Oscar season special: Best performance by… a car!
They might not earn multi-million-dollar salaries or live in the Hollywood Hills, but these vehicular stars of the big and small screen deserve top billing.
DeLorean DMC-12, Back to the Future
The DeLorean Motor Company might have gone spectacularly bust in 1982 after founder John DeLorean was accused of selling cocaine to fund his floundering business (he was later acquitted), but the company’s only ever model, the DMC-12, found lasting fame as the time-travelling car in Robert Zemeckis’s 1985 classic, Back to the Future. When Marty McFly goes hurtling back to the past – sent by his wild-haired inventor friend Doc Brown – the DeLorean found its place in the Hollywood vehicular pantheon.
Aston Martin, James Bond franchise
Ian Fleming’s suave British spy has driven almost every luxury marque in the world in the 26 Bond films, but 007 will always be associated with that most British of sports cars, the Aston Martin, and in particular the DB5. Aston Martins have appeared in 12 movies, most recently in Spectre (2015), where Daniel Craig’s Bond drives a DB10 while the DB5 from Skyfall is being rebuilt under Q’s supervision. The DB5 made its debut in 1964’s Goldfinger, driven with great panache by Sean Connery – and was later sold at auction for £2.6 million.
KITT, Knight Rider
It’s difficult to decide just who was the bigger star of the 1980s TV series Knight Rider – was it David Hasselhoff as lone crime fighter Michael Knight or his very clever car, KITT (short for Knight Industries Two Thousand)? Actually a heavily modified five-litre V8 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, KITT is a supercar as imagined by ’80s nerds: think an advanced on-board computer, a “Tri-Helical Plasteel 1000 MBS” coating, which makes it virtually indestructible, voice synthesiser and such gadgets as an “anamorphic equaliser”, flame thrower and microwave jammer.
Ford Thunderbird, Thelma & Louise
There are road trips … then there’s the road trip that BFFs Thelma and Louise take in this 1991 classic, directed by Ridley Scott. For two gals on the run from the ennui of small-town American life, what better choice than a convertible Ford Thunderbird (in a pretty turquoise). There wasn’t a woman in the world who didn’t want to jump in a T-Bird after watching Susan Sarandon and Geena Davies let their hair down as they flew down empty highways, trying to outrun the law.
- The Flintstone’s foot-powered stone-age car.
- Batman’s Batmobile, in its many incarnations.
- 1973 Chrysler Valiant Charger, Alvin Purple.
- Customised Ford Econoline (resembling a shaggy dog), Dumb and Dumber.
- Red Ford Gran Torino (with white stripe), Starsky and Hutch.
- VW Transporter van, Little Miss Sunshine.
- 1968 Austin Mini Cooper S, The Italian Job (1969 version).
- The General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger, The Dukes of Hazzard.
- 1968 Ford Mustang GT390 Fastback, Bullitt.
- Priscilla the Bus (a recycled Greyhound bus), The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.