Superhero cars like the Batmobile seem to get all the attention, but what about cars for their villainous counterparts? Every movie villain needs a vehicle matching their devious personality, and many films over the years have provided them with exactly that. Luckily for car buffs, these vehicles have a unique history off-screen as well.
Though you might recognize these vehicles from the films they’re featured in, the history behind the real-life models is often even more fascinating. Check out these four iconic movie villain cars—and some facts about them you may not have heard before.
1. “Christine” Featured an Appropriately Named 1958 Plymouth Fury
Here’s a car that wasn’t driven by a villain, but was the villain. In the John Carpenter horror film based on the Stephen King novel, this 1958 Plymouth Fury gives a whole new meaning to “hell on wheels”. However, because the Plymouth Fury was a relatively rare car, the producers actually used Plymouth Belvedere and Savoy models dressed up to look like a Fury. Furthermore, while the car in the film is a sinister red and white, in real life the Plymouth Fury was only available in buckskin beige. Another interesting fact: 23 cars were used in the film, but today only three have survived.
2. Any Car Mechanic Should Recognize the Charger in “Bullitt”
Known for arguably the most iconic car chase scene in cinematic history, this 1968 action thriller flick prominently features one of Dodge’s most well-known models, the Charger. Driven by a hitman pursuing Bullitt in his Ford Mustang, any car mechanic will be fascinated to know that the 1968 Charger contained a 440 cubic inch engine with 375 hp—both more than the Mustang, which had a 390-cubic inch engine and 325 hp. The Charger’s speed was so high that the stunt drivers actually needed to let off the gas so that it wouldn’t outrace the Mustang.
3. The De Tomaso Mangusta Was a Perfect Fit for “Kill Bill Vol. 2”
Although the late David Carradine—himself a car enthusiast—reportedly requested to drive a Cadillac Cien in part two of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill saga, this silver De Tomaso Mangusta fits his sinister character just fine. The Mangusta is an Italian sports car named after the Italian word for mongoose—the only animal that can fight and kill a cobra. The model was manufactured between 1967 and 1971, and initially featured a Ford 289 V8 engine with 306 hp. It was later replaced by the Pantera in De Tomaso’s lineup.
4. The Chevy Nova in “Death Proof” Went on to Be a High School Student’s Car
Speaking of Tarantino films, this model was driven by Kurt Russell’s evil, murderous stunt driver character in “Death Proof.” The Chevrolet Nova was the manufacturer’s top model in their Chevy II lineup in 1968, and the 1970 model included 375 hp with dual exhausts and a 396 big block V8 engine. Those in automotive courses will like how the stunt driver reportedly bought the modified Nova after filming concluded for $500—and then gave it as a gift to his 16-year-old son. Not a bad car for someone still in high school!
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