and wheels made it look unlike any other Beetle on the road (via Auto Evolution).

Photo Credit: Mecum

Herbie wasn’t your average Beetle, and moviegoers fell in love with the car. There were quite a few examples of Herbie that were put into production because the car was put through all kinds of stunts. Nevertheless, this was a unique ride that made a mark on the film industry forever.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

1967 Shelby GT500 “Eleanor” (Gone In 60 Seconds)

The 1967 Shelby GT500, famously nicknamed “Eleanor” in the 2000 film Gone in 60 Seconds, is a car that we all remember. The early 2000s were a time for adrenaline-filled car movies and Nicolas Cage delivered with this one. Towards the end of the movie when he goes on the police chase, the GT500 is the car his character Memphis Raines drives. You can tell from the star that he’s in love with this car and it has a special meaning in his life. Of course, who wouldn’t want one of the greatest pony cars ever built (via Fusion Motor Co)?

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The Eleanor used in the 2000 remake was specially designed for the film by Steve Stanford and executed by renowned car designer and builder Chip Foose. So if you noticed that the car was a little bit different from the factory version, that’s why. And you can see every bit of the Foose influence that was in the design of the car as well.

Photo Credit: Mecum

1971 Volkswagen T2 Microbus (Little Miss Sunshine)

The 1971 Volkswagen Type 2 Microbus was prominently featured in the critically acclaimed 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine. Of course, the van itself was an iconic part of automotive history. Who could forget the era when these vans were everywhere? Volkswagen designed the Microbus to be the kind of vehicle that you could transport people with or live in. Every inch of the van was unique in its design and it became an iconic piece of automotive history (via Hemmings).

Photo Credit: Mecum

In Little Miss Sunshine, the yellow VW bus serves as the vehicle for the Hoover family’s road trip from New Mexico to California. In real life these vans were used for driving across the country as well, hence why they were called “love” buses by their owners.

Photo Credit: Teakbraun

2008 Audi R8 (Iron Man)

The Audi R8 made its debut appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the 2008 film Iron Man, instantly becoming synonymous with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. The fact that this was Audi’s first supercar was a big step for the company. One of the R8’s most recognizable features is its LED daytime running lights, which at the time no other production car had. The R8 was ahead of its time in a lot of aspects, which is why it fits with the movie so well (via Fandom).

Photo Credit: Honest John

The R8’s construction features an Audi Space Frame (ASF) made of aluminum. If you’ve ever driven a lightweight car you know what that means. But, the R8 was a lot different than other high-end performance cars from the period. The R8 stuck with the Iron Man franchise and the car ended up becoming a modest success for Audi.

Photo Credit: Mecum

1967 Austin Mini Cooper S 1275 (The Italian Job)

The 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S 1275 is famously associated with the classic 1969 heist film The Italian Job. The red Mini-Coopers were an important part of the movie, as they are in real Italian life where these cars are a common sight. The Mini-Cooper itself is one of the most iconic cars in the world, which is why it became semi-popular here in America as well. The thing with the Mini-Cooper is the fact that it is relatively nimble and the perfect getaway car (via Hagerty).

Photo Credit: Mecum

Anytime you think of the Italian Job you remember seeing this car in all of the movie previews. Nowadays the Mini-Cooper is a modern production car, but back then it was a quirky little car that created quite a stir around the world.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

2007 Chevrolet Camaro Replica (Transformers)

When the Camaro was discontinued in 2002 the fanbase was sad, to say the least. It meant that the only pony car that was left was the Mustang. But GM was secretly working on reviving the model, and the fifth Generation of the Camaro was showcased in the new Transformers film. The feedback for the car was so great that GM put it into production right away. The fifth-generation Camaro was the most modern and noteworthy model on the road at the time (via Camaro 5).

Photo Credit: GM

The 2007 Camaro Concept boasted an aggressive and sporty design, with advanced features that matched the high-tech, futuristic vibe of the Transformers franchise. The Camaro from the previous generations had grown stale, to say the least.

Photo Credit: National Auto Museum

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a beloved 1968 British musical adventure fantasy film directed by Ken Hughes and written by Roald Dahl and Hughes, loosely based on Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel of the same name. The car wasn’t a real production model, but it was designed for the movie. This was a magical ride like no other and it had all kinds of gizmos and contraptions attached to it. The car was the quintessential movie car for this type of film (via TCM).

Photo Credit: National Auto Museum

The plot centers around Caractacus Potts, who transforms a dilapidated Grand Prix car into a magical vehicle. Hence the sort of race car styling that this car had in the films, was something that the moviegoer fell in love with. To this day, the Chitty car is still one of the best-known rides of all time. If you need a magical pick-me-up, this is the car movie that you want to watch.

Photo Credit: Hagerty

1977 Pontiac Trans Am (Smokey and the Bandit)

The 1977 Pontiac Trans Am prominently featured in the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit is one of the most iconic and recognizable cars in American cinema. Believe it or not, this is the ride that put both Burt Reynolds and Sally Field on the map. The muscle car was the quintessential mix of Pontiac styling and one-of-a-kind performance. The T-Tops were an iconic part of the era that people still talk about and love to this day (via Rotten Tomatoes).

Photo Credit: Hagerty

Although the Trans Am in the movie was portrayed as having a powerful 455 cubic inch (7.5-liter) V8 engine, by 1977, Pontiac had actually discontinued this engine. The cars used in the film were equipped with the smaller 400 cubic inch (6.6-liter) V8. Either way, this was a fast, unique pony car that still resonates with an entire generation of drivers.

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