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‘Old movie and TV show cars will always hold a special place in our hearts’

Editor Paul Barker thinks the car will always be the star when it comes to the big screen

Opinion - Herbie

I must admit to a real pang of jealousy when my colleague Tom went off to drive Herbie – the actual Beetle from the Love Bug film.

The cars from movies and TV shows hold special places in our hearts, and Herbie was one of the first star cars of my childhood. I’m not pretending the films themselves are cinematic greats, but they had a car front and centre, and that was enough to keep young me quiet for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon.

There were others, but my personal favourite was the A-Team van. As much as I loved that show (paid-up fan- club member in the eighties), I was always disappointed if the GMC Vandura didn’t play some sort of role.

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Then there was Smokey and the Bandit, which made me really, really want a black Trans Am, and the brilliant randomness of the Cannonball Run, with the poster car of my childhood – the Lamborghini Countach – starring in what’s still a brilliant intro sequence. I popped onto YouTube to check again last week, just to be sure, and it’s a good use of 4min 30sec if you have the time; the V12 soundtrack mates perfectly with the Ray Stevens title song.

You can read all about Tom’s time with Herbie and the story of his besotted owner on page 20, but sometimes it’s nice just to feel a bit warm and fuzzy about the character, charm and appeal of bits of metal on a screen.

For some it’ll be Steve McQueen’s Mustang, while for those of a more recent vintage it might be the Fast and Furious cars. It’s a very different, brash and loud movie, but we can appreciate that the cars are the stars as much as Dwayne Johnson or Vin Diesel. And the suspension of belief at the number of gearchanges almost matches that needed to believe in a Beetle that can drive itself!

I wonder what the next stars will be, and whether they’ll be more or less predictable than Mr Bean’s Mini or the horrendously ugly Pontiac Aztec from Breaking Bad. The screen – big or small – certainly can make icons out of the most unlikely metal.

What's your favourite car from the big screen? Let us know in the comments section...

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As Editor, Paul’s job is to steer the talented group of people that work across Auto Express, Carbuyer and Driving Electric, and steer the titles to even bigger and better things by bringing the latest important stories to our readers. Paul has been writing about cars and the car industry since 2000, working for consumer and business magazines as well as freelancing for national newspapers, industry titles and a host of major publications.

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