America’s pop-culture infatuation with movies is perhaps only rivaled by its obsession with cars as well. So it’s no surprise that movies account for the most iconic cars in the nation’s history, save for maybe Kennedy’s Lincoln and O.J.’s white Ford Bronco.
However, just because a car is iconic doesn’t mean that it’s desirable. Well, sometimes it does, but fame isn’t much of a virtue in and of itself. For that reason, you won’t see any Fast and the Furious cars on here. Because they’re not cool. They’re ridiculous. You WILL see the A-Team’s van on this list, which is a also a ridiculous car, but since it often contained Mr. T, the van is both ridiculous AND cool.
You see? You’ll see.
In the discussion of the most iconic cars in Hollywood history. The 1962 Ferrari GT California is an amazing car, but the fact that it’s the “Ferris Bueller car” makes it even more attractive. Of course, the car gets destroyed at the end of the film, but breathe easy ¬– it was a replica. A real Ferrari GT (of which there are only 100 or so in the world) was used for the close-up shots, but three replicas were built for the driving and wreck scenes.
One of the replicas was featured in a Minneapolis Planet Hollywood, then made its way down south of the border to the one in Cancun. Not exactly a dignified end, even for a replica.
In the back half of the Grindhouse double feature, Deathproof, Kurt Russell stars as Stuntman Mike, a charming driver who ends up murdering girls by picking them up in his 1971 Chevy Nova. But aside from bearing a passing similarity to a production version of the car, Mike’s car couldn’t be much more different. Encased in safety devices and a roll cage, the car is meant to keep Mike safe while he kills just about everyone else. Of course, it turns out that the car isn’t completely Deathproof, but it’s reliable enough that I would put it head-to-head with a Volvo to ensure peace of mind for soccer moms.
It’s a little disheartening to include a car that was so clearly featured in Gone in 60 Seconds to occupy spots on lists like this one. However, this list isn’t to take into account the producers’ intentions, and the 1967 Shelby GT500 is bad ass enough that it makes the cut, intentions aside.
The car has gotten so popular that the estate of film creator Toby Halicki has had to put the kibosh on several shops around the world that were producing and selling “Eleanor” replicas without any licensing arrangements.
Can you blame them? That’s a pretty sweet ride.
Taking things in the other direction with a more subdued presentation of the GT500 The Thomas Crown Affair remake just offhandedly shows us just exactly how TC rolls with his Mustang sporting several off-roading modifications when he takes a jaunt to Martinique. It’s got off-roading tires, fender flares, a lighted roll bar, and doors that are welded shut. It’s an inspired car that takes some serious aftermarket work that makes the ride look classy as hell. Just like the businessman himself.
No wonder Rene Russo gave it up so easily.
It’s a dated dinosaur these days, but the connotations of what this Miami Vice ride meant in the 1980’s lends the ride enough credibility to make it still the object of envy. There’s perhaps no car that emits “flash” as much as this 1986 Ferrari Testarossa, which Ferrari graciously loaned to the show after they thought that the original car, a 1972 Ferrari Daytona (which was actually a replica). The replacement Testarossa still embodies a lot of what the 1980’s and Miami stand for. Namely, crass consumerism and a lot of decisions fueled by cocaine.
The fact that the producers of The A-Team were able to make a van look cool enough to get on this list is a testament to just how great this “car” was. It’s a modified GMC Vandura (!) It’s “tricked out” in almost hilarious fashion with red hubcaps, a red racing stripe, and a rear spoiler, because aerodynamics on a cargo van make all the difference.
One of the six original vans is on display in Keswick, England, which is so un-American that I want to have a second war for independence right now.
Yup. We’ve entered the “cheesy 1980’s cars” section of the list, in case there was any doubt. K.I.T.T. stands for “Knight Industries Two Thousand” and was a modified 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, a car that looks really great when matched with a black leather jacket. For those who are younger than 25 or so, the car was featured on the ridiculous David Hasselhoff series Knight Rider.
More importantly than the design, was the personality of the car itself, which was voiced by William Daniels, who is perhaps best known as Boy Meets World’s Mr. Feeny. Sometimes driving (and living) can get lonely, and it’s nice to know that when things start piling up against you that there’s a chatty 1982 Pontiac Trans-Am to listen to your problems.
That’s what I dream about.