20 Iconic Movie Prop Cars
There’s iconic movies. And there’s iconic cars. But when there is an iconic movie car – now that’s something special. We’re suckers for any movie that involves cars (especially ones with a good car chase) and this list is a tip of the cap to that.
In this list we’ve got a van from the 1980s with an iconic but simple paint scheme. We’ve also got cars that are stock in features and price but over time, they became legendary in car-movie lore. We’ve got one vehicles that was featured in a hit movie in 1970 and then used again for a feature documentary filmed in 2010. We’ve got a vehicle that was used in an extremely popular HBO show as well as an Eric Church music video. We’ve got a vehicle with a swiveling, third, center-headlamp. We’ve got vehicles with mobster ties, vehicles with cartoon co-workers, a couple of different Trans Ams, and vehicles that played in the original movie the sequel! Basically, we’ve got a lot of classic movie-cars in this list for you!
We’re pretty positive that you’ll recognize almost every car on this post, but maybe we can teach you a thing or two with the fun facts for each one. Enjoy.
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If you’re like us, then you love a movie that features an awesome ride. What you’re about to see is the most memorable prop cars in Hollywood history. Some of these changed cinematic history as we know it, some of these set the tone in our hearts for what it meant to be a cool car, and some of these are just plain expensive and rare. You’re going to love them all. Check it out!
Ghost Busters ECTO-1
Underneath Ecto-1 lies a 1959 Cadillac professional chassis. It was built by the Miller-Meteor Company as an ambulance/hearse combo (part of the end loader variety). Ironically, the car still looks great 30 years later. It’s often on display in LA at various auto museums. Movie studio execs also rented a black caddy to be used for the movie as the pre-Ecto-1 car. They ended up buying it and had it customized by George Barris to resemble Ecto-1 so they could use it as a promotional tool. Afterward, it sold at auction for $80,000! Sadly though, the original Ecto-1 is lying on a prop lot in Culver City, California wasting away. Fans started a petition to have studio execs restore the vehicle, but it the car is still there.
Bad Moms 1970 Dodge Challenger
So if this car looks a little badass there is good reason. No, it’s not a Challenger on steroids. Consider it a minimalist version. Here’s why the car looks so BOSS. First, the turn signals have been removed from the fenders. Second, the grill is blacked out, lending a much beefier feel to the Challenger. Minus out the black hood scoop and white racing stripes and this puppy looks lean and mean. Oh yeah, the tires are not original either. The Bad Moms-mobile opted for standard American 5 lug chrome wheels (think mafia bling. Finish the whole thing off with an awesome red paint job for an awesome bad moms mobile.
Jurrasic Park Benz
Jurassic Park put the 1997 Mercedes Benz ML 320 on the map. After the movie, everyone wanted this SUV. For the story, they were used by main characters to traverse the pre-historic island’s varied terrain. Each SUV had the following features (some standard, most added) for film: 4-wheel drive, a front tow cable, front bull bars, a winch, fog lights, custom step bars, rear tail light guards, leather seats, and camouflage paint. Furthermore, each variant included other small changes like bottom mounts for jerry cans, a cut-out backside, mounted light bars, bubble top windows, and dual mounted side mirror searchlights.
American Horror Story 1956 Desoto Sedan
A few cool things about this car. She was used for season 2 of American Horror Story (Celia Lives, PFLAG, Aquarius, Time Traveling Bong) and only has 32,920 miles. That’s pretty incredible for a classic car! The 1956 DeSoto Sedan recently went up for sale and was listed for $11,800. That’s not the higher $80,000 price tag we saw for the Ecto-1 repro. In fact, this is a steal! Trade in your jalopy and get this beast instead. The Horror Story ride comes with a v8, push-button transmission and new brakes!
Scooby Doo Mystery Machine
Turns out the Mystery Machine isn’t so Mysterious. It’s a 1972 Ford Econoline van. Yep, just a normal van, until you theme it out. The paint job alone was $15,000, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Peek inside and you are greeted by an entire world of Scooby Doo. Disco lights, a blue couch, green table, and orange chaise/bed are designed to give passengers ultimate comfort and promote shagging. There’s even a ghost finder inside to clear the van of spirits before engaging in athletic intimacies (zoinks!). And while we can’t speak to your endurance, the van will have no problem. The Mystery Machine is powered by a 320 cubic inch v8 mated to an automatic transmission for all night performance. And just like that, you are thinking of Daphne!
Knight Rider 1988 Pontiac Firebird
Knight Rider has a wonderful Cloak and Dagger backstory. The date is April 16, 1982. Eric Dahlquist is president of Pontiac’s West Coast public relations agency. He answers his office telephone (Sherman Oaks, California). The caller on the other end confirms he has the president of Vista Group on the line. Then he says, “Be at the PMT lot this afternoon at 4 p.m. There will be three black Trans Ams there with the keys inside.” So the crew shows up to find three new Trans-Ams sitting in the factory parking lot with the keys in them. They had just rolled off the assembly line. Nobody knows who called, but Knight Rider production staff are thrilled for the gifts. These three vehicles would go down in history as KITT!
Back to the Future Delorean DMC-12
Two-Lane Blacktop 1955 Chevrolet 150
It takes a minute for it to come into focus, but if you look hard enough at the 1989 Batmobile you will see a Chevrolet Impala chassis powered with a solid V8 engine. Yet, the base doesn’t make sense, does it? That’s because it’s actually a 1970 Corvette. That seemed to be the best fit for the Impala chassis since previous attempts with a Ford Mustang and Jaguar body failed. In addition, a second car was also created based on an Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible. So how much is she worth? Well, that depends on your idea of worth. In 2008 she was listed for sale on eBay for with a paltry starting bid of $500,000. More recently, a replica version designed by Casey Putsch of Putsch Racing was listed for $620,000. This is a steal considering the Batmobile used for the 1960s television series sold for #4.6 million. Of course, it was owned by George Barris.
Bullitt 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback S-Code GT
Who can forget the great chase scene from Bullitt? As iconic as the movie was, Steve McQueen‘s classic car was thought to be lost for years. The year was 1968; McQueen was cresting as a celebrity. He produced and took the lead acting role in the Bullitt. As for the car itself, two versions were prepared for filming. One Mustang, designated as the hero car, was driven by McQueen throughout most of the movie. The other vehicle was used for hard-core chase and jump scenes. Ironically, both were thought to be lost until the stunt car showed up in a junkyard in Mexico. That was 2017. Fast forward one year and the hero car is found as well. After production, it was sold to one of the studio executives in LA who subsequently sold it to a police detective in New York. His wife used it as a daily driver for years until the clutch went out in 1980. It was then put in storage where it remained until it’s recent discovery, which just happens to be perfectly timed with the 50th anniversary of the movie!
When Cars 2 debuted, Disney did a full court PR/marketing press. Full-size replicas of many favorites from the original Cars movie were put on display at Downtown Disney, and they spared no expense. Many favorites were on display, as well as, a full-size replica of Mack the Truck Hauler. He provided as much function as he did decor. The replicas could be stowed inside and transported to different spots around the country during the PR push. Of course, they popped up at car shows too.
Ant-Man and The Wasp 1953 Mercury Custom
Speed Racer Mach 5
Turns out this mock-up of the Speed Racer Mach 5 took about a year to build. Ironically, it was the brainchild of a man and his son. The 15-year-old wanted to build a project car with his dad so he suggested the Mach 5. After a bit of research, they reached out to Speed Racer Enterprises and worked with their design team. The build is based on a Corvette chassis and features such automotive firsts as a wraparound windshield. They drew body lines from the original car featured in the 1960s cartoon series and it has Speed Racer car perks like working saw blades, a functional periscope and all of those nice gadget buttons on the steering wheel you find in the original cartoon series. It tours the country as a promotional marketing item for Speed Racer Enterprises and has even been spotted at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
The Bucket List 1970 Dodge Challenger
Here is another famous movie prop car that has quite a storyline. The 1970 yellow Dodge Challenger was prominent throughout The Bucket List (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman). However, it was also featured in the 2010 biographical film about Joan Jett, The Runaways. The best part about the car though is it has less than 3,000 miles and all the creature comforts you expect from modern vehicles. Air conditioning, power brakes power steering and an incredible 5.7 L Hemi make it one heck of a daily driver for someone. How do we know? It sold for just under $50,000 in 2018.
Ironically, this car popped up for sale on eBay after being featured in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Captain Nemo’s 24 footer was the creation of Ken Freeman, a custom car builder from West End, North Carolina. The six-wheeled wonder features a 425 in.³ V8, quad front steering and is as wide as a Peterbilt semi! The detailing of the car is what makes it fantastic. Ornate filigree work is splashed all over the interior, exterior and steering wheel. It’s loosely based on the Cadillac limousine, but you can’t say it definitively because of the steel I-beam construction. Incidentally, all of the ornate detail work was carved in reverse and cast in molds. No short cuts were taken. As for the sale price? We know it went north of $165,000. Worth every penny, considering the build took 6,500 hours.
The Lost World 1969 Pontiac Lemans
Every 90s kid was enthralled with the Jurassic Park film series and the reboot has proved just as successful. You will have to rewatch the second Jurassic Park movie, The Lost World, and keep your eagle eye handy to spy this beauty. The Lemans can be seen at a gas station during the scene where dinosaurs are released into the masses. In total, the 1969 Pontiac has seen three coats of paint. And while it’s blue in our photo, she was read during movie filming. It was put up for sale in August of last year and the seller thought it could use a new coat of paint. Hence the gorgeous blue redo.
Bonnie & Clyde
When Fox decided to make a TV version of the true story of Bonnie and Clyde in 1967, they needed a sedan. The 1934 Ford sedan was rescued from a 1988 museum fire and restored to play the death car for the TV series. Later, the car would go on tour to serve a dual role as a mobile marketing/PR advertisement. However, the real-life Bonnie and Clyde death car found its way into the Great Race (1987). The only stipulation was all cars had to be pre-World War II, so the Bonnie and Clyde original fit the bill. She didn’t win, but gave one heck of an effort!
Boardwalk Empire 1925 Ford Model TT
Sometimes you need a 1925 Model Ford TT tow truck to draw you back to simpler times. Of course, “simple” is not how we would describe the characters or plot from the popular HBO series Boardwalk, but the vehicle was. The Model T tower featured a basic 4 cylinder mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. It was recently put up for sale, listed for only $15,400. She features a tow truck assembly bolted to the Model T frame. The patina and authenticity of the 90-year-old vehicle really brought Boardwalk to life. The price for scoring a piece of television history is a steal!
Ferris Bueller Ferrari
“The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than a hundred were made. My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love, it is his passion.” Remember that famous line from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Well, turns out the Ferrari isn’t a Ferrari at all. It’s a 1985 Modena GT Spyder California, otherwise known as a kit car. Essentially, she is a Ford outfitted with a fiberglass body to resemble a Ferrari. Three were made for the movie, but only two are known to have survived present day. Current value of the prop car is $325,000- $375,000. Not bad for fiberglass and paint!
Breaking Bad 1973 Ford Ranchero GT
This car was made popular as a feature in Season 5 of Breaking Bad. Yet, it gained attention in the music world as well. Eric Church featured the 1973 Ford Ranchero GT in his music video “Give Me Back My Home Town.” And, since its a prop car, you only saw the outside mostly. Inside the Ranchero has a shredded interior and plenty of grime under the hood, However, the owner says the car still roars to life the minute the key hits the ignition. To own it will only set you back about $10,000. For a car with a production run of around 15,000, that’s a great price!
Lightning McQueen made a real life, life-size debut at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show. A 2006 article in the L.A. Times decoded McQueen as, “part Le Mans endurance racer with some Lola and Ford GT40 thrown in.” Real world specs for the animated car translated over to the real world mean Lightning is a 750-horsepower V-8 capable of reaching 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds with a top speed of 200-mph. The prop car you see here is used often for promo and marketing events.
Dukes of Hazzard 1969 Dodge Charger Coupe
Hold on because this car gets really weird, really quick. Unlike the horrible movie remake, the Dukes of Hazzard tv series was an incredible success. It ran from 1979-1985 and spawned one of the most iconic cars in history, the General Lee. And while production staff mowed threw most, writing them off after stunts left the cars mangled beyond repair, several escaped and found their way to the real world. The very first 1969 Dodge Challenger used in the first episode was acquired by US golfer Bubba Watson for $110,000. However, one with much less of an onscreen pedigree was listed for auction on eBay in 2007. It sold for $9.9milion. What??!?!!
Tucker: The Man and His Dream
In the 1940s, Tucker automobiles were considered to be the car of the future. They boasted such innovations as a third, centered headlight (designed to swivel so drivers could see around corners) defensive pivoting fenders (engaged when the car turned), disc brakes (new for its time) and a windshield that would eject during a crash, a rear engine and padded dashboard. To see one today you’ll have to go to the Smithsonian Museum or pony up about $3 million when they pop up at auctions for the mega-wealthy. Incidentally, 27 Tuckers were used on set for the film and Francis Ford Coppola is a Tucker enthusiast himself. You can find his Tucker Torpedo on display at Coppola Vineyards.
American Gangster 1972 Lincoln Town Car
Most of us think of Lincoln Town Cars as old people movers. However, if you are talking about the Hollywood classic, American Gangster (2007), then the 1972 Lincoln Town Car has a certain mobster appeal. Denzel made the car look good, and he didn’t put up with much nonsense either. The car was tapped next to be part of the Green Hornet. Modifications included a high-rise intake, scooped air cleaner and a set of larger wheels. However, the project went another direction and the production team passed on the 1972 Lincoln. Ironically, its current value is just under $12,000.
Remember the iconic bridge jumping scene in Hooper where the jet-powered Trans-Am jumps an unfinished bridge? Even more stunning, Burt Reynolds himself did most of the stunts in the movie. The Trans Am featured a 403 cubic inch v8 with a chicken smacked on the hood. As with several prop cars we have seen on our list, this once eventually went to auction and sold for $88,000! It was part of Burt’s personal collection, hence the high sale price. This car was the show dog used for normal driving scenes so Burt could flash his signature smile.
Mad Max 1975 Ford Interceptor
The Mad Max V8 Interceptor, aka, “Pursuit Special”, is based on a Falcon XB GT Coupe modified to be a police interceptor. Max Rockatansky drives it at the end of the first movie and for about half of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. When George Miller shot the first film he had an extremely tight budget. So he gave the car to stuntman Murray Smith as payment for his time. Murray gave it back for the second film (and also got paid) where it was sold to a junkyard afterward. The stunt cars were blown up. Bob Furesnko rescued the car in the ’80s and gave it a complete restoration. Since then, the V8 Interceptor made an appearance in Mad Max Fury Road where she is modified to become Razor Cola.
James Bond’s Aston Martin
Think Sean Connery was the best James Bond ever? so do we. During Goldfinger and Thunderball he drove an Aston Martin DB5 on loan from the famous British Car manufacturer. There were actually two loaners used for filming the two movies in 1964 and 1965. Afterward, Aston Martin sold one of them to US radio disc jockey Jerry Lee for $12,000 (1969). Forty-one years later Jerry sold the Bond car to pop icon collector Harry Yeaggy for $4.1 million. Talk about appreciation value! You won’t find returns like that in real estate or the stock market.
Starsky & Hutch 1976 Ford Gran Torino
Remember the “Striped Tomato?” That was the popular name for the 1976 Ford Gran Torino in the popular 70s TV series Starsky and Hutch. What you may not know is there were four of these. Even better, you can own one for the bargain basement price of $110,000. Yeah, that’s pretty steep, but it’s not solely based on star power. The Gran Torino also had a limited production run so there are fewer in existence (right around 300). Yet don’t fear, the Striped Tomato still contains the original bubble siren and telephone used by the actors.
Many Herbies were used to make the iconic Disney movies about the Love Bug. They were wildly popular in the late ’70s and early ’80s. However, if you are a fan, rest assured many of them are safe and sound, tucked in museums across the globe. You can find them in Korea, England, Germany, and the United States. Beyond that, only seven cars are held in private ownership. One sold for $150k in 2012 to a private collector in Australia. That particular Herbie was used to shoot Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo and Herbie Goes Bananas.
Furious 7 2015 Chevrolet Fast Attack
Remember the Fast Attack from Furious 7? Jason Statham piloted the Mad Max-like vehicle playing the role of villain Deckard Shaw. Of the six made for the movie, only three remain. You can own one if you like for just under $30,000. Fast Attack features a 5.3 liter LS1 engine with a custom off-road chassis. And while some parts were removed post-production (like the shocks), much of the original parts remain. Plus, these vehicles were featured onscreen with Paul Walker. Furious 7 was the last movie he made before his death.
The Dark Knight’s Tumbler
The original brief for the Batmobile used for the Dark Knight called for the vehicle to reach a top speed of 60 miles per hour., but the production team bumped it up to 100mph. A styrofoam model was made first and then the 20 member team went to work (under the direction of Nathan Crowley) to create the bespoke model. At the heart is a 5.7 liter 350 cubic inch engine pumping out 400bhp. Creators love to laugh at people who try to claim the Batmobile is based off of a Mercedes or Humvee. It’s not based on anything. The entire things is a true custom creation!
The Munsters 1966 Drag-U-La Coffin Car
Drag-U-La (1966 roadster) is not just all bark. She has bite too. Powered by a Chevy 400 engine, she turns out an equal amount of horses. Butch Patrick, the original Eddie Munster, owns the vehicle. It was custom built for him to travel across the country and meet adoring fans. And don’t let the eccentric nature of the car fool you. It may have a lot of add-ons and detailing, but the coffin was made to drive. The engine is mated to a TH350 automatic transmission for a smooth and pleasant driving experience, even for lifeless drivers. It’s cheap too, as far as custom creations are concerned. Recently, Drag-U-La was put up for sale. The price tag? About $60k.
Bumblebee is actually a 5th generation Chevy Camaro. Well, that was the case until the self-titled 2018 movie where we saw him go back to his roots, or beginning (it was a prequel after all). And while typical Camaros sell for a base price of around $25k, all four cars used to film the Transformers movies were put up for auction by Barrett-Jackson. They sold as a complete lot and fetched an impressive $500,000. Most cars depreciate over time; not the case with Bumblebee!
Smokey and The Bandit
So it turns out the car used for Smokey and the Bandit was love at first sight for director Howe Needham. Once he put eyes on the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, his mind was made up. Of course, this turned the iconic car into one of the most popular cars of its day. Yet, the big secret is many of the models used for filming were actually 1976 models. Also, most of the cars were destroyed during the movie, but the one that made it was actually used for the final scene. However, it literally had to be pushed from behind by another vehicle because it was non-functioning due to the on-screen beating it received.
There was no more iconic van in the 80s than the A-Team van. Oof course, the paint scheme made no sense for a bunch of ex-military guys on the lam, but the action scenes were epic and the storylines made adrenaline pump through our veins. According to Crag Baxley, stunt coordinator and director for the show, GMC gave two of the vans on loan to the show for use as hero vehicles, while another six were loaned as stunt vans. As such, it’s not uncommon to watch old episodes and see sunroofs disappear, license plates change position and hub caps appear out of nowhere in some scenes. It makes keeping up with Bullitt inconsistencies easy!