4 high-dollar rides in Top Gun: Maverick that don’t make financial sense

RM Sotheby's/Tim Scott

Despite its highly entertaining onscreen aerial display, the military accuracy of Top Gun: Maverick has already been poo-pooed by our real-life fighter pilot. Now we’re about to toss another fly or two in the soup—or at least ask some legitimate questions about the non-military modes of transportation in the film. (Forgive us in advance, because we enjoyed this movie a lot.) First and foremost, where did these people get all of their money? Maybe we can figure it out together while looking at four glorious rides of Top Gun: Maverick.

P-51 Mustang fighter plane

Top Gun Maverick - 1956 Aston Marton DBR1 and P-51 Mustang fighter
Maverick’s P-51 Mustang plane and the nose of his 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 (far left). Paramount Pictures

Yes, the P-51 Mustang was originally a military aircraft, but it’s now retired and serves as Pete Mitchell’s personal plane (which Tom Cruise reportedly owns in real life). While it’s feasible that a career Navy pilot would naturally be attracted to a plane with some military history, a P-51 is worth seven figures. Although the average annual salary of a U.S. Navy pilot is $72,410, Mav is a captain and also something of a legend, so he probably makes a lot more than that. In other words, if he made some smart investment decisions over the past three-plus decades, it’s possible that he could afford a P-51.

However, he keeps it in his personal hangar in southern California, which can’t be cheap, either. And then there’s this …

1956 Aston Martin DBR1

Top Gun Maverick - MATCHBOX 1956 Aston Marton DBR1
Matchbox 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Mattel

Mav doesn’t drive it in the movie—it’s just sneakily placed in the background of a scene with the P-51—but yes indeed, that’s a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 in the corner of the hero’s hangar. One of only five built … and this one has Le Mans history. Yes, it’s that exclusive. In fact, the most recent sale of a DBR1 at auction brought $22,550,000 at RM Sotheby’s in 2017. Even DBR1 replicas cost millions, so we’re starting to wonder if Pete Mitchell is actually into some Risky Business while managing to make All the Right Moves.

1973 Porsche 911

Top Gun Maverick - 1973 Porsche 911S
Penny Benjamin’s 1973 Porsche 911 S. Paramount Pictures

Mav isn’t the only character in Top Gun: Maverick who knows The Color of Money. His love interest, Penny Benjamin (played by Jennifer Connelly) is a single mother who runs a bar near Fightertown USA, and business must be goooooood.

Penny drives a 1973 Porsche 911 S coupe, which is valued at $181,000 in #2 (Excellent) condition. For reference purposes, Mav’s love interest in the original movie, astrophysicist Charlie Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), drove a black 1958 Porsche 356 Speedster, which wasn’t actually a 1958 Porsche 356 Speedster but a replica. According to Top Gun: Maverick filmmakers, Penny’s car is the real numbers-matching deal. Is she charging $25 for a shot and a beer?

As if owning that spectacular car isn’t hard enough to believe—as it would likely stretch Penny’s budget to its limits—she and Mav also take to the high seas in her …

J/125 Sailboat

J125 Sailboat Top Gun
Paramount Pictures

At 41 feet long, the J/125 is not exactly a recreational dingy, but we’re told it doesn’t require an eight-person crew to operate. Well, duh. Penny and Pete handle it just fine, though Pete isn’t a sailor, even though he’s in the Navy. (Movies don’t lie, kids.) It’s no wonder that the J/125 has been compared to “a street-legal Indy 500 car that’s easier to drive than the family sedan.”

It’s also valued at $300K or more. Penny’s middle name must be Pincher … or, more accurately, Wise.

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    Admittedly, Pete Mitchell’s gigantic “man cave” hangar, P-51 plane, motorcycles, sports car and assorted other toys wouldn’t be financially feasible on his relatively modest Navy salary, but, it still looks visually cool and fits his character.

    As far as Penny Benjamin, note that her father was a Navy Admiral, so, it’s conceivable that she received a substantial inheritance from him that would allow her to purchase a Porsche and a sailboat.

    Or…perhaps she also inherited the boat & car from her dad.
    Would have made perfect sense for a navy man to have the desire for such a boat. Maybe even the 911, as it certainly would not have been as far out of reach new in ‘73 as it is now.

    Or, maybe she had a “happy” divorce from some corporate hot-dog.

    Or, she wound up being a corporate hot-dog herself, had enough of that crap, and bought the bar with her savings account & decided on a lifestyle switch for herself & her daughter?
    It fits. Her character seems quite smart and independently spirited.

    A Navy captain with 30 years plus, being passed over for Adm., would normally be forced into retirement, however, this is the movies and Cruise! The salary for 30 years can range from 70K all the way up to ~400K, depending on what you do. A normal avg would be ~160K. Seeing how he was in ‘special’ programs and being a top test pilot, he could easily be pulling 250K or more. Good investments, inheritance, etc., he could be a multimillionaire, which would allow him the spoils for being rich! As for her, her Daddy was a top dawg Admiral, which usually means they come from well off families in the past. So, it’s easy to see her having money and lots of it. She owns that bar, divorced from another top dawg Navy man, very nice house on Coronado Island or La Jolla looking at the sea. Not that hard to believe! A fun movie, which doesn’t happen a lot with sequels.

    NO WAY would a naval aviator own a restored WWII P-51 Mustang. No way.

    A naval aviator would own a Corsair or a Bearcat.


    That P 51 Mustang is actually his in his real life. Pete (Maverick) would own the fastest most high performance aircraft that is the last fighter before jets took over the air.

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