20 June 2014

Top Five Movie Car Clunkers

It’s a lucky thing that Cash for Clunkers was enacted after any of these movies were made. These films would each have been a bit less amusing without their “star” cars:

  1. “The Big Lebowski,” 1973 Ford Gran Torino Torino: Jeff Bridges’ character Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski is a man that the narrator opined “might be the laziest man in Los Angeles County, which would place him high in the running for laziest man worldwide.” He’s also a man who wrote a check in the amount of 69 cents for a carton of half and half and he drives a 1973 Ford Torino that was evidently some sort of shade of white, yellow, beige or gold prior to acquiring its as-filmed “patina” of rust, dents and primer spots.

  2. “Body Heat,” 1964 Corvette: William Hurt plays an easily duped ambulance chaser of a Florida lawyer in this neo-noir classic. In addition to the fact that Kathleen Turner delivered a star-making performance in the film, we love it for the faded and disheveled but totally original Riverside Red ’64 Corvette convertible that Hurt’s character drives.

    (Video: The best KITT replica we’ve seen)

  3. “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo: Jim Carey’s character “Ace Ventura” obviously cares more about the animals he is searching for than the car he is driving. Things go south almost immediately for Ace as his Monte Carlo is pummeled shortly after the opening credits by an angry man with a baseball bat. He is forced to spend the rest of the movie driving around with his head hanging out of the window, much like his canine companions.

  4. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” 1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2000 Sport Sedan: Ferris Bueller’s long-suffering best friend Cameron Frye “drove” this faded and rusty Alfa Romeo sedan, sort of anyway. He never really got it started. Best diagnosis from our Alfa Romeo fans is the failure of something called a thermostatic actuator. We’re not making that up. I swear.

  5. “Joe Dirt,” 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona: David Spade’s eponymous character drives a beat-to-hell ’69 Dodge Daytona, which probably gave at least a few MOPAR enthusiasts a stroke mid-movie. Like Mr. Dirt’s mullet, the Daytona is all business up front, party in the back, featuring an ultra-aerodynamic nose cone and a rear wing of comical proportions.

We love classic car stories, and this week we’re curious about your most epic improvised repairs. Share your story here.

30 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Lat Ohio June 22, 2014 at 20:43
    Um, I hope the author(s) of this article understand that the "comical" rear wing spoiler on Joe Dirt's Charger is a factory installed wing...
  • 2
    David E. Miller Las Vegas, NV June 22, 2014 at 21:25
    My favorite is the 1951 Studebaker Champion that Stanley Ipkiss drives in "The Mask."
  • 3
    Charles New Orleans June 23, 2014 at 09:27
  • 4
    Henry Scottsdale, AZ June 25, 2014 at 16:06
    How about the 1969(?) Mercury Montego "Uncle Buck"!
  • 5
    Oleda Columbus OH June 25, 2014 at 16:35
    Do you remember Peter Falk's car in Columbo? - 1959 Peugeot 403
  • 6
    Keith Cincinnati June 25, 2014 at 16:40
    Missed the best and most obvious: Jack Cate's (Nick Nolte's) '64 Cadillac convertible in 48 Hrs.
  • 7
    R.Reese Pittsburgh,PA June 25, 2014 at 16:40
    Somewhere in your top 5 there should be a car that matches this description; "It's got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It's a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas".
  • 8
    frank Miami June 25, 2014 at 17:23
    The Joe dirt car is in a little one-guy owned collection turned museum in Myrtle Beach. I just was there last month and knew it was the same car before even opening the newsletter. Shame a Daytona was beat up and neglected so bad.
  • 9
    Jim G. Walnut Creek Ca June 25, 2014 at 17:31
    You left out the Wayne's World special. Where would we be without the AMC Pacer?
  • 10
    Eric OMara Phoenix June 25, 2014 at 18:03
    I used to own one of the 1954 Porsche Speedsters used in the movie Harper. It was Porsche serial # 80076. If you watch the movie you will see the license plate moving from above to below the front bumper in different scenes. My Speedster was the one that Julie Harris drives off the ravine at the end of the movie. Was a fun car drove it for 10 years.
  • 11
    Ed Chula Vista, CA USA June 25, 2014 at 18:14
    How could you forget the 1974 Dodge Monaco Bluesmobile?
  • 12
    Danny f Beckley wv June 25, 2014 at 18:27
    The car driven in the joe dirt movie Can be seen at the cars of yesteryear Museum located on rt 501 Myrtle Beach South Carolina. If you look under the hood it does not look like junk.
  • 13
    steve Albuquerque June 25, 2014 at 18:39
    It's very annoying that there aren't photos of the cars.
  • 14
    Al Ellish highland mi. June 25, 2014 at 20:53
    I cant believe you guys didn't include Uncle Buck, I believe that was an early 70's mercury with no rear shocks or piston rings { or was that a James Bond smoke screen }. And every time he turned off the key it had the last word - BANG!
  • 15
    Tsaxman Grand Rapids June 26, 2014 at 14:34
    Who could forget the AMC Pacer from Wayne's World?
  • 16
    Jeff Karg Nanuet NY June 26, 2014 at 06:07
    Corvette Summer was just on Turner channel and it made me gag Wonder window into Plastic bright colored Polyester tastes of the late 70's. The Vette that wanted to be a brightly colored bird.
  • 17
    Chad pittsley Plymouth MA June 26, 2014 at 06:34
    Best movie car is the shelby GT 500
  • 18
    Kenny New Orleans June 26, 2014 at 08:02
    My car hasn't hit the screen YET. If you are a fan of the Transformers you will see the new Bee to be a 67 flat black Camaro. Mine has a flat silver nose strip Bee has a yellow one. In the move Bee is a hard top car that transforms. In real life mine transforms into a convertible. LOL
  • 19
    RegularGuy55 Chicago, IL June 26, 2014 at 08:40
    I'll nominate the 1965 Buick Riviera Patrick Swayze drove in the movie 'Roadhouse'
  • 20
    Larry NW Ohio June 26, 2014 at 00:48
    Don't forget Columbo's (Peter Falk) Peugeot 403 Cabriolet
  • 21
    Doc Okinawa June 27, 2014 at 06:39
    John Candy's car in Uncle Buck was what we use to call a "heap".
  • 22
    Jacob Michigan June 27, 2014 at 09:45
    What is funnier yet, is his Charger Daytona was probably worth as much as the Hemi GTX he lusted so much after.
  • 23
    andy Ontario, Canada June 28, 2014 at 06:36
    Ditto on the pictures.
  • 24
    Alan Ellish Highland MI. June 28, 2014 at 10:13
    Uncle Buck ????
  • 25
    Mike North Carolina June 30, 2014 at 21:09
    The "Joe Dirt" Dodge can be seen at the "Wheels of Yesteryear" automobile museum in Myrtle Beach, SC. It is the ONLY car in the museum that is not restored, but the owner does tout the care as having a "rebuilt engine"! Excellent museum by the way. Go check it out. http://www.wheelsofyesteryearmb.com/
  • 26
    Arthur Texas July 24, 2014 at 11:27
    In "The Hangover" the guys go to Las Vegas in a gold Mercedes Benz 280 SE convertible. The car was pristine, but got trashed by a tiger, then was t boned by a Cadillac Escalade driven by Mr Chow and his goons. When the boys drove it back to LA, it was destroyed.
  • 27
    Catherine Klimenkov North Las Vegas Nevada October 21, 2015 at 20:51
    Don't forget the 1990 Ford Crown Victoria from Blues Brothers 2000. "Sir how mutch does that full size Police package ford will run?
  • 28
    Karl NJ October 28, 2015 at 15:57
    Beverly Hills Cop - 1972 Chevrolet Nova Jenny Summers: I remember you used to drive that crappy blue Chevy Nova. [they both chuckle] Jenny Summers: What are you driving now? Axel Foley: Same crappy blue Chevy Nova.
  • 29
    Kevin O LINY October 29, 2015 at 06:29
    Every car in the original 1974 movie "Gone in 60 seconds". Your head will explode when you see the cars in this classic. The list of cars in this movie will make your head spin.
  • 30
    Jack Seattle November 4, 2015 at 10:25
    Don't worry about the condition of Joe Dirt's Daytona. Its not a factory Daytona, but was cloned from a 318 Charger for the movie. That said, its gotta be my favorite movie beater.

Join the Discussion