Magazine Cover - Classic Cars For Sale - 1000s of Classic Car Reviews, How To Service & Maintenance Guides

15 Cars from the Movies

15 Cars form the Movies Published: 5th Dec 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

15 Cars from the Movies
15 Cars from the Movies
15 Cars from the Movies
15 Cars from the Movies
15 Cars from the Movies
15 Cars from the Movies
15 Cars from the Movies
15 Cars from the Movies
15 Cars from the Movies
15 Cars from the Movies
15 Cars from the Movies
15 Cars from the Movies
The latest issue of Classic Cars For Sale is on sale now - Pick up your copy from all good newsagents including WHSmith or click here to subscribe now

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 20%

Subscribe NOW

Available at all good newsagents including WHSmith

Many of us can name several of our auto heroes and heroines of the small screen, from the Ford Consul GT of The Sweeney to the Range Rover of the film version of Callan or even the Triumph Stag of Dracula AD 1972. The following 15 titles are just a fraction of the cars that made history says Andrew Roberts

Austin Mini Cooper 1275S

The Italian job

‘What I remember is that British Leyland only gave us two Minis. It was the greatest advert for the Minis the world had ever seen, and no wonder they are out of business, know what I mean? British Leyland, what a dumb bunch they were! Two they gave us and we had to buy the rest. I don’t think we even bought them wholesale’. Thus spoke Sir Michael Caine in Matthew Field’s engrossing book The Making of The Italian Job. By contrast, Fiat offered every assistance to the Turin scenes, and also provided the lovely Dinos for Raf Vallone’s Mafiosi confederates. PS For those who complain that no Austin Cooper 1275S Mk1 laden with bullion could hope to outrun a police Alfa Romeo Giulia, it should also be pointed out that Caine did not drive when the film entered production and that some of the Italian scenes were shot in the West Midlands…

Porsche 911S

Le mans

Le Mans is not a film watched for the quality of its acting, which is just as well, for Steve McQueen was more animated as an elderly ‘teenager’ in 1958’s The Blob than he was in this racing epic that at least bordered on the reality. It is a picture that is, inevitably, appreciated for the many and various wonderful cars on display, not least Mr. McQueen’s Slate Grey 1970 911S. This was a Porsche befitting a film star of the first rank, as it came complete with factory air-conditioning, tinted glass, a Blaupunkt Frankfurt radio, front fog lamps and leather upholstery. It will always be remembered as the car that our hero is seen driving through rural France in the opening scenes, the Type 901/02 engine disturbing the rural tranquillity. In 2011 this 911S was sold for the modest sum of $1.375 million.

Alfa Romeo Spider 1600 Duetto

The graduate

Nearly fifty years after cinema goers saw the then nearly unknown Dustin Hoffman take the wheel of a 1966 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider, it is apparent that Benjamin Braddock is a far from heroic self-centred young man who is probably destined for a career in plastics. The actor was the nephew of an Alfa Romeo importer and so the production used a trio of Duettos, representing the gilded chain that Benjamin attempts to reject throughout the narrative, in a suburban middle-class American where the ability to use a ‘European stick shift’ was fast becoming forgotten.

VW Beetle – The love bug

As the story goes, Herbie might well have been an MG, a Toyota, or a Triumph but of all the cars evaluated by Disney, the VW Beetle was the only one that the crew positively responded to. The main VW is a Pearlweiss 1963 ‘Sun Roof Sedan’ although several VWs were used in the shooting: disneycars.htm offers some fascinating details, especially about the model with a Porsche engine. Add to this the talents of the great stunt driver Carey Loftin, a theme tune by George Bruns, David Tomlinson on top form as the English (naturally) villain and Disney’s best leading man, Dean Jones, and you have a bona fide classic. As for Herbie’s main rival, the ‘Thorndike Special’ is a 1963 Apollo 3500 GT and the film’s finest line has to be ‘we are all prisoners, chicky-babe’.

1966 Ford Thunderbird

Thelma and Louise

Or, the automotive hero of one of the greatest American road movies of the past thirty years. The production used a total of five 1966 Ford Thunderbirds, one of which sold for $71,500 at auction in Scottsdale in 2008 and another went under the hammer for €30,680 in Italy later that year. Thelma and Louise also features some of the finest work by Geena Davis, one of Hollywood’s most underrated leading ladies and indelible images of the T-Bird speeding through most of the film was shot around Bakersfield, California. As for the ‘Grand Canyon’ scene, this was shot at the Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab in Utah. And there was an intended alternative ending in which Louise shoves Thelma out of the Ford at the very last second…

Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback Bullitt

The original plan was for Bullitt to have, as its centrepiece, an all Ford chase, with a 1967 Mustang 390 V8 Fastback pursuing a Galaxie sedan but the latter proved too heavy and was replaced by the 440 Magnum engine Dodge Charger.

Steve McQueen hired Peter Yates as director after seeing the incredible Jaguar Mk2/Jaguar S-Type in the excellent 1967 British heist film Robbery. The result was celluloid history, largely due to those cinema heroes, the stunt drivers; McQueen took the Mustang’s wheel for the close-up shots but Carey Loftin and Bud Elkin took over for the other shots. Two Chargers, one with a manual gearbox and one with Torqueflite auto transmission, are seen on screen and a brace of Fords was used in the production; one was subsequently scrapped but the other was acquired by an employee of the Warner Brothers studios. And, yes, the crashed Dodge does appear to have more than its fair quota of hubcaps.

Lotus Esprit the spy who loved me

The first film in which Roger Moore looks comfortable in the role of 007 (he seems notably ill-at-ease in Live and Let Die and The Man with The Golden Gun) and the Bond outing that gave him a signature car almost on a par with the DB5 in Goldfinger.

The Lotus Esprit S1 was submersible and, courtesy of Q, came with some interesting accessories; namely missile launchers plus the ability to fire torpedoes, drop mines and spray the road with cement. The last-named proved especially useful in escaping from a Ford Taunus Ghia load of over-acting stuntmen. Lotus provided two cars (one of which was used by the camera crew) for the production, in addition to six body shells. The company’s engineer Roger Becker was responsible for much on-screen driving and the entire film is grand fun on an eyebrow-raising scale.

Ford Gran Torino – STarsky & Hutch

Detectives David Starsky and Michael Hutch are young, hip, and in the case of the former, have a strange taste in cardigans. They patrol the mean streets of ‘Bay City’ California in Starsky’s Ford Gran Torino, although having an unmarked police car with such a distinctive paint finish surely defeats the object of the exercise? In the 1970s Dearborn supplied vehicles to Spelling-Goldberg productions so the Torino was the logical choice in Starsky & Hutch.
Several 1974-76 models were used over the course of the series, with engines varying from the 351 Windsor unit to 400 and 460 V8 power plants (dubbed with a F5000 racing car engine) and all with a ‘Bright Red’ paint finish complemented by the white stripe devised by the programme’s transportation coordinator, George Grenier. And the show did inspire one of Morecambe and Wise’s most memorable routines for their 1977 Christmas Show.

VW Type 2 Camper

Little miss sunshine

A truly great comedy film and one where the choice of the automotive star was from the scriptwriter Michael Ardnt. He decided that the Hoover family would use a VW Type 2 for their journey from Albuquerque to California partially because ‘You have these high ceilings and these clean sight lines where you can put the camera in the front windshield looking back and seeing everybody’. He was also inspired by his memories of the faults he encountered when travelling by Volkswagen when he was young, including broken clutches and stuck horns. The production used a quintet of T2s, two without engines that were towed on trailers and three drivable vehicles and the entire film is a testament to the enduring legacy of the Volkswagen camper.

DE Lorean DMC 12

Back to the Future

This could have been a film about a time machine disguised as a refrigerator until the film’s director and co-writer decided that this might have appalling safety issues for younger cinemagoers attempting to emulate Marty’s adventures. The De Lorean DMC 12 was the ideal alternative; it looked like a B-film spaceship for the 1955 sequences with its gullwing doors and it was the sort of offbeat car that would have appealed to ‘Doc’ Brown. Five mobile DMC 12s were employed across the filming of the trilogy, in addition to a cabin built for the studio scenes and a GRP replica used for some exterior shots; Porsche engines replaced the standard units. N.B. Asides from the De Lorean, one of the first film’s best scenes involved a 1946 Ford Super De Luxe Convertible and a lot of manure…

Jaguar XK8

Austin powers in Goldmember

Austin Powers, that intriguing combination of Harry Palmer, Simon Dee and Sid James, is a subtle and retraining sort of international man of mystery and so it was inevitable that for his third film he would drive a low-key motor car. And what could be more suitable than a Jaguar XK8 with a Union Flag paint finish and ‘Shaguar’ licence numbers? Three 2001 XK8s were used in the actual filming and while some viewers may have been distracted by the Jaguar’s 155mph top speed and elegant lines others were far more mesmerised by dialogue that seemed to be borrowed from Carry On Camping.

Ford Consul Cortina Super

Carry on Cabby

My favourite Carry On film of all time, with Sid and Hattie on top form, together with a fleet of Austin FX3s provided by the London Cab Co., a 1937 Strachan-bodied Austin 12/4 low-loader, licence no. ‘PEG 1’ and a large number of early Cortinas.
With any film entitled Cabby a large number of vehicles were essential but the series’ producer Peter Rogers was famed for his parsimonious approach to film-making. Enter the friendly chaps from the Ford Motor Company after Rogers was spurned by BMC when he thought of using Morris 1100s. The ‘Glamcab’ rivals to the black cabs were provided by Dagenham’s ever alert press office, with posters for the film featuring ‘Britain’s Newest Film Star – The New Consul Cortina Super’. And the scene of the massed ranks of ‘Glamcabs’ introduced the swinging 60s as much as the Beatles’ early discs – and helped to compensate for the disturbing sight of Kenneth Connor in drag. You can see good Glam Cabs life-likes at virtually every Goodwood Revival as this pic shows.

Darracq 10/12 HP Type O Roadster


Without this 1904 Darracq, the future of old car collecting might have been very different. The film was made on a budget so limited that the director had only 57 days to complete a film that was largely shot on location. The director Henry Cornelius originally intended to use a Humber or Wolseley as his principal four-wheeled star, but the Veteran Car Club advised him to use a Darracq. The result was a picture that wittily observed how elderly machinery had the remarkable capacity to fail to proceed on a regular basis but how they also rarely failed to charm all who encountered them. Such is the continuing impact of the film that the eponymous heroine of Genevieve is one of the most important cars in the history of cinema.

Bentley ‘3-Litre’ Speed open Tourer

The fast lady

Of all the great automotive heroes and heroines of British cinema (care of Leslie Phillips, James Robertson Justice and Stanley Baxter), few can approach the fame of a ‘Red Label’ Vanden Plas-bodied 1927 Bentley 3-litre Speed Model Open Tourer that is still known to many around the world as ‘The Fast Lady’. When shooting commenced, the Bentley was fitted with a 4 ½-litre engine and it had to endure all manner of tribulations, including being submerged in Frensham Pond, all in the name of film art.
Naturally, it coped with these rigours with typical Bentley aplomb, ready to lead an R-Type Continental Drophead Coupé with Park Ward coachwork and a police Wolseley 6/99 in valiant pursuit of a Jaguar MkVIIM with a load of villains aboard in the final reel.

Aston Martin DB5


Goldfinger might have been a box office success with a Jensen CV8 or a Gordon- Keeble but the third Bond picture was the one that truly established the 007 series and inspired one of Corgi’s finest die-cast models. Virtually every one of a certain age can remember Desmond Llewellyn informing Bond that ‘M’s orders, 007. You’ll be using this Aston Martin DB5, with modifications’ and two cars were used. The Aston Martin fitted with all of the lethal accessories, known as the ‘gadget car’ was the first ever DB5 and was originally painted in Dubonnet Red; in this form, it appeared in The Saint episode The Honourable Sportsman. The DB5’s actual screen time may have been comparatively limited but Goldfinger saw the creation of a genuine automotive icon.


User Comments

This review has 0 comments - Be the first!

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Latest Issue Cover - Click here to subscribe

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%