The movies have been responsible for many love affairs over the years but no inanimate object (sorry Herbie, this obviously doesn’t include you) has ever proved to be quite so popular than the humble motorcar – did I say humble? There have been some unforgettable, awesome cars in the movies, more than you can probably remember.
I suppose it all started with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang really, well, you can’t get much more action than flying can you? Okay, so maybe Dick van Dyke fans were still reeling from his accent in the Mary Poppins adventure but it would be hard to argue that the car was definitely the star of that little Ian Fleming novel (yes, the same Ian Fleming who introduced the world to 007 himself). There were certainly some magic scenes in that movie.
In those early car movies the cars had a real character which was taken to a whole new level when the movie world was introduced to the lovable bug Herbie. Many a tear was shed whenever Herbie was insulted, sabotaged or left in a scrap yard to rust away his last few years. This charming little character certainly showed those other sportier types the way home in many a car race didn’t he?, whilst playing match-maker between the leading man and lady which changed depending upon the actual movie you were watching. There was actually a Herbie look-a-like on the way to the Infiniti in Diamond Bar the other day – the stripes, the # 53, everything . . . awesome!
As the movies got a little more “high octane” so did the car – Smokey and the Bandit was a great movie featuring an awesome, highly recognizable and much sought after car with a twinkly eyed Burt Reynolds in his heyday blasting across state protecting the “Snowman” . . . fantastic movie and a superb car.
Let’s fast forward a little (or “put the pedal to the metal” as Smokey would say) to the Year 2000 and Nicholas Cage’s classic action car movie “Gone in 60 Seconds” – there was even a young, blonde Angelina Jolie as if the guys didn’t have enough to feast their eyes upon just before she landed her iconic role as Lara Croft. There were so many awesome cars in the movie (50 to be exact) it’s difficult to know where to start – except for Eleanor! Eleanor, the 1967 Shelby Ford Mustang that recently sold at auction for $1 million. I talked to a guy that works at the Infiniti of Montclair who saw the auction…he said she was a beauty!
Many American Muscle cars have met their match in the “Fast and the Furious” series of action packed, high octane movies. At last count there were around seven of these car racing extravaganzas each starring its own blend of muscle cars and Japanese street racing maniacs. The lights, the music, the dancing cars, the drifting . . . A real life drifting world champion was involved in the Tokyo Drift movie, I remember the days when drifting was nothing more than moving from town to town in search of a hot meal and a cheap bed for the night.
There are plenty more movie cars which have single handedly stolen the show – let’s not forget the 1973 Ford Falcon in Mad Max, the incredible 1980 Lamborghini Countach in Cannonball Run (a feast on the eyes of petrol heads) and, last but not least, the terrifying 1958 Plymouth Fury that was . . . Christine. Fury was about right for that movie car, brilliant car with a ton of attitude.