We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
Someone in my neighborhood owns a yellow Lotus convertible and whenever I see it, I make a low, guttural sound, similar to Al Pacino’s lascivious growl in Scent of a Woman. Often, I daydream about dipping it in honey and then licking its delicious yellow hood…which is apparently illegal now. I had to hop three fences to get away from the cops, those fascists.
Weird car fetish aside, some cars are just too sexy for words. If these cars were people, they wouldn’t be able to walk safely down the street without a gaggle of expert bodyguards. It’s the pinnacle of automobile erotica that gives most of us a serious Pavlovian reaction. Drool, drool…
So, in preparation for the vehicular orgy showcased in Fast Five, we have amassed a list of cars that we would gladly take to bed with us…if our beds were big enough, the car would fit through the front door, and the neighbors would keep their darned mouths shut.
7. Transporter 2 & 3 (2005; 2008)
Recap: Ex-Special Forces Frank Martin (Jason Statham) will deliver any sketchy and/or potentially dangerous package no questions asked. He operates under three unbreakable rules, which he always breaks to further the plot of the movies. This typically involves rescuing human contraband and driving his delicious Audi in a variety of insane, technically impossible locations.
Reason: The Audi A8 W12. Is it the car or is it the fact that Jason Statham does things like drive it on top of moving trains and ramp from one building to another? Who the hell cares, right? No matter what, it’s auto pornography. It morphed an arguably bourgeoisie, yuppie brand into something sleek and dangerous…and a bit of a brawler as well. It’s the vehicle that goes to the bar wearing a tuxedo and then kicks the ass of anyone who dares to mouth off. Yum.
6. Goldfinger (1964)
Recap: James Bond (Sean Connery) has to prevent Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) from destroying the world’s economy. He does this in typical 007 fashion: lots of gadgets, sex with suggestively named women (Pussy Galore? Really?), amazing car chases, and unflappable sophistication.
Reason: The Astin Martin DB5. Okay, so let’s completely ignore the fact that Astin Martins are notoriously fussy and just focus on its looks. Obviously, Bond can’t drive a stinker that breaks down every fifty miles, so let’s pretend. This car looks like that sexy, wealthy ice queen who’s secretly filthy in bed. Sure, she may look down her nose at you and make you feel like garbage, but once you get her alone she’s likely to tie you up and perform unspeakably pleasurable acts on your body. Once she’s finished, she’ll kick you out the door and you’ll probably feel used…but also undeniably rocked. Rrrowr.
5. Vanishing Point (1971)
Recap: Kowalski (Barry Newman) is charged with driving from Colorado to San Francisco in less than 15 hours to deliver a package. He does so with only a fistful of amphetamines and his trusty Challenger, laws, police, and pedestrians be damned.
Reason: The 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T. Here’s how I imagine the pitch for Vanishing Point: “Okay, so there’s this incredible car. We build a flimsy plot around it so we can just film the car in different locations as an overt symbol of masculinity. Did we mention it’s an awesome car?” The 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T is the potentially psychopathic bad-boy that your mama warned you about, but you still can’t help yourself; the second you see the Challenger R/T waiting outside in the dark, you are climbing out your bedroom window, and putting your life in its capable hands.
4. Johnny Dark (1954)
Recap: Slightly silly movie about an automotive engineer named Johnny Dark (Tony Curtis in his pretty heyday), working on a revolutionary new car. When the car’s owner refuses to sponsor the car in an international race, Johnny steals the car and enters the race himself.
Reason: The Woodill Wildfire. Holy sh*t, this car is something else. It’s sexy, it’s beautiful, it’s curvaceous, and you could comfortably approach it at a cocktail party. If I stare at a picture of the Wildfire for too long, I find myself slack-jawed and salivating. It literally borders on the obscene (the car, not me…well, me too, I guess) that a car can emanate with such robust desirability. This is the Rita Hayworth of cars: almost too lovely to touch…sorry, got distracted there and found myself gently kissing my computer screen. Oh, Wildfire, we would take you home to meet the family and we would make an honest auto out of you.
3. Gone in 60 Seconds (1974; 2000)
Recap: Both versions of the movie involve super-thieves struggling to steal over four dozen cars in a very short period of time. In the original, master thief Maindrian Pierce (H.B. Halicki) is double-crossed by a friend while in the middle of the biggest car heist of his career; in the remake, Memphis Raines (Nicolas Cage), is dragged back into the game to save his brother. Both movies feature protagonists with unbearably stupid names and…
Reason: Eleanor. In the original movie, Eleanor was a 1973 Ford Mustang; in the updated version, we find our Eleanor has blossomed into a Shelby GT500. Regardless, we have ourselves a glowering, powerful muscle car with an elegant moniker and a reputation for volatility. The moment we learn that this scowling beast of a car is named Eleanor, we want her; we love her; we must have her. It’s anthropomorphism to the nth degree and now we’re in Mustang heaven.
2. Mad Max (1979)
Recap: In a futuristic, dystopian version of Australia, Mad Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) hits the road in his suped-up death car to reap vengeance upon the biker gang that murdered his best friend, wife, and child.
Reason: The Interceptor. It’s bewildering to find something sexy when it looks so ominous and evil, but Mad Max couldn’t wreak havoc in any other car. It has to be the Interceptor, which is basically the combination of a 1973 XB GT Ford Coupe and a water moccasin. It’s cooler than the batmobile, because it isn’t overcompensating – it’s just naturally that wicked.
1. Bullitt (1968)
Recap: Bullitt (Steve McQueen) is put in charge of protecting a federal witness. When that witness is murdered, Bullitt goes on a rampage, vowing to wipe out everyone involved.
Reason: The 1968 Mustang GT 390. It had to be Bullitt; you couldn’t expect anything else. No matter how much you tinker with the “Best Cars” formula, Bullitt always comes out on top. When Steve McQueen slides into his black GT 390, it seems like man and car meld into a cyborg hybrid of pure awesomeness. The classic car chase scene takes place on the hills of San Francisco, so now you have Steve McQueen driving a GT 390 on the geographical equivalent of a rollercoaster. Try watching the twelve minute chase scene – part of which is from the perspective of the driver of the GT 390 – without getting wood. Listen to that engine roaring, guzzling up fossil fuels with angry abandon…you can almost feel it vibrating in your chest and rattling in your ears. Ahhhh…
There’s the Top 7, now what should be in the Top 10?