Car enthusiasts aren’t just born, they are made.
Enthusiasts are made over years, decades even. Our influences come from many different angles. They come from family, they come from environment and location, and they also come from the Silver Screen or TV,
This post today will touch on the “Hero Cars” of TV and the Big Screen that influence my life and were part of making me a the Car Enthusiast that I am.
My first car experience was through the movie “The Italian Job”, this 1969 movie featured three Mini Cooper S cars that seems to defy anything that cars were thought to do. They scaled stair cases, out run the police, and were completely unstoppable. Being such a small call, and affordable for the majority of the population, they made the Mini Coopers S absolute Hero Cars.
The second on screen car influence that I had actually inspired my very first car. Herbie the Love Bug was a VW Beetle that had a life of its own, and it certainly created a star out of the humble German built car. With the number 53 across the bonnet and doors and the racing stripes down the middle, Herbie was loved by many.
My first car was an old 1959 VW Beetle that my Dad and I restored to it’s former glory, stopping short of adding the Herbie livery.
Heading from the big screen to the small screen, the TV show Magnum PI introduced the Ferrari 308 GTS to the mainstream. Tom Selleck roaring around Oahu, Hawaii with his loud shirts and monster mustache.
Keeping with the mustache theme was Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit, teaming up with truckies in order to evade the Police. Burt’s chosen vehicle was the a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am “Fire Bird”.
The American Muscle tradition in Hero Cars continued with a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am that, like Herbie, had a life of it’s own. Knight Rider was the TV show that re-ignited the idea of a car being alive, and capable of it’s own decision making.
Finally, the car that made the most impact on my life from the screen was the mighty “General Lee” from the Dukes of Hazard. This 1969 Dodge Charger was, and still is my absolute dream car. Sadly due to their scarcity, and us being in the Southern Hemisphere, these little beauty’s cost upward of $100K.
Although I may never own one of these beasts, the dream will always be there.