Classic car of the movies – the 1960s

Here at Heritage, a lot of our favourite classic films feature classic cars. No surprises there then!

We’ve been discussing some of the all-time great motors that have appeared or starred on the big screen, so we thought we would share some with you.

There’s so many that we decided to go decade by decade, starting with possibly the very best – the 1960s!

The Love Bug

We all remember Herbie don’t we? The Love Bug: star of the 1968 comedy film from Disney about a racing Beetle. Can anyone remember the VW, pearl-white with the fabric sunroof? Well done if you got the year, it was a 1963 model.

Based on a 1961 book called Car, Boy, Girl, the film spurned a series and there was even a remake in 1997, which introduced an evil black VW called Horace, the Hate Bug!

McQueen, Steve not Lightning

Moving swiftly on, you can’t discuss movie cars without discussing McQueen! No, not the animated star of the Pixar movie Cars (for those with children and grandchildren), we’re talking about Steve McQueen and the classic film, Bullitt.

Lt. Frank Bullitt, McQueen’s cop in the 1968 crime thriller (the same year as Herbie!), chases down the bad guys through the streets of San Francisco in his ’68 Ford Mustang GT, with the hitmen and their Dodge Charger meeting a fiery end in a petrol station explosion.

The car chase is one of the most famous in film history and the film crew used two 1968 390 V8 Ford Mustang fastbacks for Bullitt’s chase.

With speeds of over 110 miles per hour recorded, the filming took over three weeks and produced around 11 minutes of glorious car chase footage, even though there was some shocking editing.

One of the two Mustangs was scrapped and one apparently changed hands until coming to rest with an anonymous owner in Ohio.

And very recently, we hear the scrapped version has been being found in Mexico and will now be restored, so we’ll keep a close eye on that one!

Good things come in threes!

Finally, for now, we couldn’t write about classic cars in classic 60’s films without talking about arguably the most famous example of all time, The Italian Job.

1969, Michael Caine, a host of sumptuous historic vehicles and three mini coopers in British colours, what more do you want for ‘classic’?

Whilst everybody remembers the red, white and blue Mk1 Mini Cooper S’s carrying the gold and racing through the sewer tunnels, the film includes a number of different motors, see what you recognise from the list below.

  • Lamborghini Miura
  • Aston Martin DB4
  • E-type Jaguar
  • Fiat Dino coupe
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia (the Italian police cars)
  • M8 Greyhound armoured car
  • Land Rover Series IIa Station Wagon
  • Ford Thames 400E van

Some fantastic cars, not to mention the 1964 Bedford VAL, the coach from the infamous last scene!

Finally for now, ahead of your next pub quiz, we have it good authority that over 30 Minis were used in the making of the film.


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