There are moments in our entertainment culture that are iconic. Everyone knows the end scenes of “Grease,” with Danny’s car lifting into the clouds, Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada,” waiting in the back seat for Andi, and Tupac and his Mad-Max style crew driving through the post-apocalyptic desert in the video for California Love. What do all of these moments (and more) have in common? They wouldn’t be possible without the car. Here are the five most famous cars in television, film, and music.
KITT from “Knight Rider”
Voiced by William Daniels before he would be known as Mr. Feeny to millions of 90’s kids, KITT was the super intelligent sidekick Trans Am to David Hasselhoff’s Michael Knight. The two fought crime, told jokes, and KITT even had an arch nemesis in KARR, his evil twin.
Herbie from “The Love Bug”
Whether you know the love bug from the original 1968 version, or 2005’s Herbie Fully Loaded with Lindsay Lohan, there’s a good chance you have an image in your head right now of the striped Volkswagen with 53 on the front hood. Herbie had several humble beginnings (and certainly didn’t come from an award winning VW dealership in any of them) but every time a kid punches the person closest to them and yells out punch buggy, he’s remembered.
The Batmobile from “Batman”
Continuity in the comic book world is a tricky thing. Each writer and artist wants to leave their own stamp on a character, and there are so many different iterations of each property — whether it’s a movie, comic book, or video game — that a lot of the variations don’t become cannon. This is especially true in the world of Batman, who has been covered, recovered, and explored in too many different mediums to count. But there is one constant through all of Bruce Wayne’s adventures, regardless of who’s at the story-telling helm: his Batmobile. The tricked out vehicle is sometimes a Lincoln and sometimes a tank, but it’s always cool and always has just what Batman needs.
The Delorean from “Back to the Future”
Doc Brown’s crowning achievement is his time machine, fashioned out of a 1981 Delorean. While you can’t call it sleek, it’s definitely flashy, and serves its purpose: catapulting a young Michael J. Fox to various moments in time to save the world (and himself). You can now see the original car and its various replicas at trade shows and comic cons; but there’s no word on what really happens if you get one of those babies up to 88 miles per hour.
The 1966 Ford Thunderbird from “Thelma and Louise”
Even if you’ve never seen the whole movie, you’ve probably seen the last few frames, or a parody of them, of Thelma and Louise’s convertible driving over the edge of the Grand Canyon (most likely resulting in damages that no amount of paintless dent repair could fix). The car had been with them from the beginning and helped them get out of every bad situation they found themselves in, all the way to the bitter end. A cinematic classic that redefined female characters in movies, Thelma and Louise’s literal getaway car created the perfect escape for them, and their audience.
The Mystery Machine from “Scooby Doo!”
Now that you’ve read the words “Scooby Doo”, the theme song is playing in your head, and the psychedelic Mystery Machine is driving by you in your mind. A kid staple for over 50 years at this point, Scooby has made his mark on every generation since his conception. This is in no small part thanks to his ragtag team of people and the groovy vehicle they use to rove from town to town solving crimes. From stickers to ornaments, the Mystery Machine is represented in our daily lives, and has a special place in our hearts.