When a movie is produced, the scene must scouted, the cast must be chosen and, for some movies, the right car must be found. Why? Because the cars of some movies are a symbol and metaphor for the lead character’s emotional turmoil and/or life-long pursuit. They define the lead character and the overall feel of the movie. When a character’s car is a sleek design and worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, it is assumed that the lead character is wealthy. When the car is sporty and loud, it is assumed that the lead character is just as tough as his car. Since every movie and every character of a movie is different, so are the cars. Hot-rod muscle cars, sleek sexy luxury cars, strange outdated cars, and nearly forgotten cars. Movie cars have a huge range of characteristics. Most importantly, a movie car must be memorable and it must define the movie that it is in. These are the Top 10 Most Memorable Movie Cars.
10. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
What’s more exciting to a teenager than ditching school and taking your friend’s father’s ultra-rare, incredibly-expensive 1961 Ferrari 250 GT out for a drive through the streets of Chicago? Not much. But just how exclusive was the car in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Only 55 were made. They are valued at over $2.5 million dollars. The hefty price of these vehicles was the reason why movie producers used replicas of the Ferrari, especially at the end when the bright red car goes crashing through the garage glass and lands in the woods with Ferris – played by Matthew Broderick – and his friends looking on.
9. 1967 Shelby GT500 (Eleanor) – Gone in Sixty Seconds
In the fast paced action movie Gone in Sixty Seconds, Nicolas Cage is a car thief with one last job to finish. But his Achilles heel, the 1967 Shelby GT500, which is lovingly nicknamed “Eleanor,” could be the undoing to his final job. The black car is a blend of sports car and muscle car. Made by Ford, the 2-door fastback was used in the 2000 remake of the original 1974 Gone in Sixty Seconds. With the movie remake, came a great deal of attraction to the once popular car. In 2013, one of the “Eleanor” Mustangs used in the film was auctioned for $1 million.
8. 1976 Chevrolet Camaro Z28/ 2006 Chevrolet Camaro (Bumblebee) – Transformers
What teenage boy wouldn’t want a car that could to turn into a bad-guy fighting Autobot? In the movie Transformers, that’s just what Sam Witwicky (played by Shia LeBeouf) gets. In the beginning of the first Transformers, Bumblebee is played by the 1977 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. The car is old and worn, until Bumblebee turns from the 1977 Chevrolet Camaro into the sleek 2006 Chevrolet Camaro. Still gleaming bright yellow and donning two black racing stripes down the center of the vehicle, the 2006 Chevrolet Camaro turned Transformers into more than a sci-fi flick based on the Transformers cartoons of the 80’s. In fact, the Bumblebee car of in the original Transformers cartoons was a Volkswagen Beetle. But upgrading Bumblebee to a 2006 Chevrolet Camaro gave Transformers a lot of power and a whole lot of muscle.
7. 1932 Ford Coupe – American Graffiti
In the 1973 movie, American Graffiti, cars are as much at the forefront of the story as the characters. Based on the timeless concept of moving from adolescence to adulthood, American Graffiti is all about racing, cruising, and finding oneself. No character embodies this more than John Milner. Played by Paul Le Mat, Milner is tied to his 1932 Ford Coupe through his desire to be the best. The yellow Ford Coupe was the first mass-marketed car with a V-8 engine and it represents power and a desire for speed. Nothing can be more symbolic of drag-racing than that.
6. 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance (The Ectomobile) – Ghostbusters
In the hilarious, over-the-top supernatural comedy Ghostbusters, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, and Ernie Hudson are part of team that catches ghosts for a living in the heart of New York City. Though the concept of the movie was far-fetched, the comedic performances propelled the movie toward earnings of around $292 million in the United States alone. One key part of the movie was the Ghostbuster’s vehicle. The Ectomobile, or as it is referred to on its license plate, “Ecto-1”, was an ambulance/ hearse conversion car made by the Miller-Meteor coach company of Bellefontaine, Ohio. With its high-tech gadgets and Ghostbuster’s logo, the 1959 Cadillac made catching and storing ghosts (in the gas tank) a breeze for the Ghostbusters.
5. 1968 Mustang GT 390 CID Fastback – Bullitt
Released by Warner Brothers and Seven Arts in October of 1968, Bullitt is famous for the car chase between the 1968 Dodge Charger R/T 440 Magnum and the 1968 Mustang GT 390 CID Fastback. With San Francisco police Lt Frank Bullitt behind the wheel of the Mustang and the man responsible for killing witnesses that were under Bullitt’s protection behind the wheel of the Dodge Charger, the car chase demonstrated the power of both vehicles. A seven minute long chase through the San Francisco hills was captured in real time to give the scene an authentic feel. And while the movie found major blockbuster success it did even more for the Mustang. Just to celebrate the car’s role in the movie, Ford released a limited edition Mustang “Bullitt” in 2001.
4. 1963 Volkswagen 1200 Beetle (Herbie) – The Love Bug
In a series of movies made by Walt Disney Productions, Herbie, a 1964 Volkswagen 1200 Beetle, takes the lead as a white racing Beetle with a lot of attitude. Unable to speak, the car managed to show its personality through its many gadgets and tendency to urinate oil on the legs of those he didn’t like. The movie was based on a book by Gordon Buford entitled, Car, Boy, Girl and was the highest grossing film of 1969. The movie was so popular that there were four sequels that followed Herbie Rides Again, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie Goes Bananas, and Herbie: Fully Loaded. While the movie is adored by generations of people, the history of the car is less known. The car was originally conceived by Erwin Komedna, Porsche’s chief designer under the order of Adolf Hitler. When World War II began, the production of the vehicle was halted. It wasn’t until after the war, that the British restarted production of the car and the Volkswagen Beetle became a classic.
3. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am SE – Smokey and the Bandit
In the 1977 action-comedy movie starring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, and Jerry Reed, there is no shortage of car chases and just about as many crashes as any action movie needs. The most famous car from the movie is the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am SE. With a rough V-8 engine it embodied power and grit, and the black paint job made the car look like it was built for speed. But in reality, the 1977 Trans Am SE was lacking in horsepower. It was reported to have accelerated at the same rate as the 1995 Toyota Avalon – not as powerful as one would have liked. But what it lacked in horsepower it made up for in handling. The 1977 Pontiac Trans Am SE could take corners at high speeds, which was just what was needed in Smokey and the Bandit.
2. 1981-1982 DeLorean DMC-12 – Back to the Future
In the 1985 smash comedy, Back to the Future, Marty McFly travels through time with a lot of help from his friend Doc Brown who rigs up his DeLorean by using a flux-capacitor with a plutonium-fueled nuclear reactor. Starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, the movie was produced by Steven Spielberg and remains a pinnacle of the mid-80’s. Not only is the movie remembered by nearly everyone who lived through the 1980’s, but it also brought popularity to a car with little or no selling power. The DeLorean’s original production was surrounded by scandal due to its creator John Z. DeLorean, who was indicted on drug charges and a variety of monetary charges. With bad press and very sluggish sales, the DeLorean’s production was stopped and the cars were sold off for $6,000 a piece in Columbus, Ohio. While the real life production of the vehicle was short lived, it didn’t stop Doc Brown who most notably said in the film, “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”
1. 1963 Aston Martin DB5 – Goldfinger
James Bond is the most famous spy of all time, as is the car he drives in the third installment of the movie series, Goldfinger. Released in 1964, Goldfinger, in which Sean Connery plays the world famous spy, was the first Bond movie to make blockbuster status. The movie’s success was only heightened by the most iconic movie car in history: the 1963 Aston Martin DB5. The car used in the film was the original DB5 prototype. Another standard car was used for stunts and two DB5’s were used for showcasing and publicizing the movie. The car is still as famous today as it was in 1964. In 2006, one of the Aston Martins used for Goldfinger publicity was auctioned off for over $2 million. Just four years ago in June of 2010, one of the Aston Martins used in filming Goldfinger was auctioned for over $4 million!
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