Jonathon’s Best and Worse Cars From Films
This all came about last night. I was watching The World Is Not Enough with some friends and I forgot all about the BMW Z8 in it and how gorgeous it was. And like any group of guys eventually the conversation will get around to making a top 10 list, us blokes do love a top 10 list. And ours was the best and worst cars that ever appeared in films.
This is going to be a completely subjective post. I haven’t completed loads of research to back up this list. This is just in my personal list of favourite and least favourite cars from films I have seen
My Most Hated Movie Cars
10) Mitsubishi Eclipse From 2 Fast 2 Furious
We all waited with baited breathe for the sequel to the cult hit first edition, the cars, the girls, the coolness, we all wanted much more of that.
2 Fast 2 Furious was a bit of a comedy sidekick of the first film really, good, but not as ‘real’ as the first one.
But why did they make one of the star cars an Eclipse? It’s an awful, wobbly thing, and worst of all it was front wheel drive. Let’s not talk about the atrocious paint job either.
9) The A Team Van
Now this is going to be very controversial I know. The A Team van is one of the most iconic vehicles ever to appear on the screen, and this will surprise you, it’s also one of my favourite vehicle of all time. I’ve wanted to sit in one of these ever since I was kid and was hooked on the TV show. So why is it in my most hated list you ask?
Simple, it’s because of the A-Team movie. I haven’t seen it and I will never see it. I have a few rules with remakes, if the original is something I hold close to my heart I will never watch a remake because it will sour the memory of how perfect the original is. And I know that the A-Team movie will be crap, I just know it and that will spoil my love of the van.
So simply because Hollywood should leave the classics alone it’s on this list. To me it will always be the perfect TV show car, and this is a movie car list.
8) AMC Matador Flying Car
I am such a huge fan of the classic Bond films and the ridiculousness of the gadgets, stunts and the cars are part of what makes them great. But I think they went a step too far in The Man With The Golden Gun when they made a flying car out of an AMC Matador.
I’m no car or aerodynamics expert but I would have thought that if you want to make a car fly you wouldn’t start with a big American bus that weighs about a million tons. But just to prove me wrong, my research has shown that it did actually fly, but could only manage 500 meters and wasn’t at all airworthy. So the one you see flying in the movie was a 1 metre long radio controlled replica.
7) Dodge Charger
The car was the biggest character in the whole franchise and because of that you always see a bright orange replica one at car shows owned by some wannabe hillbilly from somewhere boring in Suffolk wearing a stupid American hat.
I’ve even seen normal cars painted orange with that confederate flag on the roof. The best one ever was a 1991 Vauxhall Cavalier, why would you bother doing that!?
6) 1983 Pontiac Trans Am
One of my all time favourite car films is Smokey and The Bandit. It is, for me, the perfect car film. It has it all, silly stunts, pointless but good plot, CB radios, moustaches… everything you could want!, including one of the most iconic and desirable cars ever. That black Trans-am with the gold eagle on the ‘hood’. My God it’s so cool, I dribble at the thought of it.
So in 1983, Hollywood in all its wisdom wanted to milk the Smokey franchise for all it was worth by making a third film. Great idea, well it was great up until the point that Burt Reynolds said he didn’t want to do it. At that point it should have been shelved. Instead ‘Snowman’ pretended to be the Bandit and was tasked with burning around in the latest Trans-Am.
The latest Trans-Am was horrible and had none of the style or the cool of the original. So like the movie, it was a flop and nobody remembers it, but we all remember and love the original.
5) 2003 Mini Cooper S
I mentioned above how much I hate remakes of classic and brilliant films. I simply cannot understand why anyone would think that it is a good idea to remake The Italian Job. The film is one of the all time greats, whether you’re a ‘car person’ or not you will love the film.
When I first heard they were going to remake the film the rumour was that were going to use the new shape VW Beetle. I could have puked right there and then. But the producers came to their senses and used Minis, the new ones which aren’t actually Minis.
I like the new Mini, the Cooper S is a car I’ve test driven loads of times but I’ve never taken the jump to buy one… yet.
But you just get the feeling that the movie is trying to be something that it’s not and that makes the car so much less cool that the originals.
PS… I’ve never seen this modern version of the film and I never, ever will. Why would I want to spoil the brilliance of the original one?
4) 1976 AMC Pacer
What a film Wayne’s World was. It was just one of those classic films that as a kid you had to see or you would be an outcast in the playground. I like the film very much, but I just can’t stand that ridiculous AMC Pacer they are rolling around in. Although I do like the flame stickers on it!
I guess the Americans built the Pacer as in the 70s there was a bit of a crisis with oil and the cost of petrol went through the roof and they all realised that driving 7.3 V8’s wasn’t the most sensible thing to do. So along came the hatchback movement.
Saving fuel wasn’t the AMC’s party piece at all though. Most came with a 3 speed auto box and either a 4.2 V6 or a 5 litre V8. So what was the point of this car? It wasn’t a little money saving hatch and neither was it a proper big American car.
That’s the reason it’s so high up on my list.
3) The Batmobile – All of Them!
People get obsessed by Batman, and they go to great lengths to buy the merchandise, and some idiots go even further and spend fortunes making their own Batmobile.
Now I’m all for having a car as a hobby, and tinkering and making something you have dreamed off. But you’re not a child anymore, why are you making a real life cartoon car?
Your wife has left you, your kids don’t remember your name, your friends have forgotten who you are and all because you spend all your free time looking for the exact correct button to put on the dash of your waste of time fake Batmobile.
2) BMW Z3
I’m not one to be racist, far from it, and call me old fashioned but James Bond wouldn’t drive a BMW he just wouldn’t and he especially wouldn’t drive a Z3. Nobody in fact should drive Z3s
They have a weird nose and most of them have engines that would be outgunned by an average hamster in his wheel. I think maybe it could be the James Bond thing that has made me dislike the Z3 so much.
They sold lots of them, and people still want them today (Ollie does!) so they can’t be a bad car. Maybe it was just that marketing ploy from BMW then.
That said I did like the Z8 that was in a Bond films and I liked Bond’s 7 Series he had. Actually yeah, I hate the Z3, it plays a tough looking game but is actually too limp-wristed to back it up.
1) VW Beetle aka Herbie
My God I hate the VW Beetle, I hate every little thing about it. I hate the way it looks, I hate the way it sounds, I hate how many were made, I hate the engine and most of all I hate the heritage of this awful, awful thing.
Why hippies took to it in the 60’s I have no idea, they must have been taking more drugs than we all thought. And then they go and make it the star of a film! A film where it races, races against proper cars, and it wins. Ridiculous. Although the latest Herbie film had Lindsay Lohan in it and that was a good thing (I’m a fan) it still didn’t take from that fact that all VW Beetles should be scrapped, immediately!
I can’t even be bothered to waste the space on this page talking any more about this hateful piece of metal.
My Fav Movie Cars
10) Delorean – Back To The Future
This has to be on every list of top movie cars, surely? The films made this one of the most iconic cars of all time and I would absolutely love to own one. Not a Back To The Future replica but a normal one.
What a simply beautiful car this is. OK, it wasn’t particularly quick and it was made of whatever bits John Delorean could dig out of parts bins at Renault and Lotus, but look at it, it’s magical.
And the other thing that made this car so great is its story. If you don’t know the full story of the car, Google it, you will love it. The story is so dramatic and interesting and you have to admire John for doing anything he can to keep his dream alive, even if it was stupid and very illegal.
9) The Car
It’s about a car going around randomly killing people, there is no driver in the car, it’s just a car on its own out to kill people and the local sheriff in the small American town takes it personally and takes on the challenge of stopping it.
‘The Car’ isn’t a real model, they made it specially for the film from a 1971 Lincoln. 4 of these were made. I wonder if any are still around? I hope so. What a great looking car.
8) Ghostbuster Ectomobile
I LOVE the Ghostbusters car. Love it!
I remember seeing the film for the first time as a kid and seeing this huge ridiculous car with all the chrome and fins and thinking it was amazing. As a kid growing up in the UK you just don’t get to see cars like that.
The car itself is a 1959 Cadillac Professional chassis originally built by the Miller-Meteor company to be used as an ambulance or hearse. In Ghostbusters it was called the Ecto-1 or the Ectomobile and I think it is one of the best looking and coolest movie cars of all time
7) Ford Mustang GT500
Gone in 60 Seconds was a cracking film, mostly because of Angelina Jolie with the blonde dreadlocks but also because of all the car porn on show. Every car you’ve ever dreamt of is either shown or mentioned in the film, even the Jaguar XJ220 which took Angelina ‘for a ride’.
So after all the car porn the film builds to a finale of the big car chase with ‘Eleanor’ the Mustang GT500. OK, fair enough the chase ended with the most ridiculous jump on that bridge and that almost ruins the entire film but we have to let that go.
After the film came out there was so many American car restoration companies knocking out Eleanor replicas, some pretty poor and some amazing. People were going mad for this car and I still am. If I ever move to the States I’d have one as my daily runaround.
6) Audi A8 W12
I’m not going to dance around this subject. I don’t like Audis. Never have and probably never will. I don’t know what it is about them but they annoy me. You might be wondering why this is in my favourites list then? When the second Transporter film came out and Jason was driving an A8 I was disappointed. The BMW 7-Series he had in the first film was a gorgeous thing, I really like that shape of 7.
But you know what, I had to eat my words. The Audi was the perfect car for the movie. It looked mean, sounded evil and just suited it perfectly.
Ollie doesn’t like me picking on Audis as his daily driver is a V10 Audi S8. But for me one of the best things about cars is that you can love them or hate them for absolutely no discernible reason.
So the Audi A8 is my exception to my hatred of all Audis simply because of these films and that earns it its place on this list.
5) The Bluesmobile
The original ‘Bluesmobile’ was a 1974 Dodge Monaco cop car. The car looked knackered but in the hands of Elwood Blues the thing could dance. Yes the stunts were a joke and the car did ridiculous things. But there is something about a shagged out old American cop car that is just cool, and The Blues Brothers rolling around in one cemented that fact forever.
And let’s not forget that the first Blues Brothers film held the record of most cars destroyed in filming a movie, it held this record up until recently.
I don’t normally like seeing replica cars from movies at car shows, I’ve already said how crap the Dukes of Hazzard car looks in replica form in the UK, but a ruined old US police car looks brilliant wherever it is. I’d have one.
4) 1994 Toyota Supra
The Fast and Furious, the first one was a low budget film they thought would appeal to a limited market but it completely took off and become a fully fledged cult classic that spawned a whole franchise of brilliant films (I’m not including Tokyo Drift in that).
There was so many great cars in these films, you could love them all. But one for me really stands out: Brian’s orange Supra from the first film.
He delivers it, completely burnt out and ruined to Dom’s garage and promptly gets laughed at, but they all stop laughing when they see what’s under the ‘hood’ of this animal.
For me this car explains the films perfectly.
As a car guy I love these sorts of films and if I had to pick one car to own from them all in The Fast And The Furious it would be the orange 1994 Toyota Supra.
3) Lamborghini Miura
I’ve already mentioned the Italian Job film, the original one. And that film has one of the finest opening sequences of any film ever made.
It opens to the sound of Matt Monro singing ‘On Days Like These’ with that little Italian bit at the beginning, then you are following a very suave looking bloke in nice glasses sweeping his stunning red Lamborghini Miura round hairpin after hairpin going up a mountain. Can you possibly imagine doing anything more joyful and fun than that?
The Miura is widely regarded at the first ever supercar and it’s easy to see why. Compared to what Ferrari were making at that time it looked like a spaceship. And it was so perfectly proportioned it was simply beautiful.
And that scene set the tone for what is one of the greatest British films ever made. Click here to watch this YouTube video and then tell me that the Miura isn’t the coolest supercar of them all.
2) Smokey & The Bandit Trans-Am
My favourite car film of all time without a shadow of a doubt is Smokey & The Bandit. You may remember above that I listed the 1983 Trans-Am from the 3rd Bandit films as a car that I hate, and I do, I truly do.
But the original one, come on!.. Who could look at it and not think it was cool? The film had literally everything you could want in a car film (with the possible exception of Amber Heard) The story was cool, pointless but cool. Running booze across state lines for a bet. There were CB radios that make us all keep saying “10-4 good buddy” for days after seeing the film and then there was Burt Reynolds’ moustache. I’d love to grow one of those but I fear I’d probably look a bit like a sex offender if I did.
Anyway, the car. I think it was a 1977 Trans-Am and the gloss black with the gold trimmings just look perfect. I’ve seen a perfect replica in real life and I would sell both testicles to own one.
It was hard not to put this as my number 1 movie car. But I’m sorry good buddy, you just came up a little short.
1) Aston Martin DB5
Back in the 1960’s Aston came up with this stunner of a car, but if not for Goldfinger, would we even care? Probably not. In 60 years time I’m not really going to be perving over the DB9 still if I’m honest. But there is just something magical about the 5.
I’ve seen a pristine one in real life. It moved me with how beautiful it was. My heart actually raced as I walked around it. There is no car on this earth that I would like to own more than an original DB5.
Yes all the gadgets that Bond had attached to his made it very cool indeed. But the car is the star here. They put it on the big screen and the world loved it. I think my favourite Bond moment with the DB5 is in Goldeneye where he races it down a mountain road to Monte Carlo against that Russian bird in a Ferrari 355. We all know the Aston would have got it’s bottom smacked by the Fezza but we rooted for it and we all believed it when it put up a good fight.
No car will ever be as desirable to a car fan who is also a huge Bond fan as the Aston Martin DB5.