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 DeLorean DMC-12
The Back to the Future trilogy
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.
The Batman movie franchise
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.
They don’t really need an introduction, so let’s recap:
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.
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 The Tumbler
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.
1977 Firebird Trans-Am SE
Smokey and 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.
1968 Mustang GT 390
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…
Disney’s Cars movie franchise
Oh, don’t be such a purist. So he’s got eyes on his windshield and a big mouth on, ironically, his nose. Disney Pixar’s two Cars films have introduced an entire new generation of racing and hot rod enthusiasts to the magic of motorsport. And maybe you weren’t paying attention: Cars—particularly the first film—is an incredibly respectful nod to racing and the nostalgia surrounding Americans’ general love affair with the automobile. Watch it again. Ka-chow!
1961 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
“When Cameron was in Egypt’s land, let my Cameron go”… on an epic day trip into downtown Chicago in perhaps the greatest Italian import since their delicious food. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off taught many of us how to fake our parents into letting us stay home from school and that odometers can’t be rewound by driving in reverse.
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.
1932 Ford Deuce Coupe
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.
1975 Ford Gran Torino
Starsky & Hutch
We’re cheating a little here and we know it. Starsky & Hutch, like the 1966 Batman film, is better known as a television series than a movie. But because it was a movie, and because they made an updated version of said movie in 2004, we tossed it in here. What’s really important is the car. The Striped Tomato? Are you kidding? Starsky needs to start drinking our Kool-Aid®. The Gran Torino is a fine movie car. Just ask Clint Eastwood.
Ecto-1, 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance
Ecto-1 might not win any races but the iconic vehicle from our favorite supernatural movie franchise shares a special place in our hearts along with bacon cheeseburger grease and adult beverage damage. A 1959 Caddie with four wise-cracking ghost hunters and a pile of proton packs? Yes, please.
Just remember—don’t cross the streams.