Our Favorite Movie and TV Cars

Posted by: Andy Smith on 11/18/2021

Our Favorite Movie and TV Cars

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From our screen at home to the big screen at the theater, our entertainment is full of cars that wish we had. From James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 to the Dukes’ Charger, these cars hold a special place in our heart. If they didn’t, why would so replicas of so many cars on this list exist? Picking our favorite rides was more difficult than expected. Many great cars didn’t make it on this list, but the ones that did deserve it. Go to the next page so see how rank the cars from the big, and little, screens.

goldfinger Aston Martin DB5

James Bond has a rich history of cool cars full of insane spy gadgets. All of these cars can be traced back to one car; the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 007 driven in Goldfinger and Thunderball. Without the tricks and attachments, the DB5 is an elegant car. Bond added a few necessary add-ons such as a ram bumper, machine guns, an ejector seat, a smoke screen and of course the classic oil-sprayer. One part of the Aston Martin’s tech was a map screen inside. Thinking to today, this heavily foreshadowed the navigation system in today’s cars. Not many cars were used in the movies, and one of the few sold for $4.6 million last year.

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Bullitt ’68 Mustang GT

Steve McQueen is easily one of the biggest car guy actors ever to hit the big screen. Any actor to win their class in a 12 Hours of Sebring race with a cast on his left foot is worthy of being called the “King of Cool.” In Bullitt, much of the race scene was driven by McQueen himself. He enjoyed doing his own stunts and had racing experience, so why not? The Mustang picture became iconic. It isn’t flashy, it is functional. The Highland Green Mustang became extremely popular and tributes still troll the roadways. This fastback was no joke with Ford’s potent 390 FE V8 4-barrel in this car produced 320 horsepower and 427 lb-ft of torque. Short of the all-mighty 428, this was the most powerful engine in the Mustang for 1968. This car became an instant icon as it ran away from a ’68 Charger on the streets of San Francisco.

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Starsky & Hutch Torino

Starsky and Hutch began a series of beloved cop shows and movies with dynamic duos taking on crime. This tradition still stand true today. When scripting the show, the creator, William Blinn, originally planned to put Starsky in a Camaro convertible, but because of the loan program with Ford Motor Company, they ended up with a pair of ’75 2-door Gran Torinos with the 351 Windsor under hood. The cars used for closeups all had chrome mirrors, but for many long-distance shots, they used another car equipped with red mirrors, as pictured below. The Torino had highway-friendly 2.75 gears when they got it, but that was no good for burnouts and action. After some filming, they were forced to swap out the rear gears for an extremely low setup to get they 0-60 acceleration up. Nobody knows how low these gears were, but apparently the second-season cars has a warning label on the dashboard reading, “DO NOT EXCEED 50 MPH.” Apparently these new gears were so low that anything over 50 could damage the motor because of the high RPM’s. While the Gran Torino is not a looker, it is certainly iconic and deserves a spot on our favorites list.

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Back to the future DeLorean

The DeLorean is a terrible car. There is no way around it. They look stunning thanks to the stainless steel bodywork by Giorgetto Giugiarro, it looks the part of 80’s supercar. Unfortunately, it isn’t anything like an 80’s supercar. It had a lack-luster 130 horsepower 2.9-liter V6 under the hood that would doubtfully get the heaping chunk of metal to 88mph. Word is that the prop staff at Universal Pictures decided to swap in the V8 from Porsche’s 928 to help this thing his 88mph for Marty. It may not be the real-deal dreamcar, but it has achieved legendary status thanks to Doc Brown and Marty McFly turning this thing into a time-traveling piece of art.

Paul Nigh's 'TeamTimeCar.com' Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine

Knight Rider’s K.I.T.T. Trans Am

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Another pinnacle of technology of the movie screen, Michael Knight, played by David Hasselhoff, drove this high-tech Trans Am on his adventures during the Knight Rider series from 1982 through 1986. This 1982 Trans Am was nicknamed K.I.T.T., short for Knight Industries Two Thousand. This ride has some, at the time, seriously crazy gadgets. In modern times, these may not seem to crazy when you think about modern cars with the same gear. For instance, KITT’s Turbo Boost feature reminds us of the new-age overboost feature on cars such as the Porsche 911 Turbo 4S, Ford Focus ST and other modern turbocharged rides. This feature simply cranks the turbocharged up a couple of pounds for a 10-20 second period to give the car an extra kick in the pants. Hasselhoff used this to jump over obstacles and such with his Trans Am, but we use that today, don’t we? KITT could also drive ‘himself’, so new age Tesla’s should be considered for any possible Knight Rider reboot to keep costs down. This black, T-tops Trans Am made everybody want a KITT in their life. I mean, you could let it drive when necessary, the molecular bonded shell body armor would keep away door dings and reckless people in traffic. Who wouldn’t want a KITT of their own?

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American Graffiti Deuce Coupe

As car guys, we always hear of the legendary car culture in California in the 60’s. Before George Lucas filmed the legendary Star Wars trilogy, he made American Graffiti. This movie documented California’s car culture in the 1960’s and how great hot rodding had truly become. Lucas nailed a mega-star cast with Harrison Ford, James Milner and many more. This was Harrison Ford’s first starring cast and kicked off his acting career off in a big way This ended up landing him his two biggest roles in other George Lucas movies; Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Not only did he have a killer cast, but the car lineup was legendary. The most noticeable was ’32 Ford coupe.

This Canary yellow coupe may have appeared Ford Blue all through from the outside, but under the hood is a 327 cubic-inch Chevy V8. The duece’s moment came when John Milner lined it up against a ’55 Chevy and smoked him. The Chevy lost it halfway down then crashed and burned. Turns out it isn’t only Mustangs that can’t handle themselves under power. Either way, this coupe’s iconic role helped make its mark in history.

Paul Le Mat, US actor, standing beside a Ford Model B five-window coupe, also known as the Deuce Coupe, in a publicity still for the film 'American Graffiti', USA, circa 1973. The 1973, directed by George Lucas, starred Le Mat as 'John Milner'. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Vanishing Point ’70 Challenger R/T

Vanishing Point is one of the quintessential car chase films. Before Fast & Furious had their go, movie’s like Vanishing Point, Bullitt, and Smokey and the Bandit defined the car chase. Kowalski is a simple car delivery driver who happened to be a former racecar driver and motorcycle racer. His job is to deliver cars quickly. Very quickly. He picks up this ’70 Challenger R/T with a 440 Magnum in San Franciso on a Friday night and then bets somebody that he will get to Denver, which is 1,000 miles away, by 3:00 PM the following day. If we assumed it was around midnight when made this bet, that would mean he’d need to keep an average speed of over 77 mph to get there in time. Wish gas stops, the odds weren’t great. Instead of giving up, he takes this Mopar and puts the performance to the test. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but Kowalski doesn’t hold back with this monster of a car.

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Bandit Trans Am

The Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am is easily one of the most recognized movie cars of all time. Something about the black and gold on the Burt Reynold’s Poncho set the hearts of America on fire. Watching Buford T. Justice try to catch the Bandit this Trans Am made everybody in the United States want that car. In reality, this car wasn’t an insanely high-performance ride, but the perception in the late 70’s of fast was much different than ours. A 9.4-second 0-60 time isn’t impressive in any way in today’s world. That is Toyota Prius territory. Even with this level of performance, Smokey and the Bandit shot the sales up for the next few years. In ’77 and ’78, the Trans Am sales went up 30,000 and in 1979 went up another 24,000. The Bandit left a mark on America with this black and gold beauty.

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Batmobile’s Tumbler

One of the biggest stars of the Batman series has always been the Batmobile. The latest iteration is the offroad indestructible tank-like beast, the Tumbler is made to jump, wreck hit speeds of 100mph. Here’s the best part, it is powered by one of the most common powerplants in America; the LS1. This 400bhp beast powered two of the tumblers. To keep up with the 30-foot jumps, they installed a long-travel suspension to the front, giving it 30 inches of travel. Two cars were built this way for the action scenes, but two more were built. One had a working hydraulic system and interior for close-ups. The final one has a propane-fueled exhaust to give the looks of a real jet engine in the rear. This wasn’t just an all-show, no-go movie ride. It actually did the stunts. It actually made the jumps. This earns the Tumbler’s spot as one of our favorites.

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Fast & Furious Charger

Dom Toretto has always held the persona of tough guy since the series started. Only one thing scared him; the 1970 Charger him and his father built in their garage. Since his father died in a stock car accident, Dom was afraid to drive the beast. In The Fast & The Furious, Johnny Tran does a fly-by and shoots Jesse, Bryan chases after them his Supra and Dom only has one option left to chase them; the Charger. This broke his fear of the car and led it to be his hero car in other movies throughout the series.

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Eleanor – Gone in 60 Seconds

If you asked any gearhead what their 10 favorite movie cars were, I’m sure that Eleanor would find their way on that list. This ’67 Shelby brought back the love for the fastback Mustang back to our generation. It also led to countless recreations and body kits to replicate the hero car from Gone in 60 Seconds. This car was Nicholas Cage’s unicorn car. He could steal anything, but this car always avoided him. Sure the original Eleanor in the 1974 film was a ’71 Mustang, but lets forget about that ugly yellow thing. The Shelby was incredibly gorgeous and you couldn’t help but be attracted to that car. If you had to image 10 cars in your garage, would you disappointed with Eleanor being one of those cars? I think not.

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Dukes of Hazzard Charger

The Dukes of Hazzard is centered around one thing; the General Lee. The Duke boys tend to get in a lot of trouble, so they obviously need a serious getaway car. Rosco P. Coltrane stood no chance with this Mopar big-block powered ride in the lead. Rumor is, over 320 Chargers were used in the making of the series. When doing jump stunts, they would put anywhere from 500 to 1,000 pounds of sand bags in the back to keep it from nosing down. The General is the car that every car guy would love to tear around the backroads in this car.

Staightnin’ the curves! Flatnin the hills! Someday the mountain might get ’em, but the law never will.

The General Lee sails over a stream in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' action comedy

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