Do You Remember These Famous Movie Cars?

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

By Theresa "Sam" Houghton


There’s something about seeing a car on the big screen that gives it instant appeal. Somehow, it’s no longer just a vehicle – it’s a cultural icon. That’s what happened to these seven cars when they made their movie debuts alongside some memorable characters.

James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5

Sleek, curvy and attractive, this 282-horsepower beauty showed up in six of the 23 Bond films and has been referenced countless times outside of the franchise. The four-liter engine meant the car would never be a beast, but that didn’t matter. The cinematic special effects are what made it amazing in the eyes of fans. Who wouldn’t want a car with ejector seats, smoke screens and other cool spy gear? The movies made this Aston Martin so popular, one of the models appearing in the films sold for a whopping $4.6 million!

Ferris Bueller’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder

Although you only see one in the film, 37 total examples were made of the snazzy red car Ferris Bueller took for a joy ride when he was playing hooky. One of these sold for nearly $17 million in 2015, which just goes to show how much movie fans love delinquent antics when fast cars are involved!

Smoky and the Bandit: 1977 Pontiac Trans Am

What most people would have overlooked as a pretty standard vehicle became a sensation after some crazy on-screen action. Decked out in black paint with gold accents, the Trans Am caught the attention of movie fans and car buffs alike. Sales jumped by 30,000 between 1977 and 1978 and another 24,000 the next year. Which begs the question – who was more popular, the stars of the film or the car they drove?

The Lovable 1963 VW Bug

In 1968, cars got a heart, or at least one car in particular: Herbie, the “Love Bug,” an unassuming 1963 Volkswagen Beetle painted plain white. As fans of the film franchise remember, it didn’t take long for the movie’s main characters to realize there was more to Herbie than meets the eye. Herbie appeared in several more movies after the first one endeared the VW to kids and adults alike. It helped that Herbie got some flashy racing stripes to go with his big personality!

Ghostbusting 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor

What started out as an ambulance became one of the most bizarre movie vehicles of all time, but what else would you expect from a group of Ghostbusters? This monster of a car was 20 feet long, weighed 6,500 pounds and sported a 6.3-liter V-8 engine under the hood. An original concept had the car painted black and lit with eerie strobe lights, but the idea got nixed due to concerns it wouldn’t show up well when filmed at night. Regardless, the “Ecto-1,” as it was dubbed, couldn’t be ignored as it roared its way from job to job.

Bullitt 1968 Mustang GT 390

Put Steve McQueen behind the wheel of a car, and you have an instant classic. Sleek and powerful, the car McQueen drove in Bullitt had a rather unassuming green paint job but a ton of power. With a 390-cubic-inch V-8 engine, this GT could out-run anything and anyone in a high-speed chase. The onscreen stunts made it so popular, Ford released not one, but two limited-edition runs of the vehicle – Steve McQueen not included.

For these cars, fifteen minutes of fame turned into decades of devotion from loyal fans. From the moment they rolled, zoomed or screeched their way onto the screen, they made their way into the hearts of moviegoers and became beloved fixtures of film history

About the Author

Theresa “Sam” Houghton is a writer, speaker and health coach from Troy, NY. She’s a regular contributor to NutritionStudies.org, and her work has appeared in the Honest Weight Food Co-Op Coop Scoop, Natural Awakenings Magazine and the NutritionFacts.org 2017 Daily Dozen calendar. She has been a featured guest on Focus on Albany, WMAC’s Food Friday and the Just Ask David podcast. When she's not writing or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, cook tasty plant-based food and knit socks.You can find out more about Sam at GreenGutWellness.com.