Concept Cars that Were Played in the Movies

Six-wheel convertible, Lexus spacecraft and other casting models.

Often, cars in the movies play a role no less than live actors. The car can be the embodiment of the main character (Pontiac Aztec Walter White from Breaking Bad), one of the main locations (Cadillac Sedan DeVille in The Green Book), and sometimes even the main villain (Plymouth Fury in Christina based on the novel by Stephen King). But if you want to show the future in movies, concept cars are used.

Take the Durango 95 / Probe 16, for example, by brothers Peter and Dennis Adams, former designers at Marcos. In 1969, it was one of the lowest cars in the world: body height – 86 centimeters! And in this “meter without a cap” they managed to fit a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine from the Austin 1800 sedan and two full-fledged places. Access to the bright orange coupe was possible only through the sliding roof section – such a low car did not need doors.

Photo – edvvc / Flickr (Wikipedia.org)

But the Durango 95 was not made famous by its looks and British Leyland roots. In 1971 he became the car of Alex DeLarge’s gang – the protagonist of the movie A Clockwork Orange. Few things can complement the image of a group of psychopaths better than a poisonous orange two-door car, rushing through the forest thicket. Director Stanley Kubrick glorified Probe 16, which, however, still did not become financially successful – only three copies of these were collected, one of which is now in the Petersen Automobile Museum in Los Angeles.

Durango 95, racing to the accompaniment of Gioaquino Rossini’s opera and blinding oncoming cars – this scene became one of the most famous in the film, and the scandalous picture itself was banned in the UK, Ireland, and Singapore

True, Kubrick’s film is an exception to the rule: with a film budget of $ 2 million, it’s hard to expect an abundance of bright cars in it. But Hollywood pictures are often full of unusual concepts. This is best seen in science fiction films. Take, for example, the 1993 action movie Destroyer, which shows the events of the 30s of the 21st century – the streets of America of the future are jam-packed with futuristic Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Pontiac. And each of the cars is a real concept from the late eighties.

And that’s not even half of the concept cars that were filmed in Destroyer. So in the list of actors next to Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes, you can safely enter General Motors – this company turned a fantastic action movie into a two-hour exhibition named after itself.

GM did not stop at the Destroyer: in the film, The Sixth Day, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, a couple of the concern’s cars also slipped. One of them, the GM HX3 Hybrid minivan, even managed to star in both films at once! And the other, the Pontiac Montana Thunder, later went into production, joining the platform “twins” in the person of the Buick GL8, Chevrolet Trans Sport, Oldsmobile Silhouette, and Opel Sintra.

Played as an ordinary family van in Destroyer, GM HX3 Hybrid changed into a taxi in Day Six.

If the writers of “Destroyer” looked into 2032, then in “Minority Report” by Steven Spielberg the action takes place already in 2054. And which country’s manufacturers most often dream of the distant future? That’s right, the Japanese. And specifically for this film was created a Lexus 2054 with a V6 engine from Chevrolet.

True, according to the idea, the Lexus was electric, but in 2002, Japanese designers could not dream of suitable units. The plot features did not end there: in the film, the bright red concept could move on autopilot, repair itself, change the body color at the touch of a button, and instead of an ignition key, it had a host’s DNA recognition system.

In total, several cars were assembled, while it is reliably known about four: two red coupes (one with original interior design, the other with a “naked” interior), a silver roadster and a black coupe, which was put up for sale on eBay in 2002.

The minimum price of the car was 88 thousand dollars, about two-thirds of the cost of its creation. In 2016, another seller wanted to bail out already 95 thousand dollars for a replica Lexus 2054, but a buyer for it was never found.

Unlike previous films, “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” describes the past (late 19th century), this did not stop showing a concept car in the frame. And which! The six-wheeled convertible “Nautilus”, owned by Captain Nemo himself, can be placed in the dictionary next to the word “redundancy.”

Its length is 6.7 meters, width – 2.74 meters, and the diameter of each of the six wheels is 24 inches. It was built on the chassis of one of the Land Rover models, and the V8 engine was taken from there. Victorian metal figures sculpted throughout the body by Carol Speer (the film’s production designer), and the interior is upholstered in beige leather. By the way, in 2015, “Nautilus” was put up for auction, where it was estimated at 18-25 thousand pounds sterling. Not a big price for such a battleship on wheels.

“Nautilus” was invented only for the sake of the film – there was no financial background to the creation of the six-wheeled “orphan”. But most often in the film industry, the nameplate on the hood of a hero’s car is determined by the size of the suitcase with money brought in by the manufacturer. One of the most successful examples is Audi, whose cars now appear in every Marvel movie comic strip. And this marketing strategy began at the beginning of the 2000s.

In 2003, the Germans released the Audi Le Mans Quattro concept. In its appearance, it is difficult not to recognize the serial Audi R8, which came out four years later. After several exhibitions, Le Mans Quattro, like many other concepts, could go to the museum of the brand, but they found a more interesting use for it. Its appearance was thoroughly redrawn, the wheels were covered with caps, and the doors were converted into “butterfly wings in reverse”. The resulting concept was named Audi RSQ and went straight to the set of the movie “I, Robot” based on the works of Isaac Asimov.

This is what the Audi Le Mans quattro looked like …

Two mockups have joined the concept. One of them was used for close-ups, and the other was used for the accident scene. With such an ingenious move, Audi killed not even two, but several birds with one stone: it worked out the design of the future R8, showed RSQ on the big screen and received the EACA Euro Effie award for a successful advertising campaign. And all this with a single machine!

This success could not be overlooked by competitors. And the best lesson was learned by Chevrolet, which with the help of films about Transformers every now and then showed its future models. It all started with the first part of the film. The key role was given to the Autobot Bumblebee, who turned into a fifth-generation Camaro concept. What’s funny is that in his first battle, Bumblebee clashed with the Decepticon Barricade, who was transforming into … a Ford Mustang!

2007 Chevrolet Camaro Concept. 
The name “Bumblebee” was so stuck with the Camaro that a serial muscle car was available to order with Autobot badges all over the body.

In the second film in the franchise, Chevrolet went down the beaten path. This time, five cars of the brand appeared in the film: a serial Camaro in a body kit hinting at the ZL1 version, a Corvette Stingray concept, a prototype of a Volt hybrid, and a couple of Beat and Trax concepts – variations on the future compact Spark.

Chevrolet Camaro “Bumblebee”

This was just the beginning. Over the years, the franchise has been replenished with four more films, and its fleet has grown noticeably: Lamborghini Aventador, Pagani Huayra, and even Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse took part in the films. However, not a single film was done without at least a couple of Chevrolets, and the Camaro name became directly associated with alien robots.

Another superhero franchise was taken over by the Mercedes-Benz brand. We are talking about the cinematic universe of DC Comics and Batman himself. In Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, Bruce Wayne drove around in matte black Lamborghinis, but Justice League director Zach Snyder has something more interesting for the hero.

Batman drove the concept coupe Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo, which was invented for the racing simulator Gran Turismo 6. Weighing just 1.4 tons, the virtual Silver Arrow had a 585 horsepower biturbo V8 under the hood. The full-size model was hardly the same, but the doors, like in the “toy” compartment, opened upwards. Making a model for the film was not so easy: for example, due to the fact that Ben Affleck, who played Batman, is 1.92 meters tall, the interior of the car had to be rethought. And one of Bruce’s signature phrases (“My superpower is money”), while driving the concept, sounded nowhere more convincing.

It also happens that not a brand is associated with movie heroes, but movie heroes – with a brand. This happened with Aston Martin, which for more than half a century has been inextricably linked with the James Bond films. Aston Martin first appeared in the 1964 film, Goldfinger. It was a DB5 driven by Sean Connery. In the fresh film, “No Time to Die”, the audience is waiting for an entire handful of “Aston” from the classic DB5 and V8 Vantage to the mid-engine coupe Valhalla. However, we are interested in one particular vehicle.

Aston Martin DB10

Have you ever wondered why after the DB9 left the market, it was replaced by the DB11 coupe? Where is the “missing” digit? In fact, there was a car with the DB10 index. The British sacrificed such an important place in the hierarchy for the film “007: SPECTRUM”. DB10 is a conceptual two-door designed for Her Majesty’s spy in the amount of ten copies. It was built on the V8 Vantage platform, extending the base and widening the track. The eight-cylinder engine develops 436 horsepower.

To date, no one will be surprised with such power, only the cinematic sports car had a couple of trump cards up its sleeve. For example, the driver could eject from the passenger compartment at the touch of a button, the car body did not take any bullets, and in a dangerous situation, the DB10 could protect the agent with a built-in machine gun and flamethrower. Alas, out of ten assembled cars, only three survived to this day – the rest were destroyed during the filming. One of the remaining cars went to the Aston Martin Museum, the second went into the hands of the company that participated in the filming, and the third was auctioned off at Christie’s for $ 3.4 million.

Finally, sometimes carmakers get bored of coming up with simple cars for films, and the flight of designers’ imagination is sent to the sky. The flying DeLorean from Back to the Future is known to many, but what about the Lexus spacecraft? Such a project called Lexus Skyjet was developed by Japanese designers for Luc Besson’s film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, released in 2017.

According to the authors’ idea, this is how Lexuses will look like in 700 years – they will have nine wings, LC coupe-style headlights and a huge spindle-shaped radiator grill (although actually the spindle is a translation error, and the shape is closer to the coil) … Of course, the technology of our time did not allow us to build a fully working prototype, but a large-scale copy was nevertheless presented in Miami in January 2017. And this is not the first time that director Luc Besson has dreamed of flying cars: what are the hovering taxis from The Fifth Element worth.

And the Porsche designers took their imagination very far: they created a space interceptor for “Star Wars”! His name is Tri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter, and he made his debut last year in Star Wars: Skywalker. Sunrise”.

The artists in the Weissach and San Francisco studios tried to come up with a ship that would look organically in the universe of the franchise and at the same time echo the design with the production models of the brand. For example, there are headlights on the bow of the ship, which are somewhat reminiscent of the optics of the serial Taycan, and the grille with a brake light behind the driver’s back directly hints at the 911 in the 992 body. The Germans were not even too lazy to create a large-scale copy of the ship, which was shown at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles.

Of course, the list of “motorized movie stars” is endless. Both the Audi lunar rover in the horror film Alien: Covenant and the most beautiful concept of the Cadillac Ciel in the comedy Entourage, in fact, pursue one goal: to make the viewer, leaving the hall, remember “that very car from the movie” and want the same one. If it wasn’t for product placement, we wouldn’t have tuned Peugeots in the Taxi movies, and Christopher Nolan’s Batman would be without his matte black Lamborghinis. However, if it works, it’s just for our joy.

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