The Car’s the Star

We take a look at some great movie machines

Just as it was for La La Land earlier this week, some of cinema’s greatest screen icons have had to go without a Best Picture nod at the Oscars. For many, it’s meant decades waiting in the wings like Hidden Figures. We are of course, talking about the cars. Some have become as identifiable as the films they’ve starred in, whereas others have gone on to even define them. So, we’ve decided it’s time to give them their moment in the Moonlight. No more sitting on the Fences – here are the movie motors we think are worthy of an award.

First up is the Ferrari GT California from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). If you ever have the means, we strongly recommend you pick one up. But you’ll need a fairly weighty wallet to do so. At its debut in 1961, it would have set you back a reasonable £6,000 or so. Today, you’ll need more in the region of £1.75 million.

Another pricey runabout is James Bond’s 1963 Aston Martin DB5. Having first appeared in Goldfinger (1964), it has remained 007’s personal car of choice right up to the present, playing significant roles in Casino Royale, Skyfall, and Spectre. For as little as £800,000, Aston Martin Works will provide you with your very own, with a little modern reliability, safety, handling, and of course gadgets, thrown in for good measure.

Come Hell or High Water, our list must feature the 1968 Ford Mustang GT from Bullitt. Nearly fifty years later, the film and the car still define how a Hollywood car chase should be done. And at the same time, we can’t leave out the Dodge Charger R/T, it’s villainous counterpart – although arguably now more famous as Dominic Toretto’s ride in the Fast & Furious franchise.

The mighty Austin Mini Cooper S was a true British Lion in 1969’s The Italian Job. Given the film’s focus on cars and the famous getaway, you may be surprised to learn Michael Caine couldn’t drive at the time of filming, and is never seen behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Also, for a film where the Mafia play the bad guys, it was actually they who stepped in to shut down whole sections of Turin for filming when the authorities refused to do so. The traffic jams are therefore as real as the famous stunt work.

Our next Arrival on the list is a real blast from the past, in the 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 from Back to the Future. And if you’ve ever dreamed of owning one, then you’ll be pleased to hear that just like any good time machine, it may be making a comeback, perhaps even as an electric vehicle.

We should probably throw in some honourable mentions too. The bright orange 1970 Mercedes 280 S Ryan O’Neal’s The Driver uses to demonstrate his skills, makes for one of the most memorable scenes in the movie – even if it does look like somebody has taken a Hacksaw Ridge to it by the time he’s finished. The 1959 Cadillac ambulance known as ECTO 1 from Ghostbusters (1984), complete with its unique siren, became a key component to the film’s wacky success. And from 1968’s The Love Bug, to 2005’s Fully Loaded, Walt Disney’s Herbie is another star car loved by many. If you’re looking to take a road trip, how about the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T from Vanishing Point, or the 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT coupe from Mad Max? For slightly damper destinations, say Manchester by the Sea, perhaps you’d be better off in another Bond car, the amphibious Lotus Esprit S1.

There are more great movie motors than we can possibly ever get into one article, so its sure to be a topic we’ll return to again. Did we miss your favourite? Let us know! But for now, it’s exit stage left for our star cars.

Ferrari 250 GT California from the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

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Author: Luke Phillips (47 Articles)