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!
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.