Cars and Stars
In my first memories, I still recall a flash of orange trailing a plume of dust as it crashed through a makeshift barrier that read “Bridge Out” and then took flight across the width of a seemingly endless river (much wider than the above photo, I assure you!). The frame would freeze, the Balladeer would chime in, and then cut to commercial…
Less than three weeks from today, the Oscars, or Academy Awards, will honor the people who create much of our popular culture (for better or worse). And while the scene I described is from television, it’s amazing how much of our shared automotive culture is derived from both the big and small screens. These modern day fables are so pervasive that many cars featured therein become stars in their own right, attracting as much attention as the stars themselves.
Remember the DeLorean? Most people remember eighty-eight miles-per-hour, the flux capacitor, and Mr. Fusion before they can recall a single fact about the actual car. Or Bullitt? Lt. Frank Bullitt drove a 1968 Ford Mustang GT fastback while tracking down and dicing with the ‘bad guys’, who drove a Dodge Charger R/T.
I can’t name a single actor from that film off the top of my head except for Steve McQueen, but without effort I remember McQueen peering backwards out of the Mustang’s window at the guys trying to catch him, while tire smoke poured out from under the car. The shadowy dark-green Mustang became such an icon that Ford made a special edition, called the Bullitt, celebrating the iconic ’68 in 2001 and 2008. And it is almost impossible to remember McQueen nowadays without the vehicles of his more memorable films: the Le Mans Porsche 917K (short tail) and The Great Escape Triumph 6T motorcycle.
And some cars are so iconic that they eventually overshadow the actors. Remember Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Viper? The only things I recall from those productions are the cars! Obviously art imitates life when it comes to our love affair with cars and so this month, in celebration of the upcoming Oscars, Petrolicious will be focused primarily on the cars and culture that Hollywood has helped promote.
But don’t worry we’re not shifting our focus completely, just shining a proverbial spotlight (pardon the pun) on the cars and characters that Hollywood has made larger than life. Our first article has already gone up, but if there is any particular movie or TV car that you’d like us to highlight, let us know below and we’ll do our best. And if, like me, the “General” still haunts your memories–rest assured we will be featuring the Dukes of Hazzard.