Though the days of the drive-in theater have nearly come to an end, cars and movies will forever share a bond in Americana culture. Here are some of the most notable cars ever featured on the silver screen.
1967 Mustang GT500, 400-hp V8
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Giovanni Ribisi, Angelina Jolie, James Duval
Car thief Memphis Raines (Nicolas Cage) attempts to pull off the impossible by stealing 50 exotic cars in less than 5 days. In this remake of the 1974 original, Raines’ brother bungled the job, and now it’s his turn to step up to the plate and save his brother’s life. After reassembling his band of retired car thief hooligan friends, they attempt the impossible while displaying some of the best the auto world has to offer.
Eleanor, as Raines’ car was so affectionately nicknamed, recently sold for $1 million at an auction in Indianapolis.
Lamborghini Countach, “The Cannonball Run” (1981)
1980 Lamborghini Countach LP400S, 353 bhp V12
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Jackie Chan, Dom DeLuise, Sammy Davis, Jr.
Jill Rivers (Tara Buckman) and Adrienne Barbeau (Marci Thatcher) begin an illegal race from Connecticut across the country while ripping a Lamborghini Countach through empty strips of road, evading police cruisers and finagling their way out of tickets using their dire levels of attractiveness to their advantage.
Mustang GT, “Bullitt” (1968)
Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT 390 Fastback, 325 hp V8
Starring: Steve McQueen, Robert Vaught, Pat Renella, Jacqueline Bisset
Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) is in charge of protecting key witness Johnny Ross (Pat Renella) before the state of California’s hearing on organized crime. While in his care, Ross is killed by professional hit men, and Bullitt goes on the hunt. The film results in the most famous chase scene of all time, where McQueen ravages the hills of San Francisco while remaining in close, hot pursuit of the killers’ black 1968 Magnum V8 dodge charger.
One of the original cars was sent to the crusher, the other sold to a member of the studio. It changed hands until it wound up in New Jersey, where it remained in inoperable condition until the mid 1990’s. It was then moved to a barn in Ohio, where it is rumored to remain to this day, non-running, still wearing NJ tags.
DeLorean DMC-12, “Back to the Future” (1985)
1981 DeLorean DMC-12, 200 hp V6
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover
1.21 gigawatts. That’s what it takes to get this bad boy out of the way of an Iranian missile launcher, after hitting 88 mph, of course. With Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) behind the wheel, this DeLorean DMC-12 pioneered its way through three movies and the past, present, and future. Though only produced from 1981-1982, and the only model ever created by the manufacturer, the DeLorean DMC-12 worked its way into the stuff of true American legends with a healthy supply of plutonium.
The DeLorean used in the Back to the Future series completed a year-long restoration project in early 2013 and has been on display at Universal Studios Hollywood since.
Ford Torino, “Starsky and Hutch” (1975-1979)
1974 Ford Torino from Starsky and Hutch show, 378 hp V8
Starring: David Soul, Paul Michael, Antonio Fargas, Bernie Hamilton
The infamous red and white street bandit propelled the most dynamic duo of seventies cop shows through 92 episodes between 1975 and 1979. Starring David Soul as Hutch and Paul Michael Claser as Starsky, the car was Starsky’s prized possession and greatest ally. The duo set themselves apart from the other famous cops of the time by openly displaying their friendship and fondness of each other, trusting only each other, not even Huggy Bear.
One of the cars used in the series is currently for sale. Located in Ottowa, Ontaraio Canada, it’s available for $42,900, with a certificate of authenticity from Aaron Spelling Productions. http://www.cars-on-line.com/67114.html (And yes, this is a TV show, but it is still an iconic car that needed to be on here.)
Pontiac Trans Am, “Smokey and the Bandit” (1977)
1976 Pontiac Trans Am Special Editions, 200 hp V8
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, Jackie Gleason
Bandit’s taken a bet, and he’s only got 28 hours to get it done. For $80,000, roughly $300,000 by today’s money, he just has to make it from Texarkana, Texas to Georgia with 400 cases of Coors Beer in his Trans Am, so Big and Little Enos can get their booze on. But when he picks up Carrie, the hitchhiking runaway bride of Sherriff Buford T. Justice’s son, Junior, the chase is on and the clock still ticking.
The cars used in the film were customized for the various stunt-work they needed to perform. Each was consequently destroyed by the end of filming, as a result of the extensive stunts performed.
Christine, “Christine” (1983)
1958 Red and White Plymouth Fury, 290 hp V8
Starring: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul
Based off the Stephen King novel, the car from this 1983 film is the last thing you’d want to see parked in a dark alley. Seventeen year old Arnie (Keith Gordon) has found himself a fantastic first car: Christine, a gorgeous Plymouth Fury with a killer frame. After dedicating his heart, and soul, to the car’s restoration, the two become an inseparable syndicate with a penchant for avenging high school wrong-doing. Or, at least, wrong-doing that affected them.
While Christine is advertised as a Plymouth Fury, the studio couldn’t afford to purchase the amount of Furys that would have been required for filming. Instead, they had a fleet of Plymouth Belvederes and Savoys fitted to look like King’s killer.
Aston Martin DB5, “Thunderball” (1965)
1964 Aston Martin DB5, 282 bhp Inline-6
Starring: Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi
In his fourth filmed mission, James Bond (Sean Connery) is out to foil SPECTRE’s plan to nuke Miami Beach, all while carousing through the Bahamas with help from fellow agent Felix (Rik Van Nutter)and Domino (Claudine Auger), a bodacious scuba diver. Of course, the man power wasn’t quite enough for the daring escapes needed by 007. He needs horsepower.
The movie begins with Bond following SPECTRE operative number 6, Colonel Jacques Bouvar (Bob Simmons), back to Bouvar’s chateau. Bouvar had been disguised as his own widow at his own funeral. Bond ensures that the funeral did not go to waste and escapes the scene, using a jetpack to get to his Aston Martin. One of the two DB5’s used for promoting the film, fully loaded with James Bond secret compartments, is currently available for purchase at $4,696,600.
Ferrari, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986)
1961 Ferrari 250GT California Spyder, 280 hp V12
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones
If you had access to a car like this, would you take it back right away? Maybe if you knew how much it would cost to replace it. Cameron (Alan Ruck) knew, but with a best friend like Ferris (Matthew Broderick), there’s no pushing reason. After pulling the most infamous high school shenanigans of any John Hughe’s teenager to get a full day in Chi-town with his girlfriend, Sloane (Mia Sara) and best friend, the debonair Bueller can pull it all off; all, that is, except for hiding the mileage added to Cameron’s dad’s prized possession.
The car that Cameron stoically sent crashing through his family’s glass garage is scheduled for sale at an auction in Monterey, Calif. on Aug. 17. After a 10 year restoration project, the only living member of Bueller’s Spyder cast has been refitted with a 5.7 liter V8 bored out to 7.0 liters, pushing its power up to 500 bhp. If you have the means to pick it up, I’d highly recommend it.
Bumblebee, “Transformers” (2007)
Yellow 1977 Chevrolet Camaro 185 hp V8, 2006 Chevrolet Camaro Concept 400 hp V8
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson
Getting your first car is cool. Getting your first car in high school is really cool. Getting a first car that doubles as an incredibly powerful intergalactic robot traveler is really, really cool. Especially when that giant robot is named Bumblebee. But not only can Bumblebee transform from an old Camaro to protector of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), his girlfriend Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) and the allspark, but he can give himself a fresh upgrade.
The first car used to depict Bumblebee in the 2007 blockbuster was a 1977 Camaro, speckled with rust and everything you’d expect a high schooler’s car to look like. But when Sam laments about getting what he thinks is a lemon, it suddenly becomes the 2006 Camaro Concept, with a lot more power under the hood. The 1977 movie car was sold recently on eBay for $40,100.01.
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