Watching movies is all about escape and vicarious living, right? So it makes sense that the most iconic movie cars give us a surrogate thrill, imagining ourselves outsmarting criminals in James Bond’s Aston Martin or even traveling back in time in the DeLorean. As an ode to the cars that were practically characters in and of themselves, we’ve compiled this list of some of our favorite iconic movie cars, new and old.
The Batmobile, multiple Batman films, various versions
From its comic book conception to the most recent Batman v Superman film, the Batmobile has been lurking around America’s public consciousness for decades. This car has taken many iterations since its dawn in the comic book series as a Cadillac, to the 1966 version based on the Lincoln Futura, to the current version that takes inspiration from the sleek original versions as well as the militaristic Tumbler from the Dark Knight series. No matter which version our Dark Knight finds himself driving, he is always cooler than cool while saving the day.
Greased Lightning, Grease, 1948 Ford Deluxe
As the car that the slickest guy in school drove, our high school selves all wished we could cruise around in this bad boy. There are two versions of this elusive dream car: the white one the T-Birds modify for racing, and the bright red one that appears in the final scene of the movie when Danny and Sandy finally find love.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, modified Paragon Panther
Modeled on the Paragon Panther mentioned in the original book, the movie version of this ride was custom-built. Anyone who’s ever been stuck in traffic (so, all of us) has surely dreamt of taking this vintage racing car to the sky and leaving the horns and exhaust pipes far behind. Fun fact: the version built for the stage production holds the record for the most expensive stage prop ever used.
James Bond’s car, multiple James Bond films, 1963 Aston Martin DB5
Driven by multiple James Bonds over the years, the Aston Martin was just flashy enough for Bond while maintaining the classic, understated elegance inherent to the international spy. From Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies to Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, wherever Bond traveled, this car got him there in style.
Herbie, multiple Herbie films, 1963 Model 117 Volkswagen Type 1 (Beetle)
The Beetle craze of the 60s was both inspiration and fodder for Disney’s 1968 The Love Bug. Though perhaps not the sleekest nor chicest on this list, little grey number 53 is omnipresent and lovable in a way that few vehicles in American history can claim. Having gone on to star in four further films, this beetle has managed to stay relevant, and even cruised into this century with Herbie: Fully Loaded when Lindsay Lohan gets behind the wheel.
Doc Brown’s DeLorean, Back to the Future films, 1981 DeLorean DMC-12
Although the DeLorean doesn’t possess the engine power of some of the other cars on this list, packing a measly 130-hp 2.9 liter V6, its power to propel riders back in time more than makes up for it. Plus, the prop staff allegedly replaced the puttering V6 with a V8 from the Porsche 928, giving it more than enough punch to send Doc Brown and Marty McFly back in time to save the day.