Jay Leno, talk show host and big car enthusiast, once told Popular Mechanics, “I like the cars that need me.” Leno’s garage has been featured many times for its unique classic cars, greats from a different era.
Vintage vehicles require time and devotion to keep running, but that’s part of what makes them one-of-a-kind, a step above run-of-the-mill machines. Remembering more of those head-turning beauties, here are some unique classic cars that the world loved on the big screen.
Bumble Bee in Transformers
In 1977, Chevrolet’s Camaro outsold Ford’s Mustang for the first time. This car, built to rival Pontiac’s Trans Am, boasts of a 350 cubic-inch V8 engine (what is called the small block engine) plus a four-barrel carburetor and 185 horsepower. The world now knows it as the model of the spunky and lovable Auto robot, Bumble Bee, in the franchise Transformers. The character became a symbol for the small hero with a huge heart, a true cultural icon. The original 1977 Chevrolet Camaro used in the movie sold at U.S. $40,100.01.
Ford Thunderbird in Thelma and Louise
Back when Brad Pitt wasn’t the big celebrity that he is today, he played a hot young hustler alongside Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in Ridley Scott’s dark and funny movie, Thelma and Louise. The luxury car which they took on this famous wild ride is a 1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible powered by a 390-cubic-inch 300 break horse power (224 kW) V8 engine. The car can go from 0 to 60 mph in 11 seconds. A bit of trivia: the makers used five identical to shoot the film.
Eleanor in Gone in 60 Seconds
Such a sweet sounding name would throw you off. But, make no mistake, this car is one mean ride. The 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 can go from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds. In the 1974 movie, Gone in 60 Seconds, Eleanor is the star of the show, the most difficult car to steal. The original stunt car was, in fact, a 1971 model but the filmmakers used the 1973 Fastback for the beauty shots.
Having a taste for classic cars can be an expensive passion, but enthusiasts see beyond the surface and into the rich history built into these queens of a different time. For some advice on how to spot high- value cars, read these Men’s Journal article.