Cars as Stars

Posted: January 2, 2013 in Movies - cars in movies
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In one week, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will announce its nominations for the 85th  Academy Awards.  Pretty much from the beginning of both the automotive and motion picture industries, cars, films and celebrities have always gone together like chocolate syrup, ice cream and milk. I mean what James Bond film would be complete without Mr. Bond driving a tricked-out sports car – preferably an Aston Martin?

The well-funded people at  (an insurance industry website used to sell auto insurance) put together the fun infographic (below) remembering the important roles cars have played in motion pictures and television over the decades.

The Love Bug original movie poster.

The Love Bug original movie poster.

In 1968, when I was 8 years old, I fell in love with Herbie The Love Bug at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. After that movie, I counted air-cooled VWs I could hear on the street before I fell asleep.

I remember being thrilled by the cop and drug smuggler car chase scene in 1971’s  The French Connection and by the elegant, beautiful Lincoln Continental Mark III used to smuggle heroin into the country.

Then in 1974, there was H.B. Halicki’s car chase classic Gone in 60 Seconds.  While the script and acting screamed “B” movie, it featured some of the most fantastic driving stunts back when there were no digital effects, just flesh, blood and metal. What is NOT to love about a movie that brags in its trailer that it wrecks 93 cars in 40 minutes?


Remember 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit starring Bert Reynolds and Sally Field? It was a terrible road trip movie and a gigantic box office hit,  but the signature car, a 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, was just as much of a star as the actors.  GM sold countless Trans Ams with that gigantic, gaudy gold Firebird Sticker on the hood.

Smokey and the Bandit poster

Who could forget John Carpenter’s 1983 classic horror flick Christine, based on the Steven King novel of the same name?  The car, a 1958 Plymouth Fury, has its own evil mind and, naturally, carnage ensues.  Christine, the car’s name, was the star and the actors were mere collateral damage:

The 1958 Plymouth Fury from Christine was fire from hell.

The 1958 Plymouth Fury from Christine was the car straight from the fires of hell.


Here’s the introduction to the infographic from the Auto Insurance website:

Nothing’s better in a movie than a great car chase. Remember Steve McQueen navigating the streets of San Francisco in that 1968 Mustang GT 390 in Bullitt? Many call that the greatest movie car chase ever, and the vehicles in it were pretty close to what you could buy off the lot. Sometimes, however, heroes need a little something “extra” from their movie or television cars. Check out the infographic below to see some film favorites and the Hollywood enhancements that took them over the top.

The Greatest Cars In Hollywood

Created by AutoInsurance.US


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