Dom’s Dodge Charger
While we’ve lost count of just how many movies there have been, to date, in the Fast and Furious movie franchise, the first blockbuster simply called The Fast and the Furious introduced audiences to Vin Diesel’s character Dominic Toretto. The leader of an underground street racing brigade, Toretto unknowingly befriends an uncovered police officer named Brian O’Conner (played by the late Paul Walker) after the latter starts dating Dominic’s sister.
In the movie, Toretto shows O'Connor around his beloved workshop before pulling the covers off a black 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, introduced as a project that Dominic had worked on with his late father. The muscle car is said to feature 900 hp and be capable of a 9-second quarter-mile dash.
Initially too nervous to take the car out onto the road, the movie culminates with a scene where Toretto races his Dodge against O’Conner’s highly modified Toyota Supra. In this scene, the Dodge is seen performing a wheelie on pull away, such is the might of its performance.
The large supercharger intake setup seen sticking out of the car’s bonnet is fake, while only still shots of a pristine 1957-1958 392 HEMI motor were used in the film before this engine was returned to its owner. Three different cars were used in the filming of this one scene.
Despite what many people assume – and, in fact, betrayed by some of the official merchandise sold around this famous television show – the 1983 GMC Vandura used by the A-Team was only black below its distinct red stripe. Above this, the heavily modified vehicle was dark metallic grey.
Fitted with a black nudge bar, a roof spoiler and red and black turbine alloy wheels, this unofficial fifth member of the team played a pivotal role in a show about a group of ex-US Army Special Forces soldiers that upon returning home from war are framed for a crime that they did not commit. Running from the law in arguably one of the easily recognisable vehicles on the road, the team is led by Hannibal (who loves it when a plan comes together) and is made up of Faceman, Murdock and, of course, muscleman B.A. Baracus who is the only person allowed to drive the van.
Other vans were made to look like the GMC to be used in various treacherous stunts in the show, with the Vandura kitted out with a gun rack, audio surveillance equipment and lounge-type seating. The van also had a sunroof for when a team member needed to gain quick entry.
For a generation of excitable teens, the sight of a swiping red light housed in the nose of a black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was enough to cancel any evening plans. Always accompanied by a swishing sound, this was the signal that KITT had arrived on the scene.
First aired in 1982, the television show Knight Rider introduced hero Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) as a loner employed by FLAG (the Foundation for Law and Government) to solve problems. Taking instruction from the head of Knight Industries, Wilton Knight, Michael and his trusty Pontiac named KITT would famously exit out of a moving truck before heading off on a new assignment.
Another show where numerous other vehicles were used for serious stunts – including when Michael would engage “Turbo Boost” to launch KITT into the air – the show famously gained access to otherwise damaged-in-production Firebird Trans Ams for just $1 each.
Voiced by William Daniels, KITT was able to able to hold a conversation with Michael, think for itself and even drive itself to and from situations.
A vehicle that like its owner has taken many shapes and forms over the years, the reveal of a new Batmobile is nearly as exciting for fans of this comic-book-derived character as the announcement of which actor will be donning the famous Batman costume for a reboot of this hugely popular franchise.
The original Batmobile from the 1966 television show was a Lincoln Futura concept car, a project commissioned by Ford Motor Company for the 1955 Chicago Auto Show. Inspired by set designer Bill Schmidt’s experience of diving with sharks, the futuristic-looking show car would be built by Ghia Body Works in Turin, Italy. It retained its 6.4-litre Ford FE V8 motor.
Three fibreglass and one ’58 Ford Thunderbird replica example of this Batmobile were built before the quirky series ended in 1968. It featured a nose-mounted aluminium cable cutter blade, “Bat Ray” projector, Batscope, police band cut-in switch, auto-inflating tyres and Bat smoke. The Batmobile could make death-defying, mid-travel 180-degree turns by deploying rear-mounted, individually deployed parachutes.
More recently, the Batmobile has taken the form of a military-style all-terrain vehicle in Christopher Nolan-directed movies, with the newest movie introducing a heavily modified muscle car.
Smokey and the Bandit Pontiac Trans Am
The second highest-grossing film of 1977 after Star Wars, Smokey and the Bandit tells the story of a crew of bootleggers hired to transport 400 cases of beer across US state lines. While a character known as “Snowman” drives the truck transporting the illegal load, his accomplice nicknamed “Bandit”, played by the late Burt Reynolds, attempts to divert the attention of law enforcement by causing trouble behind the wheel of his black Pontiac Trans Am – complete with a golden eagle logo on the bonnet.
Filmed in 1976, Pontiac famously made the ’76 Trans Am look like the as-yet-unreleased ’77 via carefully considered modifications that once the movie was released all but doubled monthly sales of this muscle car. Four cars were given to the film by Pontiac, three said to be used for stunts, with one earmarked to be used for promoting the film. This car was later gifted to Reynolds who kept it until it was auctioned in 2014.
In the movie, the Bandit is pursued by a local sheriff named Bufford T. Justice who in his 1977 Pontiac LeMans is especially keen to catch up to the Trans Am after it picked up a hitchhiker in the form of a runaway bride who was set to marry the sheriff’s daughter.