Welcome back to the second instalment of Heritage’s Lesser Known Classics in Movies, if you haven’t already you can read the first half by clicking here.
In the last half we saw a lot of ’Frankensteined’ cars and vehicles heavily clad in body kits to change their appearance. In this half we’ll see some of the same but more examples of rare cars which you may have never even heard of.
Mad Max: The Road Warrior is a film with a heavy post-apocalyptic theme, revolving around gas guzzling hot-rods in the Australian desert where enclaves of ‘Road Warriors’ battle it out to fuel and customise these vicious vehicles.
What most people don’t know is that within the opening-sequence the intimidating black beauty is a Ford Landau. Underneath the pipes, dust and skulls hides an Australian 1973 classic housing a Cleveland V8 Engine, 290 brake horsepower and a three-speed transmission. We certainly wouldn’t mind being caught in the desert in this beast!
A Clockwork Orange
Hailing from the weird and wonderful mind of Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange was a 1971 film based on the Anthony Burgess novel of the same name. A story of ultraviolence and droogs this film pushed audiences to the edge and tested the boundaries of what was acceptable to showcase in a movie. A classic you may have missed was included in a scene where the film’s main character and his gang are speeding down a country lane.
Referred to in the film as a Durango 95 the car was actually a Probe 16. Designed by Dennis and Peter Adams, former Marcos Cars designers, the pair considered the Probe 16 to be an experiment into the “extremes of styling”. Unusual design choices included a minuscule height of 86 cm and the only access to the interior being a sliding glass roof.
Before achieving universal success from the Star Wars franchise George Lucas directed a conceptual and leftfield film: THX-1138. Originally a project from Lucas’s film student days THX-1138 illustrates a dystopian future where humans are governed by androids and have abandoned their emotions and identity. Initially shunned by critics and movie goers a ike, the film garnered a cult following over time and is now looked upon with critical acclaim.
One of the most memorable scenes shows a chase led by a futuristic sports car. The car is in fact a Lola T70 Mk III. The design of this car was light years ahead of its time and didn’t look at all out of place in the space-age pursuit. UK-built in 1965 the Lola saw some racing success winning at venues such as the Monterey Grand Prix.
This black and white silent film was released in 1927 during the German expressionist movement alongside films such as Nosferatu. This film is considered by many to be a pioneer of the science fiction genre within cinema. This is another example of a film which was mostly dismissed at release but its long-lasting appeal and influence has allowed it to become one of the most notable movies of its type. Another fact about this film is the promotional poster is the most expensive ever sold with only 4 still surviving.
The strange and unique vehicle used in this movie is the Rumpler Tropfenwagen. This car was chosen due to its unusual design which created the desired futuristic charm. Like Metropolis’s posters which are hard to come by, the Tropfenwagens are even more rare as only two have survived. The car was rejected by the public at its release mainly due to its jarring design, so only 100 were ever made. That said, the Tropfenwagen became a popular choice for taxi drivers which can be attributed to its ease of entry, high ceiling and spacious seating, very much like the our own Hackney Carriage Black Cabs.
This draws our list to a close, how many did you recognise or did you learn anything new? If you still have even more of an itch for classic car cinema trivia we have some more articles where we pick our favourites classic cars from films:
- Sicnag, Flickr
- Vee8, Wikipedia Commons
- Stanley Kubrick, Wikipedia Commons
- Edvvc, Wikipedia Commons
- David Merrett, Flickr
- By Archives New Zealand from New Zealand
- By Detlef Garbrecht