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article imageOp-Ed: The 10 coolest movie cars you can buy

By Drew Hendricks     Jul 21, 2014 in Lifestyle
Sofa seat belts on; this week sees the release of Need For Speed on DVD. The film’s raison d’etre is to see how many ridiculously fast cars they drive (and destroy) in 132 minutes of fully-leaded action.
The vehicles on display are pretty spectacular, but also utterly impractical for anyone not involved in illegal street-racing. That’s why they don’t make the cut for our list, which comprises the greatest ever movie cars you can actually buy and, dare we say it, use. Ok, not necessarily the very ones that were in the films, but the same model — or near as dammit, depending on how much cash you’ve got (and some are surprisingly affordable). Driving gloves at the ready, we’ll begin...
Aston Martin DB5 - Goldfinger
You could fill this list with Bond cars. It’s very much 007’s "thing" to have at least one set of very nice wheels in each film — and it’s not even as if he needs them to impress the women. But we’re going to limit ourselves to just one: the best one, the one that’s featured in no fewer than nine Bond films, the one with the ejector seat. The Aston Martin DB5. So what appeals most about the car? The beautiful styling? The sight of Sean Connery driving it in his iconic dinner suit? Seeing it outpace Goldfinger’s henchmen? No, of course not. It’s that ejector seat.
Price to buy: £500,000+
Jaguar Mk II - Withnail & I
For lovers of fine wines, such as Richard E Grant and Paul McGann’s Withnail and Marwood (aka ‘I’), only an excellent vintage will do. Sadly, Marwood’s once-beautiful Jaguar Mk II is well and truly corked — a battered chariot for the over-privileged and under-motivated actors’ misadventures, culminating with it being driven wildly down the motorway, minus one headlight, by the licence-light and over-the-limit Withnail to Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile. But it’s at this point you realize, unlike a rotten bottle of premiere cru, that with some love and more careful owners, it could be restored to its former status: as one of the finest cars available to humanity.
Price to buy: £10,000-£70,000, depending on condition...
Ford Mustang GT 390 Fastback - Bullitt
If ever a film was made to fit Steve McQueen, this is it. He has a cool name: Frank Bullitt. He gets to deliver sharp lines. He gets to wear sharp clothes (he even pulled off the impossible and made elbow patches coo). But most importantly he gets to drive a cool car — possibly the coolest car on this list. A car that, if it slept with your wife, you’d probably understand. Maybe even take it as a compliment. A car so damned sexy that you cringe every time it’s in danger of being scratched during the film’s — and cinema’s — most iconic car chase.
Price to buy: £65,000
Lotus Esprit - Pretty Woman
We said we’d only pick one Bond car. That’s sort of true. Technically, the Esprit is a Bond car, having appeared alongside Roger Moore’s eyebrows in The Spy Who Loved Me and, memorably, driven underwater. However, rules are made to be blatantly bent, so we’re including this Norfolk-born angular beauty for its role in the Richard Gere-Julia Roberts moral-challenging rom-com. Its appearance, as Gere’s lady-winning wheels, tripled sales of the Esprit (Ferrari and Porsche had declined the chance to supply cars — suckers), perhaps due in part to Roberts’s Clarkson-esque observation: “This baby must corner like it’s on rails.”
1977 Pontiac Trans Am - Smokey & The Bandit
Cars don’t come much more American than the Trans Am: powerful, lacking subtlety and perfectly happy to wreak havoc on the environment. And films don’t come much more American than this, at least not ‘70s American. It’s got everything: Burt Reynolds with moustache, a plot based on beer and trucks, a vast amount of sticking it to ‘the man’ (in this case, and many cases, inept law-enforcers who habitually crash their cop cars) and denim. Miles and miles of denim. It’s a match made in heaven. The kind of heaven that looks like a roadside dive bar with nightly music and fights.
Price to buy: £15,000
1958 Plymouth Fury - Christine
When buying a car, there are certain questions that most people ask. They ask about previous owners, service history, mileage, any issues with the steering or rust, if the mats are included in the price. Less frequent questions include: has the car ever killed anyone? Am I likely to become psychotically obsessed with the car? Just /how/ evil is the car, on a scale of 1 to 10? Those questions are only asked by people who have seen John Carpenter’s adaptation of Stephen King’s terrifying tale of a demonic, murderous 1958 Plymouth Fury. And with good reason.
Price to buy: £15,000
VW Beetle Type I - The Love Bug
Who says the German’s have no sense of humour? Just look at Herbie! He’s so cute. The VW Beetle is one of the few things to come out of 1930s Germany, living up to the manufacturer’s name (‘people’s car’) by providing an affordable, stylish design that endured for an incredible 65 years. So what better choice for the plucky little racer who took on the big boys in The Love Bug, making friends, beating the odds and doing that thing where he flapped his boot up and down like he was talking. If only Christine had been so adorable.
Price to buy: £3,500
Porsche 911s - Le Mans
If Bullitt was a film made for Steve McQueen, a notorious car geek (yeah, we called Steve McQueen a geek) and keen amateur racer, Le Mans is the kind of film he wanted to make: barely bothering with plot or acting, and instead concentrating on very fast cars going round and round for 24 hours, making lots of noise. The main machines in the film — the Posche 917 and Ferrari 512 race cars — aren’t the kind you find on eBay, but McQueen’s ‘runaround’ in the film, the Porsche 911s, is a far more available, practical and, frankly, less lethal option.
Price to buy: £85,000
Alfa Romeo Spider - The Graduate
“Mrs Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?” Anne Bancroft’s response to Dustin Hoffman’s awkward assumption is, “No. I hadn’t thought of it.” What it should’ve been is, “Yes, love, because I want to borrow your car.” And what a car the Spider, also known as the Duetto, is. Small and noisy, it’s almost as if Hoffman is driving himself along California freeways (with Simon and Garfunkel worming their way into the viewer’s ear). And if you find a good one, it’ll prove that getting your hands on something a little older can be highly rewarding. As long as it isn’t your girlfriend’s mum.
Price to buy: £20,000
Mini Cooper - The Italian Job
The most British of British films needed the most British of British cars: the Mini. Well, mostly British; its designer, Alexander Issigonis, was born a British citizen in Turkey to Greek-German parents (it’s complicated). The Mini probably didn’t need a sales boost, but the latter part of the film — the gang transporting their stolen gold bullion through the crowded streets of Turin in three Coopers, complete with gesticulating Italians and the obligatory inept police - was basically a global advertisement for the ultimate town car, endorsed by Michael Caine. It rather warms your patriotic cockles, doesn’t it?
Price to buy: £10,000
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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