10 Best Classic Cars Featured in Movies

Here, we celebrate all the classic automobiles that have roared and rolled across the silver screen.

While motorcycles have had their close-up in movies (The Wild One, The Great Escape, Easy Rider, Wild Hogs), it’s cars that Hollywood really loves. With hundreds of movies featuring four-wheeled actors, here’s a list of 10 cars that played leading roles.

 

American actor John Travolta during the 'Greased Lightning' scene from the film, 'Grease', 1978. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Fotos International/Getty Images)
Actor John Travolta during the ‘Greased Lightning’ scene from the film, ‘Grease’, 1978. (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Fotos International/Getty Images)

1. 1948 Ford De Luxe The famed Greased Lightning from 1978’s Grease.

AMERICAN GRAFFITI, Linda Christensen, Harrison Ford, 1973
American Graffiti, Linda Christensen, Harrison Ford, 1973

2. 1955 Chevy Bel Air Harrison Ford drag races this quintessentially ’50s car in American Graffiti (1973), George Lucas’s homage to the auto.

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3. 1957 Plymouth Fury This aptly named car displays homicidal tendencies in Christine (1983).

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4. 1963 Volkswagen Beetle A self-driving vehicle (long before Google’s), Herbie delighted kiddies in Love Bug and its many sequels (1968-2005).

Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis standing in the convertible in publicity portrait for the film 'Thelma & Louise', 1991. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)
Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis standing in the convertible in publicity portrait for the film ‘Thelma & Louise’, 1991. (Photo by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images)

5. 1966 Ford Thunderbird This turquoise beauty starred alongside Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in Thelma & Louise (1991). Many feel the T-Bird out-acted Brad Pitt in his big-screen debut.

BULLITT, Steve McQueen, 1968
Bullitt, Steve McQueen, 1968

6. 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT An American classic, Steve McQueen uses it to chase down all of San Francisco’s bad guys in Bullitt (1968).

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7. 1969 Mini Cooper S Curiously, in a movie about cars (it helped popularize the Mini), star Michael Caine could not even drive when the original The Italian Job was released in 1969.

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8. 1970 Dodge Charger Muscular Vin Diesel is right at home in this classic ’70s muscle car, taking on all comers in The Fast and the Furious movie franchise (2001-2015).

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9. 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire The Griswolds take this gaudy boat on a disastrous summer road trip in National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983).

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10. 1982 DeLorean DMC-12 Michael J. Fox uses this eccentric and exotic sports car to take him back in time in Back to the Future (1985).

A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2016 issue with the headline, “Road Movie,” p. 52.