Something about the roar of a hand-built engine and the sultry curvature of expert-sculpted sheet metal makes exotic cars irrefutably cinematic. Combine these thrills with on-screen adventure and romance, and you have a formula for a Hollywood blockbuster that could bring speed freaks to their knees.
Undeniable screen appeal means that exotic cars are common fodder for big-budget movies, but not every vehicle is memorable enough to stick around in our minds afterward. These seven cars are the exception, as memorable as any Hollywood star that’s driven them:
Mad Max — V8 Interceptor “Pursuit Special”
Car Type: 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe
Considering how much screen time they get together, Mad Max may as well be a love story about a dirt-covered man and his car.
This modified ‘73 Ford Falcon XB is a gem of a vehicle that was only manufactured in Australia, with many of them purchased by law enforcement. Its huge 5.8 L V8 generated some serious power for its time, and its muscle-car image provided a timeless look. Fourteen vehicles in total were trashed while filming chase scenes, but a couple of original models made it out alive and are on display.
Pulp Fiction — The Wolf’s Acura
Car: 1992 Acura NSX
When Pulp Fiction came out, the Acura NSX was a true anomaly of the auto world. Few had heard of it, but between its impeccable Pininfarina styling and eager road-going demeanor, it proved that Japan can produce something just as beautiful and desirable as Italy.
This discerning, eclectic taste practically defines Harvey Keitel’s character as reputable cleaner “The Wolf” in Pulp Fiction. The camera makes sure we get a good look at it, and Wolfe even mentions the make by name as he warns Travolta not to scratch it. Not many cars in Tarantino films get this much attention or screen time, save maybe the Pussy Wagon he became so fond of after Kill Bill.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery — Shaguar
Car: 1961 Jaguar E-Type Roadster
The E-Type was a staple of British luxury for decades, showing up in classic shows of the time like The Avengers and The Saint. Of course, Mike Meyers thought that a Union Jack liveried roadster version would provide the quintessential vehicle for spoofing the ‘60s British mod culture Austin seems so very stuck in. While his choice of color scheme may be a bit much, the classic appeal of the car makes us unavoidably say: “Smashing, baby! Yeah!”
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — Mr. Frye’s Ferrari
Car: 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder SWB
Ferris’s friend Cameron claims that his father loves his car more than life itself, and we can hardly blame him. Ferris himself recommends the audience to pick one up, provided they have the means.
The only drawback is getting good valet service, which just might end up in the vehicle catching more air than it was meant to. Oh well, you can always take the miles off by running it in reverse, right? Right?
Goldfinger, Thunderball, Others — James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5
Car: 1964 Aston Martin DB5 Coupe
After a brief flirtation with BMW, the James Bond series came back to its senses to restore his classic, unattainable sense of British poshness by sitting back in the seat of an Aston Martin where he belongs.
Of all the vehicles in the series, the silver 1963 DB5 remains the most iconic and the most desirable by any standard. It made a cameo in Skyfall, and DiCaprio’s character in Catch Me if You Can goes out of his way just get one. We understand why, too. Between the long, pompous nose and the cozy, curvaceous canopy just big enough for a superspy and his bombshell leading lady, this is a car that demands to be seen in. Maybe not the best ride for a spy, then?
Miami Vice — Crockett’s White Testarossa
Car: 1986 Ferrari Testarossa
While a TV show rather than a movie, Miami Vice’s influence on culture is undeniable. Part of the reason is glamorous imagery of two of the most ostentatious narc officers in existence pedaling about in an overstated white Ferrari. Like power ties and Gordon Gecko suspenders, the Testarossa defined the glam and excess of the late ‘80s. Perhaps Miami Vice is to blame?
Dark Knight Trilogy — “The Tumbler” Batmobile
Car: Bespoke… tank? Thing?
A truly rare one-off design that is pretty much impossible to own, even for Jay Leno, Christopher Nolan’s vision of the Batmobile redefined what it meant to drive around on rooftops dressed in a cape.
The most amazing thing about the vehicle is that the model was custom-designed and built for the movie, and it actually works. Designers were requested to make it hit at least 60 mph to make filming certain scenes possible. They did them one better and made sure it went to 100, using a 5.7 Chevy-built engine good for 400 hp.
Want one? Give Lucius Fox a call, but just don’t tell him where you got the number.
Honorable Mention: Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) — Eleanor
Car: Modified 1967 Ford Shelby GT500
Bless this movie for introducing the beauty of Shelby-built Mustangs to the world, but curse it for driving the price so high. Thanks to Nicholas Cage and his ilk, authentic Shelby models are being cut up and modified into hideous beasts with ugly, oversized body panels and those obnoxious lowered lamps. Leave the Shelby’s alone, people!
Make Your Own Famous Exotic Cars Legend at Our Atlanta Car Track
While movie cars let us live out fantasies, nothing beats the real thing. You can try actual cinema-worthy vehicles out on a real track at Atlanta Motorsports Park with our exotic car driving experience. Book your appointment today, camera crew and star trailers optional!