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10 Cars Made into Classics by Cinema

by Tim Farrell
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Often in films and TV shows, the setting or certain props can be so impactful that they become characters in and of themselves. Think of the ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz. Or the location of war-torn Vietnam in Apocalypse Now. Sometimes, these things become so iconic that they provide a quick reminder of the film without much effort.

If you’ve ever watched a movie and said, “Wow, I want that car” or “That car is out of this world,” then this is the list for you. Here, we focus on ten cars from famous movies that we wish would jump from the screen into our driveways.

Related: Top 10 Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Best Action Movies

10 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Best of the Bandit Trans Am – Smokey and the Bandit

First on our list is the Burt-Reynolds-and-Sally-Field-carrying super speeder known to most as the Trans Am. A goliath in the iconic car industry, this muscle car broke expectations when featured in the action comedy Smokey and the Bandit. Within two years (1977-78), sales of this gorgeous racer skyrocketed by 30,000 units and then another 24,000 in 1979. It’s safe to say that the responsibility of the massive overhaul in production was due to the lovable charm of the two main actors as they attempted to haul much-needed alcohol to a truck show with a dastardly tail—Sheriff Buford T. Justice, played by Jackie Gleason.

Many most likely wanted to relive the movie magic—minus the immediate dangers—as Bo and the hitchhiker Carrie willed their way through the tough landscapes of southern America. It also helped that this vehicle was packing a T-top roof, beautiful starlight black colorway, and an engine said to be quicker and better to handle than the Corvette of its time. Burt Reynolds sold his Trans for $495,000 at the Barrett-Jackson Auction, bringing the known value to half a million in value. Good luck getting your hands on this one, all you collectors out there. [1]

9 1981 Delorean DMC-12

Back to the Future, Part I: The DeLorean (1985) [HD]

Not nearly as fast as our last entry, but just as iconic, speeding through timelessness at exactly 88 mph, is the Delorean DMC-12. This futuristic stainless steel icon burned flames across hearts all over the world as we watched Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) go on a three-part misadventure traveling through time itself. Quite different from most of its contemporaries, this space-inspired sports car took the metal for one of the slowest sports cars of its age.

Although beefed with a V8 for the film, DMC originally packed the Delorean with a 2.85-liter Peugeot-sourced V6 that only managed to produce 130 horsepower and 153 pounds of torque. Giorgetto Giugiaro, the designer of this tame beast, might not have enjoyed the speed, but he poured his heart into the design. With beautiful gull-winged doors, wedge shape, and sleek features from Back to the Future’s time machine, it’s impossible to leave this off our list.[2]


8 1970 Dodge Charger R/T

’70 Dodge Charger in Fast & Furious

Although many iterations of this stunning muscle car tore through our theaters and television screens, we had no choice but to crown the king to our favorite; Vin Diesel as (Dominic Torretto) in Fast and Furious. Following the notoriety of its 1969 bright orange counterpart of 30 years prior, the General Lee of Dukes and Hazard, the Fast and Furious team set themselves apart by upping the unimaginable stunts and raising the cool factor all around.

In this revamped image, Dom’s wild ride sported a pitch black finish with an intimidating supercharger bursting through the hood that screamed for a challenge. Although fantastical in its depiction, the final bout of this racing flick found Dom and O’Brien not only leaping past a train as doom came chugging down the tracks but also leaping into our hearts. This cemented its way to fame and definitely earned its spot on our list. [3]

7 1994 Ford Explorer XLT UN46

I Drove a REAL LIFE Jurassic Park Vehicle! The Ultimate Nostalgia Mobile

Dino toys deserve a Dino car. We may have driven off the beaten trail from your above average high-paced high-action sports cars but never say we let go of the thrills. Join us as we embark on one of the most iconic explorations and biomechanical miracles to ever roar its way onto the big screen. Don’t be confused with the Jeep look-alikes. This self-promoting tour guide is fully prepared to keep you breathing as it dies in style under thousands of pounds of pressure from that sneaky T-rex’s chomp.

Based in the science fiction world created by Micheal Crichton, the novel Jurassic Park had no trouble spawning a number of sequels and reboots. Each had its own all-terrain vehicles, but none were as iconic as this beauty. Equipped with mounted bumpers and lights, this festive-colored vehicle explored its way into an early grave when it came in contact with genetically engineered dinosaurs. Rest in peace, you beautifully designed marvel. May you live forever in car glory.[4]


6 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor

“Everybody Can Relax, I Found The Car” | ALL ECTO-1 Scenes | GHOSTBUSTERS

Even with the passing of the late and great Harold Ramis, we know his legacy will live on. To show how much his beloved performance in Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters touched us, we included the wacky car that needs no introduction. The Ectomobile is a character of itself. Originally designed by Steven Dane, this ambulance-esque limo-styled behemoth of a vehicle had enough room for all of our childlike wonders.

Strap on your proton packs and join us in the fight against ghosts and save the world. Just a recreated shell of this iconic car sold for an astonishing $200,000D at the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Auction.[5]

5 1985 Modena GT Spyder California

FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF | “Ferrari” Clip | Paramount Movies

Please, guys, if you buy this one, make sure to lock your garage. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off featured this crimson beauty. Although production wanted to feature the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, movie magic gets a pass with this one because it’s just so drop-dead gorgeous.

Rather than spending a whopping $300,000 on the real thing, production customized this mock-up with a variety of featured parts, including a steel tube subframe, Ferrari-influenced fiberglass bodywork, and a V8 engine. Knowing the inevitable fate of this beautiful automobile, it would have been a shame to waste the real thing. Thus the Modena GT Spyder chiseled its way into our iconic list.[6]


4 1963 Volkswagen Beetle Model 117

The Love Bug (1969) Herbie Wins The El Dorado

Equipped with a deluxe sunroof, racing stripes, and unforgettable headlights for eyes, this “Love Bug” named Herbie made the world wish their cars would come alive. After sharing bouts of will and tenacity with its viewers, this race car has triumphed in the hearts of generations since its debut in 1968. Watching the original film, you might notice the absence of any Volkswagen insignias. This was, of course, due to the automotive behemoth censoring the usage of their brand’s titular logos.

It wasn’t until the film received massive success—multiplying its budget at the box office by 10—that Volkswagen cosigned the usage in the film’s successor, Herbie Rides Again.” With comedic fun for the whole family and countless spin-offs and reboots, this rusty bug lives as an icon in the hearts of millions.[7]

3 1975 Ford Gran Torino

Starsky & Hutch – One Fast Car

Join us as we revisit a starlight look at the dynamic duo between detective crime-fighters Starsky and Hutch. Their streetwise meets conventional intellect charisma took the small screen by storm in this hit classic from the mid to late ’70s. All they needed was a just-as-classic car to match their undeniable chemistry, and that’s exactly what they got. The 1975 Gran Torino sported a white stripe, tomato-skinned paint job, and a 351 Windsor V8 engine capable of 435 horsepower.

The vinyl upholstered front bench caused havoc on set during chase scenes thanks to its slippery nature and eventually had to be replaced with more functional bucket seats. You can tell handling in this vehicle was more of an art than science the way production went through ten cars in only a four-year run, but that didn’t stop viewers from pining over this classic racer. Ford produced 1100 replica models just for the fans. This devotion earns its spot on this iconic driveway of fame.[8]


2 1964 Aston Martin DB5

1964 Aston Martin DB5 Goldfinger Continuation | Jay Leno’s Garage

It’s impossible to forget the world’s greatest covert operative in a list of iconic cars. Every Bond has a girl, and every Bond has a car, so it was hard to narrow down the most influential of the bunch. Through the stiff competition over the past 70 years of Bond iterations, the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 speeds past them all in boisterous acclaim. Featured in the classics Goldfinger, Thunderball, Goldeneye, and Skyfall, there’s a reason this silver beauty lives rent-free in the aspirations of millions of car enthusiasts.

Sporting a unique silver birch, now part of Aston Martin’s iconic colorway thanks to the success of Goldfinger, this once prototype became one of the world’s most valuable collectible cars, valued at over 3 million dollars. Outfitted with a DOHC straight-6 4.0 L engine, this transforming spy car was recently built to fit the exact specifications Q entailed.

Twenty-five models now contain mock gunners mounted under the hood, a propellable roof, and other various Bond gadgets matching the cinematic version. All except the ejector seats. With this classic car becoming as big of an icon as its driver, it’s hard to ignore its palpable effect on the world. It’s gonna be hard to get your hands on this one. All 25 are spoken for.[9]

1 1967 Shelby GT 500 “Eleanor”

Gone In 60 Seconds |2000| All Eleanor Pursuit Scenes [Edited]

Don’t let this DuPont pepper gray hotrod fool you; it’s as unbelievable as the Aston. Originally a 1967 Ford Mustang fastback, this beauty of a vehicle was transformed into the fictional “Shelby GT500 Eleanor” that fought a race against time in the film Gone in 60 Seconds (2000). The “Eleanor” was named after the original movie, Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)”, by H.B Halicki, who directed the original as well as acted and did stunts. The car from the original film was a ’73 Mustang fastback.

Sadly H.B Halicki passed away in a stunt accident while filming the sequel leaving the rights to his wife Denice Halicki. An original “Eleanor” was sold at auction for 1 million dollars in 2013. Although he did not get to complete the sequel he always wanted, we honor his action-thriller classic by making his treasured name the last in a long list of iconic cars that touched the lives of millions.[10]

fact checked by Jamie Frater

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