When the stars are cars, which one shines the brightest?

Automobiles and movies both go back more than a century, so it’s almost as though cars were destined to become an integral part of motion pictures. As such, the inevitable question arises when a film’s stars are its cars: what are the best vehicles featured on celluloid? Here are our picks:

1981 DeLorean DMC-12 with Flux Capicator (Back to the Future, 1985)

Granted, while this charming film has aged gracefully, the same cannot be said for the DeLorean. While the DMC-12 looked whiz-bang futuristic in the early ’80s, the stainless steel ride now looks about as cutting-edge as a kitchen sink. Still, it makes for iconic imagery and generated some fun dialogue:

Marty McFly: “Wait a minute, Doc. Ah … are you telling me you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?!”

Dr. Emmet Brown: “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”

1964 Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger, 1964)

James Bond and exotic cars go together like, well, James Bond and (shaken) martinis. And it’s one of the earliest Bond cars – the DB5 festooned with spy gadgetry – that has best stood the test of time. (You prefer the 1974 AMC Matador from The Man with the Golden Gun? Didn’t think so…)

The double-oh! options include: pop-out gun barrels behind the front indicators, the bulletproof shield behind the rear window, smoke screen, oil slick, and revolving licence plates (which would be superb for electronic toll highway commuting…)

Batmobile (Batman, 1989)

One of the most memorable scenes in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman is surely the debut of the all-new Batmobile. On the run from the Joker, Batman tells damsel-in-distress Vicky Vale to “Take the car.” Vale’s response: “Which one?”

Upon uttering her query, a dramatic jump cut reveals the voluptuous black-on-black ’89 version of the iconic Batmobile. The Caped Crusader’s gorgeous getaway car gleams in the darkness as Danny Elfman’s dramatic score reaches a crescendo. Holy sports coupe!

Black Beauty (The Green Hornet, 2011)

A 1966 Chrysler Imperial is imposing enough, but add protruding rocket tips, neon-green headlights and hood-mounted machine guns and you have a ride that is the stuff of dreams for anyone who craves respect on the road.

1970 Dodge Charger (The Fast and the Furious, 2001)

The original fast and the Furious is rife with imported street machines, but toward the end, along comes an old-school domestic MOPAR monster in the form of an outrageously souped-up ’70 Charger – a car with so much torque that the body twists when the engine is revved. Even though it’s doubtful those blowers emerging from the hood are functional, it depicts pre-EPA ferociousness.

1978 Limited Edition (stretched) Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Chevrolet Corvette (Mystery Men, 1999)

When you’re a super-villain named Casanova Frankenstein, you don’t putt around town in a Toyota Corolla. And what could possibly be more over-the-top than a stretched Corvette? To quote Mr. Frankenstein, “Can you diiig it?”

NemoMobile (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 2003)

As the saying goes, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!” And Captain Nemo has got more than just a submarine in his arsenal. His roadster measures 7 metres long and 3 metres wide. Given that the film is set in the Victorian era, we’ll try to ignore the fact that this outrageously over-the-top horseless carriage features engineering and technology that belong decades in the future. Still, you gotta love a car with six wheels – even though it would be a bitch to parallel-park.

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