Some movies take a relatively well-known car and catapult it to superstardom. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s surprising how much a film’s influence can rub off on a car and vice versa. Usually, it’s the film’s success that rubs off on the car. When that happens, there’s little chance the vehicle will slip into obscurity anytime soon. Here are nine cars that had their reputations boosted by the silver screen.
Porsche 928 – Risky Business
The Porsche 928 is often shunned by the brand’s purists because it kicks the usually Porsche architecture and styling for something that is just plain different than what the brand is known for. That didn’t stop the car from achieving stardom in its own way. It gained superstardom by being the car that Tom Cruise’s character, Joel Goodsen, drove around in the movie Risky Business. The comedy-drama movie was certainly a good film, but it was also essentially a huge commercial for Porsche. The car was originally chosen because it was exotic but still obtainable, and that’s how plenty of people saw it when the movie came out.
Alfa Romeo Spider – The Graduate
For many Americans in the 1960s, muscle cars were king. So, when Dustin Hoffman’s character, Benjamin Braddock, drove the pristine Italian beauty that was the Alfa Romeo Spider in the highly-successful film The Graduate, it opened a whole new world for them. One in which motoring wasn’t just about horsepower wars, but was instead about small, sexy roadsters. Alfa Romeo’s Spider may never have achieved the level of fame it did if this film hadn’t made it visible to millions of Americans.
DeLorean DMC-12 – Back to the Future
The DeLorean DMC-12 is one of those cars that was already pretty well-known before it was featured in Back to the Future. This was due to the fame of John DeLorean, the founder of DeLorean Motor Company, among the automotive industry. However, the company’s single car never would have achieved the superstar status it enjoys today had it not been featured as Doc’s time machine in the influential sci-fi action-comedy. Back to the Future was a huge hit and is still popular today. The DeLorean DMC-12 is equally as well-loved.
AMC Pacer – Wayne’s World
It’s not every day that a crap can like the AMC Pacer becomes popular. That’s the power of the silver screen. AMC’s ugly little car achieved superstardom as Garth’s ride in Wayne’s World. The hilarious and odd movie has a cult following, and some of its popularity certainly rubbed on the Pacer. Despite this, the Pacer still was never considered “cool.” There’s nothing that could make this car cool. Fame and being cool are two different things, though, and the Pacer is certainly a well-known POS.
Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe – Mad Max
The Ford Falcon in the U.S. is known as the little sedan that is unintimidating and almost cute. However, in Australia, where Mad Max was shot and is set, the Ford Falcon is known for other things. The Falcon XB GT Coupe in the land down under is a notorious tuner car, and the movie Mad Max brought this to light around the world. Folks in the U.S. who didn’t know much about this car were suddenly wishing these sweet rides were sold Stateside.
Lotus Esprit – The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only
Lotus Esprit is a cool, wedge-shaped car with some serious performance potential. Despite its exotic and interesting look and construction, the car wasn’t really all that well-known outside of car enthusiast culture. James Bond changed that in the movie The Spy Who Loved Me. In that movie, the Lotus Esprit became 007’s submersible vehicle and that propelled the car to a level of fame it likely would not have seen had it not been featured as Bond, James Bond’s, automobile.
Austin Mk I Mini Cooper S – The Italian Job
The Austin MK I Mini Cooper S would have probably become a real sales winner had it been featured in The Italian Job or not, but the film definitely helped the little car’s reputation. As the film gained a cult following, so did the Austin Mini, and while it’s hard to say that the two were in direct relation, we think it’d be irresponsible to overlook the fact. The same goes for the remake of the film and the revamped MINI brand. In many ways, both the classic and remake movies are essentially big commercials for the cars, and it’s kind of hard to separate the two.
Ferrari 250 GT California – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The funny thing about the car used in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is that it wasn’t a real Ferrari, it was a replica. The Ferrari 250 GT California plays an important role in the film and the car is remembered for it, but the replica did all the work. It would have been too expensive to use a real Ferrari, so the film crew found a replica to use. The car would have carried on without the film but the film made the car even more famous than it ever could have been.
Aston Martin DB5 – Goldfinger, Thunderball, Goldeneye, Skyfall, Spectre
If there’s any one car that has been more impacted by a film, we can’t think of it. The Aston Martin DB5 would have become an icon anyway because it’s glorious in just about every way. However, there is no other car out there that is more commonly identified with an extremely successful movie franchise. The DB5 is simply James Bond’s car. It’s well-known and well-loved by people who might not have taken note of it because of this.