The Cars That Weren’t The Stars
Every car buff is familiar with the classic vehicles featured in movies and TV shows as we were growing up. I first read the term "Sleeper" in one of my brother's old Car Craft magazines, and then began watching the background for cars in movies that weren't necessarily the star of the show, like a Batmobile or Green Hornet.
It's the same philosophy as preferring Mary Ann over Ginger, I suppose. But as it applies to cars, I jotted down a few under-appreciated by essential cars from some of my faves growing up.
1. Gator McKluskey's Ford LTD from White Lightning. Before Burt Reynolds hopped into our hearts via the Bandits' Trans Am, he was frustrating the Man as a moonshiner. But his trusty and speedy sleeper had equal billing to me.
2. For a movie chock full of badassery, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry was a gear head's dream movie. And although it didn't see much action, I love the philosophy behind the unfinished cop car they activated to catch the perps. A 1972 Dodge Polara without the cherries, top end "Unlimited."
3. The best opening credits featuring a car, in my opinion, as a kid, was Baretta. Robert Blake's character screaming around a corner, losing the wheel cover from his 1966 Chevy Impala, set up the viewer for an hour of no frills police work. I'm pretty sure that Det. Dave Hutchinson's LTD from Starsky and Hutch is an homage to Baretta's trusty 4 wheeled partner.
4. I'll end with one of my favorite car scene stealers: The 1965 Buick from the movie Roadhouse. Patrick Swayze as Dalton Somethin-or-other comes into town ridin' high in his Mercedes, but he knows that when you're about to class up a bar, the crowd's gonna smash up your car. Sure...pretty plausible, so he goes to the used car lot and finds a sweet '65 Riv' to use as his bumming around car. In a movie packed with cars and Bigfoot's monster truck, the Riv' proves it's value.
So there's a few, and it's a really personal thing. But if you're a car guy, chances are you spied a few of these as well, in the background while the "star car" was getting all the attention.
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