Hollywood has long had a love affair with stylish cars, so much so that the cars themselves seem to become characters. Auto aficionados know how hard it is to choose favourites, but we’re going out on a limb and declaring these 15 of the coolest movie cars of all time.
1984 Mercedes 450 SL in American Gigolo
Julian Kaye, played by Richard Gere, is a Los Angeles resident who works as an escort to satisfy his expensive tastes in clothes, cocaine and cars in American Gigolo. The car in question is a black 1984 Mercedes 450 SL. The SL had long been a symbol of wealth and luxury, but Gere cruising around in his convertible in the film’s opening credits certainly helped solidify the reputation.
1980 Lamborghini Countach in The Cannonball Run
The imposing 1980 Lamborghini Countach looks like it should be driven by a total badass, but the drivers behind the wheel in the 1981 comedy racing flick The Cannonball Run are Jill Rivers (Tara Buckman) and Marcie Thatcher (Adrienne Barbeau), two Spandex-clad hotties who spend much of the movie showing off their racing suit cleavage. The same Lamborghini also appears in the movie’s opening credits, being pursued by a Nevada Highway Patrol car.
The DeLorean in Back To The Future
The average DeLorean DMC-12 is notable for its gull-wing doors, fiberglass “underbody,” and the fact that it was the only model ever produced by the company. But the DeLorean – the one that everyone thinks of when they hear the name – is a much more special machine. A time machine, in fact. A plutonium-powered, flux capacitor-equipped time machine that catapults Dr. Emmett Brown and Marty McFly back and forth through time in the Back To The Future trilogy.
1961 Ferrari GT California Spyder in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The 1961 Ferrari GT California Spyder in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is easily one of the movie’s most important stars. “Life moves pretty fast,” especially if you’re cruising around in one of these, “if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Unfortunately, the car doesn’t exactly survive the film unscathed. Due to the extreme rarity of the real car, three fiberglass replicas were used during shooting instead.
‘Eleanor’ Shelby GT 500 in Gone in 60 Seconds
Gone in 60 Seconds, starring Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie and Robert Duvall, is the story of a retired car thief who must steal 50 cars in one night in order to save his brother’s life. All the automobiles featured are rare and valuable, but the car that stole the show was the 1967 Shelby GT 500 named Eleanor. 12 copies of Eleanor were used during the making of the movie, but only 7 survived shooting, one of which was put up for auction in 2012.
1974 Ford Torino in Gran Torino
Any car that gives its name to the title of the film is clearly the real headlining star. Directed by, produced by, and starring Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino tells the tale of a recently widowed Korean War veteran who has his prized 1972 Ford Torino stolen by a neighbour as part of his initiation into a gang. A 6-cylinder Torino was also the main car for the 2004 movie Starsky & Hutch.
BMW i8 in Mission Impossible
The BMW i8, first introduced as the BMW Concept Vision Efficient Dynamics, is a plug-in hybrid sports car developed by BMW. Tom Cruise may have been the biggest name in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but the futuristic BMW i8 far eclipsed his stardom. The sexy car saved the world on screen while also saving the world with its electric drive system. A sustainable supercar? Yes, please.
Mk1 Austin Mini Cooper S in The Italian Job (1969)
It would be impossible to make a list of famous film cars without including the Mini Coopers of The Italian Job. These little guys are undoubtedly some of the most iconic movie automobiles ever. The red, white and blue Mk1 Austin Mini Cooper S’s became legends at the hands of L’Equipe Remy Julienne’s stunt drivers (despite their low ground clearance). Sadly, no one seems to know what happened to the fleet of surviving Minis that were used on set.
1976 Lotus Esprit S1 in James Bond The Spy Who Loved Me
It’s pretty hard to narrow down all the incredible vehicles in the James Bond films to just one special car, but we’ve given the honour to the 1976 Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me. The Lotus featured in a long chase sequence on the Italian island of Sardinia, which famously ended with the car transforming into a submarine. Some of its modifications included cannons that spray cement on pursuing vehicles, wheel arches that turn into fins and a small periscope on the roof.
1973 XB GT Ford Falcon Coupe (modified) in Mad Max
The black Pursuit Special (or Interceptor, if you prefer) driven at the end of Mad Max began life as a 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon Coupe, an exclusively Australian automobile. The drive-train was kept, along with most of the original interior, but a host of body alterations were made to turn the car into the modified monster it became. Only one was ever built for the first Mad Max film, so after filming it was modified once more to make it suitable as a road car and then used during promotional tours.
2003 Audi Avant RS6 in Layer Cake
Daniel Craig was the man behind the wheel of the 2003 Audi Avant RS6 in Layer Cake. Though he says he never got to drive the car during shooting, Craig told an interviewer he was allowed to take it for a spin outside of filming and “almost totalled it because it’s terribly fast.” Believe it or not, this wagon can make 60 in under 4.5 seconds due to its quattro all-wheel-drive and a biturbo 4.2-litre V8 that’s capable of over 400 horses.
1979 Porsche 928 in Risky Business
Way back in 1983, when Tom Cruise was known for something other than being a crackpot couch-hopping Scientologist, he made a gold 1979 Porsche 928 famous in Risky Business. The 1979 928 was never a particularly desirable car, but seat time with Tom Cruise is enough to boost any car’s credibility. In a 2012 auction of Hollywood memorabilia, the car sold for USD $49,200 – roughly 5 times the worth of a comparable Porsche 928 that comes without the movie pedigree.
1969 Mercedes Benz Cabriolet in The Hangover Pt.1
There has never been a finer example of a 1969 Mercedes-Benz convertible on film. Car fans probably got goosebumps watching the gorgeous Benz Cabriolet flying down the highway with the Wolf Pack on the way to Vegas. Of course, those goosebumps were probably followed immediately by an impending sense of dread. No car that nice makes it out alive in a film that funny. Note: tigers do not belong in vintage vehicles.
1989 Lotus Esprit SE in Pretty Woman
The 1989 Lotus Esprit SE took a starring turn alongside Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Not only did the film jumpstart Roberts’ acting career, it also proved to be a massive boost for Lotus sales. Allegedly both Ferrari and Porsche declined to allow the use of their cars in the film, for fear of being associated with prostitution, but Lotus was happy to accept the opportunity. Sales of the Lotus Esprit tripled during 1990 and 1991.
2008 Audi S8 5.2 in The Transporter 3
The S8 5.2 Audi at the centre of “Transporter 3” takes almost as much abuse as does star Jason Statham. Naturally, the car plays a key role in the film and is the subject of plenty of spectacular driving scenes. If you’re going to drive a limo we think it should be the fastest one on the road.