With the upcoming release of Universal’s ‘Doomsday’ on DVD and Blu-Ray (which features an ambitious assortment of cool cars made out of scrap), I thought it might be time to celebrate other cars that may not have started out as much, but sure finished the race in style.
Not all of my picks will be solely based on action movies, and a few might appear to be out of left field, but by the end of the list, I think you’ll agree that the ho-hum minivan parked outside in your driveway might show some promise with a few nip and tucks…
10. Lincoln Mark III – ‘The Car’
This 70’s James Brolin feature was mostly mediocre with the significant exception of the titular Lincoln Mark III – a make modified for the film to give it the appearance that it was channeling Satan.
After checking out this freak of nature in action, I would be hard-pressed to disagree that Satan himself wasn’t looking out through the headlights. And what could be cooler than getting behind the wheel of pure evil?
9. Chevrolet Camaro AKA Bumblebee – ‘Transformers’
Ahh, the many faces of Bumblebee – once a Volkswagen Beetle which certainly fits the name better, ‘Bumblebee’ got a makeover when General Motors got the product placement task of providing most of the Autobots in last year’s megabudget Bay pic.
As such, Bumblebee was 'updated' as a 1977 Chevrolet Camaro for his opening scenes and then ‘transforms’ into a new Chevy Camaro Concept when Sam’s ungrateful girlfriend calls him a ‘POS’.
8. Assorted – ‘Death Race 2000’
While it’s still too early to tell what Paul Anderson’s upcoming remake will bring to the racetrack (the trailer abandons the cross-country trek premise of the original but looks promising from a vehicular destruction point of view), Roger Corman’s cult original starring David Carradine and Slyvester Stallone gave us all sorts of cool kit cars, the highlight being Carradine’s ‘The Monster’, a ’70 or ’71 Corvette heavily made up to resemble a dinosaur.
7. 1975 Lotus Espirit – ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’
Technically, I’m stretching here as a Lotus Espirit wouldn’t be a bad bet all by itself but compared to the modifications it gets in this film, I’m willing to make an exception.
Although not as iconic as the Aston Martin DB5, this one gets the edge by turning into a submarine! – perfect for a day at the beach.
6. 1958 Plymouth Fury – ‘Christine’
Ahh, yes, John Carpenter’s ‘Christine’ based on the Stephen King novel. Nothing screams evil like a jealous woman scorned and this scrap to phat red Plymouth of Fury has more on her mind than taking in a drive-in movie.
When nerdy high-schooler Arnie Cunningham restores the Plymouth, he gets more than he bargained for with a self-repairing, hell-on-wheels gal whose appetite matches her new cherry-red visage – blood.
5. Mall Shuttle Bus – ‘Dawn of the Dead’ (2004)
Say what you will about the film itself, whine and moan about how ‘300’ director Zach Synder didn’t do Romero’s flim justice. And while you do that, I’ll be checking out this cracking sequence where survivors take two mall shuttle buses and transform them into impenetrable fortresses on wheels.
Removing the seats, welding a snowplow on the front, stringing across barbed wire and leaving just enough opening in the boarded-up windows to squeeze out a chainsaw – these are two shuttle buses I would trust to get me to the airport on time!
4. 1974 Dodge Monaco AKA ‘The Bluesmobile’ – The Blues Brothers
I’ll let Elwood tell you all you need to know about the ‘Bluesmobile’: "It's got a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant. It's got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It's a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas."
Also known to perform stunts that would be seemingly impossible like flipping backwards and even flying – this is one ‘POS.’ that I wouldn’t mind taking a spin in.
3. DeLorean DMC-12 – ‘Back to the Future’
One of the most famous movie cars in history, Robert Zemeckis took the Northern Ireland produced DeLorean of which only 9,000 were made in ’81 and ’82 and turned it into a believably made from scrap time machine.
With its steel-plating and gull-wing doors, this truthfully disappointing performance car (R&T clocked it at 0-60 in 10 seconds) was perfect to make you believe that once it hits 88mph…
2. 1959 Cadillac Ambulance AKA Ecto-1 – ‘Ghostbusters’
One of the coolest vehicles in all of filmdom, the newly formed Ghostbusters take a dusty old ambulance and adorn it with red tailfins, strobe lights, that great logo on the sides and more superfluous rooftop gear than a fully loaded Range Rover.
No self-respecting film geek hasn’t pictured themselves behind the wheel of the Ectomobile cruising the streets with that indelible theme song playing.
1. 1973 Ford Falcon – ‘The Road Warrior’
The ultimate badassmobile! Despite the irony of driving a super-charged gas guzzler in a post-apocalyptic gas-starved future, Max Rockatansky’s police interceptor vehicle has everything a guy needs – a nice little bed for your loyal pup and a dash-mounted shotgun.
That 300hp, 5.7 liter V-8 doesn’t hurt either. Of course, maybe if Mad Max got a scooter, he wouldn’t be scouring the desert to look for fuel for that beast…
So there you have it folks – did I overlook any? Feel free to strike back below with your own suggestions.