In some movies, the cars are the stars. American Graffiti and Fast and Furious, to name a couple, drew much of their audience appeal from their use of noisy internal combustion engines.
But cars needn’t be racy to play prominent roles. Thelma and Louise’s 1966 Ford Thunderbird, for example, will long be remembered for (spoiler alert!) quietly sailing off a cliff in the movie’s climax. And the Ford Explorer’s notable contribution to movie history was that it was passively crushed and shredded by a Tyrannosaurus Rex in Jurassic Park.
For the third time, we provide a photo collection of Hollywood vehicles. Bearing in mind that engine size doesn’t necessarily translate to star power, we’ve included the big and the small, the fast and the slow. From the dilapidated Volkswagen van in Field of Dreams to Christie Brinkley’s racy Ferrari in National Lampoon's Vacation, we offer a glimpse of four-wheeled stardom.
Click on the “Wagon Queen Family Truckster” below to start the slideshow.
The “Wagon Queen Family Truckster” in the 1983 movie National Lampoon’s Vacation was actually a modified 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon. At one point in the film, the script called for the station wagon to go airborne, which it reportedly did for more than 50 feet. The hard landing damaged the front of the car, however, and the damage had to be exactly reproduced on other “stand-in” vehicles for the rest of the film. During the scene in which the car was sold (shown here), the salesman tells the main character (Clark W. Griswold), “You think you hate it now, wait ‘til you drive it.” (Source: Internet Movie Car Database)
One of my favorite moments from National Lampoon's Vacation was almost unnoticeable. When Clark Griswold arrives at a gas station after walking through the desert, there's a small sign in the window that says, "Sorry, we're open."
Yes, hiding a driver in the trunk seems kind of un-Spielberg-esque, doesn't it? Then again, if you believe some of the stories about the Jaws shark (nicknamed Bruce, I believe), the technology wasn't very impressive there, either.
Even using 1993 technology, you'd think Spielberg would have controlled the Jurassic vehicles using remote control, instead hiding a driver in the trunk!Seems a lot more straight-forward, considering the RF range only had to be as long as the camera shot.
Coincidentally oddly enough, my wife and I just re-watched Sandra Bullock in SPEED (slide 5) on a TBS late night movie rerun this week.Amazing, how bad the special effects were as you watch it 20 years later.Technology innovations have really sophisticated our viewership skills!
Earlier this year paralyzed IndyCar drive Sam Schmidt did the seemingly impossible -- opening the qualifying rounds at Indy by driving a modified Corvette C7 Stingray around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Could our view of distant galaxies be obstructed by a lawnmower? That unlikely question is at the heart of a growing debate between the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and a robot manufacturer that seeks to build self-guided lawnmowers.
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