The 13 Greatest Cars From Film
Cinema is regularly strewn with cars that catch the eye.
Some vaguely futuristic, others staunchly vintage, and some just downright ridiculous (case in point: the driver-less limo from Timecop). For this weighty list, however, we've assembled only the very best to have appeared on screen, those as iconic as they are drool-worthy.
13. Citroën DS Chapron - "Gattaca"
Flying cars? Robot taxis? Extra cup-holders? Not in the future heralded by Gattaca, where transportation is very much grounded, and, fittingly for one of the sleekest dystopian sci-fi films ever made, one of the vehicles happens to be an elegant, reworked electric version of the Citroën DS Chapron, driven in this clip by Uma Thurman’s aerospace worker who takes Ethan Hawke’s fraudulent co-worker on a night-time ride.
12. Christine - "Christine"
More than living up to its moniker, a possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury reigns just that over a small town in this 1983 horror so vividly brought to life by director John Carpenter from Stephen King's classic novel. Faithfully, Carpenter demonizes the exact same model which King writes about, with the hulking, shiny red framework reflecting the bloody trail 'Christine' leaves behind as events turn more sinister. A true icon of horror cinema.
11. 1970 'Melba Toast' - "Dazed & Confused"
As fondly remembered for its bevy of souped-up 70s cars as it is paddling-on-backsides, Dazed and Confused treated us to a throng of shiny automobiles - though it was the Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 'Melba Toast', seen ripping it up in coming-of-age classic’s finale to the tune of Foghat’s "Slow Ride," which, fittingly, became the toast of them all. Matthew McConaughey's piston-head succeeds makes us all envious in the informal outdoor scene where he tells an acquaintance precisely what the car, as he so succinctly puts it, is packin’. We dig it.
10. Gran Torino - "Gran Tornio"
For an automobile that barely moves for the bulk of this film, it doesn't half drive this fine 2009 thriller, starring Clint Eastwood as the grimacing and embittered former Detroit car factory worker Walt Kowalski who befriends a neighboring teen when he catches the young lad trying to steal his prize motor. Along with symbolizing the trust the old man soon instils in his new pal, the Tornio doubles as a shiny, bold, middle finger in the face of America’s industrial plight, particularly in this fictional gang-infested, job-hungry Motor City where Walt’s wonderful piece of engineering brilliance remains ever timeless.
9. Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 - "Bad Boys"
Narrowly ousting the suspension-clad black 1979 Chevy Monte Carlo featured in Training Day as the alternative LA detective ride, this compact little beauty - so often the cause of arguments on passenger etiquette from careful owner Mike Lowry (Will Smith) whenever partner Marcus Burnet (Martin Lawrence) makes himself feel at home in its cushy interior - simply oozed coolness in Michael Bay's 1994 actioner. It’s no surprise the 964 featured so prominently on the poster - Bay put the car at the heart of the action years before he'd tinkered with Autobots.
8. The Batmobile - "Batman" (1989)
Putting the Gothic into Gotham, this tubular vehicle is, in our eyes, the best of the franchise yet. Anton Furst, the man behind the production design who won an Oscar for his work on the Tim Burton film, took his chief influences from Salt Flat racers of the 30s and Stingray Roadsters of the 50s before building the vehicle over a Chevrolet Impala base. Although we highly doubt any of the aforementioned models ever came equipped with two Browning machine guns.
7. Electric Audi R8 - "Iron Man 3"
Tony Stark is a man with good taste. Some may even say impeccable taste, and chances are those same people may have seen his electric Audi R8 in Iron Man 3, a car every bit as playboy as his business suit. And while the vehicle still isn’t available for purchase for us mere mortals, console yourself in the sweet facts that it isn't any Hollywood prop - it's a fully working concept which set the record lap time for electric cars at Nurburgring, last year.
6. Eleanor - "Gone In 60 Seconds"
When the hero car from the remake of Gone In 60 Seconds sold for $1m at auction, presumably in a similar sort of time frame, it cemented the iconic status of that modified 1967 Shelby Mustang’s so deftly maneuvered by Nicolas Cage's racer in the 2000 film. And sure, we won’t deny old Cage’s acting was as wooden as a walnut dash, but when the man put his keys in the ignition and stepped on the gas, we didn’t care, frankly.
5. The Delorean - "Back To The Future"
Roughly how many mechanics do you know who could fix a flux-capacitor? How about cars you know with a top speed of 88mph? Apart from the obvious downsides, the DeLorean remains a poster boy of cinema, a road-worthy and one-time affordable model which might have become synonymous with unctuous 80s bankers if not for director Robert Zemeckis, deeming it worthy enough of time travel to give it a starring role in his Back To The Future trilogy.
4. Aston Martin DB-5 - "Goldfinger"
Considering his choice of gun/drink/timepiece, it seems the only commodity James Bond doesn’t plump for on name alone is his women. And while the same goes for his wheels, he’s played a blinder with Aston Martin, as much a British institution as he. The luxurious (and lethally modified) vehicles have been a near-constant with the 007 franchise, and while there’s only space for one of the tourers on this list, it’s impossible to look past Sean Connery’s beauty in Goldfinger. So brazen the spy's road manner, its titular villain might as well have said, “No, Mr Bond, we expect you to drive.”
3. Ferrari 250GT California - "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
Reason to be jealous of Ferris Bueller #63: taking his best pal's father's treasured red Ferrari on an epic joyride and encountering none of the blame when the pair later send it flying down a ravine. Before all that, mind, our introduction to the Ferrari 250GT Spyder California, one of 100 handmade between 1958 and 1963, comes with the most tantalizing of automotive montages. Quickly cut around the chassis, it's almost NSFW fodder.
2. 1970 dodge challenger 440 – "Vanishing Point"
A former racing car driver, Vietnam war hero, wrongfully-accused cop, and now a delivery man gunning it from Denver to San Francisco in a monstrous 1970 Dodge Challenger r/t 440 aided by a blind disco DJ intercepting police radio frequencies and a fistful of pills? Yes, quite what the makers of this 70s film were thinking when they wrote this brilliantly uncompromising and trippy thriller is anyone’s guess (we assume more lines were completed in the bathroom than the treatment room) - though any sane person can't fail to notice how mesmerizing the Challenger looked upon leaving entire squadrons of cop cars in its dusty wake.
1. Mustang Fastback GT 390 – "Bullitt"
Purring around San Francisco’s wiliest corners and soaring over the city’s loftiest of tarmacked-peaks, Steve McQueen’s daredevil antics behind the wheel of the Mustang Fastback GT 390 have oft been copied but never bettered. Just two 1968 GTs were used during production as stuntmen throttled across snaking narrow streets at speeds of 110mph, and it’s testament to these maverick drivers that only one of the full-blooded models was destroyed. Quite simply, it is the movie car, and rightfully tops this list.