Hollywood is no stranger to cool, custom cars – just look at the likes of James Bond and his collection of modified motors. However, some cars from the silver screen stand out for their eccentricity above all else. We look at some of the most unusual and iconic.
1. The Batmobile
When it comes to the Batmobile, it’s worth noting that there have been well over ten popular versions over the years. However, it is only fair to begin with the ‘original’ Batmobile that was featured in the iconic 1966 TV show starring Adam West. This definitive series saw Batman use custom cars on screen for the first time, and he did it in style too.
Designed by custom car legend George Barris, the 1966 Batmobile began life as the Lincoln Futura concept car. Designed by Ford and built by Ghia in the mid-1950s at a reputed cost of $250,000, it is said that this particular car was acquired by Barris for the nominal sum of just one dollar. When Batman’s producers came calling for a car at short notice, a whirlwind 15 days later, the Futura had become the Batmobile. It sold at auction in 2013 for $4.6, having remained until then in Barris’s personal collection.
2. DeLorean Time Machine
When “Back to the Future” premiered in 1985, the DeLorean Motor Company had gone under just a few years before, thanks to its founder, John Z. DeLorean, getting caught up in a cocaine trafficking scandal.
Were it not for the film, the DeLorean may well have gone into the dustbin of automotive history. Instead, however, Dr. Emmett L. “Doc” Brown’s DeLorean, complete with a flux capacitor and plutonium chamber (later Mr. Fusion), meant that the car would forever be an icon in the automobile world.
3. The Munster Koach
The Munster Koach was another machine straight out of George Barris’s workshop. Only one Koach was ever made for the television series and feature film. It was made from three Ford Model T bodies and is 18 feet long, with a 133-inch hand-made frame. The brass radiator and fenders were also painstakingly made by hand, with the ornate rolled steel scrollwork taking over 500 hours.
The front end had a dropped axle, split radius rods and T springs and featured a custom hearse body.
Ghostbusters is without question one of the best comedies of the 1980s. It was made even more memorable thanks to the Ecto-1, a converted Cadillac ambulance that transported Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore to the scene of the latest paranormal activity to strike New York City.
Built from what was originally a 1959 Cadillac Miller Meteor ambulance, the Ecto-1 looked downright awesome in a geeky sort of way. Who wouldn’t love to take it for a spin while humming Ray Parker, Jr’s famous theme song?
5. The Mystery Machine
There is, it is rumoured, one mystery that Scooby-Doo and his trusted team of investigators could never solve: What kind of van is they travelled in. While the A-Team and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles taught us that having a van at your disposal was super important in fighting all kinds of crime and social injustice, at least they kept to familiar vehicles. The mystery machine, on the other hand – well, it remains a mystery.
In the early run of Scooby Doo, Where Are You!, which started in 1969, the van appeared to be either a mid-’60s Chevy G-Body panel or a Dodge A100, however, there’s no “official” consensus. They both look similar to the Mystery Machine, and both have round headlights.
The Ford Econoline is also mentioned by fans, but its distinct headlight housing disqualifies it from mystery duty. In the 2002 live-action movie, Freddie Prinze Jr. takes on the role of Fred and owner of the Mystery Machine, in a 1972 Bedford CF, manufactured by Vauxhall. Truth told the true identity of the mystery machine may never be known.
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