Have you ever wondered what became of Vin Diesel‘s Charger from The Fast and The Furious (besides being hit by a truck in the film), or where the DeLorean actually travelled to after shooting Back to the Future? Or what about ‘Baby’, Dean Winchester’s beloved ’67 Impala from Supernatural? Granted, some of the cars below are from T.V., but that hasn’t stopped them from being hot around Hollywood, or for the general public to want to get their hands on them either.
From 1932 to 1982, these amazing automobiles have had brains, athletes, basket cases, princesses, and criminals (basically the whole Breakfast Club) swooning for decades, and will have them swooning for decades to come. Most of the films and shows below are from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s but are still widely talked about, and coveted by people of all ages today. It’s no surprise Nick Cage drives a ’67 Shelby GT500, or that Jensen Ackles drives a ’67 Chevy Impala. These classic cars are such stuff that dreams are made on, and they themselves come from dreams; from the minds of technological artists who saw what the future could hold… and still holds. Here are 15 Hollywood heroes everyone wishes they could take for a ride.
15. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California
If only this truly was a Ferrari California. Hollywood douche-bag Ashton Kutcher owns a California, but certainly not a 1961. The replicas made for the iconic John Hughes film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, starring Matthew Broderick, were in fact knock-off 1963 ‘Modena’ Spyder Californias: Ferrari Gt Spyder replicas; the sole business of Modena Design who received a cease-and-desist order from Ferrari after the film hit the big screen. Two of these cars were running cars, that got the shit beat out of them in the nine takes it took to shoot the joy-riding bridge jump in the film, but the third, fibreglass shell car, with a Mustang chassis underneath, was the one to take the dive out of Cameron’s garage at the end of the movie. The nose-diving car ended up in Planet Hollywood Minneapolis, until the restaurant shut, and the car vanished. One of the working cars sold at auction for $123,257 in 2010, which is pretty incredible for a car that isn’t even really a Ferrari. The final Modena Spyder was sold back to the original owners who rebuilt it and auctioned it off to an unnamed buyer for a hefty $235,000 in 2013!
14. The Fast And The Furious Charger
The beloved, damaged, destroyed, rebuilt, damaged, and destroyed 1970 Dodge Charger R/T is the signature car of Dominic Toretto, famously played by Vin Diesel. The car, an inheritance from the character’s father, has featured in The Fast and The Furious, as well as Fast 4, 5, and 7. Given its history in the films, it’s no wonder Toretto was afraid to drive the damn thing; it can’t seem to go anywhere without getting into trouble. With a 900HP supercharged Chrysler 426 Hemi V8 engine, there’s no surprise that it comes across so much trouble. Given the ’68-’70 Charger has been Hollywood’s favourite car to destroy (The General Lee as a case and point), finding them for the Fast series was difficult. Three of the cars simply had small Chevy motors, another had no engine and was simply used on set for the actors to move around and play pretend in, but one was loaded with a 528 Hemi V8, and that must have been a beast to drive around. The original Charger now belongs to movie car-collector Bob Hartwig who lent the car to the crews of Fast 5 and 7. The #2 ‘hero’ car from Fast 4 and 5 was sold at auction for $95,700 in 2013.
The mystical Eleanor may be best known from the 2000 film Gone In 60 Seconds, starring Nicolas Cage, and Angelina Jolie, and while this bit is about that very car made to resemble a ’67 Shelby GT500, one should take a moment to appreciate the original ’73 Ford Mustang Mach 1 – the only car to get a starring title credit in Hollywood history. Two of the cars were used for filming, one as stunt, and the other as hero, but upon completion of the film, director Toby Halicki claimed the unblemished hero car was crushed (though it’s likely to have been secreted away). The stunt car is still at large today. As for the Shelby GT500 look-alike, of the eleven used for the remake, only three remain. With a 401 racing engine, and 770HP to pump out, these cars would retail at $189,000 each. All sold to private owners over the years for $216,000, $380,000, and the promo hero car, driven by Nicolas Cage, sold for a whopping $1,000,000!
12. The Mad Max Interceptor
Yes, the above shot is from Road Warrior, and not the original Mad Max, starring Mel Gibson, but the formidable ’73 Ford XB Falcon GT with a 351 Cleveland V8, 300 brake horsepower, and a top speed of 193km/h, is certainly a rusting piece of cinema history. Given the low budget of the film, only the one Falcon was used for shooting, modified by Murray Smith, Peter Arcadipane, and Ray Beckerley with Concorde front end, and a useless but mean looking supercharger. After the first film was in the can, the Mad Max Interceptor was given to stuntman Murray Smith who then, after failing to sell it, returned it for shooting of the sequel. With a larger budget, a stunt car was acquired, but having been blown up during production, the original Falcon was again the lone Mad Max Interceptor. Left for scrap at the end of the shoot, the Interceptor changed hands several times, getting bits of restoration here and there between owners, until it landed in the Cars of the Stars museum in Keswick, England. In 2011, the entire museum collection was purchased by the Miami Auto Museum, and now the one and only Mad Max Interceptor, with original front end, and Road Warrior rear, kicks back in Florida for all to see… for a price.
11. Aston Martin DB5… Driven, Not Parked.
The classic Bond car from the third James Bond installment, Goldfinger (starring Sean Connery), is the tricked out gadget-yielding, and classy-as-all-hell ’64 Aston Martin DB5. Aston Martin, hesitantly, gave the crew two DB5s for shooting. The first was a pre-production test car for what became the complete DB5. This car became the effects car, topped off with all of the fun little gadgets that Bond was so well-known for. The road car, used also in Thunderball, was held onto by Aston Martin until Jerry Lee bought the beauty for only $12,000. In 2010, Lee sold the Goldfinger road car for an overwhelming 4.1 million dollars to an Ohio car collector. The fate of the effects car though, is veiled in mystery. Stolen from a Florida airport hangar in 1997, the car has not been seen since. Now 52 years after the filming of Goldfinger, there is only speculation that, should the car be found, in tip-top shape, it would sell for significantly more than its 1964 counterpart.
10. The Bandit Trans AM
This gold-trimmed ’77 Pontiac Trans AM Special Edition T-top with a 400 6.6 V8 and over 200 brake horsepower, was Burt Reynolds‘ car of choice in the classic film Smokey and the Bandit, filmed in the same year, starring also Sally Field, Jacky Gleason, and Jerry Reed. Realistically, the Trans AM was a ’76 model with the ’77 front end (updated headlights). Only four of these fantastic Firebirds were made for the film, and by the end of shooting, only one barely remained running (one being destroyed after the classic jump over the dismantled bridge, and the other two used for parts to keep the final one going). That being said, last January, this lone surviving promo car was put up for auction by Universal Studios (and Burt Reynolds driving the Bandit to the bidding war), where it sold for half a million dollars, plus a 10% buyer’s fee to car collector John Staluppi for his “Cars of Dreams Museum” in Palm Beach, Florida.
9. Starsky & Hutch’s Gran Torino
The sweet ’76 Ford Gran Torino, finished with black wall tires, signature white vector stripe, and a 351 Windsor V8, could very well be a bigger star of the old ABC Starsky & Hutch, than the title characters themselves, played by Paul Michael Glaser, and David Soul respectively. It’s difficult to point out just where an original Torino might be found, as Ford produced an additional 1,300 replicas as popularity for the T.V. Show rose. In 2014, a supposed original was sold to an unnamed buyer for $40,000, with claimed signatures of both lead actors on the passenger sun visor. Shocking then that, there being two hero cars from the 2004 film, starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, one of them sold for only $50,000. Not much of a difference in price from 1979 to 2004. That being said, though he’s not particularly in the business of building for civilians (unless they’re very insistent), you can get yourself a Starsky & Hutch replica built by Mike Walsh at Premiere Studio Rentals.
8. The General Lee
Them good ol’ boys certainly had themselves a good ol’ car in the ’69 Dodge Charger that was the main feature (besides Daisy Duke) of Dukes of Hazzard. Different engines were employed for different uses of the car: close-up cars, with exception to the very first one, use a 383 V8, while the ‘ski cars’ (meant to ride on two wheels with the other side in the air, used a 318 for lighter weight, and lastly, the stunt cars that took the greatest beatings were powered with 440s. The General Lee, by name alone is now a controversial car, and sure, there have been upwards of 250 Chargers used for the show (retiring a car every time one was jumped), but the very first General Lee ever built for the show, bought by pro golfer Bubba Watson in 2012 for $121,000, was slated to have the rooftop namesake of the car removed, and covered with the American Flag. Despite a generous offer by Brian Grams, director of the Volo Auto Museum, Watson has turned down selling the car, opting instead for covering up a special part of this very first ’69 Dodge Charger General Lee.
7. Batman’s Vintage Ride
The caped crusader’s first on-screen ride: the Batmobile! First built in 1965 from a ’55 Lincoln Futura concept car, this not overly exceptional car with a 390 V8 in it, was designed and customized by George Barris, who was originally sold the car itself for $1.00… just one dollar! There were at least five other Batmobiles made by Barris and his co-workers, but the “#1 Batmobile” came back to Barris’ possession after the Adam West Batman series’ last episode in 1968. Come 2013, George Barris sold the now legendary car at the Barrett-Jackson auction (where most of the above cars also been auctioned), for 4.2 million dollars to Rick Champagne. Allow that to sink in… this man bought a car for one dollar, he spent $30,000 to modify it, bringing its value in ’66 to $125,000, rents it to the Batman crew, then sells it for 4.2 million dollars! Not long before Barris passed away last year, the Batmobile went up for sale at $5,000,000. It has since been sold to an undisclosed buyer at an undisclosed price.
6. She’s The Little Deuce Coupe
Ah, the famous ’32 Deuce Coupe from Scorsese‘s American Graffiti. Laden with an exposed ’66 327 Chevy engine, THX plates, and chopped top, this car, not entirely alone, helped launch George Lucas‘ career, as well as those of Harrison Ford, Ron Howard, and Richard Dreyfus. After the sequel, More American Graffiti, one Steve Fitch bought the coupe at auction in 1983. Two years later, Rick Figari bought the coupe, and toured with it, showing it off to thousands of fans all over America. He went so far as to buy a copy of the ’55 Chevy the coupe famously raced in the film. After years of attempts of people trying to steal and clone parts of the car to create their own touring attraction, Figari decided to give up his dream car, and put it up for sale. In 2011, Figari parted with the one and only American Graffiti ’32 Ford Deuce Coupe in exchange for an eight figure sum from an undisclosed buyer in Japan.
5. Doc Brown’s Time Travelling DeLorean
The 1981 DMC-12 has become perhaps the most famous time machine of all time (take that H.G. Wells). Complete with flux capacitor, time circuit display, and by the end of the first film, Mr. Fusion energy reactor, and light water “street legal: nuclear reactor core”, this Hollywood hottie gets serious when it hits 88mph. Seven DeLoreans in total were used during production for the trilogy. Six of which were purchased from DMC, and the seventh was a fibreglass replica used for flying sequences. The “A” hero time machine has been restored to perfection and sits in the Peterson Automotive Museum in L.A. The stunt car can found at Universal Studios in Florida, next to the time travelling steam engine from BTTF III. After the trilogy finished shooting, the last of only three remaining time travelling DeLoreans, fitted with white walls for the final film, toured the globe, got badly worn and torn, and was beautifully restored and sold to a private interest in New England. There are approximately 6,000 remaining DeLoreans running today, so there’s still a chance to find one, and get back to the future.
One of the greatest car films of all time, starring the superstar Steve McQueen, Bullitt features the highland green, 1968 fastback Mustang GT390. Allegedly only two Mustangs were used for shooting this film, though WB executives offered “Bullitt Mustangs” for sale shortly after the film hit the screen. The stunt GT was sent to the scrapyard for very clear reasons if ever you’ve watched the film, and the remaining hero car was sold for only $2500 to a WB employee. Briefly trickling through another owner, and landing into a third owner’s hands – a businessman who likes his privacy – the famed Bullitt Mustang has been in hiding since 1972. Occasionally people have stumbled onto the car and snapped a few shots of it. Drew Barrymore had the idea of driving the car for Charlie’s Angels, but the producers of the film were threatened with legal action for harassing the owner about using the car. Jay Leno was prepared to go to the man’s home to acquire the car for the 30th anniversary of the film and, sadly, three years before McQueen’s death, he was turned down an offer to purchase the car he had wished he drove off the set with all those years before.
3. K.I.T.T. From Knight Rider
For those of you who don’t know, K.I.T.T. Stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand (or Three Thousand if you know the remake of Knight Rider on NBC shot with a 08/09 Shelby GT500KR). The original car, driven by David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, was a 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans AM. The body and interior modified to carry flashing lights, buttons, and screens (by George Barris) for the futuristic look common of shows in the 80s, were surprisingly foretelling with regards to today’s many gadgets and gizmos.
Under the hood sits an eight cylinder, 5L engine with 150 brake horsepower, and max quoted speed of 201km/h (though the show boasted a turbo boost that allowed K.I.T.T. to travel up to 322km/h, forwards or backwards!). Of the 23 Firebirds made for Knight Rider, only 5 escaped the scrap yard. Universal Studios kept hold of one ‘hero’ car (the car used for those slick close-ups), and one stunt car. The other three are believed to now be privately owned. Searching the web, one can find several auctions claiming the sale of an original K.I.T.T. But there are more of these originals advertised than were ever built for the original show.
The villainous ’58 Plymouth Fury is truly the star of John Carpenter‘s, Christine. Realistically this most evil car of Hollywood history is a mash-up of twenty three Plymouth Belvederes, Savoys, and actual Furys. Sixteen of these cars were used for filming, and the other seven were kept as part-cars for maintenance during shooting. Come the conclusion of the film only three Christines remained in pristine condition and were each sold off to private collectors. One Martin Sanchez managed to salvage one of the junked Christines (along with a flatbed of other junked Christines, for only $20 a truckload) from the wreckers, and restored it to beautiful working condition, though it’s unfortunately unlikely he will ever part with this piece of cinema history. Now one of only two of the classic horror icons remaining, Sanchez has said that he wouldn’t part with Christine even if he was offered one million dollars.
1. Oh Baby…
‘Baby’, the ’67 Chevy Impala, passed down by John Winchester (played by new Walking Dead super villain Negan – Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to his eldest son Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), likes to make noise with its 327 V8 4 barrel with 275 brake horsepower. This black beauty is, of course, one of the main characters of the hit T.V. Series, Supernatural. Though eight of these impressive Impalas are used for filming, the one hero car is the most often seen, and the most often used, in spite of all the satisfying stunt work in the show. That being said, when the car was initially purchased, it had only 19,300kms on the odometer, and now, in the twelfth season of filming, this hero car has only 25,000kms. Considering the Winchesters travel all over the United States, that’s one hell of a feat for this truly heroic car. Given that fact, these cars, untouchable for now, can still be seen driving around B.C. where they shoot the show.
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