Five (More) Onscreen Clunkers
We all know sequels are rarely as good as the first, but give this second round of clunkers from film and television a chance. Each of the following cars was selected based on reader comments.
- “Uncle Buck,” 1975 Mercury Marquis Brougham: We all have that oddball relative — if you can’t think of one, well, it’s probably you. In 1989’s hit comedy, “Uncle Buck,” John Candy portrays Uncle Buck, an unemployed gambler charged with caring for his wealthy suburbanite brother’s children. While the children might find Uncle Buck a bit odd, they find his ’75 Marquis downright revolting — and terrifying if standing anywhere near it when it backfires.
- “Columbo,” 1959 Peugeot 403 Cabriolet: This popular television series starred Peter Falk as disheveled detective Lieutenant Columbo. While most cops would opt to drive a service car, Columbo chooses to drive his personal car, a faded Peugeot 403 Cabriolet that often suffers from mechanical problems at inopportune moments. And just one more thing: The car was personally selected for the show by Falk, after he spotted it in a parking lot at Universal Studios.
- “Wayne’s World,” 1976 AMC Pacer: Ah, the “Mirth Mobile”! This 1976 Pacer was the ride of choice for public-access cable stars Wayne and Garth in 1992’s cult classic “Wayne’s World.” While the Mirth Mobile, with its mismatched wheels and flame decals, is sure to make any car lover go “schwing,” the Pacer is often noted for its unique styling, courtesy of the famous designer Richard Teague.
- “Harper,” 1956 Porsche 356 Speedster: Who would have ever thought of Paul Newman driving a Porsche on the big screen? Sarcasm aside, Paul Newman’s eponymous character, Harper, is a wisecracking private investigator tasked with tracking down a kidnapped millionaire in the 1966 film of the same name. Harper’s decrepit Porsche 356 Speedster makes several appearances in the film, including a horrific tumble down a hill (at least for a Porsche-phile like myself). Fortunately it was not a true 356A Speedster, but a shell with exhaust tips attached.
- “Dude Where’s My Car,” 1979 Renault Le Car: In 2000’s so-bad-it’s-funny comedy “Dude, Where’s My Car,” Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott wake up from an eventful night only to find they’ve forgotten where they parked their beat-up Renault Le Car. In an effort to find it, they encounter an unlikely group of UFO cultists, two races of aliens, and a universe-destroying Rubik’s Cube. After saving the universe from guaranteed destruction via the Rubik’s Cube, they discover that their car has been hidden behind a double-parked mail truck the entire time.