A countless number of incredible cars have graced the silver screen. It’s impossible to recall from memory just how many great ones there have been, and even more impossible to pare them down to one 10-car list.
But we tried anyway.
This list isn’t Gospel. You can probably make an argument for an entire new list. (Update: You did! See Your 10 Favorite Movie Cars here.)
Certainly if you include cars from TV (see our Top 10 TV cars list here), this would be longer than our full-length tube headers.
We do know this: The cars on this list deserve to be here.
One way or another they have teased our imaginations and won us over. In the off-chance you’re not familiar with any of these cars or films you should try to remedy that. Well, except for Batman & Robin. That Hollywood train wreck might have been worse than Gigli.
Without further ado and in no particular order…
The OnAllCylinders List of Our 10 Best Movie Cars
10. 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, Back to the Future
With sweet gull-wing doors, a unique stainless steel finish, and a space time continuum-traversing flux capacitor, it’s hard to argue against the Back to the Future DeLorean being among Hollywood’s most-iconic cars.
Whether it was being pushed by a train, hovering with Mr. Fusion, or running off weapons-grade plutonium, the DeLorean was every bit as important to the trilogy as Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown.
“If you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”
We couldn’t agree more, Doc.
9. The Batmobile(s), Batman & Dark Knight
Picking the Batmobile is kind of cheating. But the truth is, virtually every iteration of the Caped Crusader’s villain-vexing ride deserves to be on here. But we’ll narrow our choices down to three distinct eras:
- 1966 Batmobile, Batman: The Movie
Probably more famous for its 120-episode TV run, this sweet ride made its big-screen debut in 1966 in Batman: The Movie, starring Adam West and setting the bar very high for future Batmobiles.
- 1989 Batmobile, Tim Burton-Era Batman
Built on a Chevy Impala chassis, the 1989 Batman film starring Michael Keaton featured another phenomenal Batmobile. Maybe our favorite. Perhaps you and your buddies have argued a time or two about which of these Batmobiles would win in a race. Now you don’t have to wonder. Holy drag race, Batman!
- 2005 Tumbler, The Dark Night Series
Never actually called the Batmobile, Bruce Wayne customizes a prototype military vehicle from Wayne Enterprises for his own personal crime-fighting use in Batman Begins. Part race car, part tank, this thing gets points simply for being awesome. And for being part of the greatest comic book-to-film adaptation we’ve ever seen.
8. 1977 Firebird Trans-Am SE, Smokey & the Bandit
It’s a movie about delivering a truckload of beer—fast. And it features Sally Field looking hotter than Guam and Burt Reynolds’ mustache. What’s not to like? The car spawned legions of Trans-Am enthusiasts—specifically Bandit Trans-Am enthusiasts. And we salute them.
7. 1957 Chevy 210 Project X, Hollywood Knights
Any old-school car nut worth their salt can undoubtedly point out this iconic 1957 Chevy (which is technically a 210 post coupe and not a Bel Air as folks often think). Though it started off as the perpetual test mule of Popular Hot Rodding magazine, let’s not forget that Project X got some screen-time in a 1980 comedy romp as well. You can learn more about Project X (and its current 632ci powerplant) here.
6. 1968 Mustang GT, Bullitt
If there’s a more-famous car-chase scene or a more-revered on-screen driver than Steve McQueen, we don’t know about it. In fact, the vehicle has made such an impact that special-edition Bullitt Mustangs were released by Ford in 2001 and again in 2008-09. If you’re into them, you can read and talk all about them with the folks at the International Mustang Bullitt Owners Club. Bullitt is etched so deep in our popular culture that its lead actor was the inspiration for the next member of our list…
5. 1992 Jeep Wrangler YJ, Jurassic Park
While the Jurassic Park series has included many awesome rides (including a 1969 Pontiac ragtop that gets chased by a T-rex in the sequel), it was a square-eye Jeep Wrangler that was the most memorable. The YJ played integral parts in key scenes throughout the original film, notably during Nedry’s ill-fated escape, and has become such a fan-favorite that it gets recurring throwback nods in the later movies too.
4. 1994 Toyota Supra MK IV, The Fast & The Furious
This movie pretty much signaled to the automotive world that the import scene had officially arrived. It practically came out of nowhere to launch several acting careers (including Groot’s), but more importantly it brought the entire sport compact and tuner culture to the spotlight. The film introduced many aspiring gearheads to names like Spoon, SR20, and Skyline, and warned us all to check our manifolds for signs of imminent danger.
3. 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS 454, Dazed and Confused
Better known as Melba Toast, Wooderson (played spectacularly by Matthew McConaughey) and his Chevelle are the perfect combination of big-screen awesomeness. In fact, we’ll just let Wooderson tell you all about it:
“Let me tell you what Melba Toast is packin’ right here, all right. We got 4:11 Positrac outback, 750 double pumper, Edelbrock intake, bored-over 30, 11-to-1 pop-up pistons, turbo-jet 390 horsepower. We’re talkin’ some ****** muscle.”
Haven’t seen Dazed and Confused? You’d be cooler if you did.
2. 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe, American Graffiti
According to a feature story in the Chicago Tribune, Milner’s Deuce Coupe in American Graffiti “may be single-handedly responsible for jump-starting the modern hot-rod movement.” And who are we to argue? Regardless of its significance in the pantheon of hot rodding, I think we can all agree that it’s pretty freaking rad.
1. Wagon Queen Family Truckster, National Lampoon’s Vacation
“You think you hate it now. But wait ’til you drive it.”Ed – Salesman, Lou Glutz Motors
We can think of no other vehicle to grab the top spot on this list than an eight-headlight, roof-racked metallic pea station wagon. Sure, other cars are faster, sleeker, and more elegant but, c’mon, if you’re taking the whole tribe cross-county, then this is your automobile—and it’s ours too.
…Plus it’s totally better than that Antarctic blue super sports wagon with the optional rally fun pack.