The iconic actors of the silver screen are one-offs, unique. There are a group of actors however with every bit as much charisma as those on two legs, those on four wheels. The difference though with these drivable divas is that enough rolled off the production lines for it to be possible to have one of your very own living in your garage.
Most recently Dodge Challenger (specifically the 1970 vintage) had a staring role in the brutal and exhilarating Death Proof. Director Quentin Tarantino included the car partly as a reference to the cult classic Vanishing Point.
In Vanishing Point a delivery driver is taking a 1970 Dodge Challenger to San Francisco. In order to stay awake he stops by his drug dealer to purchase some illegal stimulants, and then makes a bet with him that he can make it to SF in record time.
The film is very popular among petrol heads – it is basically just one long car chase. Scottish psychedelic rockers Primal Scream were also fans of Vanishing Point, with their album of the same name being a themed tribute.
In the original script for Back to the Future the time machine was going to be a refrigerator. The film makers became worried by this plan however, fearful that it could lead children to emulate the on screen action, become trapped in the ubiquitous domestic appliances. A re-write changed the time machine to something less common, and even cooler, a DMC DeLorean.
The original DeLorean was built in Northern Ireland. It was notorious for issues with build quality and performance. Nevertheless the Back to the Future franchise led to it being one of the most iconic vehicles ever produced. Now there is even a state of the art electric vehicle based on it (flux capacitor not included).
An adaptation of the book by horror legend Stephen King Christine is a spine chilling story about a haunted car. The car quite literally has a mind of its own, and it is very jealous. Unable to tolerate any rivals to her owners affections, the titular tyrant murders his girlfriends.
Lincoln Continental Mark III
Another film where a possessed automobile wreaks havoc is The Car. The 1977 movie is not especially well remembered today – but it was taken off in a brilliant episode of Futurama. In the episode the foul mouthed and drunken robot, Bender, is bitten by a ‘were-car’ and transforms into a car resembling the Mark III Continental.
Yet another car with a ‘personality’, Kit the Trans Am from Knight Rider could actually talk. In this case the car itself had a computerised artificial intelligence. And some weird red lights on the front.
A slightly less terrifying possessed car, Herby was a VW Beetle. Although his wilfulness could cause trouble the ‘love bug’ always muddled through in the end.
A small car, the Mini has never let that stand in the way. Whether it was success on the rally circuit or the screen, the unique looks and excellent manoeuvrability of the Mini always showed star quality.
Perhaps the most famous, but certainly not the most flattering, outing for a Mini on film was as the ride of choice for the bumbling and inept Mr Bean. A more generous portrayal of Mini owners was painted in The Italian Job where the compact hatchbacks were instrumental in pulling off an audacious heist. In the remake the action was inexplicably transposed to Los Angeles, but the Mini remained. In this case it was the new, larger, BMW produced Mini that was shown, similar to that shown in the picture below (courtesy of Windmill Car Leasing).
Famous amongst other things for being the ‘General Lee’ out of Dukes of Hazard the Dodge Charger is one of the all time top muscle cars. Welding the doors shut and entering and exiting exclusively through the windows will likely lead to an MOT fail though, if you choose to drive one of these yourself.
Ford Mustang Mach 1
No list of great cars would be complete without at least one Ford. In both the original and the remake of Gone In 60 Seconds a Ford Mustang Mach 1 is the ultimate vehicle. A beast that must be tamed, a lady that must be wooed. A lady named ‘Eleanor’.
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