This is a touchy subject for me, as watching cars meet their end is always a sad thing. Cars are loyal and reliable (unless they are Italian) friends, butlers and chauffeurs; they transport us to work, give us pleasure, whisk us to important meetings and special occasions. They save us time (unless they are Italian) and shelter us from bad weather. An old car wears its dents and scrapes, rips and tears, stickers and badges with pride, and to see one crushed is like watching the dog in Marley & Me going to doggy heaven (yep, I welled up at that, too).
Some cars are the real stars in movies, but how many of them meet their maker? I’ve watched every car/road movie ever made and it’s these following examples that stand out and are memorable to me. If you can think of more examples, please let me know in the comments box.
Herbie The Love Bug
One death in particular yanked on my heart strings when I was at infant school. Thinking about it, the following car (along with the General Lee) sparked my interest in cars. Because our teacher was off sick and their weren’t enough stand-ins to cover, two classes merged together to watch Herbie The Love Bug. I was besotted with the lovable and magical little car… until he tried to commit suicide, that is. Yes, that’s correct: suicide. After his racecar driver owner buys an Italian sportscar, Herbie gets jealous, smashes up the red Lambo and trundles (almost drunkenly) around the streets at night, crashing into to things, before mounting a bridge to try and launch himself into a river. The feeble noise Herbie made combined with his desperate attempt to find grip for his launch really got to me and I remember biting my lip so I wouldn’t cry in front of all my mates (and girls).
I made the clip, and despite being over 2 minutes long (I had to add the jealous scene as well as the attempted suicide), it tells a tale all on its own.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The next car to roll into the eternal junkyard is a very precious machine indeed. Whilst I love the movie and my friends usually laugh at the following scene, I just hate it. I know it isn’t a real Ferrari California that takes a dive in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, but all the same, it’s horrible to watch.
Christine is in my top 5 of favourite movies and novels of all time. I can watch this film over and over and it never wears thin – the soundtrack is great too. Christine is a gorgeous 1958 Plymouth Fury, a jealous and hate filled machine. There are many cool scenes in the film, along with some impressive effects for the period. Although Christine goes on a killing spree and miraculously heals after taking a beating, she ultimately meets her end when she is run over and crushed into a cube of twisted metal. Heart breaking…
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
The Ford Falcon with that big supercharger bursting through its hood is one of cinema’s coolest and meanest rides. Four decades after Mel Gibson completely stacked his beloved Falcon in this movie, the automotive world has been replicating the ‘used and abused’ look in recent years. The popular ‘murdered-out’ look combined with the ‘rat’ look surely take their roots from the Mad Max films.
This is my favourite cult movie. Kowalski works for a car delivery service, and after taking on a 1970 Dodge Challenger, he takes a bet that he can deliver from Colorado to San Francisco in 15 hours. Unlike the silly road movies like Smokey and The Bandit, this has a more serious side to it with flashes of back story telling you what kind of a person Kowalski is. When I first watched this as a kid, I didn’t really get why the film ended the way it did, but the more you watch it and understand the moral thread, it makes a statement. Just go watch it if you haven’t already.
Kowalski is probably the coolest guy ever to grace the big screen. Every man wants to be him.