Hollywood gets a lot of backlash these days for a number of reasons. Some folks say they spend too much time making sequels, prequels, and reboots; nothing new is coming out. Others complain that too much CGI is being used and there’s a new emphasis on explosions and loud noises. Meanwhile, some folks do like re makes and reboots but they’re angry that the films they grew up with are now being bastardized.
There are a lot of complaints made about Hollywood, but one thing no one can deny: film and television has always been an awesome showcase for great cars; and these 13 cars are still, and forever will be, burned into our collective minds.
13. The DeLorean – Back to the Future (1985)
One of greatest and most recognizable cars in cinema history is the DeLorean DMC-12 seen throughout the still popular Back to the Future trilogy. The DeLorean itself isn’t exactly a thing of beauty considering that almost the entirety of the exterior is a drab and colorless stainless steel, but once you slap on a “Mr. Fusion” and a “Flux Capacitor”, it becomes one of the coolest cars in the history of cinema.
Despite being kind of ugly there is a demand for these cars as only 6500 are said to still be in existence. You can even buy them modified to look like the Time Machine through Coulombe Enterprises for $65,000 – $95,000.
12. Ecto-1 – Ghostbusters (1984)
Before modifications made by Ray Stantz (played by Dan Aykroyd), this 1959 Cadillac Miller Meteor was something of a cross between a hearse and an ambulance. With a little paint and some added Ghostbusting gear, it was transformed into one of the most iconic Hollywood cars of all time. It isn’t even that rare to see an avid fan driving around in a replica at some point. Recently, a fan was able to recreate the vehicle with an investment of only $28,000, paying only $2,500 for the original Cadillac itself.
11. The Batmobile – Batman TV Series (1966-1968)
This custom Ford Lincoln Futura was finalized by George Barris, a man famous for creating many iconic custom vehicles for television and movies. The car itself was already a custom creation by Lincoln that Barris had purchased from Ford for only $1. When he was approached to create a car for the Batman television series, Barris was only given three weeks to produce a vehicle. He noticed the Futura already had a few bat-like qualities and incorporated new elements into the already unique pre-existing design.
10. The Tumbler – Batman Begins (2005)
We can include this one twice since it was never actually referred to as the Batmobile, but as the Tumbler. Despite the fact that this design did away with the sleek look used on most other Batmobile designs, this vehicle was awesome in its own right. Heck, the thing fell apart and turned into a motorcycle!
The vehicle is an entirely custom job, being described by the crew as a cross between a tank and a Lamborghini.
9. The Interceptor – Mad Max (1979)
Unlike most iconic cars seen in films, only one Interceptor was made for the first Mad Max film. The original vehicle before modifications were made was a 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon Coupe. The car itself was a model only produced in Australia.
A “budget” replica can be made for $45,000 AUD (approximately 41,948.55 USD) , with “Road Warrior” replicas made at around $50,000 AUD (approximately 46,604.25 USD).
8. Stuntman Mike’s Chevy Nova – Death Proof (2007)
This 1971 Chevy Nova was pretty much just a 1971 Chevy Nova with a cool logo painted on the hood. Luckily, for a car to be awesome in a Hollywood movie, it isn’t always about what the vehicle looks like, but what the vehicle does.
According to Stuntman Mike (played by Kurt Russell), his Chevy Nova is “death proof”, allowing him to murder unsuspecting motorists on the open roads without any risk to himself crashing in the process.
7. The Mach 5 – Speed Racer (1967)
There have been many incarnations of the Mach 5 among versions of Speed Racer in television and film. The original Mach 5 was capable of a few much cooler things than the movie version of the vehicle, like a submersible “frogger mode” and “evening eye”, a high-beam and special windshield combo that allows the driver to see in infrared light.
At one time a 2001 Chevrolet Corvette chassis was going to be used to put a road legal Mach 5 on the roads (complete with spinning blades) but the plans to put 100 on the roads fell through. One of these Mach 5’s can be found in the Petersen Automotive Museum.
6. KITT – Knight Rider (1982)
KITT was an artificially intelligent and self-aware computer chip that served as the brains of the vehicle featured in Knight Rider. The original vehicle used before modification was a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am. The car could climb mountains with a grappling hook, had flamethrowers on the front and back, rocket thrusters, and some versions of the vehicle even had lasers.
In the shows universe, the car cost over $11 million to make, but one of the original four cars used went up for sale in 2007 for $150,000.
5. The Munster Koach – The Munsters (1964)
The Munster Koach was another custom job from Barris Customs, the same place responsible for the 1966 Batmobile. The Koach isn’t a great car because of its sleek and cool look, but more because of the fact that it looks like a carefully planned pile of junk; a beautiful disaster, if you will.
The body itself is composed of 3 model T Fords grafted to a touring roadster and sports a 289 Cobra engine. The car cost $18,000 to make at the time, which translates to around $130,000 today.
4. The General Lee – The Dukes of Hazzard (1979)
It would be considered blasphemy by many television fans and car buffs alike to not include the iconic General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard television series and films in a list about awesome cars of the screen. The car didn’t have much in the way of bells and whistles like a lot of others on the list (unless you include the horn that played “Dixie”); it didn’t even have fictional hidden feats it could perform. The Lee was just an everyday Dodge Charger with an interesting paint job.
During the run of the original series, Warner Bros. had to procure Chargers constantly since most had to be retired after undergoing structural damage from the jumps. Eventually it became difficult to keep finding the Charger models from 68-70 and the show had to resort to using footage of jumps and stunts from past episodes.
3. Frankenstein’s Car – Death Race 2000 (1975)
This is probably the most obscure car on the list as most aren’t familiar with the Roger Corman, predecessor to the Jason Statham or Danny Trejo Death Race films. The film takes place in a dystopian future where a race across the country in which the racers are supposed to kill their competitors has become a national sport. Frankenstein is the best of the best among the Death Racers.
The car is a custom build designed by Dick Dean known as a Shala Vette. In 2010 the original vehicle was up for sale for less than $14,000.
2. Cameron’s Dad’s Ferrari – Ferris Beuller’s Day Off (1986)
There might not be a car in the cinema or television, except for maybe the semi in Duel, that ever caused one of a film’s protagonists more grief than the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California caused for poor Cameron in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.
This Ferrari was so expensive ($350,000 at the time) that they didn’t dare use it for filming except for scenes where it was standing still. Any scene where it was being driven, turned on, or falling out of a window, a replica was used.
The actual car used in the film has sold for as high $10 million to date.
1. 1975/76 Ford Gran Torino – Starsky and Hutch (1975)
Not only did the two stars of Starsky and Hutch build great careers from the show, but the Gran Torino, nicknamed “The Striped Tomato” for its paint job, became one of the most recognizable cars to come out of film or television.
As production went on, the 1975 model was replaced by the 1976 model, and the 1974 model was even used in standing shots since the Gran Torino never changed body types.
A car claiming to be one of the original Gran Torinos used for the television show just sold this past June for $40,000. It’s also claimed that one of the cars driven by Ben Stiller for the Starsky and Hutch film was a television original.