Top 10 most iconic movie cars

Tyler Heatley

24 Nov 2021

We all love a film with a four-wheeled hero. Here are the best movie cars of all time.

Sometimes producers of big-screen movies get it spot-on when it comes to casting. Think Daniel Craig as James Bond, Michael Caine reading Charlie Croker, or Joaquin Phoenix playing The Joker. The same goes for four-wheeled stars – though not everyone gets it right.

Here are 10 iconic movie cars that were perfectly cast.

DMC DeLorean - Back to the Future

The DeLorean was a bit of an automotive joke back in its day thanks to a lack of performance, build quality issues, and how its story got tanked with an FBI drug bust. However, it was a stroke of genius to set one as the hero car of Back to the Future.

Its space-age looks fit the bill for a time machine perfectly, and its reliability issues often played well for comical moments in the script. It was very nearly swapped for a Ford Mustang for marketing purposes, but ultimately this car’s role in three movies cemented its global fame forever.

Volkswagen Beetle – Herbie

It was the loveable series of automotive films that Disney hoped it would be. Long before Cars came along, Herbie was the cheeky characterful car that always found itself the centre of attention. This sentient Beetle had some real horsepower, shaming prestigious racers throughout the series.

The Herbie lineage of films was rebooted in 2005 with limited success. Stick to the exploits of the 1960s and 70s.

Mini Cooper – The Italian Job

The 1960s was a golden era for cinema, but The Italian Job was actually a flop. Poorly marketed in period, today it enjoys the rich cult status it fully deserves. A trio of Mini Coopers make good an escape through the packed streets of Turin via any means necessary. Patriotically painted red, white and blue, these cars easily create the most iconic chase sequence of all time.

All of the stunts in The Italian Job were done for real, including a daring rooftop jump.

Ford Mustang Fastback – Bullitt

Lieutenant Frank Bullitt has great taste in cars with his character piloting a Highland Green Mustang through the hills of San Fransisco. In hot pursuit of baddies driving a Dodge Charger – another great casting moment – its V8 growls narrate the chase.

With Steve McQueen behind the wheel of the Mustang, was there ever any doubt as to how stylish this sequence was going to be?

Cadillac ambulance – Ghostbusters

Created from a Cadillac featuring bodywork via Miller-Meteor, this unlikely hero is every bit as iconic a the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. Lovingly known as Ecto-1, the Ghostbusters car with its honking siren is as memorable as the team themselves.

The real movie car was left to rot after filming, but thankfully it was saved and restored back to its former glory.

Custom Shelby Mustang GT500 – Gone in 60 Seconds

It’s the unicorn that just can’t get a break. This pony car was actually a custom car built specifically for the Nicolas Cage movie. Truth be told, it’s not even a real Shelby GT500. Regardless, this potent Mustang is the star of a climatic final sequence.

The troubled relationship between the GT500 and Cage’s character is one all enthusiasts can relate to via one car or another.

Dodge Charger – The Fast & The Furious

If ever a car’s character mimicked its drive, it would be Dom’s Charger. Now a staple of the endless Fast & Furious franchise, the modified muscle car with protruding supercharged V8 engine has some serious attitude.

Its most memorable moment has to be at the end of the original film, where it drag races a highly modified Toyota Supra. A slow-motion jump in front of a speeding train is a movie highlight.

Aston Martin DB5 – James Bond

As sophisticated as the man behind the wheel, James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 has to be one of the most recognisable machines on Earth. Loaded with gadgets when it made an onscreen debut in Goldfinger, it captured the imagination of millions of moviegoers.

The DB5 has actually been used many times throughout 007 history, remaining a common thread to tie the classic films to the modern-day.

Tumbler – Batman

We all became used to Batman driving aircraft-inspired machines to fight Gotham’s evil villains, but Christopher Nowlan’s vision was far more realistic. I mean, why wouldn’t Batman use some sort of military tank. The Tumbler is a menacing tech-laden machine capable of pancaking cars and leaping through the air.

The Tumbler is a work of fiction, but a series of working vehicles had to be built from scratch for the trilogy of movies.

Ferrari 250 GT California – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ok, you got us. True movie buffs know that this ‘Ferrari’ was far from the real thing. Considering that a 250 California is one of the most valuable collector cars on Earth, we sort of understand. Regardless, the antics of this red sports car throughout the movie are integral to the story.

The movie car actually used a Ford V8 engine and a fibreglass body to resemble a California.

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Tyler Heatley

24 Nov 2021