Maybe that title is a little extreme. I would never end someone’s life; certainly not over a car. The expression notwithstanding, though, there are some that I would be very… motivated to find a way to pilot, even if only for a few moments.
Movie cars frequently represent the great dichotomy of modern cinema: what you see on the screen is truly awesome, but chances are good the closest it ever came to reality was the moment the first 3D computer model was transposed to film. With some notable exceptions, very few of the “cars” we see in movies, especially the spectacular ones, are actually drivable machines.
We are seeing a trend away from that, however. The cars used in the most recent Mad Max, for example, were all actual vehicles, painstakingly constructed for their roles. Apparently, Need for Speed also used only real cars for their action sequences, necessitating the construction of dummy units for crashes and the like. Movie cars, clearly, are becoming more tangible by the production.
Good news, then, as now I can write a short list of such cars that, if I could, I would drive over any other:
The Tumbler – Dark Knight Trilogy
This is not first on the list because I’ve had an unhealthy obsession with Batman since 1996 — although that did admittedly play a role. This is here because it is, simply, the most bad-ass on-screen car I can think of.
Fast? Yep. Cool? Beyond so. Full of all the necessary Batman-esque gadgetry? Oh yes. Damn nigh indestructible? Yup. Although clearly just “nigh,” since it met a sad fate in the second film — so sad, in fact, that I still shake my head whenever I watch that movie.
And, although some of its antics on the big screen may be a bit exaggerated, there is actually a working, driving example in the real world. Name the place, the time, and pretty much any other criteria you want: I’ll be there with bat shoes on.
Aston Martin DB5 – Goldfinger
This is a pure status pick. As iconic movies go, it would be hard to top James Bond’s cred. The quintessential Bond car? There is only one.
The DB5 is over half a century old, so it is not on this list because of raw performance or high technology. Indeed, a 2015 Honda Odyssey could probably match or better it in most performance categories. The DB5, though, is genesis for spy cars (and for pretty much all the Astons that followed it). It pioneered the idea of on-board “spy” gadgets that we take as a given, and it oozed personality. I bet it also possesses more feel than anything on the road today.
I would love to find out. Anyone have the hook-up for me?
Porsche 917K – LeMans
This is, essentially, saying that I want to drive a LeMans car, which is true. Driving in an endurance race is high on my bucket list, and even sitting in a real, competitive LeMans machine (from any era) would be incredible.
But this one is a little more than that. On its own, the 917K is pretty much the definition of iconic, from its distinctive shape to the instantly recognizable light blue and orange livery. Add to that the chance to pilot one that, at one time, responded to inputs from Steve McQueen himself.
Just once, I want to hear that engine rip and pop, sense the vibrations through my spine, feel the suspension strain, and know the brakes are very nearly on fire coming to the end of the Mulsane straight just the way McQueen did. Pure gearhead nirvana.
So what real movie cars would you (figuratively) kill to drive?