The automobile has been a part of movies since the first person decided to film themselves driving one through a wooden wall in the early 1900s. Since then, the car has been an integral part of the movie industry, starring in films that aren’t even about cars at all.
There are some pretty awesome car-themed movies – Bullitt, Mad Max, The Transporter, and The Fast and the Furious (before they turned into over-the-top action flicks). Even movies with a storyline not focusing on automobiles have resorted to including a chase scene, movies such as the James Bond franchise, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Baby Driver, and even Murder Mystery. One of the most popular vehicle classes to use in movies is the muscle car, thanks to its ridiculous power and natural inclination toward fantastic cinematography. Getting a shot of a muscle car power-sliding around a corner or jumping the famous hills of San Francisco, makes for a good scene and gets motoring enthusiasts hyped up. A movie about stealing cars from a shopping list – such as a Mustang GT500 – provides unequaled entertainment.
So, while there have been many awesome movie cars in history, ranging from the gorgeous Aston Martin DB5 to the pitiful AMC Gremlin, the muscle car rarely disappoints. Here are ten movie muscle cars we’d rather have than the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 ‘Eleanor’ from Gone In 60 Seconds (2000).
10 Ford Falcon XB GT – Mad Max (1979)
The Ford Falcon XB GT is one of the most instantly recognizable movie cars in the history of cinema. For those who don’t instantly know which car it is, it is the Pursuit Special driven by none other than Max Rockatansky, also known as Mad Max.
The Falcon featured in the first and second Mad Max films, missing the third and returning for the 2015 remake – albeit for a short amount of time. Even though the Pursuit Special was heavily modified over the standard Falcon, it is still one of the most replicated movie cars on the planet.
9 Dodge Charger R/T – The Dukes Of Hazzard (1979-1985)
The Dodge Charger has many famous roles in cinema. One of the most well-known versions of it is General Lee, an orange Charger fitted with a bull-bar on the front and a Confederate flag on the roof – famously starring in The Dukes of Hazzard television series. The series ran between 1979 and 1985, with a movie being made as a remake of the original in 2005.
Many Chargers were used during filming, with 11 cars being used for the 2005 movie, while an astonishing 325 were used during the series’ run – often retiring two Chargers per episode. General Lee is a great car and thanks to the unique horn – which has become famous – it is one of the coolest movie muscle cars ever.
8 Ford Mustang Mach 1 – Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
James Bond is known for his fast cars, fancy boats, and airplane stunts. While he mostly drives around in some European sports car, he sometimes needs a vehicle to escape from the baddies. One of these was the Ford Mustang Mach 1.
While escaping from some villains in Las Vegas, Mr. Bond drove the red Mach 1 on two wheels through a narrow alleyway. Funnily enough, the car entered the alley on its right-side wheels and exited on its left, a slight oversight by the production team – with many only noticing the mistake at the movie’s premiere.
7 Ford Gran Torino – Starsky & Hutch (1975-1979)
Starsky & Hutch was a police-action television series that ran between 1975 and 1979. It featured two detectives, David Starsky and Kenneth Hutcherson, who solved crimes and raced through the streets of Southern California in their iconic Ford Gran Torino.
The Gran Torino often made jumps, did power slides, and almost always started each chase scene with a burnout. The 1974 Gran Torino has gained popularity since it aired in the series, acquiring a cult following, which eventually led to the creation of a movie in 2004.
6 Pontiac GTO – xXx (2002)
The Pontiac GTO is an awesome car in its own right, not only because it is gorgeous, but also because it stole the ‘GTO’ nameplate from Ferrari. The GTO featured in many shows and movies, but it was popularized even more in 2002 when it became the spy car of choice for Xander Cage in the Triple-X movies.
Painted a beautiful purple color, the GTO had multiple upgrades to help the extreme sports-loving Vin Diesel stop an automated boat loaded with a biochemical missile. The movie is very much along the same trend as what the Fast & Furious movies have become, but still enjoyable.
5 Ford Mustang GT500 – Need For Speed (2014)
With the overwhelming success of the Fast & Furious franchise, many believed that a Need For Speed movie would fit in perfectly. Unfortunately, as with most videogame adaptions, Need For Speed was heavily criticized for its plot and unrealistic action scenes.
The highlight of the movie was the Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 – which survived for most of the film’s runtime, before being destroyed by a truck in the middle of an empty road. The Mustang was a fictionalized version of the real GT500, featuring a beautifully blended wide-body and some more premium interior upgrades. While the storyline was a bit questionable, the Mustang was the highlight of the movie.
4 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – Smokey & The Bandit (1977)
The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is just a cool car. It has a massive V8, a ridiculous T-top roof, a long hood, and a silly bird livery on the hood. Brilliant! This is probably why it was chosen for use in the Smokey & The Bandit movies as the ‘blocker’ car to divert attention away from the authorities, while another car or truck drove contraband.
The Trans Am from the first movie was a 1976 model with the new 1977 front-end and featured the more powerful 455 7.5-liter V8, which produced 310 hp. The Trans Am from the second movie was a 1980 Turbo Trans Am, which produced so little power that the production team had to use nitrous injection to get the performance needed for the scenes it is in.
3 Ford Mustang Fastback – The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
The Ford Mustang 2+2 featured in the third Fast & Furious movie is a bit of a fake muscle car. While it would normally have a big V8 engine, the car in the movie was fitted with a legendary RB26DETT, the same engine as in the Nissan Skyline GT-R.
This was quite cool as it had the looks and interior of a normal Mustang Fastback, but was modified for drifting, emitting the telltale twin-turbo inline-6 exhaust sound as the Japanese cars around it. Interestingly, this RB26DETT swap is available in both Forza Horizon 4 and Horizon 5 for the Mustang 2+2.
2 Dodge Charger R/T – The Fast And The Furious (2001)
Probably the most replicated Dodge Charger on the planet, the 1969 model from the original Fast & Furious movie is a massively popular vehicle. Known as Dom’s Charger, the vehicle features a huge blower on the hood, fat rear tires, and a distinct lack of any safety systems – showcased after the train T-bones the car during the drag race at the end of the movie.
Dom’s Charger has had a lasting legacy throughout the Fast & Furious movies, with a new version appearing in almost every movie. The most notable being the wide-body Challenger SRT from the fifth and sixth movies and the overpowered Charger Hellcat in the ninth movie.
1 Ford Mustang 2+2 – Bullitt (1968)
The movie muscle car which we’d rather have over the famous GT500 ‘Eleanor’ Mustang from Gone In 60 Seconds, is – unsurprisingly – another Mustang. While the GT500 ‘Eleanor’ only came about thanks to the 2000 remake of the movie, the Mustang Fastback we’d have is from 1968, specifically the green model from Bullitt.
The Bullitt Mustang is one of the most legendary vehicles in cinema, definitely the best movie muscle car. It has such a massive cult following that Ford has produced Bullitt special editions of each Mustang since the fourth generation, with owners making their own versions with the rest. The Bullitt Mustang is so much more special than the ‘Eleanor’ one, not to mention it looks better.