Call in sick: The cars of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Regardless of your age, occasionally ditching your responsibilities resonates with any audience. But if playing hooky includes an intermittently airborne Ferrari, eating pancreas and a whirlwind tour of Chicago you’ve achieved transcendence. Especially if you avoid the consequences.

While John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is not technically a car movie, it certainly includes a few cars that hold our interest. One of which could be considered a co-star – the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. And, yes, we know that more than a few replicas were used as stand-ins. Doesn’t matter.

In celebration of the movie’s 30th anniversary (tomorrow), let’s take a moment to celebrate the top five cars in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder

It all ended with a smoky wreck at the bottom of a small canyon. Against his friend Cameron’s (Alan Ruck) better judgment, Ferris (Matthew Broderick) takes Cameron’s dad’s prized Ferrari 250 GT California for a romp through Chicago. “Father spent three years restoring this car,” Cameron pressed. “He loves this car more than life itself.”

At the end of the day, they attempt running the car in reverse, on a jack, to remove the miles. Predictably, they fail. Ferris suggests cracking open the odometer and rolling it back by hand when Cameron’s pent up frustrations and fear overwhelm him. He decides to own up to the mileage increase but his anger builds, he loses all self-control and kicks the car multiple times, leaving a sizable dent and edging it backwards on its jack. When he finally calms down, he nonchalantly leans on the car. And the jack finally slips. Cameron watches in wide-eyed disbelief as the Ferrari flies out of the garage and into a ravine. Cue the smoldering pile.

1985 Audi 5000 S Turbo C3

It appeared on Car and Driver’ s top ten list for cars produced in 1984-‘85. A truly hot car for its day, it was powered by a turbocharged 2.1-liter inline-five engine, pretty racy for Ferris’s executive dad (Lyman Ward). Even more ironic is the scene where Ferris is running home and passes the Audi on foot. Not only does Dad not recognize his own son running alongside, but that poor turbo-five was just aching for an opened-throttle.

1985 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country

It was the year before the wagon received a rounded facelift, and thanks to this movie (among several others), this boxy version is an icon of the ‘80s. In all of its fake wood-paneled glory, even the Town & Country beats the Audi 5000 home, with Ferris’ determined younger sister, Jeanie (Jennifer Grey), driving aggressively and her stressed-out mother (Cindy Pickett) in the passenger’s seat.

1985 Plymouth Reliant K

Wrong parking spot Mr. Rooney (Jeffrey Jones). Wrong everything, really. After a series of embarrassing events stemming from his impromptu visit to the Bueller residence, Edward Rooney, the school’s dean, returns to his illegal parking spot to find his Plymouth Reliant hoisted and being towed away, its exhaust scraping the pavement.

1985 Pontiac Fiero SE

The sporty white Fiero is Jeanie Bueller’s car, and it appears in short snippets throughout the movie. The license plate reads “TBC” which stands for The Breakfast Club, another critically acclaimed Hughes high-school movie released the year before.




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    You didn’t mention the one car I liked. It was the dark red car behind the Ferrari in Cameron’s garage. Perhaps a Riley or 30′ Jaguar SS.

    Wait, it’s GREEN. It could even be a Benz, but I can’t make out the hood or other ornaments in front.

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