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Steve McQueen - Red Car © John Springer Collection /GettyImages.com @/howstuffworks
It's no secret that making movies is a very lucrative business, but it's not just about pointing a camera and shouting “Action! ". Every great cinematic masterpiece has many elements, but some of the highest-grossing films of all time have featured more than just talented actors.
Some of them feature truly iconic cars that have become big screen stars in their own right. Whether it's a run-down Ford or a top-of-the-line Ferrari, these four-wheeled wonders have helped take those movies to the next level – but how much are they actually worth? Advertisement
1. 1981 DeLorean DMC-12
Seen in: Back to the Future
Estimated value: $100,000*.
The directors of the Back to the Future series have created a famous "DeLorean time machine" for this sci-fi classic. The car was created by director Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. This iconic DeLorean went on to define the series. The DeLorean required six replicas, one of which was completely made of fiberglass.Advertisement
1981 DeLorean DMC-12 (Back to the Future) @USClassicAutos/Twitter
The fiberglass replica was needed for flight scenes where the time machine "flies" across the screen. Today, only three of these original DeLoreans exist. Without the wonder of the DeLorean, would the Comcast franchise have taken on so much value? The car may have cost $100,000 to become a reality but it was worth every penny.Advertisement
2. Mercury série 9CM Custom Cabriolet 1949
Seen in: Grease
Estimated value: $600,000*.
This Ford Mercury Convertible Deluxe has been famously transformed into Greased Lightning. Although the 1948 convertible (probably) can't fly in real life, it's still quite powerful. Greased Lightning has a 239.4CID engine. It is painted Kandy Red with white flashes on the sides.
1949 Mercury Series 9CM Custom Convertible (Grease) @wildcustomcars/Facebook
The car was built by the makers throughout the film, including the ramshackle original version that the T-birds spruced up. The car has been sold in recent years for $600,000. As for the Paramount movie itself, it earned $366.2 million at the box office and became a classic thanks in part to the famous car.Keep Watching
3. Ford Thunderbird cabriolet de 1966
Seen in: Thelma and Louise
Estimated value: $71,500*.
Thelma and Louise's classic Thunderbird is a 1966 Ford and it was an integral part of this amazing movie. This car was designed by MGM for the film and then purchased by Barrett-Jackson and put up for sale.Advertisement
1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible (Thelma and Louise) @fordcampeche/FacebookAdvertisement
Currently, it comes with genuine MGM Letters of Authenticity confirming that the car is what the listings say it is. For an added thrill, there's a photo of Brad Pitt signing the rear seat armrest. Interestingly, while the car itself is worth over $71,000, Pitt only received a measly $6,000 for appearing in the film.
4. Aston Martin DB5
Seen in: Goldfinger, Thunderball
Estimated value: $4.6 million*.
The Aston Martin DB5 became one of the most famous cars in the world thanks to Goldfinger, the 1964 James Bond classic (and later reappeared in Thunderball). A replica of the grand tourer is on display at the International Spy Museum in Washington.Advertisement
Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger, Thunderball) @james.bond.com.uk/FacebookAdvertisement
The car with the modifications was sold in 2010 to a car collector named Harry Yeaggy. He bought it for the staggering sum of $4.6 million. The replica still has the gun barrels behind the front indicators (which come out on command) as well as the armored rear window. James Bond's cars are among the most valuable in the entire film industry.
5. Pontiac Trans Am 1977
Seen in: Smokey and the Bandit
Estimated value: $76,000*.
Burt Reynolds' career reached iconic heights with the release of Smokey & the Bandit - but the car he drove, a black and gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am became just as famous. The 1977 Trans Am was made in several copies for the stunt-heavy production.Advertisement
1977 Pontiac Trans Am (Smokey and the Bandit) @brucetroxell/Twitter.comAdvertisement
At the end of filming, there was only one surviving Trans Am left with the original black and gold paint and it belonged to an unnamed person in South Florida. The Universal movie ended up grossing $126 million on a $4 million budget. Reynolds won $1 million for his efforts.
6. Buick Phaeton de 1940
Seen in: Casablanca
Estimated value: $500,000*.
This 1940 Buick Phaeton is Casablanca's car and despite its age, it only has 42,000 miles on the odometer. The Phaeton was mechanically restored in 1990 with a 320.2 cubic inch inline-eight engine and three-speed manual transmission. The interior of the car still has cigarette burns in the burlap from Humphrey Bogart smoking cigarettes.Advertisement
1940 Buick Phaeton (Casablanca) @GrandAutoFam/Twitter
The interior also has water damage from the film. This piece of movie history was put up for auction several years ago after Warner Brothers authorized its sale. It was sold at auction at Christie's before being transferred to Bonham's, which estimates its value at half a million.
7. Coccinelle Volkswagen 1963
Seen in: Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie Goes to Bananas
Estimated value: $126,500*.
This iconic 1963 Volkswagen Beetle suffered some damage while filming the Herbie films but was restored by Tony Alonzo before being purchased by Walt Disney in 1968. There have been ten variations of this VW car and all were numbered painted fifty-three which comes from Dodgers star Don Drysdale.
1963 Volkswagen Beetle @TommyBLondon/Twitter
The car was one of many cars that were filmed at Riverside Raceway located in Southern California. Herbie might be worth $126,000 today but the movie franchise hasn't fared badly either. If Disney knows how to do anything, it's how to make money.
8. Toyota Supra
Seen in: The Fast and the Furious
Estimated value: $185,000*.
We could fill five of these lists with cars from The Fast and Furious series, but one of the most famous of them is hands down the Toyota Supra. Paul Walker's character drove this car in the 2001 movie and it seems to be one of his favorites.Advertisement
Toyota Supra (The Fast and the Furious) ©danialkzm/Shutterstock.com
The car was sold at an auction in 2001 for $185,000. As we know, the franchise has become very lucrative, with the first four films alone grossing over $960 million at the box office. The actors have a role to play but the cars are just as important.
9. The original Batmobile
Seen in: Batman the Movie
Estimated value: $4.6 million*.
Built by famed designer George Barris, the original Batmobile was based on a 1955 Ford Lincoln Futura. This concept car was worth $250,000 at the time. But by the time it became an iconic part of pop culture, the Batmobile was worth $4.6 million.Advertisement
The Original Batmobile (Batman the Movie) @TINBand/TwitterAdvertisement
The car was designed with numerous special effects and modifications thanks to Barris' company, Barris Kustom Industries. Barris was selected by Disney's . ABC for its excellent reputation for customizing Hollywood. Barris' creation went on to inspire the vehicles for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight which were both financial successes.
10. Peterbilt 379 of 1992
Seen in: Transformers
Estimated value: $121,000*.
The most famous character from the Transformers movies is Optimus Prime who transforms from this massive 1922 Peterbilt 379 stunt truck. It was made in 1992 and has since sold for over $100,000.Advertisement
1992 Peterbilt 379 (Transformers) @Jeffrey Ihrke/TwitterAdvertisement
For Transformers fans, the choice of truck was a controversial choice at the time. Director Michael Bay chose the fiery blue and red truck as Prime's vehicle despite criticism. Fortunately, the risk paid off and the whole franchise became very lucrative, surpassing $4.8 billion in box office receipts.
11. 1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50HP Open Drive Landaulette
Seen in: My Fair Lady
Estimated value: $550,000*.
My Fair Lady is an award-winning film that was released in 1964. But one of the most striking images from the film is of the 1912 Rolls Royce Landaulette whose body was made by Muhlbacher in Paris. The vehicle is now part of the Bothwell collection at Bonhams.
1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50HP Open Drive Landaulette (My Fair Lady) @AutoCherish/Twitter
This classic movie car develops 50 horsepower at 1,500 rpm and features an L-Head inline six-cylinder engine and four-wheel leaf spring suspension. The car contributed to the film's overall success helping it become a highly lucrative classic. She also helped secure the reputation of Audrey Hepburn who went on to amass a fortune of $55 million.
12. 1968 Ferrari 275 GTS/4NART Spider
Seen in: The Thomas Crown Affair
Estimated value: 20 million dollars*.
In a lot of RM Sotheby's in Monaco is the famous vehicle from the original series The Thomas Crown Affair. This vehicle is equipped with a Colombo V12 engine that develops 300 horsepower. This bright red "Italian thing" (as it's called in the film) is the last of ten NART Spiders built by Ferrari.
1968 Ferrari 275 GTS/4 NART Spider (The Thomas Crown Affair) @FromWhereISitBorsellino/Facebook
It was the penultimate of its series built by the famous Italian manufacturer which could explain why it is worth the whopping sum of 20 million dollars. Steve McQueen would have loved the car but even with a net worth of $30 million, McQueen would have struggled to afford the purchase.
13. 1912 Austro Daimler Touring Victoria
Seen in: Titanic
Estimated value: $176,000*.
The iconic 1912 Austro Daimler Touring Victoria as seen in the movie Titanic has sold for $176,000 at auction at Bonhams. Austro Daimler had been in business for nine years when it designed the 1912 Touring. Eight decades later, the makers of the movie Titanic copied that design to complement the period aesthetic of their Oscar-winning film.Advertisement
1912 Austro Daimler Touring Victoria (Titanic) @RamiDarwish10/TwitterAdvertisement
But the Victoria was not new to cinema. She also appeared in Chaplin, a 1992 biographical film about Charlie Chaplin. She served as the setting for the biopic but she was better known in Titanic. The Daimler may also seem familiar to you because a replica of it had a place in the movie The Italian Job.
14. 1969 Dodge Charger (aka General Lee)
Seen in: Dukes of Hazzard
Estimated value: $77,995*.
This Dodge Charger driven by the Duke Boys in Dukes of Hazzard was one of many as fans of the show probably remember the Duke Boys being pretty tough on their cars. The bright orange General Lee was based on the car owned by famed bootlegger Jerry Rushing. Rushing's car was called “Traveller” which was General Robert E. Lee's favorite horse.
1969 Dodge Charger - AKA General Lee (Dukes of Hazzard) @LookAtThemNow1/Twitter
The cast may not have known it at the time, but the car ended up worth over $77,000. In many ways, the vehicle was one of the stars of the show alongside the main cast. Without him, the show wouldn't have been the same.
15. Ford Mustang GT390 Fastback de 1968
Seen in: Bullitt
Estimated value: $43,000*.
This 1969 Ford Mustang Fastback that appears in the movie Bullitt was built in 1968 especially for the classic movie. Warner Brothers created her and she became Hollywood royalty after her appearance. The vehicle is now owned by Sean Kiernan of Hendersonville, Tennessee.Advertisement
1968 Ford Mustang GT390 Fastback (Bullitt) @MustangsinMovies/Facebook
The Fastback was deliberately kept in unrestored condition with faded paint. The Mustang Bullitt as it is called was painted Highland Green and driven by Steve McQueen. As one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, everything McQueen touched turned to gold - or at least got a few extra dollars worth of it.
16. Shelby Mustang GT500 de 1967
Seen in: Gone In 60 Seconds
Estimated value: 1 million dollars*.
The classic eighties remake Gone In 60 Seconds (starring Nicholas Cage) featured a slew of stylish cars but none as beautiful as this 1971 Ford Mustang named Eleanor. Eleanor was customized specifically for the movie but her name was reused for the remake.Advertisement
1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 (Gone in 60 Seconds) @FranksAutoRepair/Facebook
Thanks to all the car chases and action scenes in the film, the budget was incredibly high, around $100 million. Luckily, the fancy car scenes wowed audiences, and the movie earned $237 million at the box office, making it well worth it.
17. Concept Car Lexus 2004
Seen in: Minority Report
Estimated value: $88,000*.
Director Steven Spielberg requested a purpose-built sci-fi Lexus for his futuristic film noir Minority Report. He asked Harald Belker to design the concept car which would later be known as the Lexus 2054. He asked Belker to design the vehicle strictly to the specifications laid out in the original short story written by Philip K. Dick.
2004 Lexus Concept Car (Minority Report) @PetersenMuseum/Facebook
Belker, alongside California studio Calty created an advanced car that was crash proof and had biometric security systems. Valued at over $88,000, this invention is only accessible to serious collectors. Cruise himself might squander some of his $570 million fortune to buy it but then again he surprised us he did got the car.
18. 1976 Lotus Esprit Coupe
Seen in: The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only
Estimated value: $1 million*.
The 1976 Lotus Esprit Coupe was a custom sub for the 1977 James Bond classic The Spy Who Loved Me. The White Coupe was a glamorous vehicle that had its own submarine built after it called Wet Nellie. The Coupé also appeared in For Your Eyes Only.
1976 Lotus Esprit Coupé (The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only) @mikeboss/Youtube
The body of the car was made of fiberglass. It was driven by Roger Moore and the wedge-shaped car had a six-cylinder engine under the hood. Although the real Spirit cannot transform into a submarine, it has survived the ages. Billionaire Elon Musk, owner of Tesla , used his design to inspire his cybertruck.
19. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California
Seen in: Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Estimated value: $375,000*.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a classic 1980s film made all the more iconic by the appearance of this stunning 1985 Modena Spyder – which still lives on as a bright red emblem of 1980s freedom and youth. The Modena was so famous that it was inducted by the Smithsonian into its Historical Vehicle Hall of Fame in 2018.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow @LienhardRacing/Twitter
Modena Design issued a Certificate of Authenticity for the vehicle and it retained that certificate and its original identification plates while in its Hall of Fame.
20. Ferrari Testarossa 1986
Seen in: Miami Vice
Estimated value: $1.75 million*.
Originally belonging to Sonny Crockett's character in the Miami Vice TV series, this real-life Ferrari Testarossa was auctioned off at Barrett Jackson. The Testarossa was actually born as part of a trial. Ferrari sued Miami Vice for using a Corvette-based Ferrari Daytona – so the show's creators agreed to blast a Daytona onscreen if Ferrari gave them two Testarossas.
1986 Ferrari Testarossa (Miami Vice) @ Retro / FacebookAdvertisement
Ferrari agreed and a factory in Maranello delivered the cars. The original vehicles were painted black but the directors requested that the Testarossas be repainted in a sleek white to make them more visible when filming after dark.
21. Le camion de The Beverly Hillbillies
Seen in: The Beverly Hillbillies
Estimated value: $275,000*.
For years, the Beverly Hillbillies truck held its own turf at the Ralph Foster Museum. This truck was originally a 1921 Oldsmobile M46 Roadster later modified for the famous TV show. It was donated to the Ralph Foster Museum by Paul Henning, producer of Beverly Hillbillies. Henning donated the car to the museum as he had grown up close to it.
The Beverly Hillbillies Truck (The Beverly Hillbillies) @pctech1com/Twitter
The truck was then transferred to Barrett-Jackson's auto auction where it sold for $275,000. The custom truck was one of the most famous parts of the exhibit due to its custom, chop-shop appearance. He was one of Barrett-Jackson's best sellers.
22. Monkeemobile Pontiac GTO de 1966
Seen in: The Monkees
Estimated value: $396,000*.
Known as the Monkeemobile, this custom Pontiac GTO originated in 1966 when it was designed by Dean Jeffries. It was originally designed for a TV show, but later became part of the movie The Monkees. Jeffries made two of these vehicles: one for filming and the other as a promotional car.Advertisement
Monkeemobile, 1966 Pontiac GTO - The Monkees @FansOfGloryDays/Facebook
The GTO inspired model kit. Model Products Corporation, the entity that employed Dean Jeffries sold seven million copies of the Monkeemobile kits. In fact, one of the Monkeemobiles was purchased by Batmobile designer George Barris. Barris used it as a show car before selling it at auction in 2008 for the astronomical sum of £396,000.
23. Dodge Charger 1969
Seen in: Fast Five
Estimated value: $35,000*.
This Fast and Furious vehicle was driven by characters Brian O'Conner and Dominic Toretto during the Fast Five vault robbery scene. This four-door muscle car is based on a Dodge Charger and it's painted matte black.Advertisement
1969 Dodge Charger - AKA General Lee (Dukes of Hazzard) @LookAtThemNow1/Twitter
The 1969 Dodge Charger featured aluminum Fast Five badging. This is one of several Chargers that were demolished during filming. Under the hood, this car was fitted with a performance Mopar 628 engine. After filming was completed, all the good or damaged Chargers had to be scrapped as they were not road legal.
24. Buick Blackhawk Factory Custom
Seen in: Bad Boys II
Estimated value: $522,500*.
This Blackhawk concept car was built in 2001 by Buick. It is a combination of various previous Buicks. Its grille is based on 1939 Buick vehicles while its chassis is based on a 1949 Roadmaster. The vehicle has shaved door handles, hidden headlights, and a retractable hardtop. It was designed by Steven Pasteiner.
Buick Blackhawk Factory Custom (Bad Boys II) @GuinchoTours /Twitter
Fans of Bad Boys II will recognize him in this movie. With the feature being all about fast motion and action thrills, the vehicle was an integral part of it. The Bad Boys franchise went on to success, with the third outing grossing $426 million at the box office.
25. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Seen in: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Estimated value: $805,500*.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a vintage racing car that Ian Fleming wrote about in his novel which was later adapted into the classic movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Fleming's racing car was inspired by the aerocars created by Count Zborowski in the early 1920s. In fact, the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang engine came from a Zeppelin.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) @fishermanshaunt/Twitter
As we all know, this car went down in history as one of the most recognizable movie cars of all time. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang didn't do well at the box office but its real success came in the years that followed as it made movie history.
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