In This Blog:
Throughout cinema history, iconic cars have graced our screens. From sporty to eye-catching, cars have played a significant role in cinema over time. In this article, we take a deep dive into the best film cars, whilst giving insight into their design and frills that make it so special.
Austin Mini Cooper – Italian Job (1969)
The first on the list and perhaps the most well-known, is the Austin Mini Cooper that graced our screens in 1969. It was used by a UK-based gang led by Michael Caine, to steal gold bullion in Turin. These cars were chosen to hold and transport the stolen gold, and were taken on a wild chase through Turin, with the Italian police hot on their tail. This is where the Mini showed its strengths; small enough to fit on pavements and navigate through a shopping mall, it was at these moments that the Italian police struggled to keep pace. The iconic look of the cars with their small frames and box shape set the tone for future Minis and went some way to placing the Mini brand in a significant cultural position. The Mini Cooper has taken on various modernisations over time, and you can even buy an electric model now. The Mini Cooper is now a well-known model globally, and it has its early ancestor in the Italian Job to thank for this.
Aston Marin DB5 – Goldfinger (1964)
Staying in the UK, and around the same time, is the Aston Martin DB5. This car was only in production from 1963 to 1965 but has etched itself in the history books as one of the most iconic cars to ever hit our roads. This was confirmed when the car featured on a ‘British Auto Legends’ postage stamp in 2013, commemorating legendary British vehicles. Aside from its spectacular look, the DB5 became famous through its role in Goldfinger, the James Bond film realised in 1964, where the car was James Bond’s trusted machinery. The DB5 in Goldfinger underwent major modifications, to get it perfect for James Bond. These changes were fictional and made the DB5 the perfect vehicle. Some of these modifications included:
- Machine guns behind the front indicators
- Front and rear bulletproof screens
- Radar scanner and tracking screen
- Passenger ejector seat
- Deployable nails to deflate tyres
These fictional changes, combined with the slick style, were the reasons for the popularity of this car, and the love for it hasn’t gone away. It was a perfect car for Sean Connery and would be for driving enthusiasts today.
DeLorean – Back to the Future (1985)
Sticking with futuristic cars, we take a trip to America to focus on the DeLorean. This car played an essential role in the film, providing the means to time travel for Doc and Marty McFly to 2015. The car would make the time jump when it hit 88 miles an hour, which at the time, was a decent speed. The design of the car was futuristic in its day, with the style fairly new and one which has since not been repeated often. Gullwing doors give the DeLorean an edge over many cars, and the pop culture association it carries with it makes you recognizable to many on the roads. So, if you are a fan of the series, or have a love for gullwing doors, the DeLorean and Back to the Future is definitely something to have a closer look at.
Lotus Esprit S1 – The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Another Bond car enters our list, with the Esprit another iconic film car. A box design not too dissimilar from the DeLorean, the Esprit was again ahead of its time design-wise. Where it gained its popular status in the Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. In this film, the Esprit was used in a car chase along the coast of Sardinia and made its escape by turning into a submarine and travelling underwater. The scene in which this took place lives long in the memory of Bond films and is the reason for its inclusion on the list. On the roads, the Esprit was manufactured from 1976 to 1978, making its stint on the roads fairly short, but its impression on the water long-lasting.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT California – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
The most expensive car on the list, and perhaps the most beautiful, the 250 GT California was famously destroyed in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by the character Cameron. This car is stunning and rare, with only 56 made. Destroying even one car is simply too expensive, and with that, a replica was used in the film. A real 250 GT California could set you back anywhere from $14 to $19 million, making it one of the most expensive cars to ever be sold. In Ferrari red, the 250 GT California is stunning, which makes its destruction in the film even more memorable.
To summarise, films are flooded with cars, but only a few are as memorable as the ones on the list. From futuristic Bond cars to beautiful cars, this list is Marsh’s opinion of the 5 best film cars to ever exist. Honourable mentions that just missed out include;
- Lamborghini Miura (Italian Job, 1969)
- Toyota Supra Mark IV (The Fast and the Furious, 2001)
- Volkswagen Beetle (Numerous Herbie films)
- Ford Mustang (Bullitt, 1968)
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