How many people would know of Aston Martin, if it were not for James Bond, or how popular would the Skyline be without Brian O’Connor? Movies make cars a part of pop culture. Even the ones who are not ‘car people’ recognize notable cars from popular movies.
In this list, we’ll count 40 of the cars that were immortalized by movies. These are, no doubt, great cars, but they’d not be a part of a common culture like they are now, if it were not for these iconic movies that featured them.
1968 Mustang GT 390 – Bullitt
You know a car has transcended the movie when the manufacturer makes a limited edition of the car, commemorating the movie, TWICE. The scenes in which Steve McQueen chases the 1968 Charger in his Mustang are some of the best ever shot on camera.
While Mustangs are naturally menacing, the ones in the movie are made even more so thanks to the Magnesium wheels and the stripped-down look.
Lykan Hypersport – Furious 7
There are doubts, even about the legitimacy of this car, but people know it to be the one Dom Toretto jumped across a couple of skyscrapers in Furious 7.
If it is real, seven of these are built and a unit goes for $3.4 million. Cars don’t fly unless you make them!!
1970 Dodge Charger – The Fast and the Furious
Doing a wheelie while spinning the rear wheels might be against the established laws of Physics, but the 1968-70 Dodge Charger is still a movie and TV superstar of a car, one of the timeless champions.
It’s a shame how the car got destroyed due to Dom’s carelessness in the drag race with Brian, and it’s a curse how Dom’s Charger always gets totaled in every single Fast and Furious movie.
Batmobile – Batman Begins
A black… TANK is how a policeman described it when the batmobile sped past him in Batman. Batmobiles have transcended generations and become a part of pop culture but the absolute tank from Batman Begins is probably the coolest of them all.
It appears, if wealth is your superpower, you can commission any vehicle for your war against evil.
1969 Mustang – John Wick
Keanu Reeve’s most memorable on-screen vehicle is none other than the 1969 Mustang, that’s a part of the boogie man’s life that he plays in John Wick.
Though it appears that it is a Boss 429, it’s highly unlikely that they actually used one of those as those things are worth more than $500,000 a piece. It is most probably a Mark1 1969 Mustang, a very potent car nonetheless.
1984 Ford Econoline – Dumb and Dumber
You know a car is bound to be iconic when it has the name ‘Shaggin’ Wagon.’ No, the van did not grow fur, they added tan carpet inside and out to give the van that look.
The van’s windshield acted as the puppy’s and driver’s eyes, and you had to lift up the rear leg to reach the fuel filler cap.
1948 Ford De Luxe Convertible – Greased Lightning
There is no shortage of classics in Grease, but if there’s one that takes the cake for being the best of them, it is the 1948 Ford De Luxe Convertible.
The car has a proper character build-up in the movie from the scrapheap at the start to the shining prize at the end. However, the “four-speed on the floor” transmission John Travolta is seen singing about is not there as the car has a column shifter in the race scene.
1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu – Drive
The Chevelle might not appear to be the ideal getaway car for someone who’s known by the sole name of Driver, but there’s a reason Ryan Gosling chose this car when director Nicolas Winding Refn gave him the option to select his character’s car.
The Driver was fond of stock car racing and the Chevelle was one of the most commonly used cars in the sport between 1973-83… that’s why Ryan went with this one.
1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX – Tommy Boy
This car was a real gem, with the 440 Magnum under the hood. It’s a shame it lost the hood, the windscreen, and a door in the encounter with the deer.
Richard should’ve known that letting Farley in would severely decrease the resale value of the Belvedere GTX.
1967 Austin Mini Cooper S – The Italian Job
The Minis in the movie are great but the British Motor Corporation, the maker of the car refused to contribute to the movie, leading to the production crew purchasing six units at market price.
The screenwriter, Troy Kennedy Martin, still refused to trade the Minis for any other car for what became one of the most iconic car chase scenes of screen history.
1972 Lincoln Town Car – American Gangster
You might think of the Lincoln Town Car as an old people mover but in the time when the movie American Gangster is set, it was the car of choice for gang people.
Denzel made the car look good as did a few cosmetic upgrades over the stock appearance of the car.
Lotus Esprit – The Spy Who Loved Me
The driving scenes of the Series 1 Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loves Me are among some of the best ones of all time but the one that really sticks in mind is when the car transforms into a submarine.
If you happen to have one, beware it does not have a propeller, stabilizer, or fins, better drive it on a road.
Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R – 2 Fast 2 Furious
The R34 Skyline GT-R is one of the most underrated and misunderstood movie cars. Being the JDM fan that he is, Brian O’Conner chose to go with the GT-R and we can now tell how right he was!
Sadly, the car was totaled along with Dom’s Chevelle SS in the fourth movie of the series, to fulfill the requirements of the plot.
1964 Aston Martin DB5 – Goldfinger
James Bond’s legacy of fast cars and exotic gadgets can be traced back to the 1964 Aston Martin DB5. Even without the ram bumper, machine guns, ejector seat, smoke screen, oil-slick sprayer, and other cool tricks, this vehicle is no less than a piece of art.
The car is so popular that Aston Martin announced in 2020 that they’ll be producing 25 copies of this masterpiece for a sticker price of $3.5 million each.
1967 Shelby GT500 – Gone in 60 Seconds
The Dupont Pepper Grey 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback is depicted as Shelby GT500 in the car. 11 of these were made for the movie, with three being actual functional cars.
Two of them were destroyed in filming, while the one remaining unit was sold for a whopping $1 million in 2013.
1976 AMC Pacer – Wayne’s World
Known in the movie as the Mirthmobile, the Pacer is arguably one of the ugliest cars ever produced. Still, it is remembered for being a part of Wayne’s World 1 and 2.
Aiming to be a compact car but being as wide as a mid-size sedan and with a huge 4.2 I-6 under the hood mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission, the Pacer is a car of unusual proportions, to say the least.
1988 Pontiac Firebird – Knight Rider
Pontiac West Coast gifted three black Firebirds to the production crew of the Knight Rider and those cars have gone down in history in a way we don’t even have to describe.
This car does not have anything particularly distinct about it, just another car with a 2.5L engine and an automatic three-speed transmission, but the way it was driven in the movie immortalized it.
Lamborghini Miura – The Italian Job
The opening scene of The Italian Job is every bit as memorable as the Mini Cooper chase scene. The Miura used for this scene is often called the ‘first true supercar’ with a rear-mid-engined layout.
A bit of backstory on the scene is that Lamborghini provided the film crew a Miura that had crashed in testing to avoid totaling a good car. Those things cost $300,000 back then.
1973 Ford Gran Torino – The Big Lebowski
It might appear to be a beater but this car was a big star of the movie. The plan was to use a Chrysler LeBaron, but it was switched to this car because that one was not big enough to accommodate The Big Lebowski.
It is reported that two cars were used in the movie, one was destroyed during filming, while the other appeared later in the eighth episode of The X-Files, where it too was destroyed.
1966 Alfa Romeo 1600 Duetto Spider – The Graduate
The red Alfa Romeo 1600 Duetto Spider Benjamin Baddock drives is the most memorable thing in The Graduate, after the dialogue “Mrs. Robinson you are trying to seduce me.”
This car was made by Alfa Romeo between 1966 and 1994 before they ended their operations in the North American market in 1995.
Mk4 Toyota Supra – The Fast and the Furious
Any fan of the Fast and Furious franchise would know the ending scene of The Fast and The Furious. American Muscle vs. JDM, Dom vs. Brian.
It might not be totally true to say that this scene immortalized the Supra because it is one of the best cars of all time. But, this scene is surely the reason anyone can easily identify this JDM masterpiece on the road.
6000 SUX – RoboCop
Beneath the skin of the 6000 SUX is a 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, chosen because of its futuristic four-door looks. The outer shell was made from fiberglass while the engine and internals were left unchanged from the Oldsmobile.
Two complete, fully functional 6000 SUX cars were made for the movie. It remains unclear what became of them after the movie had been shot.
1971 Chevrolet Nova SS – Death Proof
Being the all-American man that Kurt Russel is, using an American car was the only reasonable option for him in the movie Death Proof, and so he did.
Four cars were made for the movie, one of them was fully caged and used for all the stunts, named The Jesus. Another fully caged one, called The Prius was destroyed during filming.
1992 Ford Explorer – Jurassic Park
The beefy appearance of these cars might make you think they are Jeeps, but they actually are Ford Explorers. Even though the cars don’t see a lot of off-roading, a good portion of the movie is centered around them.
George Barris’s customization was such a great hit that fans still buy Explorers from that era and modify them to look like the movie version of the car.
1969 Dodge Charger – The Dukes of Hazard
What started as a pale orange car with a rough 01 sign at the start of the movie, developed into a bright ‘Hemi Orange’ car with an Octagonal 01 printed on its side.
It is reported that around two dozen 1967-70 Dodge Chargers were used in the filming of the movie, and most did not survive the stunts.
1966 Ford Thunderbird – Thelma & Louise
Thelma and Louise didn’t ride the 1966 Thunderbird just because they were classic outlaw ladies. This car was practical for shooting purposes, and the rear seat allowed other characters to travel with them.
A total of five cars were used in the movie, of which one, adorned by the signatures of Brad Pitt and Geena Davis, was sold for $71,500 in 1991.
1967 Chevy Camaro SS – Better Off Dead
Better Off Dead is an underrated classic, the coming-of-age story of Lane Meyer who just wants to get a girl but ends up with the vintage Camaro as a result of an impulse purchase.
However, Meyer accepts the challenge and restores the car with help from a French exchange student. Not spoiling the movie anymore.
1981 DeLorean DMC-12 – Back to the Future
It would not be an overstatement to say that absolutely no one would know about the DeLorean DMC-12 if Dr. Emmett Brown a.k.a Doc didn’t transport it between past and future at 86 mph using a flux capacitor.
Sadly, despite their car being a hit in the movie, DMC flopped and went bankrupt in 1980.
1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor – Ghostbusters 1 and 2
Known in the movie as the Ectomobile, this 1959 Caddy is as famous as the men riding it. This end-loading ambulance/hearse combination is not as sinister-looking as the producers initially wanted it to be.
It was planned to be black and purple with white strobe lights at the start, but the producers settled for a more domesticated look that we see in the movie.
1985 Modena GT Spyder California – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
This was a Replica of the $300,000 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California made for filming. What you see on the screen is a Frankenstein’s monster of a car made from a steel tube frame, a Ford-sourced V8 and Ferrari-inspired fiberglass body panels.
Three replicas were made for the car, of which two were sold in an auction. One went for $235,000 in 2013 and the other brought a whopping $407,000 in 2020.
2008 Audi R8 – Iron Man
When money is your superpower and you are set in a fictional universe, you can have any car to suit you. Tony Stark went with the Audi R8, one of the very few cars in production with a mid-mounted V10.
The car was also Audi’s halo car and defined Audi for the years to come.
Subaru Impreza WRX – Baby Driver
What car would you use to escape if you want to go unnoticed after a bank heist? A Sleeper. What better fulfills the definition of a sleeper than a WRX?
Even though Baby Driver is a relatively new movie, the red WRX with black wheels from the opening scene got a lot of appreciation from viewers.
The 1983 GMC Vandura – The A-Team
If there’s one absolutely iconic van from the 1980’s it’s the A-Team’s GMC Vandura. It’s true that the black and red paint scheme does not make much sense for a bunch of ex-military guys, but the action scenes that surround the van do.
Two of these were used as hero vehicles and six more were used in the stunts.
Lamborghini Murciélago – Fate of the Furious
No matter if the first word defining the mission is ‘lowkey,’ your boy Roman’s gonna roll in an orange Lambo. However, things got serious when poor Roman had a submarine at his V-12 monster’s back.
The way Roman is scared when the sub is trying to hit him with torpedos is what makes the orange Lambo scene a memorable one.
1963 Volkswagen Beetle – Herbie: The Love Bug
Even though Herbie was never referred to as a Volkswagen in the movie, and all branding had to be removed from the car, anyone who’s been alive after the second world war can tell it’s a Beetle.
The franchise, consisting of five movies made use of more than 100 cars to complete the shooting. VW did come onboard in later installments.
1971 Volkswagen T2 Microbus – Little Miss Sunshine
This movie follows the journey of a dysfunctional family from New Mexico to California to deliver Olive to the Little Miss Sunshine Beauty Show, and what better car can serve for such a road trip than a sunshine yellow Microbus.
The cast of the movie was so impressed by the van (even though they had to push it at one point) that Greg Kinnear thanked VW engineers for “making a beautiful vehicle back in 1969 that is so comfortable, so safe.”
1973 XB GT Ford Falcon – Mad Max
The Ford Falcon, created with a fire-breathing 351 cubic inch V-8 was meant to satisfy the power-hungry Australians and was a fairly mean-looking car but the producers of Mad Max made it even meaner.
In the movie, the ‘Interceptor’ version of the car has a special nose, wider flares, and big fat tires to go with them, making it an absolute badass machine.
1953 Mercury Custom – Ant-Man and the Wasp
If you are a fan of Universal, you’d recognize this car. It has made appearances in many of its movies, including Ant-Man and the Wasp. The most notable appearance, however, is in the Cuba scene in the Fate of the Furious.
Universal owns this car and it has been kept mainly stock, only replacing parts that wear out.
2007 Chevrolet Camaro – Transformers
In the first Transformers movie, we are introduced to Bumblebee, a second-generation 1977 Chevrolet Camaro, that transforms into a fifth-generation one. But the movie came out a full two years before the model went into production.
To make sure that the cars in the movie looked real enough, the body panels were made from the same molds as the 2006 Camaro Concept. These two replicas were based on 5.7L, LS1-powered Pontiac GTOs.