Nothing says movie nostalgia quite like the cars the characters drive, especially when the film involves racing of any kind. In many cases, these vehicles can become the visual icon for the entire film. They also become extensions of the characters themselves — they’re not just props, they become key elements of the character development. And you don’t have to be a gearhead to appreciate just how cool some of these vehicles are. So, without further ado, here is our curated list of the most famous movie cars in cinema history.
1. 1964 Aston Martin DB5
Goldfinger (1964): This one could potentially be the most famous movie car of all time, mainly for its special features. Machine guns, oil-slick sprayer, ejector seats, and an incredible foreshadow to the modern navigation system, Bond’s car boasted a map screen feature back in the '60s. This is a legacy car in Hollywood and one of the Astons used recently sold for about 4.6 million.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
2. 1976 Lotus Esprit Series I
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): Generally, not the best plan to drive your car into the ocean, but Bond handles it just fine, driving the iconic Series I Esprit that somehow transforms into a submarine.
smokey and the bandit (1977)
3. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am
Smokey and the Bandit (1977): The legacy of the Trans Am can be marked by the steep jump in sales after the film’s release. Or maybe it was the T-top, Burt Reynolds’ appeal or the Special Edition paint job.
Back to the future (1985)
4. 1981 DeLorean DMC-12
Back to the Future (1985): The car itself wasn’t quite as magical as its outside appearance. Apparently the engine was replaced with a V-8 from the Porsche 928. Regardless of the cool futuristic design, and becoming one of the most famous 80s movie cars, the DeLorean itself didn’t do too hot on the market.
American graffiti (1973)
5. 1932 Ford CoupeAmerican Graffiti (1973): Before Star Wars, George Lucas made American Graffiti, one of the best classic car movies. The yellow Ford that smokes Harrison Ford’s car off the road, is one of the most iconic deuce coupes in the world.
Mad max (1979)
6. 1973 XB GT Ford FalconMad Max (1979): If there were ever a list of the best Australian car movies, Mad Max would have to top it. The Ford Falcon was a muscle machine. The filmmakers added a blazing paint job, a new nose, and outrageously large tires. The supercharger sticking out of the hood however was, in fact, very fake.
The dark knight trilogy (2005-2012)
7. Batmobile/TumblerThe Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012): From Adam West to Ben Affleck, the Batmobile has evolved quite a bit over the years. But the Tumbler in Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy is something to be desired, especially compared to the older models. The rocket thruster is an even cooler addition, as the Chevy V-8 powers the Tumbler to about 60 mph in about five seconds.
8. 1968 Mustang GT 390
Bullitt (1968): Steve McQueen isn’t the only factor in why America loves this car. Bullitt’s chase scenes are iconic and this Mustang quickly became one of the most famous movie cars. The car did so well, Ford made a limited edition version...twice.
the fast and the furious (2001)
9. 1970 Dodge ChargerThe Fast and the Furious (2001): The first of the series ushered in a revival of cool car movies. While it does some fantastical things on screen (like a wheelstand and burnout at the same time), people still loved it. The '69 version of this car was first popularized by the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.
john wick (2014)
10. 1969 MustangJohn Wick (2014): Apparently, Keanu Reeves did the majority of the stunt driving himself, which is almost as impressive as the car itself. It reappears in John Wick: Chapter 2.
mad max: fury road (2015)
11. The GigahorseMad Max: Fury Road (2015): With the fourth installment of the Mad Max franchise, Fury Road, came a beast of a machine. And it isn’t CG — double ‘59 Cadillac bodies ride on top of a massive truck chassis, that’s powered by twin Chevy big block V-8’s. It’s too massive to do anything crazy in the film, but I think it’s fair to say it’s crazy enough on its own.
the blues brothers (1980)
12. Bluesmobile, 1974 Dodge Monaco
The Blues Brothers (1980): Ah, a classic car movie and the definition of a famous movie car. The Bluesmobile is just as known as any other Hollywood 4-wheeled legend, but was smashed up quite a bit more.
13. 1958 Plymouth FuryChristine (1983): We had to put this one because it’s the star of the show — and one of the most famous 80s movie cars. Adapted from a Stephen King novel, Christine is literally about a car who kills people. Apparently almost 30 cars were used in the film, not all Plymouth Furys.
jurassic park (1993)
14. 1992 Ford Explorer XLT UN46
Jurassic Park (1993): From Jurassic Park, the iconic vehicles people think they remember are Jeeps, which do make an appearance in the film. But the stars of the show are actually Ford Explorers. Six cars were used in the film and some were completely demolished.
wayne's world (1992)
15. Mirthmobile, 1976 AMC PacerWayne's World (1992): Out of all of the famous movie cars, this might be the least attractive. But it's also one of the most excellent and coolest movie cars. It’s weirdly wide, but a perfect fit for the Wayne’s World duo.
16. Ectomobile, 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor
Ghostbusters (1984): This car is instantly recognizable as one of the most famous movie cars around. The Ectomobile, or ECTO-1 and ECTO-1A was made from a 1950 Cadillac Miller-Meteor.
the big lebowski (1998)
17. 1973 Ford Gran Torino
The Big Lebowski (1998): The original pick was a Chrysler LeBaron but in order to fit the character, they needed a bigger boat. I think it worked out all right. The poor car is destroyed throughout the film, starting with this unfortunate incident involving a lit joint and a closed window.
ferris bueller's day off (1986)
18. 1985 Modena GT Spyder California
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986): Where would this film be without Cameron’s dad’s ridiculous taste. The “Ferrari” wasn’t a Ferrari at all. It was instead a 1985 Modena GT Spyder California. And actually there were three cars used in the movie — one for the majority of the movie, a second when the car rolls out of the garage, and a third for other scenes.
national lampoon's vacation (1983)
19. 1979 Ford LTD Country SquireNational Lampoon's Vacation (1983): Chevy Chase’s iconic movie car throughout the Vacation franchise is a bit of an eyesore but it got the job done. Apparently five vehicles were used for this particular movie.
dumb and dumber (1994)
20. The Shaggin’ Wagon
Dumb and Dumber (1994): The classic Shaggin’ Wagon has got to be one of the coolest movie cars. Under the floppy ears and fur, we have ourselves a regular, old '84 Ford Econoline.
thelma & Louise (1991)
21. 1966 Ford Thunderbird
Thelma & Louise (1991): The build of this car allowed for production practicality. The openness and width of the ride made it incredibly easy to shoot the actors.
the graduate (1967)
23. 1966 Alfa Romeo 1600 Duetto SpiderThe Graduate (1967): Along with the iconic “Mrs. Robinson” hit from Simon & Garfunkel, any fan of The Graduate will surely remember this car making multiple trips up and down California highways.
little miss sunshine (2006)
24. 1971 Volkswagen T2 MicrobusLittle Miss Sunshine (2006): When I think of the film Little Miss Sunshine, I think of the image of this van before I think of anything else. It’s a staple in the film and a super iconic movie car.
25. 1948 Ford De Luxe ConvertibleGrease (1978): Many famous movie cars are used in this film, but the best one is used for Danny Zuko’s daydream in Greased Lightning.
kill bill Vol. 1 (2003)
26. 1997 Chevrolet 2500 Silverado FleetsideKill Bill Vol. 1 (2003): Tarantino apparently took this car home after filming Kill Bill. He even let Missy Elliott use it for a music video, and it was also used in Beyonce and Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.”
the dukes of hazzard (2005)
27. General Lee, 1969 Dodge Charger
The Dukes of Hazzard (2005): Apparently, roughly two dozen Chargers were used, but the majority of them didn’t last the stunt scenes. There are many Dodge Charger movies, but there's something pretty special about ol' General Lee.
Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)
28. 1963 Volkswagen Beetle Model 117 Deluxe Sunroof Sedan
Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005): Aw, remember Herbie? Of course, this had to make the list. One of the great '60s car movies got an update with Lohan at the wheel. Roughly 100 Herbies were used in the making of all 5 installments.
the italian job (1969)
29. 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S 1275
The Italian Job (1969): Probably one of cinema’s most famous chase scenes. The red, white, and blue getaway cars feature a four-cylinder, 75-hp engine, with a top speed of 97 mph. The is one of those rare instances when the association between a movie and a car becomes permanent.
chitty chitty bang bang (1968)
30. Chitty Car
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968): Writer Ian Fleming took his inspiration for the car from a series of aero-engined racing cars built by Count Louis Zborowski in the early 1920s. Hands down one of the coolest movie cars.
baby driver (2017)
31. Subaru Impreza WRXBaby Driver (2017): Probably the most basic, Average Joe car on this list, but that’s also kind of why it deserves a spot. In Baby Driver, the character races his Subaru Impreza, which is ridiculous, but also...of course a kid would drive that car. Apparently it was supposed to be a Honda, but was switched at the last second.
death proof (2007)
32. 1971 Chevrolet Nova SS
Death Proof (2007): Interesting concept for a film about a killer stuntman who causes accidents to kill his victims. His first weapon is the Chevy Nova and for his second attack, switched it over to a 1970 Dodge Challenger. And there is not a more insane, nail-biting sequence than stuntwoman Zoe Bell swinging around on the hood.
Best Movie One-Liners
Next up is an article dedicated to the most famous lines from your favorite movies. Some lines have become so impactful, we may not even realize they're from movies at all.