Almost everyone in the world has that one vehicle from a film they wished they had in real life. Some people want the DeLorean from Back to the Future, and others crave any of James Bonds’ fantastic rides. Let’s discover some great facts about these ten classic movie cars that you need to keep an eye out for.
1. 1992 Ford Explorer — Jurassic Park
The 1992 Ford Explorer in the original Jurassic Park has remained one of film history’s best classic movie cars. It was developed from modified the 1992 Ford Explorer XLT models, a series of SUVs that could come with 4-wheel drive. While the vehicle wasn’t as popular commercially as other SUVs of the era, it was still better for the tours around Jurassic Park.
It was also a replacement for the Ford Bronco and the competition of the Jeep Cherokee and Chevrolet S-10 Blazer. The floodlights and sunroof were added to improve the viewing experience, but it’s not the kind of vehicle that should drive through a bio waste management company. In the film, it withstood a lot of damage, but it’s not as powerful in real life.
Although it wasn’t a popular car, the movie drew interest, and sales went through the roof after its release. According to Fraser Engines and Transmission, the car had a 4.0 liter V-6, 145 horsepower, a maximum speed of 108 mph, and around 4,000 pounds. Interestingly, the scene where the T-Rex breaks the sunroof and the children scream was real because the roof wasn’t supposed to break, but it turned out so good that they kept it in the final cut.
2. 1971 Dodge Challenger — Death Proof
The 1971 Dodge Challenger appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 film Death Proof and competed against another famous muscle car, the 1969 Dodge Charger. Despite being classic movie cars, these two iconic racers are often forgotten by cinephiles and autophiles alike, even with the impressive auto detailing.
In fact, the Grindhouse series has several amazing references to some of the most iconic vehicles in film history, but it’s not discussed often enough. The White Challenger in the story was originally supposed to be a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 Magnum, but the director and his team had to work with the 1971 and luckily made it look like the previous version.
Dodge started working on this model in the late 60s and released it as the competition for the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro. You may have also seen the 1970 Dodge Challenger in Vanishing Point. That one had a 7.2-liter 440cu Magnum V8, while the one Tarantino used had a 6.3-liter 383 Magnum V8. The 383 is still considered one of the best options if you want to buy a still-functioning older vehicle.
3. 1985 Modena GT Spyder — Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
There was no better ride in the 1980s than the 1985 Modena GT Spyder, which belonged to Ferris Bueller. It’s one of the most classic movie cars in the world, and it was displayed for a while at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Interestingly, this model was made specifically for the film as a replica of the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder because it was too expensive for the film production to obtain.
Director John Hughes commissioned three replicas during filming, one for display, which was used for the wide shots, and the scene where the parking lot employees jump on the car for a joyride. After production on the film ended, the vehicle had different owners, who all made modifications like a custom window treatment. However, in the 2010s, it went back to its original form, and it’s now considered national heritage by the National Historic Vehicle Register, according to the Detroit Free Press.
In 2022, it was reported that Paramount Pictures started working on a spin-off called Sam and Victor’s Day Off. As of this writing, it’s unclear whether the project is still in motion, and no release dates have been announced. However, it was supposed to include the original cast and probably the famous vehicle.
4. 1973 GT Ford Falcon — Mad Max
Also known as the V8 Interceptor or the Pursuit Special, Max Rockatansky drove the 1973 GT Ford Falcon at the end of Mad Max and the beginning of the sequel, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. It originally was a coupe altered to be a police interceptor by the main patrol officers in the film, and it’s safe to say that it’s one of the most awesome classic movie cars.
Interestingly, the vehicle also had some modifications, by great auto repair services no doubt, and turned into an off-road metal model known as Razor Cola. It’s first spotted when the mechanics, Barry and Goose, give it to Max as a bribe. The patrol cars in the story were yellow and had police lights on top. However, the V8 Interceptor was black with gold details. The hero later steals the car to hunt down the gang that killed his family.
After the first movie, Max kept the car and made even more alterations, as it became his main vehicle and home. Fans could see that the boot door was removed to add two large fuel tanks, and the rear spoiler was also gone. The new fuel gauge allowed the vehicle to house 200 liters of gas. Max’s dog was given a special seat attached to the door on the passenger side door.
5. 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor — The Ghostbusters
Any cinema fan would say that The Ghostbusters is one of the most iconic cult movies in history, meaning that the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor featured is also considered a classic. However, it was already part of the prestigious line of Cadillac models coveted by people worldwide. It’s not something that a scrap metal company would destroy at all.
In the late ’50s, cars weren’t as fully assembled as they are today. According to Quantrell Cadillac, the company made the engine, chassis, and other mechanical parts, which they later sent to coachbuilders who made the body and interior. Miller-Meteor was the coachbuilder in this case, and they used to make limos, ambulances, and other service vehicles. The Cadillac in the film was originally one of their ambulances.
In the film, Dan Aykroyd’s character needed a vehicle that was strong, durable, and easy to repair. Some people believe the Cadillac was added to the film because professional-use cars weren’t as prestigious and well-regarded back then. Sony Pictures owns the original model, but several replicas were used.
6. 1979 LTD Country Squire — National Lampoon’s Vacation
National Lampoon’s Vacation is another cult classic American film featuring the iconic station wagon. While most people would believe that classic movie cars are mostly muscle vehicles, race cars, or expensive models, some of the most famous are the ugliest. An uncomfortable road trip in a car in serious need of AC repair provided many instances of good humor in this story.
The Wagon Queen Family Truckster wasn’t made by Ford. Kustom Kar King George Barris created it for the firm, starting from a regular 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire Wagon. They included wood paneling, used a horrible paint color, and added more headlights just for fun. Chevy Chase’s character, Clark Griswold, drove it, although he initially didn’t want it.
The production had five cars to work with because so many things happened to the family on their way to Walley World. The original was auctioned off in 2013 for $35,000, according to The Manual. Another came up for sale a little later and went for $40,000. However, no one knows who bought them or where they are now.
7. 1981 DeLorean — Back to the Future
The 1981 DeLorean from Back to the Future is so famous that most people worldwide would recognize it with a cursory glance. It’s among the top classic movie cars of all time. It was initially designed from the DeLorean DMC-12, considered a failed vehicle in general. The DeLorean Motor Company hired subpart workers, according to HotCars, for the production and design, which led to their downfall.
It was the only vehicle the company ever made and released. The auto parts were so defective that clients complained about constant issues. The film crew also had problems with the doors. Ultimately, only 9,000 models were produced before the business closed for good. However, it’ll never be forgotten, thanks to the Michael J. Fox film.
For anyone interested in historical trivia, U.S. President Jimmy Carter mandated that cars in the ’70s needed a speedometer with a maximum of 85 mph. The DeLorean’s dashboard followed that law. However, the film crew had to alter it because the story says they needed to reach 88 mph to travel in time, according to Cinemablend.
8. 1964 Aston Martin DB5 — Goldfinger
Now let’s get into the classic movie cars that most people would love to have. James Bond’s Aston Martin from 1964’s Goldfinger is the kind of vehicle that only the most stylish, handsome, and brave men would drive. It’s the model you would never see at an auto junk yard because no owner would ever willingly give it up. It was first seen during Sir Sean Connery’s tenure as 007, and now fans are waiting to learn who will drive it next since Daniel Craig stepped down from the role.
It was designed by Italian coachbuilder Carrozeria Touring Superleggera and produced between 1963 and 1965 as an evolution of the DB4. The ‘DB’ stands for David Brown, who created Aston Martin in 1947. In 2018, it was announced that fans could get their hands on this car if they had $3.5 million to spare. Aston Martin Works partnered with Chris Corbould, who was in charge of the special effects in eight Bond movies, to create 25 versions of the DB5s for sale.
9. 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu — Drive
There’s something magical about a modern heartthrob in a vintage car, and Ryan Gosling in the 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle was a big part of the success of 2011’s Drive. However, it also worked with the story, considering the car was cost-effective for a mysterious man with a dark history. However, you would be baffled to know that this Chevelle didn’t make a splash in the auto world.
It wasn’t part of the iconic muscle vehicles, and it was released during a gas crisis and mandated speed limits of 55 mph. Even General Motors thought it was just another average vehicle. Still, considering the other models of the following decades and how little it needed auto transmission repair, it’s probably now seen as one of the best models they had.
Better known as just ‘Malibu,’ this model looks like the Chevelle Laguna Colonnade Hardtop Coupe. It was also the last car that John Z. DeLorean ever developed as he left General Motors in April 1973, according to AutoBlog. While it doesn’t have lots of bells and whistles, the 1973 Chevelle is considered one of the best-handling cars ever released by Chevrolet.
10. 1973 Ford Gran Torino — The Big Lebowski
The final vehicle on this list of classic movie cars is the 1973 Ford Gran Torino from the cult favorite comedy The Big Lebowski. Everyone knows the main character can’t go on adventures without a great ride. It also served as some of the best comedic points of the movie, especially the scene where Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski has to get money from a man with the same last name.
According to Shear Comfort, the Coen brothers allegedly had another car in mind, the Chrysler LeBaron, except actor John Goodman couldn’t fit into one. That would have been a problem with auto insurance, so instead, they used two Gran Torinos for the film. Named after the city of Torino in Italy, the car didn’t have a long run in North America as Ford released several in 1968 and ended them in 1976.
The Gran Torino was a powerhouse perfect for Lebowski. The rectangular grill separated it from other Torinos of the era, and had a big front, which became a recognizing characteristic of the vehicle. By the film’s end, there’s a deep connection between the main character and his car, even when Jeffrey roughed it up.
These classic movie cars are some of the most iconic in cinema history, although not everyone would crave them unless they’re collectors. Which one is your favorite? Fortunately, you can check out a few models at various museums across the country, but let’s face it, none of them compare to the Batmobile, right?