We all love movie and TV cars don’t we? They transport us to another world and are usually capable of doing things that no ordinary car would even think of doing. They come in all shapes and sizes and are integrated into the story as part of the cast. They also have one thing in common, that being, they all started off as something else. Here is a list of 10 cars from the silver screen and TV that you may or may not recognize without make-up.
1. The General Lee: The Dukes of Hazzard
We know it, we love it – it was the Duke Boys 1969 Dodge Charger from the 80’s TV series the Dukes of Hazzard. In full make-up it wears its bright orange paint, a confederate flag on the roof and is 100% indestructible. It could jump over everything in it’s path and always got away from the law.
In stock form however things changed. Gone was the flashy paint and the ability to fly, and in came a nice intermediate sedan from Dodge that people drove to work. Amazing right.
2. Ecto One: Ghostbusters
Sure, when it was found it was a smoldering, smokey mess. Then Raymond Stantz (Dan Akroyd) got a hold of it and transformed it into the stellar Ecto One that carted around the Ghostbuster’s proton packs and help save NYC from the dead.
The 1959 Cadillac hearse / ambulance was a pretty wild looking ride for it’s time. Those massive chrome bumpers and tail fins helped set it apart from anything else from that time period. The bubble top roof was also wicked cool whether you were dead or alive.
3. The Batmobile: Batman TV Series
The Batmobile was a technology powerhouse. It had the bat phone, the bat siren and a flame throwing jet turbine out back that would propel this baby to a serious top end. It also had twin people-pod seating for the Caped Crusader and The Boy Wonder.
The 1955 Ford Futura was supposed to give us a glimpse of what the future held in store for us. Instead it gave us the Batmobile, which is fine when you think about it. All those techno-goodies the Batmobile used, we now have in real life. Well, most of them anyway, I still want the Bat turbine for the back of my car though.
4. Lotus Esprit Submarine: James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me
What guy doesn’t want to be James Bond. Hell, I know I would jump at the chance as long as I didn’t get killed. Plus he always got all the best stuff from Q. Take his 1977 Lotus Esprit that turned into a submarine. This sucker had flip-in wheels and a rocket launcher, that Jimmy Bond used to blow the baddies out of the sky. This was cool stuff.
The 1977 Lotus Esprit had a 4 cylinder 2.0-liter engine that produced 160 bhp. Not overly exciting when you consider it did 0-60 in 8 long seconds and topped out at 130 mph. It did help Bond get the chicks though.
5. Delorean Time Machine: Back to the Future
HELLO McFLY! The running joke about the Delorean used for the time machine in Back to the Future was it would take forever to get up to 88 mph, thus never getting the poor bastard home to 1985. Think back to the movie and remember that Marty had trouble running away from a load of terrorists in a VW bus. Thankfully its flux capacitor was fluxing and the stainless steel bag of bolts managed to save the day.
The 1981 Delorean was, as mentioned, slow as shit. It had 138 bhp and had a hard time reaching anything over 100 mph. I do have to admit though, that it did make for one cool looking time machine.
6. The Interceptor: MAD MAX
It was made in 1973, had zoomies for exhaust pipes and a big honkin’ Weiand blower that helped this beast pump out 600 horsepower. You see this was Mad Max, not the Road Warrior mind you, but the original movie that started it all. I first saw this post-apocalyptic import when I was about 8 years old and I’ll never forget it. The phrase: “Last of the V8 Interceptors”, is a line that refers to one car only, this being the 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT of one Max Rockatansky. This was the car that Max used to get his revenge on the psychotic biker gang that mowed down his family and the one that he later used to scour the Australian wasteland in search of fuel.
And here we have the original – the 1974 Ford Falcon XB Coupe. This was an Australian only car that was right hand drive and powered by a 351 Cleveland V8. It was nice and mild mannered and could be seen at grocery stores and libraries everywhere.
7. The CAR
In 1977 THE CAR hit the big screen and to be honest the movie was terrible. It told the story of this big pissed off black car that ran amok killing everyone that it came in contact with. Supposedly, the Car was the devil incarnate – get it… inCARnate – and was driven simply by the will to kill.
In reality the CAR was just a fat, overblown 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III with some of the worst body panels ever to grace the silver screen. I remember watching this as a kid and thinking that this big black thing was in fact pretty menacing looking.
8. Knight Industries 2000: Knight Rider
You guys remember the talking cars from the 1980’s? Well, this one had it in spades. This was Kitt, or the Knight Industries 2000. It carried around none other than Michael Knight who was (and this was according to the TV show) a lone crusader in the fight against evil. Equipped with turbo boost (not really sure what that was), ejector seats and 150 TV monitors, Kitt was like the uncool version of any of the cars that James Bond owned.
A 1982 Pontiac Trans Am was used in the filming of this show. It was the first of the 3rd generations in the Trans Am line-up and Pontiac wanted to capitalize on it by plastering it all over the airwaves. Not an overly bad looking car, the Trans Am was the quintessential 80’s mobile and help spawn life to Guido’s everywhere.
9. Black Beauty: The Green Hornet
Think of Black Beauty as the Lone Rangers side kick Trigger, but with machine guns. Driven by Kato (a randomly masked Asian), Black Beauty helped the Green Hornet take his vigilante style of justice to the streets.
The 1966 Chrysler Imperial Crown was a big sucker. It was 19 feet long and weighed in at almost 5000 lbs. Even back then these cars were pretty rare so seeing one in the flesh was a rare treat indeed. Have no fear, because a new Green Hornet movie with Seth Rogan is set to be released this year with an all new version of Black Beauty. As far as remakes go, this one should be interesting.
10. Grease: Grease Lightning
It was the 1950’s and greasers ruled the high schools. They were tough and always played the underdogs. John Travolta was Danny Zuko, a greaser who had a thing for Sandy Olsson played by Olivia Newton-John. The car was a masterpiece of engineering that came out of the high schools auto shop. In the end it also helped old Johnny get the girl.
A nice car to begin with, the 1948 Ford convertible was a very classy automobile. It’s beautiful lines and bulged fenders really help represent a great time in history. The big Ford was also used and customized by hot-rodders everywhere.