When the movie credits roll, the cars of the stars are never listed in the cast. After all, cars are cars. But there are some cars with so much presence and power in a film that maybe they should receive top billing. Generations of car lovers and movie fans grew up remembering iconic models like the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder that Ferris Bueller borrowed for an afternoon and the vintage roadster dubbed "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," but many more cars have reached star status over the decades. From cop chases to make-out scenes to casual drives through town, cars make their stars seem real and relatable.
DeLoreans are no longer produced, but they live on in popular culture as the car that transported Michael J. Fox, aka Marty McFly, back to the 1950s in the blockbuster hit film Back to the Future. With a sexy silver sheen, gliding doors, and a dashboard full of complicated controls, the DeLorean symbolizes an era of automobile design dedicated to speed and seduction.
The Volkswagen Beetle, also known as the Bug, isn't usually known for having a speedy engine, but that's not the case with the non-human star of The Love Bug. Reluctantly purchased by a race car driver, Herbie mysteriously wins race after race, puzzling everyone. It seems there's a little secret to Herbie's magic. Want to know what it is? Watch the 1968 film and see for yourself.
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The hit movie Grease centers around a car race held at the fictional Thunder Road, so it's no surprise the 1948 Ford DeLuxe convertible that won the final showdown remains a symbol of the film's success. It was even once on display at Madame Tussaud's wax museum in Hollywood. The exhibit car shows the fantasy version that inspired the cast during the catchy song "Greased Lightning" and includes a wax replica of star John Travolta by its side.
The 1976 light-blue Pacer with flame motifs on each side was a second home to stars Mike Meyer, and Dana Carvey in the 1992 cult classic Wayne's World as the pair cruised around their hometown of Aurora, Illinois. The car came to represent Wayne and Garth's light-hearted and laid-back lifestyle of cracking jokes, eating fast food, playing the guitar and, of course, singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" at the top of their lungs!
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Some cars are just smoking' hot. That's the case with the bright-red Subaru WRX helmed by Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort in his job as getaway guy number-one for a clan of criminal minds. This WRX weaves through traffic, flies over hills, skids through parking garages, and always seems just a breath ahead of Atlanta cops but always comes to rest in a safe parking spot.
"There's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark out, and we're wearing sunglasses," might be one of the most memorable lines in American cinema. It was spoken by Elwood Blues (Dan Ackroyd) to his brother Joliet (John Belushi) from the seat of the brothers' getaway car, a battered 1974 Dodge Monaco police vehicle. The brothers are soon descended upon by dozens of cops in similar police cars, creating one of the most expensive and memorable car chases ever produced.
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Camaros are powerful cars with cutting-edge design, so who to take that up about a hundred notches than a few movie producers? Enter Bumblebee, a member of the Transformers crew, who shape-shifts into a bright yellow Camaro when the need arises. But he's got a sensitive ego, so no insults from the passengers! Originally a Volkswagen Bug instead of a Camaro, fans of the Transformers films loved Bumblebee so much in any form that he's become a generational classic and one of the most collected toy characters of all time.
Moviegoers of the 70s watched slick local legend Bandit, played by Burt Reynolds, race this black 1977 Black Trans Am through the Deep South, crossing medians and pushing the pedal to the metal to escape the pursuit of Smokey, a cop played by Jackie Gleason. With lustrous gold detail and classic 70s muscle car styling, the car endures as an iconic representation of popular movie history. America loved it so much that a special edition with a Bandit logo was produced for the mass market.
Most iconic cars are heroes and help their drivers reach virtuous goals, but the dark-red 1958 Plymouth Fury from the horror film Christine was tagged "fear on four wheels." With a sinister beginning in the auto plant where she was manufactured, Christine the car lured her drivers and passengers into mysterious accidents and deaths. Audiences of the 1983 film might have left the theater with trepidation, driving home with the worry their cars might turn on them!
Two women head out for a weekend fishing trip in a Ford Thunderbird convertible for what is supposed to be a fun break from the daily grind. When it unexpectedly turns into murder, the car is their only escape from the cops, their husbands, and good-looking guys with shady pasts. America couldn't get enough of Thelma and Louise, played by Geena David and Susan Sarandon. The Thunderbird's retro curves and creamy blue color were right in line with the 1991 film's liberating message of women holding the wheel even when the chase is on.
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