Famous 1968 'Bullitt' Mustang driven by Steve McQueen sold for A$4.63 million in 2020 | Image Source: Detroit Free Press

Movie Muscle: The Most Iconic On-Screen Muscle Cars

Wheels with attitude make the perfect pairing for strong protagonists and charismatic characters in on-screen films and television. Defined by a big block V8 slammed into a standard coupe, muscle cars are mighty machines that are robust and stand the test of time. Since the 1960s, the automotive staple has been wonderfully wrapped up in pop culture, cinema and television. Here’s a look at some of the most iconic muscle cars that made it on big on screen.

1969 Dodge Charger – Dukes of Hazzard

The action-packed TV series is famous for its destructive car chases and high energy scenes with Warner Bros reportedly using over 300 cars during filming. The main muscle car of choice, a 1969 Dodge Charger nicknamed, General Lee, was painted bright orange and featured a Confederate flag painted on its roof. A, one of 12, Dodge Charger officially licensed by the studio from 1980 to 1985, is up for auction in September. The muscle car is signed by series stars John Schneider, Tom Wopat, Catherine Bach, James Best, Ben Jones, and other cast members.

1968 Ford Mustang GT390 – Bullitt

The highland green Mustang starred in a 10-minute sequence in Steve Mcqueen’s classic 1968 film. The sequence included getting airborne a few times as it sped through the hillside streets of San Francisco. The legendary muscle car is one of the most famous American cinema cars selling at Mecum Auctions in 2020 for A$4.63 million – a significant increase on its A$3,689 price tag back in 1968.

1970 Dodge Charger – The Fast And The Furious

One of the highest-grossing movies franchise of all time began in 2001 with The Fast And The Furious. The cars in the movie are, of course, fast, furious and perform outrageous stunts. Likely the most memorable is Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) black 1970 Dodge Charger. Only three Dodge Chargers were built for the original film – one is displayed at the Volo Auto Museum in Illinois and the others are in private collections.

1976 Ford Gran Torino – Starsky And Hutch

The popular 1970s TV show that became a hit movie in 2004, may be the most recognisable car on this list. The bright red with white stripe, 1976 Ford Gran Torino is so popular that Ford built at least 1,000 replicas after the original. While numbers vary as to how many originals were produced for the show, it’s likely less than ten.

1974 Dodge Monaco – The Blues Brothers

When you think back to the 1980 movie, there’s hardly a more iconic look than suits, sunglasses, hats and the ‘Bluesmobile’. In the film, 13 different Dodge Monaco’s were Bluesmobiles with over 60 old police cars bought from the California Highway Patrol used for the film’s chase scenes. At the time, the 1980s classic set a world record for the most cars destroyed in one film, eventually between by its 1998 sequel.

1972 Ford Gran Torino – Gran Torino

Ford made 496,645 Gran Torino’s. The one used in the eponymous film, however, is one of the 92,033 top-of-the-line ’72 Gran Torino Sports. Main character Walt Kowalski’s (Clint Eastwood) car has the best performance parts Ford had to offer in ’72 – only available on 351 cars in that year. The Gran Torino Sport, reportedly owned by director and actor Clint Eastwood, is identified by an integrated hood scoop, Magnum 500 wheels, rare Ramair induction package, split twin exhaust and side gold laser stripe.

1967 Ford Mustang Fastback – Gone In 60 Seconds

Both the original 1974 Gone In 60 Seconds and the 2000 remake of the classic action movie feature 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback. Only 11 Mustangs, called Eleanor, were built for the 2000 movie and only three are still known in existence. Of those three, one was sold for over A$1 million at an auction in 2013. It featured a V8 with an Edelbrock intake, NOS, and a 5-speed manual with the famous “Go Baby Go” button on the gearstick.

To read more about the story of cars and cinema, have a look at The Tale of Two Iconic British Brands: Aston Martin and James Bond and The $30 Billion Audi and Marvel Brand.

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