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10 Iconic Cars from Movies & TV: Ranked

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Hollywood releases over 800 films each year in the U.S., yet rarely do we witness inanimate objects, like cars, stealing the show away from paid actors. No: Even in so-called car films, it takes a truly memorable vehicle to break down barriers and inspire a new generation of cars to follow their dreams of stardom. (If only they had minds of their own, these vehicles could overtake Hollywood.)

You won’t likely see any of these iconic vehicles navigating Kansas City during rush hour, but you can certainly catch them blazing trails on the small screen. Here are 10 of our favorite movie and TV cars (as well as accompanying clips of each vehicle doing what they do best).

10. 1950’s Cadillac Miller-Meteor (Ghostbusters)


In the wise words of Peter Venkman, “There’s something you don’t see every day.” Known as the ECTO-1, this revamped 1959 Cadillac MM was the dream car of every prepubescent boy in the 1980s – which is weird considering it’s part-hearse. However, when you combine a 6.3L 320-HP V8, a couple of Proton Pack Backpacks, and that cheesy ghost decal, it’s easy to see why the ECTO-1 is so appealing.

9. 2007 Chevrolet Camaro (Transformers)

Michael Bay’s Transformers film series isn’t short on cool cars, but there are perhaps none cooler than slick, fifth-gen Chevy Camaro known as Bumblebee. Unlike the production model, the film’s Chevrolet Camaro was crafted from two 5.7-liter, LS1 Pontiac GTOs, and featured enhanced side body panels to withstand those characteristic “Michael Bay” effects (a.k.a. explosions). And withstand it did, as Bumblebee’s career has eclipsed those of its co-stars. That’s Camaro for you.

8. 1989-90 Chevrolet Caprice (Baby Driver)

Baby-Driver-Caprice

The 2017 film Baby Driver supplied us with tons of drool-inducing cars, but the one that stood out most was, perhaps, the old-timey Chevrolet Caprice Classic in royal purple. This Caprice likely came packed with the model’s first-ever fuel-injected V8, a 305-cubic-inch beast that was the baseline for several other Chevy cars. And that purple paint? Talk about “Radar Love!”

7. 1976 AMC Pacer (Wayne’s World)

Dubbed “The Flying Fishbowl,” the AMC Pacer, a rounded-out 2-door hatchback, was only produced between 1975 and 1979. Luckily, it lives on in film lore as the flame-decaled “Mirthmobile,” Garth and Wayne’s go-to mode of transportation. Today, you’d be lucky to see this unique car in person, so old DVDs of Wayne’s World will have to suffice. (Or, if you live in Cleveland, you can keep an eye out for this converted electric AMC Pacer.)

6. 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle/Malibu (Drive)

A late-model Chevy Chevelle, with a Malibu trim, was the vehicle of choice for Ryan Gosling’s protagonist in the 2011 film Drive. In fact, rumor has it that Gosling personally chose the Chevelle out of a junk heap, then reconditioned it by hand to mimic the style of early stock-car racers. That makes sense, as our ears detect a 450-hp-plus V8 and 5-speed at work under the hood.

5. 1974 Chevrolet Nova (Pulp Fiction)

Pulp Fiction Chevy Nova

Produced by GM, the ’74 Chevy Nova featured a 5.7L V8, a 3-speed Hydra-Matic Turbo 350, the X Body Platform frame, and one of Chevrolet’s first bowtie-design grilles. The interior of the Chevy Nova was also easy to clean, so long as you used high-quality, preferably monogrammed, bath towels.

4. 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am (Knight Rider)

KITT, or the Knight Industries Two Thousand, helped launch “The Hasselhoff” to celebrity status and was arguably the first instance of an autonomous vehicle being depicted on film. The car – a gorgeous, modified Pontiac Trans Am – featured a “Super Pursuit Mode” system, self-aware cybernetic AI, and a molecular-bonded shell that made it virtually invulnerable. In real life, the ’82 Trans Am could be had with a large rear hatchback window, retractable headlights, and an aircraft-inspired cockpit, much like the ’77 Trans Am of Smokey and the Bandit fame.

3. 1961 Ferrari 250GT California Spyder (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

That final scene in which Cameron trashes his dad’s beloved Ferrari? Yikes – what a heartbreaker for all of us gearheads. However, when we found out that they used replica Moden Spyders for those shots, we let out a collective sigh of relief. Still, if this movie proved anything, it’s that you can’t roll back an odometer by putting the car in reverse for a few hours.

2. 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 (Back to the Future)

You think this list of cool Hollywood cars would be complete without the legendary DeLorean? Although it was largely a flop in the 80s, the DeLorean finally landed in its rightful place as Marty McFly’s Flux Capacitor-fitted time machine. The rest, as they say, is history.

1. Batmobile Tumbler (Batman Begins)

Christopher Nolan re-imagined the Batmobile in his 2005 film Batman Begins, and the Caped Crusader’s iconic ride will never be the same. Batman’s Tumbler, a tank-like force of nature that’s powered by a 350-cid Chevrolet V8, was built on 37-inch off-road tires and a 30-inch suspension system, and could break the 60-mph barrier in just over 5 seconds. Plus, it flew from rooftop to rooftop. If the Batmobile isn’t the coolest car in history, then what is?

 

That’s it for our list of Hollywood’s coolest cars. Roll the credits. Play the blooper reel. Did we miss your favorites? Let us know in the comments, or call us out on Facebook or Twitter.

If you’d like to check out the coolest cars at our Marshall GM dealership, we’re here 6 days a week. Contact us at 660-886-7495 or visit McCarthy Chevy Buick GMC at 1550 W Arrow in Marshall, MO, to view our selection. We might not have the Batmobile in stock, but we have a ton of great (and much more affordable) new Chevy vehicles and pre-owned cars for sale. Let us help you write a movie-script ending to your car search.

 

Sources & Media:

history.com/news/50-plus-years-of-hollywoods-coolest-cars

statista.com/statistics/187122/movie-releases-in-north-america-since-2001/

thedrive.com/vintage/3549/15-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-1961-ferrari-250gt-from-ferris-buellers-day-off

amcpacer.com/stories/electric-pacer.asp

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