America has had a long love affair with cars. Hollywood recognized this and has helped fuel it over the years with exciting cars that have earned their place as part of popular culture. Sometimes the cars are central to the plot such as the classic cars in American Graffiti and the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am driven by Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit. Many times, however, cars like the Batmobile simply add another level of cool to a blockbuster. Cool Hollywood cars have come in many shapes and sizes from the Cadillac ambulance in Ghostbusters to James Bond’s Aston Martin in Goldfinger.
10. What You Gonna Drive?
The Ectomobile (Ecto-1) is the name of the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance that appears in the 1984 hit, Ghostbusters. The car’s design was the work of a man named Steven Dane. The car chosen by the Ghostbusters to help them round up wayward phantoms might not be an obvious choice but Bill Murray and his wacky crew somehow make it work. Also, the car has plenty of space in the back to store the Ghostbusters’ bulky proton packs. They are able to buy the car cheap because it needs a lot of repairs, but they are able get the aging automobile into ghost-fighting shape just in time to save New York City. Fans have wondered what the Ecto-1 carries on its roof rack, but the movie never shows us what the equipment is used for. Versions of the Ecto-1 appears in Ghostbusters 2 as well as in the 2016 reboot. This retrofitted jalopy has also appeared in video games and cartoons. It’s not sleek, sexy or loaded with deadly weapons, but there’s something cool about fighting ghosts in an old Cadillac.
9. Endless Summer
The 1978 release Corvette Summer featured Mark Hamill shortly after he rocketed to fame as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. In Corvette Summer Hamill chases the thieves who steal the car he and his high school buddies worked so hard on to refurbish after finding it in a junk yard. The car in question is a 1973 Corvette Stingray and it was customized for the movie by Korky’s Kustom Studios. They kept the car’s L48 350 engine and turbo 350 automatic transmission, but included a lot of aftermarket features to give the car a wild look on the big screen. These features included a huge air scoop, custom side pipes and wide Superior turbine wheels. The corvette’s over the top look is completed by the the flashy orange flames over a sparkling red paint job. A pair of the 1973 Corvettes were customized for the movie and both of them were sold by MGM to private parties after the movie was completed. The movie was not very well received, but the monster Corvette remains a favorite among muscle car fans who love cool Hollywood cars.
8. It Must Be Your Mama’s Car!
Harrison Ford’s character makes it clear with a biting comment that he isn’t impressed with his drag racing opponent’s Canary Yellow Ford. The 1973 release American Graffiti features a number of classic cars, but perhaps the most memorable is the 1932 chopped deuce coupe. The car was purchased from a private owner for $1300, but it wasn’t in very good condition and sported a coat of drab gray primer instead of the familiar yellow paint job. Director George Lucas, who is a huge car fan, asked for specific cosmetic changes including motorcycle front fenders and bobbed back fenders. Also, some modifications were made to the Ford’s stock Chevy 283 engine because the producers were concerned it would break down during filming. The distinctive car is driven around all night by one of the town tough guys played by Paul Le Mat. Many of the movie’s funniest scenes involve Le Mat in the deuce with a spunky young girl played by Mackenzie Phillips. All the cars were put up for sale after production on the movie ended, but only the Chevy driven by Ron Howard sparked immediate interest from buyers.
7. Speedy Car
Burt Reynolds tells his employer, in the 1977 release Smokey and the Bandit, that he needs a “speedy car.” A speedy car is what he gets when he decides to buy a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am. Reynolds plays Bo “Bandit” Darville, an accomplished driver to drive the “blocker” car to run interference for a truck carrying a shipment of beer illegally across state lines. The zany plot is irrelevant because the talented cast that also includes Sally Field and Jackie Gleason has fun with their roles. The other star of this hit movie is of course the black Trans Am. The car is probably most known for the gold flaming bird painted on the hood. For a time the movie made this Pontiac version more popular than Chevrolet’s iconic Camaro. General Motors gave Burt Reynolds a Trans Am to help promote the movie, but eventually he had to auction the car off because of financial problems. The production had 4 Trans Ams to make the movie with and by the end of shooting all 4 had suffered various degrees of damage. Given the wild stunts seen in the movie fans expected nothing less from the Bandit and his cool Hollywood car.
6. The Striped Tomato
A bright red 1975 Ford Gran Torino with a prominent white vector stripe is an unlikely car for plainclothes police officers. But Starsky and Hutch aired in the 1970’s and this was an era that embraced flashy muscle cars. The car boasted a powerful 351 Windsor V8 engine which gave it more than enough horsepower to chase down the criminals in fictional Bay City, California. As the show progressed more powerful Gran Torino’s were purchased in order to perform more impressive stunts. Detective Hutch called the Torino the “Striped Tomato” in an episode and the nickname stuck. The line came from a comment made by actor Paul Glaser, who portrayed Detective Starsky, when he was shown production photographs of the car. Glaser admits that he disliked the car from the first time he saw it and thought it was a dubious choice at best for undercover officers. The series producers, however, knew it would look good on television so style won out over realism. Mr. Glaser continued to have issues with the car even as he came to recognize that fans of the show consider the “Striped Tomato” to be one of Hollywood’s coolest cars.
A family of monsters living together in a haunted house needed something with a little more style than the usual station wagon to tool around town. The producers of The Munsters came through with a contraption they dubbed the Munster Koach. The unusual looking car was built by Barris Kustoms and the same one went on to appear in 20 episodes and a movie. After the show’s run another Koach was built and was featured at parades and other events. It took 3 Ford Model T bodies to construct the 18 foot long car. The frame, fenders and brass radiator were all made by hand. This spookee car needed an engine to match so they installed a formidable 289 cubic-inch Ford V8. The interior was blood red and the body was painted black pearl. The Koach was popular with viewers and during the show’s 2 year run a song was released called “Here Comes the Munster Koach.” Barris auctioned off the original Munster Koach in 1982. It is undoubtedly an unconventional looking car and one of Hollywood’s coolest.
4. The General Rides Again
The Dukes of Hazard television show aired for 7 years from 1979 to 1985. The show follows the adventures of brothers Bo and Luke Duke and their family as they continually outwit the local authorities. The brothers’ attractive sister Daisy is known for wearing short shorts, but the real star of the show is a general. The General Lee is a 1969 Dodge Charger named after the commander of the Confederate army during the Civil War. This particular Dodge Charger is painted a distinctive orange color with the number “01” painted on the doors and “GENERAL LEE” printed on the roof above each door. The car’s unique look was completed with the Confederate battle flag painted on the roof. Although the exact number is not known there were over 300 Chargers used during the television show’s run because at 1 was usually destroyed during the filming of each episode. At least 17 of the original cars are known to exist. In 2012 golfer Bubba Watson the first General Lee car for $110,00. The Confederate battle flag has become much more controversial since the since The Dukes of Hazard aired, but the car itself is still one of Hollywood’s coolest cars
3. Back To 1982
Hollywood’s 1985 hit Back to the Future has the coolest time machine in movie history: a 1982 DeLorean DMC-12. In the movie the car must accelerate to a speed of 88 mph in order to travel through time which is no problem for the car’s 130 horsepower V6 engine. The cars are usually referred to simply as a DeLorean and it is the only model built by the DeLorean Motor Company between 1981 and 1983. Although the troubled company had a short run before it went bankrupt the cars have always had a loyal following. The DeLorean is known for its distinctive gull-wing doors, fiberglass body and stainless-steel body panels. Only about 9,000 of the unique cars rolled off the assembly line before production stopped. A total of 7 DeLoreans were used during the production of Back to the Future , but only 3 of them still exist. Universal Studios has 2 of the cars and occasionally puts them on public display. Hollywood has produced a lot of different kinds of time machines, but using a cool car like a DeLorean was an inspired choice.
2. Yes, It Comes In Black
Part tank, part stealth fighter and part sport car the Batmobile from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is a different take on Batman’s famous car. Most incarnations of the Batmobile were sleek and sexy machines that owed much to state of the art race cars. This version was built as a military bridging vehicle called a Tumbler and owes much more to tanks than to race cars. This is a tough, gritty car that can power itself into rampless jumps and crash through concrete barriers and still deftly navigate Gotham’s congested streets. Several variations of the Tumbler were built for the production including one with heavy duty suspension that could withstand the hard landings. The car’s formidable power is provided by a General Motors V8 engine with 500 horsepower. It doesn’t actually have a jet engine – propane tanks were used to achieve the effect. A scale model was substituted for the most challenging stunts such as driving on rooftops. This Batmobile was a complicated piece of technology that took almost a year to design and manufacture so it could stand up to the rigorous demands placed on it during filming. This version of the Batmobile isn’t pretty, but it is one of Hollywood’s coolest cars.
1. Martin, Aston Martin
What kind of car is best suited for the United Kingdom’s most famous secret agent? The Aston Martin DB5 has been known as the “James Bond car” since it appeared in the 1964 hit Goldfinger. The DB5 is a grand tourer (GT) designed by the Italian coach builder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera. The car was built with an all-aluminum 4.0 liter engine that produces 282 bhp. After the special effects expert for Goldfinger convinced the car company to let him use the car in the movie 2 of them were put on display at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Because of this exposure the car was referred to as “the most famous car in the world.” Two BD5s were built specifically for the movie production. One was fitted with James Bond’s familiar spy gadgets while other was a standard model. The iconic car has appeared in several other James Bond movies including Thunderball, released in 1965 and Spectre, released in 2015. In an interesting twist James Bond won a DB5 from a villain in card game in Casino Royale, released in 2006. Over the years James Bond has driven a lot of expensive and exotic cars, but Aston Martin’s DB5 is certainly one of Hollywood’s coolest.