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When film production companies use something like a car and it works, they tend to use it over again. And sometimes over and over and over again. They did it with the Batmobile and the Chrysler Turbine Car. BoldRide presents five examples of cars you’ve seen many times before:
1973 Gran Torino
The Big Lebowski (1998) / X-Files (2001) / Blue Streak (1999)
That car really tied these films together, man. In its most popular, most recognizable form, the yellow 1973 Gran Torino appeared in the Coen Brothers classic The Big Lebowski, but it went on to become the hardest working car of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The Gran Torino also showed up in the Martin Lawrence “film” Blue Streak which debuted in 1999, right around the time Lawrence almost died of heat exhaustion after jogging in 100-degree heat with several layers of clothes on. Given the 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, one could argue that the incident was not the worst thing to happen to Lawrence that year.
Finally, the Gran Torino made an appearance in Season 8, Episode 9 of The X-Files in 2001, long after anybody was watching it. This was the season when David Duchovny left the series to be replaced by the guy who was the T-1000 in Terminator 2.
1955 Chevy 150
American Graffiti (1973) /Two Lane Blacktop (1971)
Two iconic car movies, one iconic car. The 1955 Chevrolet 150 that Bob Falfa (Harrison Ford) drives in American Graffiti was first built by Richard Ruth specifically for the existential cult film Two Lane Blacktop, directed by Monte Hellman and starring the easy listening-signing James Taylor, the Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson, and famous weirdo Warren Oates.
The 427-powered Chevy was one of three used on the film including the authentic street-racer, a stunt car and a camera car. The gray primer Chevy street-racer and stunt car went on to have a starring role in the crusin’ classic American Graffiti. The stunt car was wrecked in the movie, and all three of the cars were parted out and sold off. Today, the camera car from Two Lane Blacktop is making the rounds, completely restored to its 1971 status.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (2004) / Pay It Forward (2000) / Tons of Other Movies
Not a car, but a license tag that appeared in dozens of films and TV shows over the years. 2GAT123 is the “555-1212″ of the California registration world. It was issued under several different plates by the Department of Motor Vehicles in California, along with another number, 2FAN321.
Maybe this will give you a reason to watch Pay it Forward, because the script and the acting certainly weren’t enough.
Blade Runner (1982) / Back to The Future, Part II (1989)
The Spinner was actually a range of flying cars created for the movie Blade Runner in 1982. The cars were designed by the artist and “visual futurist” Syd Mead, who is also known for his work in Aliens and Tron. The Spinners in the movie could be driven as a ground-based vehicle, and take off vertically, hover, and cruise using jet propulsion much like Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft. They’re used throughout the film as police vehicles.
Mead’s drawings were developed into three-dimensional cars by Gene Winfield, an automotive designer just like George Barris, except he actually builds things. He also developed the 6000SUX that appeared in RoboCop.
In the first sequel to Back to the Future, you get a brief glimpse of a Spinner sitting in a driveway as an homage to the bleak 1982 film. If you want to see one for real, there’s one on exhibit at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington.
Reactor Mach II
Star Trek (1966) / Bewitched (1967) / Batman (1967)
Speaking of Gene Winfield, the one car of his that got more TV screen time than anything was his Reactor, a custom car born in the Golden Era of car customizers.
The Reactor was originally known as the Autorama Special, and was constructed using a Citroen 2CV as the basis, likely for its front-wheel drive setup, allowing the car itself to be narrow and not requiring a transmission tunnel.
The car first appeared on Star Trek in a print ad — and they say print is dead. It also appeared quickly on a television screen in the show. It later showed up on Bewitched, and then finally appeared with a tail and cat ears with Ertha Kitt at the wheel, as Batman’s nemesis, Catwoman.
Image Source: IMCdB.org