Best Movie Car

Triggered, so to speak, by some silly article somewhere on the Internet (SOTI), I thought I’d discuss some fine cars that were (almost) the stars of the movies they appeared in.  (And for reasons of taste, the entire Fast & Furious  and Gone in 60 Seconds  franchises are disqualified.  Likewise, car-centric movies like Le Mans  and Grand Prix are excluded or else we could be here all day.)  So here we go, in no specific order:

1936 Ford Essex (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang):

Too bad it appeared in one of the worst movies ever made.

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T (Vanishing Point):
As any fule kno, I’m not a huge fan of American muscle cars of the era, because I think they’re over-large and handle like supermarket carts in a corner, but even I have to admit that the side view is excellent.

1964 Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger):
Still sexy after all these years, the DB5 is a vision, even without all the silly gadgets.  Want.

1968 Mustang GT Fastback (Bullitt):

Likewise, even I enjoyed watching ol’ Steve McQ pushing this thing around the San Francisco streets.

1966 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider (The Graduate):

The sound of that peppy little Alfa 1600cc engine snarling away as it carries Dustin Hoffman in his doomed attempt to stop the marriage of Mrs. Robinson’s daughter to some other guy… there ya go:  the entire movie synopsis in just one sentence.  Want.

And another Alfa:

1961 Alfa Romeo Guiletta Spider (The Day Of The Jackal):

Edward Fox sets off to assassinate the President of France armed only with an Alfa Romeo, a cravat and the best concealed rifle ever designed.

1965 Austin Mini-Cooper (The Italian Job):

The original, not the vastly-inferior remake made with BMW Minis.  Want.

1977 Pontiac Trans Am (Smokey & the Bandit):

…also quite possibly the ugliest car ever to appear on film.  Do Not Want.

1948 Ford Custom Deluxe (Grease):

Actually not a bad-looking car, if you removed all the trashy lightning decals.

1958 Plymouth Fury (Christine):

I never actually saw the movie, just the preview;  but if you’re looking for flashy Murkin fins ‘n chrome from the 1950s, the Fury is kinda hard to beat.

Special Mention:

Knight Bus (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince):

…and Harry’s ride on it was pretty much the best part of the movie.


  1. The Czech Tatra 603 used in the kid’s film “a Series of Unfortunate Events” is high on my list of ugliest cars ever built. One more example of why Communism collapsed.

    This one is from a TV show rather than a movie but I really liked Peter Falk’s clapped out Peugeot 403 convertible in Columbo. It was the opposite of the flashy detective and secret agent cars and a perfect fit for Columbo’s disheveled looks and personality.

  2. If you’re including busses, how about a real one: the bus in The Mummy Returns? Even if they do destroy it.

  3. Great picks! The DB5 is a fine looking car. Love the fins and chrome on the Plymouth Fury.

    I found a Cadillac from the 50s with fins and chrome that was breath taking. Unfortunately I couldn’t give it a good home.


  4. 1985 Toyota SR5 Pickup which Marty McFly drove in Back to the Future.


    KITT from Knight Rider (1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am).

  5. Mrs Peel’s Lotus Elan. The Avengers was a TV show, but I always liked the looks of the car and Diana Rigg, not necessarily in that order.

  6. From the original Tomas Crowne Affair with Steve McQueen – The Corvair powered, mid engined Manx Dune Buggy, that he used to tear up the Dunes on Cape Cod.

    … but from your list, Bandit’s Screaming Chicken. That car and the decal was responsible more Bad Behavior than any other.

    …. and Bullet’s Mustang, the greatest car chase sequence on film.

  7. Your foreign youth is showing. As a native born Texan growing up in the shadow of the muscle car era (we got them second and third hand), I’d pick the Trans-am first out of your list. Ultra cool.

    The 1968 Mustang GT? Nice, but the Dodge Charger was even better – faster and cooler (of course, I’m a mopar man). I remember reading an interview from the stuntmen on the show about how they raced the two cars during a break and the Charger outran the Mustang every time.

    But hand it to David Spade for driving a 1967 Plymouth GTX in the movie Tommy Boy. I had the 1967 Dodge equivalent and just loved that movie car, even though they basically destroyed it. And then he had another 67 Plymouth in Joe Dirt. Great taste in cars.

  8. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am (Smokey & the Bandit) ~ Ten-Four, Good Buddy, See You On the Flip Side, an ugly car for a most stupid movie and all the parts came together to make us laugh our asses off, as they say. One of those movies that was so bad it was great.

    1. Only in the south could they make a two hour movie about a beer run. The real tragedy was thanks to OPEC and Jimmy Carter the 6.6L Trans Am was limited to 220HP.

  9. The Minis in the pic look like the ones from The Italian job, but the Starbucks sign in the background means it’s not a still from the film.

      1. Looks like Jeremy Clarkson in the red one and Richard Hammond following in the white one. If that’s Clarkson, he looks like he strapped the car on rather than got into it


  10. The “Screaming Chicken” might be ugly, but it looks so much better with Sally Field as a seat-cover.
    The original Mini’s are fun – an 850 got me to and from college for several years before going into the service in ’61.
    Always admired the DB-5, and loved having a client with a convertible who would bring it in for a service and then say “Take it somewhere for the weekend, it never gets driven.”
    As to “Bullitt” – yes, the Dodge was faster, but you have to remember that “stars” aren’t allowed to screw around even on their own movies, and Steve’s #1 stunt driver on this movie was the same guy who jumped that tatted-up TR over the fence in “The Great Escape”:
    Bud Ekins, one of the best motorcycle racers SoCal’s deserts have ever seen.

  11. Hah – one of my buddies recently entered and won a Coors Trans Am trivia rally out west. Won a big stack of beer…and a restored Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am. Not my kind of beer or car but kinda cool.

  12. Kowalski’s 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T in Vanishing Point.

    I had a wore out 71 Cuda when I was a senior in high school in 79. It was the base model with the low end 440 and 4:10 posi rear. No other options except radio delete and stripe graphics delete. My initial idea was to swap the grill and source the hood for a clone. I also needed a paint job and the wheels. It never happened as I couldn’t afford to keep gas in it.

  13. I must protest your characterization of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG as “one of the worst films ever made”. Is it as good as its reputation as a ‘classic’? No. Even Hell, no! But stacked up against the year by year drivel out of Hollyweird, it doesn’t even make the list of “worst”. What about GAY PURR-EE? Animated by Chuck Jones, with voice work by Judy Garland, it is a textbook case of “just because you have good people working on a project doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be a dumpster fire.”. Or every single attempt I’ve ever tried to watch at turning THE JUNGLE BOOKS into a movie? The Chuck Jones tv specials are ok, but every single film insists on mucking with Kaa, the Great Rock Python (with the sole exception of a Soviet animated film that is awful to watch for other reasons). Or the endless sewer of Woke films we’ve been subjected to in the last couple of decades? Or Disney’s various Winnie The Pooh projects, which suck all the subtle out?

  14. Loved Bullitt, and that Mustang. Problem is factory Mustangs of all early years handle like trucks. Got rid of my ’65 v8 Fastback for that reason. Ditto for my ’71 fastback with the 2nd best hp (375 factory ponies. bwahaha!) they came with. It’s a truck. (I chuckle because they were actually 500+hp)

    ’61Alfa in Jackal? How did I miss that? I had a ’62 Gulietta Spider in ~’68. Wish I still did.
    Didn’t care for that Graduate style Alfa. They stayed with that look for way too long. Only the girls seemed to like it. I suspect they did themselves some market damage due to that.

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