It’s fair to say, stylish cars can become as central to a film as the characters driving them.
Not just where the car itself is the story, like in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Herbie, although the classic Rolls Royce that’s turned into a ‘phantasmagorical’ machine and Disney’s cute little VW Beetle with a mind of its own are more than worthy of mention.
Some cars take on iconic status and become as much a part of the film as the weaving plotlines, baddies and heroes, becoming forever inexorably linked with the movies they’re in or movie characters they’re with. What would The Italian Job be, for example, without the trio of minis?
A great deal of thought must go into which car should accompany a character, because the cars people drive tell us much about their persona. Using the wrong car could be disastrous. Could you imagine James Bond in a Fiat 500 rather than his luxury Aston Martin?
When it comes to the greatest movie cars and scenes, however, we think some of the best have been filmed in convertibles. There’s something about these wind-in-your-hair, free-spirit wild rides that just stick with you. Well they do us, anyway!
So we’ve put together our top five list of memorable convertible cars from amazing films.
Do you agree with our choices?
What else would the dastardly Daniel Cleaver drive other than a classic 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE convertible? He had to own a head-turner of a car and, unfortunately for our down-to-earth heroine Bridget, it was also a hair twister! There are so many memorable scenes from the hilarious rom-com Bridget Jones’s Diary, but the sight of our Bridget losing her carefully placed headscarf and turning up at an exclusive country retreat looking like she’s been dragged through a hedge has to be one of the best.
Hands up who remembers this epic road trip fondly? Did you have to watch it again after it was recently featured on a Celebrity Gogglebox episode? The journey Thelma and Louise take simply wouldn’t have been the same in anything other than the enigmatic 1966 Ford Thunderbird. It plays a key role in this unforgettable woman-power saga, and (spoiler alert) it seems only fitting that it becomes the vehicle for the girls’ ultimate sacrifice at the end. If you’re going to drive off a cliff, you might as well do it in style.
“This car is automatic, it’s systematic, it’s hydromatic… Why, it’s greased lightning!”
We know you were singing that in your head.
You probably carried on, didn’t you! From its ‘hunk of junk’ beginnings to the fantasy flying machine that lovebirds Danny and Sandy fly away in at the end, this fantastic Ford convertible takes centre stage in some of the most iconic scenes in Grease.
It has its own dedicated song and dance number of course, as it’s transformed in a garage repair shop. It then becomes Kenickie and Rizzo’s love machine and is as much the hero in the drag race at Thunder Road as Danny Zucco himself, taking the punishment inflicted on it by Leo Balmudo in his flame-covered Mercury Hot Rod convertible known as Hell’s Chariot.
For die-hard fans out there, you might like to know the fantasy version of the car was a 1948 Ford Convertible in Kandy Red finish with white lightning bolts. It had a transparent Plexiglas hood, with added fenders in the back and matching firestone tires with matching hubcaps.
You can’t argue with the fact that the Smokey and the Bandit films rocketed Burt Reynolds to super stardom, but it also birthed a new-found love for the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Apparently, Director Hal Needham tossed around a few ideas for the Bandit’s car before settling on the Trans Am, but after seeing it in an advert his mind was made up. He had to have it for his movie.
Here’s a couple of facts you might not know about this four-wheeled wonder of the big screen. Unbeknownst to many, the cars used in the movie were 1976-models with the 1977 front ends attached, as Pontiac hadn’t actually started production of the 1977 model yet.
This one might not surprise you quite as much after watching Burt’s Bandit character in action, but three of the stunt cars from the film were literally destroyed by the end of the movie. The remaining car was also so badly damaged that it was undriveable for its final scene. It took such a beating that it had to be pushed from behind by another car to capture the last few takes.
Fancy a Jag, baby? The totally groovy 1961 E-Type Jaguar was a firm fixture of the Mike Myers’ smash-hit film franchise and was as flash as the man himself adorned with a boldly British Union Jack paint job. Austin Powers’ “shagadelic” Jaguar E-Type roadster first appeared in the original 1997 film featuring the thawed-out British secret agent and the larger-than-life character just wouldn’t be the same without it.
If you’re ever looking for a great movie quiz question – ask what the number plate on the back tail of this car reads. (In case you don’t know, it’s ‘SWINGER’)!
If we’ve whet your appetite for convertible cars with star quality, why not think about treating yourself to your own convertible icon?
Now that we are out of lockdown and it’s okay to hit the road with the wind in our hair, it could be the perfect time to treat ourselves – even more so if you are set to take on some of the breath-taking road trips we featured here or have switched previous holiday plans to a staycation.
As experts in the vehicle-finding field, we can source perfect convertible cars and get you a great deal to boot, whatever your chosen model.
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