There’s that old adage in car racing: “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.” There’s more truth to that than people think — that’s how the Chevrolet Monte Carlo survived into the age of smartphones.
But is there a similar trend with films that prominently feature cars? The “Fast & Furious” franchise has undoubtedly inspired more than a few car purchases for a younger generation — and launched an entire cult along with it, with box office receipts in the billions of dollars. F&F is still going strong, even though it has arguably gravitated from the theme of street racing to what can only be described as the Superhero-Military Industrial Complex.
Aside from the street racing sub-genre, prominent action films have shown off the prowess of certain car models, sometimes in subtle ways. “Ronin” (1998) was not only an ode to the E28-generation BMW M5, but a feature-length infomercial for the Audi S8 drifting through the streets of Paris, as well as the Peugeot 406, Mercedes-Benz SEL 6.9 and Citroen XM, among others. This happened around the same time Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond was smugly throwing bad guys around with an armored BMW 7-Series that he later (also smugly) launched off the roof of a parking garage onto a busy street below, somehow knowing that the landing spot would not have a group of schoolchildren in it at the time. (How did he know that, by the way?)
This is it. We’re putting the hours — nay, weeks of debate to rest about what is probably the most important issue of our time: ranking the “Fast and the Furious” movie franchise …
The Nicolas Cage version of “Gone in 60 Seconds” spawned an entire cottage industry around Eleanor Mustang replicas, despite the fact that it was a Nicolas Cage movie from the year 2000 with all the regrettable things that entails. And “The Transporter” franchise gave some valuable airtime to European luxobarges from the 2000s, shortly before becoming a caricature of itself to the point that theatergoers would laugh at the movie, not with it.
For some reason, the Jason Bourne trilogy managed to avoid giving hero status to any one particular car despite several notable car chases, with the exceptions of Franka Potente’s 1989 Mini Mayfair gaming Paris traffic set to Paul Oakenfold’s “Ready Steady Go,” or a GAZ 3110 Volga taxi pushing its way around Moscow — a car you’re not likely to encounter on a used car lot in the States.
Has a film ever inspired you to actually buy a car you liked in the film? Let us know in the comments below.