It’s interesting, the notion that a car in a movie could become just as famous as the actors that starred alongside them. Then again, the automobile has always spoken to something primal in each of us; they represent freedom, masculinity, and no small amount of sex appeal.
One of the more recent vehicular legends to grace the silver screen is the Tumbler, from Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy. It was a bold new take on the familiar Batmobile design and was, as rumor has it, designed from combining the parts from a Lamborghini and tank scale model kit. The result was something truly unique and which, unlike many other cars in film, actually existed on set and was fully functional.
The Batmobile is a decidedly modern example of a vehicular legend in film. The celebrated history of movies making cars famous stretches back through the long years of history. Take, for example, the 1968 film Bullitt, starring the iconic Steve McQueen. McQueen’s Ford Mustang GT 390 Fastback became a cinematic legend following the film’s commercial and critical success. The already famous silhouette of the Mustang GT was made even more distinctive by the removal of the driving lights and the pony emblem, giving it a stealthy look.
A unique filmmaker demands unique cars for his films, and Quentin Tarantino is no exception. For his 1994 smash hit Pulp Fiction, Tarantino chose the 1964 Chevy Malibu SS convertible in a beautiful cherry red. It really is a car from a different time; the heavy-duty suspension on the SS model only increased the overall price by $5.
One of Nicholas Cage’s most famous roles was his turn as Memphis Raines in Gone in 60 Seconds. Considering the movie is about a retired car thief who comes out of retirement, you’d expect that it would be filled with an assortment of distinctive cars. You wouldn’t be disappointed. At the heart of the film is Eleanor, a car with a great deal of personal meaning to Raines. Eleanor is a 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback. The silver body and iconic twin black striping gave Eleanor an instantly recognizable profile. It was designed to mimic the appearance of Shelby GT500, along with central-mounted driving lights and a specially designed trunk and hood.
There’s no doubt about it; our love of cars will survive whatever economic downturns come our way. This is, after all, just a small sampling of the cars that have been made famous by film throughout the years. It makes you wonder which of our modern-day automobiles will be film legends in the future.
Check out the video below to see some of these cars and others that had their debut on the silver screen.
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