The Best Custom Cars from the Movies and TV?

Matera, Italy – September 24, 2019: A closeup shot of Aston Martin DB5 while filming chase scenes of the movie "No Time to Die" in Italy

You don’t have far to look back in time to see an era when every TV show or movie featured a custom car that was a big part of the attraction. From the A-Team’s GMS Vandura through to the DeLorean Time Machine in the Back to the Future trilogy, there was always a stunning vehicle at the heart of the story.

These custom cars, many of which came through the workshop of the legendary George Barris are still the source of happy memories today, but which do you think was the best of the bunch, and which had the best paint job?

Back to the Future

The DeLorean DMC 12 remains one of the most iconic cars of its era – and the story of its troubled genesis in Belfast has inspired a Netflix Series, but the car itself became synonymous with the time travelling adventures of Marty McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy. Gradually picking up more accessories over the course of the movies, the one thing that the car never got was a paint job. Uniquely, the DeLorean featured a stainless-steel exterior.

The other customisation on the car was out of this world though including the high tech for the time interior, and the nuclear power cell that let it travel through time.

James Bond’s Aston Martin

James Bond has had more than his fair share of cars over the years, and all of them come with a few optional extras that were never available to regular drivers.

The most iconic of the Bond cars is the Aston Martin DB5 that the super spy first drove in Goldfinger.

Featuring a perfect silver paint job coupled with rotating number plates, hidden machine guns, and even an ejector seat, the DB5 became the dream car for generations, and even though it was periodically updated over the years, it made a welcome return in the Daniel Craig era of the series.

James Bond’s Lotus Esprit

If the DB5 was the most iconic car in James Bond’s extensive garage, a special mention should be made for the white Lotus Esprit Turbo that was his company car in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Not only did the car show off some excellent handling during a car chase, but it could also affect the perfect getaway by transforming into a mini submarine with a rocket launcher in the engine compartment.

The Knight Rider Trans-Am

Playa de Aro, Spain – August 08, 2020: USA car parked in the street. Pontiac Firebird Trans AM

Elon Musk is happy to admit that one of the inspirations behind the self-driving Tesla’s of today was Michael Knight’s jet-black Pontiac Trans-Am from the Knight Rider TV series in the 1980s. Sadly the Pontiac name disappeared in 2010 as part of General Motors reorganisation plans, but KITT lives on, and many custom car shops around the world are busy transforming the remaining Trans-Am cars into tributes to the original.

Nearly everything from The Fast and The Furious

Since 2001, there have been ten movies released as part of the Fast and the Furious franchise, but the original film back in 2001 and the first of the sequels feature some of the most stunning custom vehicles – as well as the most realistic scripts!

A generation of petrol heads grew up with pictures of Brian Conner’s various modified Supras and Mitsubishi Evos on their bedroom walls, but the most memorable car – and the one which has appeared most often is Vin Diesel’s original 1970 Dodge Charger – American Muscle!

The Batmobile

Every Batman era has featured a unique take on the caped crusader’s car, but the 1960s TV series featured the definitive model. Crafted by the legendary George Barris from a Lincoln Futura concept car, the Adam west Batmobile was a riot of fins, bubble canopies and exotic accessories, and featured one of the most understated paint jobs of all time – black with a striking red pinstripe that really showed off the unique curves of a stunning car.

Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters

There have actually been two different Ecto-1 cars – the 2016 reboot featured a car based on a Cadillac Fleetwood hearse – but the original Cadillac Miller Meteor is definitely the best known and made a welcome reappearance in the 2021 sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

In its first appearance in the movie, the Cadillac Miller Meteor is in a sorry state, but after a custom paint job in white and red, and the application of the Ghostbusters logo on the doors, it is transformed into a vehicle capable of carrying the team through their adventures.

American Graffiti

True hot rods are among the most extreme custom cars on the planet, and the movie American Graffiti features one of the most stunning. Based on a 1932 Ford Model B, the bright yellow paint job, exposed engine, and classy interior became iconic.

What’s your favourite custom car?

You don’t have to be a superhero or a spy to personalise your own car. Small changes to the exterior or a custom paint job can help you stand out from the crowd, and with JTAPE’s range of professional masking and finishing tapes, you can be sure of getting a perfect finish.

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