Production cars have always been bound by a few limitations. They’re not invincible. They don’t come with concealed machine guns. And they don’t change into giant, boss robots. Thankfully we have Hollywood to take care of this for us. So if you’re looking for a way to waste kill time before the work day is over Idol comes on your next pressing appointment, check out our list of the ten coolest cars, from both big and small screens, that could never really be.
#10 The Black Beauty
This clone of the already beautiful 1965 Chrysler Crown Imperial was packed with enough impossible coolness to steal the film version of The Green Hornet. Frankly, a Renault LeCar could have stolen it from Seth Rogan and his confused mess of a script, but it’s always great to see an American classic tuned to 500 hp and stuffed with five machine guns, a host of missiles, a flame thrower, armor plating, and a drop-down hifi in the back seat.
#9 Viper Defender
Granted, I was nine years old when NBC debuted their far-fletched sci-fi show Viper, so I didn’t notice the primitive special effects, the exceedingly cheesy script, or the study-in-stereotypes characters. All I saw was a Dodge Viper convertible that could transform via snake skin into an impenetrable superhero with EMP launchers, grappling hooks, and 4WD mode. Unlike most star cars, this one was designed in house by Chrysler artist Steve Ferrerio. An understandable move, since Viper was probably Chrysler’s most expensive commercial.
#8 The Sandcrawler
According to the Star Wars mythos, these tracked aircraft carriers were left behind on Tatooine thousands of years prior to A New Hope, then appropriated by those adorably annoying little Jawas, who used them as rolling communities. No, they weren’t fast, but they were gigantic enough to provide the little bathrobe enthusiasts with living- and workspace, and they were armor plated against attack from Tuscan raiders. Consider one the next time you need to cross a desert with, you know, a city.
#7 Marine APC
Ever go to the airport and wonder what it would be like to hoon one of those gigantic, low-slung airplane haulers? You wouldn’t if you’d crewed the armored personnel carrier from James Cameron’s sci-fi sequel Aliens. The APC, which can carry ten, plus a crew of two, was built around a Hunslet ATT77 air towing tractor. It wasn’t fast, taking six seconds to reach 25 mph, but it did top out at 93 mph, and carried dissuasion to faster predators in the form of two 20mm Gatling guns and a pair of retractable plasma cannons. And why would you want to attack something so cool, anyway?
#6 Optimus Prime
Transformers purists were upset when they found out that Michael Bay had abandoned Prime’s original snub-nose, cab-over design to opt for a more ‘Murcan Peterbuilt doghouse, but that did little to besmirch Optimus’ coolness to the rest of us. Plus, the dude saved our planet. Thrice. So let’s show some respect, eh?
#5 The DB5
We’ve discussed Q Branch’s iconic Aston at length before, but no list of awesome movie cars would be complete without that silver goodness. Yes, poor James crashed it, but it was the father of all gadget cars (probably), and Goldfinger’s producers chose it for its beauty and refinement. No argument here.
#4 The Mach 5
In this writer’s opinion, if you didn’t like 2008’s cinematization of Speed Racer, you were taking it too seriously. The same goes for Speed’s stunning road car, the Mach 5. You don’t really need to know where the single-piece, bulletproof glass canopy hid when it was retracted, only that it saved Speed’s life during the Casa Cristo. And don’t wonder how many PSI were in the Mach 5’s jump jacks. In Speed’s world, aerial combat and evasion were staples of motorsport. Real versions of the mad roadster have been built, but sadly, the Wachowskis’ production team only put together a non-running model of their own for the film.
#3 The Delorean
A running joke around the Streetside HQ is the assumption that Robert Zemeckis chose a Delorean for Back to the Future because it took so long to get to 88 mph, making time for Alan Silvestri’s unforgettable soundtrack to crescendo. But as slow as the stainless gullwing was, it proved the perfect hero for Doc Brown, and looked great doing it. Throw a pair of boosters and a Mr. Fusion on that flat deck and you can cruise the plasma streams in style. Be sure to upgrade to a hover conversion in 2015, because where you’re going, you don’t need roads.
The Knight Industries Two Thousand transformed the fuzzy-crowned Michael Long into the leather-bejacketed (but still fuzzy-crowned) Michael Knight, and it transformed this ten-year-old into a fan. You’d better believe I spent a good portion of my childhood turbo-boosting my bike over sweet jumps and wishing it had a super pursuit mode. Knight Rider was ruling my after school syndication sessions long before Viper ever aired. I even drooled over the ill-fated 1991 straight-to-video film Knight Rider 2000.
#1 The Tumbler
Every Batmobile has been cool, but most required the Dark Knight to exit before jumping from rooftop to rooftop. The Tumbler, somewhat plausibly built as a river-jumping, combat-ready bridge builder by Wayne Industries’ R&D group, made no such demands. The 2.3 ton monster carried a pair of autocannons and a rocket launcher, which the kindly Bruce only used to clear his path. But ironically, one of the coolest features only came when it was destroyed, since the Batpod motorcycle made up the ejection seat. A tank that can outrun and outmaneuver a fleet of cop cars while smashing through concrete barriers is an instant winner any day of the week.
This list was hotly contested in my brain, but what would you add? How would you arrange things? What’s the coolest TV or movie fantasy car in your book?