x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Top 5: Films named for cars

Sometimes the car becomes the actual star of a film, and these five movies are so centred around some type of weird or wild vehicle that producers decided to name them eponymously.

Pink Cadillac.
Pink Cadillac.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

The 1968 film about the magical flying car was based on a novel by Ian Fleming, and is also the only non-James Bond film Cubby Brocoli produced. Dick Van Dyke starred as an inventor and widowed father of two children; on a picnic with his children and one Truly Scrumptious, he tells a story about the car and adventures in Vulgaria. Seven versions of Chitty were made for the film: a worn-out one, a restored one, one for the flying scenes, one for the water scenes and three partial models for various other scenes.

Christine

The 1983 John Carpenter film, based on a Steven King novel, starred Christine, a psychotic 1958 Plymouth Fury. Christine comes into the possession of high-school nerd Arnie Cunningham, who starts to change as he restores the battered vehicle. After some bullies destroy Christine, she/it restores herself and takes her/its revenge. Arnie's friend and girlfriend realise the car is not quite what it seems and plan to destory it/her, but as the films tagline says: "How do you destroy something that can't possibly be alive?"

Pink Cadillac

Clint Eastwood stars in this 1989 action-comedy as a bounty hunter hired to find a woman (Bernadette Peters) who has fled her husband in his pink Cadillac. But when Eastwood discovers that the woman's husband is a member of a white supremacists group whose money is in the car and they have kidnapped her baby he decides to help her, using the titular vehicle as their transport. A Cadillac used as a stand-by car in the film was bought in 1989 and shipped to Belfast, where it can be hired out for weddings.

The Yellow Rolls-Royce

The 1930 Phantom II Sedanca de Ville was the mainstay star of this film from 1964 that tells three stories of three very different owners of the luxury vehicle: a British Marquess, an American gangster and a wealthy American widow. In 1988, Neal Kirkham purchased the Rolls and spent years painstakingly restoring the classic automobile, finishing it just in time for the 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. It won the Lucius Beebe Trophy, sponsored by the marque itself.

Gran Torino

Clint again, this time in 2008. Eastwood stars as Walt Kowalski, a retired Ford factory worker and a Korean War veteran who catches his young Hmong neighbour Thao trying to steal his 1972 Ford Gran Torino as an initiation into a gang he is being forced to join. The widowed Kowalski develops a relationship with the family and he tries to protect them from the local gang, getting Thao a job on a building site. Eastwood announced that it would be the last film in which he would act; no word yet about the car's film career.