Cape Town - From James Bond's transforming Lotus Esprit to the hardcore Chevrolet Nova in Death Proof, movie cars have captured the imagination of film-goers and car aficionados alike.
The Oscars have come and gone and apart from an announcement faux pas, the event proceeded smoothly. While film buffs are debating whether the winners deserved their awards, we reflect on some of the true stars of movies through the ages - the cars.
READ: Movie cars that deserve an Oscar
A great vehicle has the potential to eclipse the flesh-and-bone actors/actresses they share the limelight with. Sure, Sean Connery might be the personification of a dapper spy as James Bond but it's his achingly gorgeous Aston Martin we salivate over.
There dozens of memorable movie cars too numerous but we've whittled out choices down to 10 top film cars by the Wheels24 team and a few of our contributors:
What's your favourite movie car and why? Tell us via email, Facebook and Twitter.
1. James Bond’s 1977 Lotus Esprit S1, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Wheels24 editor Sergio Davids: There have been many Bond-cars through the years but none-captured my imagination as much as the transforming 1977 Lotus Esprit featured in The Spy Who Love Me. It's a sports car that transforms into a freakin submersible! Sure, there are better looking Bond cars (Aston Martin DB5, Goldfinger) and later spy machines featured cloaking technology but I was in awe of this amphibious Esprit the first time I saw it hit the water. It has canons to blast apart henchman, a missile launcher in its boot and can fire torpedoes. Did I mention it doubles as a submarine?!
2. Chevrolet Nova, Death Proof
Wheels24 columnist Calvin Fisher:
I know all the cliches. I also am well versed in modern motorcana, celluloid classics in the shape of the Fast and Furious series and its many clones, so it might surprise you to hear that I'm more of a Death Proof aficionado. Maybe it's Quentin Tarantino's influence, or the everyman Kurt Russell as its driver, that installed such coolness into that first, 'skull and crossbolts' emblazoned Chevy Nova that stole the show. Stuntman Mike's mom's car, but not really. Even more than the more Dodge Charger he'd replace it with later. Maybe it's the fact that the lesser loved Nova hasn't had a great run in Hollywood this side of Beverly Hills Cop and therefore the underdog that helps its case but I love it. It's a cool whip. And if you like cool Whips then please visit my YouTube channel for some more groovy Cape Town cars and hell, the odd movie review.
Special mentions: Vanishing Point, Gone in 60 Seconds, Bullitt
3. 1985 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT, Initial D (2005)
Wheels24's Janine Van der Post: The 1985 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT starred in the Initial D anime television series, and it wasn't until years later that became the ultimate car to own. It remains the movie car that dreams are made of. It cemented my petrolhead roots and still manages to stir up emotions decades later. I have to admit it was the 1986 GMC Vandura from the A-Team which first made me go 'Hey, that's a cool car', not to mention that genius KIT, the Pontiac Firebird Trans-AM from Knight Rider. Another which shows my love for American muscle is the 1964 Chevy Impala which rapper IceCube made look cooler than ice itself from the 1991 Boyz in the Hood film.
4. 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500, Gone in 60 Seconds
Wheels24's Sean Parker: Nicolas Cage and a few of stunt drivers roaring around San Francisco in Gone in 60 seconds etched the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 into my consciousness as a 12-year-old. 'Eleanor' as she was named by Randall "Memphis" Raines was a beauty. She was based on a 1967 Mustang fastback and was built by company called cinema vehicle services with the assistance of Chip Foose. The roar of the Ford V8 crate engine gave me goosebumps and watching her fly over emergency vehicles on the Vincent Thomas bridge was one of the best stunts I've seen in a film. And that's why the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 is my favourite movie car.
Watch the chase scene:
5. Ford F-250 Super Duty, Role Models
Charlen Raymond: In the 2008 comedy Role Models, starring Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott, the duo drives around in a 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty called the Minotaur. Another favourite is the 1969 Dodge Charger in The Dukes of Hazzard, simply because there is nothing as pure and raw as a 60’s muscle car.
Watch the Minotaur in action below:
But the kicker for me is a local classic, a hated vehicle on South African roads: the dreaded taxi. Only Leon Schuster managed to make the taxi "funny" and that deserves undoubted props.
Wheels24 columnist Alexander Parker:
6. The General Lee, Dukes of Hazzard
The Dukes of Hazzard’s General Lee may undoubtedly represent a bygone era of Deep South political symbols, but for me the car has value beyond that debate too. The Duke family were a bunch of hillbillies who liked to run “moonshine”, or illegal alcohol, and used the General Lee to evade the police. Given the fact that I always felt the Dukes ought to be allowed to distill whatever the hell they wanted, and that the hilariously inept and corrupt police were in bed with a greedy and corrupt local politician (Boss Hogg, whose 1970 Cadillac Coupe de Ville convertible is worth a Google too), it all felt closer to home that the fictional Hazard county in Georgia actually is. Their disregard for bad laws and their corrupt and prejudicial application appealed to my inner libertarian – and in any case Bo Duke could drift that tank of a ’69 Dodge Charger like the champion he was, which made great TV and, eventually, a fun movie.
7. Jaguar MkII, Get Carter
A gritty 60s gangster flick featuring a menacing Michael Caine and a Jag Mk II in a far more realistic incarnation than in the Morse series. Gangsters loved the MkII 3.8 straight inline six because it could outrun the cops – until they got their own, stripped-down versions, of course.
8. Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT), Knight Rider
It's actually a black Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am, represented an absurdly futuristic self-driving, talking car in the 1980s. Driven by pre-Baywatch David Hasselhoff it was just about the coolest thing on four wheels – and now the kind of tech you can get in a C-Class. Scary thought.
9. 911 Turbo (964), Bad Boys
Will Smith’s Porsche 911 Turbo (964) from Bad Boys. A great sports car owned by a discerning and effortlessly cool driver in one of the great shoot-‘em-ups of the past 20 years. What’s not to love?
10. 1972 Ford Torino, Gran Torino
Clint Eastwood’s moving drama set in Motown itself. What a classic, a great set piece for the movie.