5 “Bullitt” Mustang
If there is one car that captures the spirit of American muscle on the silver screen—and offers proof that a sports car can stand out in a crowd—it’s the 1968 Ford Mustang fastback that shines in “Bullitt’s” iconic car chases. This muscle car had a cool driver, Steve McQueen; a cool opponent, a Dodge Challenger; and a cool signature scene, the seven-minute chase through San Francisco. The green paint job is so memorable, Ford has even brought it back from time to time on limited-edition Mustangs.
4 “Love Bug” Volkswagen
Herbie, the titular car in the “Love Bug” films, may be fast, but he’s anything but furious. The old-school Volkswagen Beetle is turned into a race car in the classic movie, and proceeds to out run—even in pieces—every supercar that dares to take him on. Herbie may be an oldie, but he’s a goody. Fans can still sometimes catch a glimpse of an old (or new) Beetle with a red, white and blue “Love Bug” paint job, down to the racing stripes and No. 53.
3 “Ghostbusters” Ambulance
If there’s an antithesis to the Hollywood sports car on this list, it’s big, clunky and covered in sirens and logos. But face facts: every movie fan knows the “Ghostbusters” ambulance, complete with its “no ghosts” logo and whining siren. The 1959 Cadillac with its ECTO-1 license plates fits the script: it looks like the kind of vehicle the Ghostbusters picked up during their cash-lean beginnings, but its style has grown along with their reputation. So if you need a movie icon, “Who you gonna call?”
2 “Batman” Batmobile
The main thing keeping the Batmobile from the top of the list is that it’s had so many different incarnations in so many different takes on the superhero series: the old Adam West version, the late ’80s Tim Burton vehicle, the most recent “Tumbler” style. But underneath the distinctive stylings, there’s a black-as-night car built to intimidate.
1 “Back to the Future” DeLorean
John DeLorean’s failed 1980s sports car had a distinctive look even before “Doc” Brown slapped a time machine on the back. The silver paint, the gull-wing doors—this car mixes style and whimsy, shakes it up and comes out as an instantly recognizable movie icon. There may be no other car that sums up ’80s excess like the DeLorean, and there’s no other car that sums up ’80s movies like the one from “Back to the Future” and its sequels. To quote Michael J. Fox’s character Marty McFly: “You built a time machine? Out of a DeLorean?”