10 Of The Most Famous Cars: What classic car enthusiast doesn’t love watching a movie with a wild, rip-roaring chase scene or a loud, growling drag race? What car aficionado doesn’t pay more attention to the car and its specs in a movie rather than the plot? Here we are going to pay homage to those movie-watching car lovers by taking a look at 10 of the Most Famous Cars in Movies.
10. 1972 Ford Gran Torino – Gran Torino (2008):
In Gran Torino, Walt Kowalski’s character (Clint Eastwood) represents the final passing of an old American generation. Much like his character, the 1972 Gran Torino he owns in the movie represents the same thing. This vehicle, with its fastback style, “laser stripes”, faux hood scoop, Magnum 500 wheels and white letter tires, was made right on the brink of change in American cars as we knew and loved them.
9. 1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible – Thelma and Louise (1991):
While Thelma and Louise are off killing people, robbing stores, blowing up trucks and locking police officers in their own trunks, the Thunderbird (1 of 5 used in filming) they drive gets a lot of face time. In 1966, there were three types of Thunderbirds offered: the base 390 V8, two-barrel carburetor, 275 horsepower; the 390 V8, four-barrel carb, 315hp; or the 428 V8, four-barrel carb, 345hp.
8. 1976 Chevrolet Camaro – Transformers “Bumblebee” (2007)
During the filming of Transformers, producers were looking for a Camaro that their main character, played by Shia LeBeouf, could realistically be able to acquire. So, they asked GM executives to help them choose the most “trashy” Camaro. Their first pick was a 1969 Camaro, but everyone knows there are no longer “trashy” ‘69s, so their next choice was a ’76 because no Z28s were offered that year and the engine was a four-barrel equipped 350 that only cranked out 165hp. Transformers fans did get a treat later when the ’76 Camaro turned into the 2009 version.
7. 1958 Plymouth Fury – Christine (1983):
Stephen King wrote an interesting tale, which was then turned into a movie, of a possessed car named Christine that takes over her owner, Arnie. Who wouldn’t want to be taken over by a rare, 1958 Fury with its 3 speed overdrive (manual transmission), 2-door style and bright-red, special ordered color? During the filming of the movie, 27 cars were used and not all of them were Furys. Belvederes and Savoys, made to look like the Fury, were also used, but unfortunately, some Furys were destroyed in the filming.
6. 1970 Dodge Challenger – Vanishing Point (1971):
Barry Neumann plays a depressed, car delivery driver named, Kowalski. He is supposed to deliver a white, 1970 Dodge Challenger to San Francisco from Dallas. He makes a bet that he can deliver it in less time than it is supposed to take and therefore, the chase scenes begin with the police. The 440 cubic-inch V8 R/T 440 engine in the Challenger provides roaring speeds that are no match for the police cars in the movie.
5. 1968 Ford Mustang 390 CID Fastback – Bullitt (1968):
Lieutenant Frank Bullitt, played by Steve McQueen, is trying to take down mobster, Pete Ross, and investigate the murder of Inspector Ross, by hit-men. During this investigation, Bullitt picks up the Mustang and is tailed by the two hit-men, resulting in a famous car chase that ultimately kills the hit-men. The Mustang had a 390/4v motor and stronger springs and Koni shocks were added to it for the stunts. 2 cars were purchased for the movie; the stunt car was completely demolished and the other one used for close-ups was sold.
4. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am – Smokey and the Bandit (1977):
The black and gold Trans Am, featured in the movie Smokey and the Bandit, as the “blocker” car to divert attention away from the illegal alcohol in the semi-truck that is following it, became iconic in the 70’s. While 3 “special edition” Trans Ams were made for the movie, all of which were destroyed, customers flocked to Pontiac dealers to purchase a replica. Sales went from approximately 69,000 cars being sold to 93,500 being sold during 1977.
3. 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 – Gone in 60 Seconds “Eleanor”:
The famous, temperamental Shelby Mustang GT500 that Nicholas Cage drives at the end of Gone In 60 Seconds, has become somewhat of a “dream car” for many car enthusiasts. With its 428 engine that cranks out 650hp (1000hp with nitrous), what’s not to love? For the movie, they modified the vehicle by adding a body kit, functional side pipes, mag rims, sport tires and a hood scoop because they didn’t want it upstaged by the Porshes and Ferraris also featured in the movie.
2. Aston Martin DB5 – James Bond Films (Casino Royale, Goldfinger, Thunderball, etc.):
Why wouldn’t the debonair James Bond, played by Sean Connery, drive a sleek and powerful vehicle? The Aston Martin DB5 driven in the films has a 4.0L aluminum engine, ZF five-speed transmission and a three SU carburetor that propelled the vehicle to top speeds of 145mph and allowed it to go from 0-60 in 7.1 seconds. Only 2 of the vehicles that Sean Connery drove remain. One fetched $4.1 million in auction in October 2010.
1. DeLorean DMC12 – Back To The Future “Time Machine” (1985):
The famous “time machine” from the Back To The Future movies was a DeLorean DMC12 that featured “gull-wing” doors and a fiberglass underbody. These vehicles were produced from 1982-1982; approximately 9,000 were made, and 6,500 are still believed to be in existence. The vehicles used for the film production were modified versions of this vehicle.