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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A silver 1981 DMC DeLorean is shown parked with its doors open after visiting a used car dealer.

Cinematic Icons: A Look at Hollywood’s Most Iconic Cars

Years ago, I settled in for a movie on the couch and joked about how nice it would be to have movie theater popcorn delivered. You know, the buttery delicious aroma that immediately heightens your senses and puts you in “movie mode” when you walk through the theater doors. I wanted that deliciousness delivered rather than the bowl of microwave popcorn in front of me. You see, movies are a big deal for our family, with everyone gathered around and quiet after the day’s chaos.

Movies draw people in, inspiring, exciting, and reaching viewers of all ages. Film buffs are the first to tell you about the classics and why they love them, while many others associate films much like they do music: they know who they watched the movie with, where they were, and how it applied to their lives. But films are also more than these relatable moments because they encourage us to dream bigger and think beyond the norm. An excellent example of this “go big or go home” mentality is in the four-wheeled powerhouses that have graced the silver screen over the years. While they aren’t staples at any used car dealer, they’re legends that film fans and avid movie buffs would love to test drive, myself included.

1968 Lamborghini Miura – The Italian Job (1969)

While most people immediately think of Mark Wahlberg and Jason Statham in The Italian Job (2003), the hit film was a remake of the 1969 classic that opened with a 1968 Lamborghini Miura. The opening scene set the tone for the film, with the Miura earning its place as one of the most iconic vehicles on the silver screen. Coincidentally, Lamborghini sent Paramount Pictures two models–one in mint condition and one rebuilt after a collision in the Middle East. While both models were used in the film, only one made it through production and is still around today.

In 2018, a collector purchased the 1968 Miura and handed it over to Lamborghini’s Polo Storico division for certification and complete factory restoration. A full circle moment: the Miura was back in Lamborghini’s hands after an incredible launch to stardom. Inspired by the need to best Ferrari, the Miura debuted in 1967 as a powerhouse capable of traveling 167 mph. With a hand-stitched leather interior and offering plenty of thrills in the driver’s seat, the Miura’s four minutes of fame in The Italian Job had a lasting effect long after the film.

1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Pursuit Special – Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max took the box office by storm in 1979, setting the stage for the adrenaline-packed film franchise starring Mel Gibson and later, Tom Hardy. The film is renowned for its action-packed scenes and powerhouses like the 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Pursuit Special. Known as one of the last V8 Interceptors, the Falcon was inspired by a 1973 Falcon XB GT Hardtop and souped-up to fit the demands and theme of the movie.

The Falcon Pursuit Special was heavily modified, finished in black paint, and featured unique details like flares around the wheel arches, a nose cone at the front, an air dam, and eight exhaust side pipes. The most notable element was its supercharged Weiand 6-71 engine, which was only for looks and wasn’t the powerhouse viewers were led to believe. Even so, that hasn’t discouraged collectors from buying the Mad Max Falcon or others from recreating the Falcon Pursuit Special in their garages.

1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor – Ghostbusters (1984)

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters is a classic film that introduced one of the most recognizable cars in cinema history–the Ecto-1 or Ectomobile. The Ghostbusters’ car was officially a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor, what’s known as a combination car built on a commercial chassis but fully customizable. While Peter, Ray, and Egon responded to paranormal trouble in the film, many businesses in America throughout the late 1950s used the Miller-Meteor for more practical purposes: as ambulances or hearses. The film’s Ectomobile was an ambulance version of the Miller-Meteor, which is apparent in the film. Remember the gurney when they store their proton packs? It all makes sense now.

1981 DMC DeLorean – Back to the Future (1985)

Like the Ectomobile in Ghostbusters, the DeLorean in Back to the Future is a star on the silver screen. Most people see the DeLorean and immediately think of Marty McFly and Doc Brown as they traveled back in time. But while the 1981 DMC DeLorean was magical in the film, it was far from that in real life. Perhaps Doc Brown’s tinkering was a hint we never knew existed?

As the story goes, the DeLorean was immediately cast when Robert Gale and Robert Zemeckis started writing the film. They knew the car was perfect because of its futuristic, alien-like design. Fortunately, they were only concerned with aesthetics, as the DeLorean could barely reach 88 mph, was cumbersome to drive, and notoriously problematic. Still a film icon, just not remarkable on the road.

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off struck a chord with moviegoers in 1986 and continues to do so today as a timeless classic. While Ferris and his friends are integral to the film, John Hughes also gave a prominent role to the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. Its exclusivity was mentioned in the movie, leaving fans shocked when it met its demise after crashing through a window. But what makes the Ferrari so iconic?

The Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder is renowned as one of the most expensive cars in the industry. With only 56 models produced, John Hughes used a handful of these models for close-up shots and relied on three replicas for the rest of the film. As you can imagine, the exclusivity of these models means they fetch a high price among collectors, but so do the replicas. In 2020, one collector purchased the Modena Design model used in the film for $360,000. That’s pocket change compared to the $10 million the California Spyder went for in 2012, the same model owned by actor James Coburn and one of the original 56 to roll off the Ferrari production line.

1970 Dodge Charger R/T – The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The Charger has always been a powerhouse in the Dodge lineup, but its popularity skyrocketed in the new millennium when Dominic Toretto got behind the wheel of a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T. Fans instantly fell in love, and Charger sales skyrocketed as drivers excitedly got behind the wheel of the newest model. However, there’s much more to be said for the 1970s model, especially its distinct style and muscle car roots.

The 1970 Charger introduced an all-new design and powertrain, with the road warrior (this car, not Mad Max) promising 390 horsepower and a top speed of up to 200 mph. Its success on the NASCAR circuit in the 1970s solidified its reputation as a power-hungry speed demon, but it wasn’t until the new millennium that a new generation of drivers discovered as much. Today, the Charger has remained integral to the Fast and Furious franchise, with one model on display at the Volo Auto Museum and others from the series restored by a private collector with incredibly deep pockets.

Butter the Popcorn, Grab a Drink, and Roll the Film

Films allow us to escape reality and the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, to slow down a moment and lose ourselves in the magic of motion pictures. They pull on our heartstrings, giving us a chance to share our thoughts and reactions, our happiness and laughter, and even our tears. For many, they mark significant milestones in life; friendships are forged in darkened theaters and people connect with each other as we cheer for our heroes and root for the downfall of towering villains. If anything, they’re genuinely fun, shaping our culture with our favorite quotes, famous actors, and iconic cars that become more recognizable and popular because of the role they play on the silver screen.

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