From The Screen To The Street: Tracking Down 15 Of Hollywood’s Most Iconic Cars
Nothing makes movies more thrilling quite like car chases. Think about Starsky and Hutch chasing after the crooks or James Bond sliding down the Italian coast in his Aston Martin DB5.
While some cars were used in crash scenes and destroyed during filming, others are still in the condition they were when they first hit set. Today, we’re going to take a look at 15 of the most iconic movie cars in time and track down where they ended up long after filming was completed.
James Bond - Aston Martin DB5
Sean Connery played the role of Bond in the early James Bond movies. Widely regarded as the best Bond ever, Connery drove the Aston Martin DB5 in the films Thunderball and Goldfinger, considered the most luxurious car in the Bond franchise.
In 1964 and 1965, Aston Martin loaned the studio two DB5s for use. In 1969, Aston Martin sold one of the production models to U.S. radio DJ Jerry Lee for $12,000 before he sold it to renowned car collector Harry Yeaggy for just over $4 million.
Gone In Sixty Seconds - Eleanor
Nicholas Cage was at the top of his game in 2000. Not only did his Gone in Sixty Seconds character date Angelina Jolie but also had the opportunity to drive some magnificent vehicles, one of which was named ‘Eleanor.’
This Ford Mustang GT500 was styled by Chip Foose and Steve Stanford to resemble a ’73 model. Only one of the 11 models during the film, the ‘hero’ car reserved for close-ups, was put up for auction, selling for a whopping $1 million.
Ghostbusters - Ecto-1Car
Gen X’ers no doubt remember Ghostbusters. Throughout the movie, Bill Murray and the crew roamed around in a funky little vehicle car that left us in awe.
This 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance, famously known as the ‘Ecto-1 Car,’ had a uniquely futuristic appearance that many of us were unaccustomed to seeing at the time. Unfortunately, it now lies in disrepair at the Sony Pictures prop lot in Culver City, California.
Back to the Future - DeLorean
If you’re a Back to the Future fan, you might have gotten the impression that the DeLorean was light years faster than any sports car. During the production of the franchise, the producers utilized seven cars.
Unfortunately, only three of them survived. Two of the vehicles are currently owned by Universal Studios and are on display at their theme parks, while the third was sold at auction to an anonymous buyer from San Jose, California for $541,000.
Le Mans - Ford GT40
One of Steve McQueen’s most iconic roles had him behind the wheel of the Ford GT40. And, although McQueen’s character also drove a Porsche 911 during Le Mans, most true fans remember the roar of the GT40.
Ford produced three GT40s for the film, and luckily, two of them are still around to this day. The GT40 featured in the movie was sold at auction to an anonymous buyer in 2012 for $11 million.
Batman the Movie - Batmobile
Though The Dark Knight fans might remember the Tumbler that Christian Bale cruised around in, the Batman of the 1966 movie cruised around in a Lincoln Futura from 1955. Ironically enough, this concept car wasn’t even functional.
Even funnier yet, this particular model ended up on It Started With a Kiss, the underrated Debbie Reynolds film. Though auto builder George Barris bought the prop car for one dollar, he sold it to Rick Champagne in 2013 for over $4.5 million.
Knight Rider - Pontiac Trans Am
David Hasselhoff’s role in Knight Rider made him a hit in the ’80s, especially cruising around in his 192 Pontiac Trans Am named ‘Kitt.’ This futuristic car came complete with an artificial intelligence system he could communicate with.
The original car used in the show was later sold to a collector, who eventually listed it for sale on eBay in 2011. However, due to the massive response from fans wanting to purchase the car, the collector withdrew the listing.
Batman and Batman Returns - Batmobile
Starting in the late ’80s, Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Batman made him a household name. The Batmobile he drove in the movies became an instant sensation, even though it wasn’t a real car.
Producers used fiberglass and plywood to construct the Batmobile, and a remote-controlled version was used for high-speed scenes. In 2015, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham bought the Batmobile, which had been mounted on a Chevy Impala chassis, for $500,000.
Get Smart - Sunbeam Tiger
The TV series Get Smart gained popularity, leading to the production of a movie. In the film, Maxwell Smart chose the Sunbeam Tiger, a high-performance V8 Alpine Roadster, as his preferred vehicle.
Although the movie included an Aston Martin and a Ferrari, the Sunbeam Tiger was the true stand-out. In 2008, the Sunbeam Tiger made its way into the film adaptation of the popular series, and today, you can find it on display at the Smithsonian.
Starsky and Hutch - Ford Gran Torino
David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser gained massive popularity from playing Starsky and Hutch in the TV series. However, the red and white striped Ford Gran Torino became just as much a sensation.
Ford provided several Gran Torinos to the production and sold over 1,300 models through its dealerships to cash in on the success of the show. Not long ago, one of the 1976 Gran Torinos from the series sold for over $40,000.
Christine - Plymouth Fury
The makers of the 1983 film Christine used 20 1958 Plymouth Furies during production, though only four are still living. Three were used for promotional purposes, eventually finding their way to various collectors.
Though the fourth car was intended to visit the scrapyard, it sold for $900 to a Christine fan, Martin Sanchez, who salvaged parts from other damaged cars to restore it. The three surviving cars can be found at the Volvo Museum in Illinois and with private collectors in Florida and the United Kingdom.
Thelma and Louise - Ford Thunderbird
Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis starred in the 1991 Oscar-winning classic film about two women who found themselves in a chaotic situation while on a journey of self-discovery. Throughout the movie, the duo drove a 1966 Ford Thunderbird, one of five cars used during filming.
One of the vehicles was sold anonymously at auction in Italy for $65,000. It boasts a powerful 315 horsepower V8 engine, rear-wheel drive, and an automatic 3-speed gearbox.
Dukes of Hazzard - Dodge Charger
The Dukes of Hazzard captivated audiences from 1979 to 1985 with wild stunts and pure auto-destruction. Producers of the show used various 1969 Dodge Chargers in the program, many of which were written off.
However, in 2012, Bubba Watson, an American golfer, purchased the “General Lee” Dodge Charger used in the first episode of the show in 1979 for $110,000. In 2007, another Charger model from the show sold on eBay for $9.9 million.
The Love Bug - Herbie
Who doesn’t love the Love Bug? If you’re a fan, you’ll be happy to know that many vehicles from the popular ’70s and ’80s Love Bug movies can be found in museums worldwide.
Though museums in Korea, Germany, England, and the U.S. house these vehicles, a few private collectors have their own Herbies. Alex Micakovski, an Australian collector, purchased his 1977 Herbie for $150,000 in 2012.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off - Ferrari
We were all heartbroken when the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California met its demise in the 1980s teen flick Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Luckily, it was only a replica, sparing the producers from financial ruin and avoiding an all-out war with the Italian car manufacturer.
In fact, the movie used three replicas, each fitted with a 5-liter V8 engine from Ford. One of these replicas sold at auction during the 2018 Monterey Car Week.