From Knight Rider’s customised Pontiac Firebird to Del Trotter’s iconic Reliant Robin, there’s no denying that cars have played major roles across television and film.
A few were even fortunate enough to be granted star of the show and have a movie based around them. Whether it be high-speed performance vehicles, cartoons classics, or tech-riddled machines, we can’t help but fall in love with the cars as much as the characters themselves. Quite frankly, who would Dr Brown and Marty McFly have been without the iconic DMC DeLorean?
Rather than making you dig out your old VHS set, we thought we’d save you the faff and instead take you on a trip down memory lane in this article, where we’ll revisit all the classic vehicles that made their way off the big and small screen and straight into our hearts forever!
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
5th June 1985 was the day and a young Ferris Bueller has decided to pull one last bunk from school prior to graduation. Renowned for being the boy that could easily avoid detection when ‘calling in sick’, Bueller decides to take the lend of his friend’s father’s Ferrari 250 GT California and head into the city of Chicago for the day.
Most kids would be exhilarated with simply having the day off school, living life on the wild side of life. For Ferris however, the utter thrill which came of playing truant was the rat race ensuing between him and his high school principle, who was hellbent on catching up with this loveable young rascal.
Other than causing you to receive a punch in the arm from your older sibling when you drove past a one at the age of 10, the Volkswagen Beetle had an incredibly distinguished career in the flicks.
The first ‘Herbie’ arrived on our screens back in 1968, sporting the infamous red and blue, ‘go faster stripes’ and an impressive ability to both speak and drive.
The modern-day mime, Mr Bean is undoubtedly one of the best editions of slapstick comedy Britain has ever produced. Rowan Atkinson, who has also starred in the likes of Blackadder and Johnny English, fulfilled the role of the character who could turn the most mundane of situations into utterly side-splitting hilarious events.
The lime green MINI was Bean’s companion of choice, while he and his vehicle made a successful enemy out of a light-blue Reliant Robin, which had the personalised number plates GRA 26K in the original series and DUW 742 in the animated remake. Bean and his MINI would often ram the Reliant off the road, steal its car parking space, or cut it up at any given opportunity, further contributing to the comical product that was Bean.
We loved every character in the Scooby-Doo series, (perhaps Scooby that little bit more), but one we did adore was the Mystery Machine. How else would they have fulfilled their role of being those ‘pesky little kids’?
In 1969 the world was introduced to Mystery Inc. for the very first time. In the first of three series and a plethora of movies, Scooby and the gang were introduced to us in a vehicle that appeared to be based on Chevrolet Sport Van. Since then, however, fans of the programme around the globe have taken the likes of Fiat 900T Amigos and transformed them in to automotive, cult classics.
Scooby-Doo the Movie, which was computer animated yet featured real-life visuals, opted for the Ford Econoline as opposed to the cartoon replica.
Smokey and the Bandit
Drive from Atlanta to Texarkana, pick up 400 crates of Coors beer, and drive back. Seems like a pretty simple task, right?
Wrong. This film starring Burt Reynolds and Sally Field is the definition of a classic car chase.
Discovering the financial opportunity that the bootlegged beer presented, Big Enos sought out an experienced driver, and in Bandit, an infamous trucker in the Atlanta rodeo scene, he found just that.
Bandit, knowing too well that the 28-hour journey presented various difficulties, calls upon his compadre Cledus. His partner in crime drives the truck while Bandit motors ahead, scouting the route in A Pontiac Trans-Am. Thanks to this film, the aforementioned vehicle established itself as a cult classic, so much so that popular American punk rock band, Bowling For Soup, included it in their track, ‘Girl All the Bad Guys Want’.
As we have seen, cars and the big screen (and small screen) go together perfectly, and it seems likely that such partnerships will continue well into the future. Having said that, will the invention of autonomous and electric vehicles alter the way in which cars are used on the big and small screens in the coming years? We’ll have to wait and see! Regardless, in this article we’ve highlighted just a few examples of the classic cars which have featured in our favourite films over the years, but which one’s your favourite?