Autoblog.com Canada has covered plenty on American muscles cars — and here we look at some of the most renowned ones to be featured in modern film. Some of these movies are as well known and celebrated for the cars as they are for their artistic merit. Perhaps more. Without further ado, here are the Top Five Movies featuring American muscle cars.
1. Bullitt has what is considered one of the greatest car chases in film history. The car driven by the hero became so iconic that Ford eventually released a commemorative version of the car beginning in 2001 and again in 2008-2009. The first car included several retro features that were mostly in the interior. However, the original Bullitt was a 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 fastback painted a dark green. It was unmodified and had 325 horsepower in a 6.4 liter V8 engine. A 4-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive completed the package that drove the iconic car through the hills of San Francisco. The movie starred Steve McQueen in the titular role as a tough detective who hunts the killers of a witness under his protection.
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2. Gone In 60 Seconds featured Eleanor, or the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, as the goal for a group of car thieves. The movie was a remake of a 1974 film of the same name. Two Eleanors were built for the original movie with one being used for still “beauty” shots and the other being used for the stunt driving. The Eleanor had a 353 Cleveland engine that was later majorly modified by H.B. Halicki, the director of the first movie. Both movies had a plot revolving around car thieves stealing 50 cars in 72 hours.
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3. Transformers helped the Chevrolet Camaro regain popularity and the concept used in the movie eventually became the fifth generation Camaro, which was released in 2009. The car in question was the yellow and black painted 2006 concept Camaro “Bumblebee.” It featured a 6.2 liter V8 engine that put out a whopping 426 horsepower. In the film, the Camaro concept is the second form of the Transformer Bumblebee who originally had a 1977 Camaro form. When he is criticized by another character for the poor condition of his car, he sees a Camaro concept passing by and takes that form for the rest of the movie.
4. Mad Max features a heavily modified Australian 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe, nicknamed The Interceptor and driven by the titular character. The original car was built only for the Australian sector and only 949 were ever made. This car also had a 351 Cleveland like the Eleanor, and a 4-speed manual transmission. The exterior of the car was heavily modified for the movie to represent the futuristic setting. Mel Gibson starred as the enraged ex-cop in the movie and reprised his role in two sequels.
5. Vanishing Point was one of the few movies to feature a Dodge muscle car. The car in question was a white 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 that boasted 375 horsepower in a 7.2 liter V8 engine. Five of the cars were used in the movie’s production and a couple were damaged beyond repair during jump scenes. The movie revolved around a car delivery driver addicted to adrenaline. Primarily a road movie, it featured several chase scenes.
The choice of these movies primarily relies on the iconic nature of the cars involved. Every one of these cars reached a status beyond that of simply being a movie car. Whether it was inspiring remakes or launching a new line, these cars have made indelible marks on American culture.