Cars have played big roles in movies and TV shows.
‘MSCC wants to answer this question: Did the car make the movie/TV show or did the movie/TV show make the car? ‘
One of the most famous cars from the movies was the ’55 Chevy used in ‘American Graffiti’.
The car was driven by a guy who was a big threat to John Milner’s dominance in street racing and became an instant legend in car guy circles.
The Graffiti Chevy was a beast and the race winner was unclear when Milner raced the ’55. However, we at MSCC found a clear winner in our race between the movie and the car.
We believe the ’55 Chevy was already a legend before the movie. The 1955 Chevy stayed popular in the car hobby long after the last one left the factory and was still popular in the early Seventies when they filmed ‘American Graffiti’.
The movie enhanced the ’55 Chevy’s popularity but this car needed little help in that department in 1973 when ‘American Graffiti’ made its debut.
It’s a different story with the 1967 Chevy Impala in TV’s ‘Supernatural’. The car became much cooler because of the TV show and made the four door hardtop version of the car very popular with ‘Supernatural’ fans.
The ’67 Impala was a third year version of the same body style and looked good-but not in a legendary sense by any means. ‘Supernatural’ made it a legend.
The opposite is true with the 1968 Dodge Charger because it had undergone a major facelift in ’68. The new look for the ’68 was a home run and is considered to be a legendary Mopar style from the Sixties.
‘Bullitt’ was a 1968 action movie that features a long car chase between a 1968 Charger and Mustang. The movie itself was forgettable outside of the car chase, but the two cars became cult classics.
The 1968 Charger was an instant legend out of the factory while the 1968 Mustang enjoyed heightened status because of the movie. The ’68 Mustang shared much of its overall style with the 1967 version and benefited heavily from ultra-cool Steve McQueen driving a 1968 ‘Stang in ‘Bullitt’.
The 1958 Plymouth Fury was a charter member of the wild fin car movement from the late Fifties. No other company bought into the finned movement more than Chrysler under the leadership of Virgil Exner.
Fin cars lost their appeal with buyers by the early Sixties and most suffered a horrible death-by-crusher exit, while others died on the demo derby battlefield. They were a dated anachronism only a few years after they left the dealership.
The fin cars were always near and dear to the hearts of their loyal fans, but the cars gained favor with outsiders when ‘Christine’ hit theaters in 1983 because its biggest star was a 1958 Plymouth Fury.
The movie and the passage of time have been kind to the 1958 Fury and its finned Mopar siblings from the Fabulous Fifties. The movie helped jump start the popularity of Forward Look cars, but their iconic look has been the main reason these cars have improved their post-‘Christine’ legendary status in the car hobby.
Our final legend debate concerns the Sunbeam Tiger. The Tiger was made famous when TV’s Maxwell Smart screeched to a halt in one during the opening sequence of ‘Get Smart’ in 1965. This British car was already a legend in racing circles because it had a Ford small block V-8 under its hood and was a serious speed machine.
However, the bumbling Agent 86 turned the limited production sports car into an instant legend with his legion of young TV fans back in the mid-60s.
The Sunbeam Tiger is still a rock star for older car guys and will attract a ton of attention at any show.
We at MSCC would like to thank Max for his choice of transportation because he drove the Tiger right into legendary status for many of us.
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