For those of us who like to unwind during these cold winter evenings by killing zombies, shooting mutants, and saving mythical words from evil, this week was COLOSSAL!
The latest and fifteenth instalment of the mega-popular video game Final Fantasy was finally released (yes, the pun was intended), and enthusiastic gamers across the land have been immersing themselves in virtual adventure ever since. Apparently, it’s THE game of 2016 and top of the Christmas gift list for all…
Wait, what’s this got to do with cars? As someone who was completely bypassed by the ‘gaming’ phenomenon, I asked exactly the same question. So imagine my surprise when I learned that Final Fantasy 15 actually contains the kind of car that should make most petrol heads dribble into their injectors.
The car in question is the Regalia, a ‘virtual’ interpretation of what a luxury vehicle could and perhaps even should look like. It’s stunning, and inspired by characteristics of the game’s King Regis – elegance, intellect, dignity and sleek good looks.
In the latest epic prequel, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, the lead car is the iconic Audi R8. Of course, movie buffs are no stranger to the R8; it’s a veritable star, having already appeared in blockbusters such as Iron Man, Taken 3, Fifty Shades of Grey, and many more. Which got the team here at Stoneacre HQ thinking about other legendary cars from iconic movies, TV shows and even games.
There are so many to choose from, including the 1959 Cadillac Hearse from Ghostbusters, the 1976 Chevi Camaro from Trasformers, even the 1961 red Ferrari 250 GT SWB from Ferris Bueller’s day off. Here’s the top ten we came up with:
1. Back to the Future - DeLorean DMC-12
Let’s be honest, there can be no more iconic or famous movie car than the legendary DeLorean DMC-12. This unmistakable gull-winged motor is the star of the 1985 sci-fi classic, Back to the Future, eclipsing even the magnificent performance of Michael J Fox.
Of course, what adds to the car’s mystique is the story behind its ill-fated production, with enough glamour, political intrigue, international finance and crime-drama to fill a Hollywood script of its own. Despite only producing around 9,000 cars between 1981 and 1982, the stainless-steel Delorean is perhaps the most recognisable car ever made. It’s time-travelling escapades in 1985 cemented that status forever. Great Scott!
2. The Italian Job – Mini Cooper
For those who were there at the time, the Mini Cooper summed up the spirit of Britain in the swinging 1960s. Fresh, new, energised and stylish, Britain set the fashion trends the rest of the world followed, and nothing screamed ‘cool’ louder than the funky little Mini Coopers.
Like the Delorean of Back to the Future fame, the Mini Cooper stole the show in the 1969 film, The Italian Job. The car chase, featuring three red, white and blue Minis tearing through the narrow streets, arcades and steps of Turin, is perhaps the most famous ever filmed. Those cheeky daredevil scenes pitched the Mini Cooper into the movie Hall of Fame.
3. James Bond – Aston Martin
It’s impossible to think of James Bond and not think of the super-spy’s sidekick – his gadget-laden car. We instinctively think of Bond’s Aston Martin, yet in the first movie Dr. No, 007 drove a rather modest Sunbeam Alpine Series II. Indeed, it wasn’t until the classic third film, Goldfinger, that MI5’s finest got behind the wheel of his trademark DB5.
In the films, the Aston Martin is shown as Bond’s preferred vehicle. However, this is the MI5’s choice of car, not Bond’s, and equipped with an array of espionage-essential gadgets, including the legendary ejector seat, front wing machine guns, revolving number plates, tyre slashers and more. Yet in his books, Author Ian Fleming often sits his hero in the driving seat of his real passion, a Bentley.
Clearly, Bond films aren’t just about the car 007 drives. Many other vehicles have had their reputations enhanced by a cameo appearance too, including the Lotus Esprit, Audi A6, Ford Mustang and Jaguar’s C-X75. Check out our own collection of Bond super-cars at our very own Aston Martin branch.
4. Batman – The Batmobile
Superman can fly. Spiderman shoots webbing from both hands. The Incredible Hulk has his strength. And Batman has his Batmobile. Originally a plain red sedan, the car quickly morphed during those early DC comic books into the sleek black and menacing armoured vehicle we still recognise today.
The original comic books, TV series, cartoons and even films have all tinkered with the designs, but all have stayed pretty much faithful to those very first DC illustrations. Batman himself wouldn’t want it any other way.
5. Knight Rider – Pontiac Trans-AM
In the decades before SatNav and the voice-recognition products that many premium-car drivers now take for granted, the idea of a talking car seemed ludicrous – until David Hasslehoff introduced us to his black Pontiac Trans-AM in the 1982 TV series, Knight Rider.
The Knight Industries Two Thousand vehicle (K.I.T.T) didn’t just talk, it held entire conversations, could out-think criminals and even drive itself. Hasslehoff was supposed to be the star of the show but was quickly reduced to a mere bit-part actor as K.I.T.T dominated every show and every storyline. People tuned in to see what the car would do, or more likely say next. Today, we wouldn’t give the idea a second look. Yet back then, this was ground-breaking stuff, and perhaps even a glimpse of our own talking car-tech today.
6. Dukes of Hazzard – Dodge Charger
Yeeeee-har! Nothing screams ‘USA’ louder than a flame-red, horn-tooting 1969 Dodge Charger named the General Lee.
This was no ordinary car. Not only could it out-run anything the series producers and writers could chase it with, the Dodge muscle car could also out-leap, out-jump, out-fly and out-land every other car featured. Fans of the show weren’t satisfied unless the Orange Charger was launched into the air at least once each episode. As a result, it’s rumoured that over 320 General Lees were built and destroyed during the series’ 147 episodes – that’s more than two cars per show!! But who’s counting? What a car. What a show. What a legend!
7. Halo - M12 Force Application Vehicle (FAV)
In all the best video games, you’re the star. As a player, the story and the action revolves around you. Yet in Halo, the hero has an indispensable 4-wheeled mechanical side-kick; the six-metre long, 3-metre wide and 3-metre high M12 Force Application Vehicle. Or, as it is more affectionately known, the Warthog.
An incredible feat of fictional engineering, the Warthog is a highly mobile, all-wheel-drive, all-wheel-steering, hydrogen-injected ICE-powered vehicle. Gamers point to its near indestructability and its ability to career over any obstacle, which can be quite an asset when you’re fighting parasitic aliens for the future of humanity. They like its huge gun too, which apparently helps.
8. Grease - Ford Deluxe Convertible
Nothing, and we mean NOTHING! captures the passion young men have for their vehicles quite like the testosterone-fuelled, wrench-twisting Greased-Lightning rebuild scene from the classic musical and movie, Grease.
The scene features the T-Birds bonding over their quest to transform the gang’s beaten up Ford Deluxe Convertible from rust-bucket wreck to race-ready roadster – inspiring the song about the car, Greased Lightning.
Although not quite as domineering as the General Lee or K.I.T.T, ‘Greased Lightning’ plays a pivotal part in the story and even performs that rarest of movie-car feats (usually reserved only for elite four-wheelers), it manages to fly! Eat your gearbox out, Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.
9. Scooby Doo - 1963 Ford Econoline/VW Microbus/Chevvy G10
Zoinks! Fans of Scooby Doo’s teenage ghost-hunting, crime-busting gang Mystery Inc. will fondly remember their distinct mode of transport - the psychedelic Mystery Machine itself.
Although a cartoon car, its shape and design was distinct, with fans of the original show arguing about whether it was a Chevvy G10, or a VW Microbus. Nobody has the definitive answer. And in the 2002 Scooby Doo movie, the waters were further muddied when the Mystery Machine appeared as a 1963 Ford Econoline.
Perhaps only Scooby himself knows the answer. But one thing is for sure, the Mystery Machine and its occupants saved America from some despicable villains. And for that, we should all be grateful!
Ghostbusters Ecto 1 – 1958 Cadillac ambulance
Last but not least, we couldn’t leave out one of the most recognisable and most-loved cars in movie history. No, not the AMC Pacer from Wayne’s World. We’re talking about the legendary Ecto-1 from the classic 1984 film, Ghostbusters.
Originally thought by many to be an adapted hearse, the car was actually a modified Cadillac ambulance. Loaded with Proton Packs, Ecto Goggles, P.K.E. Meters and the gang’s essential ghost Traps, ECTO-1 played an integral part in the hair-raising ‘busting’ missions of the four intrepid Ghostbusters.
The car made a second appearance in the 2016 movie reboot, albeit with a slightly different body shape. However no self-respecting spectre-bashing movie fan could ever fall out of love with the original Ecto-1. Busting makes you feel good!
So, there you have it – our hybrid top ten of the very best cars from past movies, animations, video games and even theatre shows. Did we get it right? Or are there cars you think we’ve wrongly left out? If so, let us know. If you’ve got a compelling case, we’ll add it to our list.