The best movie vehicles of all time
Where would Han Solo have been without the Millennium Falcon? Would Mad Max have survived the wasteland if not for his Interceptor? And what kind of adventure would Marty McFly have had sans the DeLorean DMC-12? Without their vehicles of choice, cinema's greatest heroes would have amounted to a whole lot of nothing.
So here's techradar's tribute to the greatest rides of the silver screen. From interstellar spaceships to roaring muscle cars, these are the vehicles that have made grown men weep and small children dream. Punch it!
Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)
"What a piece of junk!"
She may not look like much, but the Millennium Falcon most certainly has it where it counts. Smuggling vessel for the notorious Han Solo (contender for the title of cinema's coolest space pirate) and his loveable sidekick Chewbacca (contender for the title of cinema's coolest space carpet), the Millennium Falcon's an unreliable ride, constantly breaking down and requiring repairs, but she comes through for our heroes when they need her most.
Capable of making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs – we can only assume that's a boast-worthy achievement – the Falcon's jump to lightspeed has to be one of the coolest images in all of science fiction. And we've no doubt it's inspired a generation of scientists to toil away at figuring out how to make the stars elongate into bars of light before launching across space.
V8 Interceptor (Mad Max)
The wasteland is a world of fire and blood, where life is cheap, and you can either move for die. Fortunately Max Rockatansky has his trusty V8 Interceptor to escape the murderous gangs, or to pop up to the shops for milk.
Based on a 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT coupe, the Interceptor is a heavily-customised road machine. By the time it appeared in the second Mad Max film, The Road Warrior, large fuel tanks had been installed on its rear and anyone trying to steal its fuel would find themselves on the explode-y end of a booby trap.
Max's ride also packs a supercharger, though he's forced to limit its use to times when he really needs it – if you think fuel's expensive now, just wait until the apocalypse.
Light Cycle (Tron)
The Light Cycle debuted in the original Tron way back in '82. But if we're honest, the bike that really gets our engines running is the incredibly sleek 5th-generation that appeared in 2010's Tron: Legacy.
While it looks like the designer took some cues from the Batman Forever Batmobile – particularly where the blue light detailing is concerned – the Light Cycle proved so popular that a number were designed and sold to the general public with prices of up to $77,000.
Powered by liquid energy, Tron's cycles produce light ribbons that form the basis of racing tournaments – like dangerous games of Snake. These light ribbons create a wall in the bike's wake, and if riders hit one of these walls they're out of the game – a fate we'd be more than willing to risk if it meant adding a Light Cycle to the techradar garage.
Optimus Prime (Transformers)
There's conflict within the techradar office over which Optimus Prime should be included here. Do we choose the Prime from the 1986 animated film (arguably the best of his cinematic outings), or the more recent live action incarnation?
We'll settle for the latter, and while we understand readers will have reservations, whatever you think of Michael Bay's interpretation of the Robots in Disguise, there's no denying that driving around in his version of the Autobot leader would be impossibly cool.
With a flame paint job that'll make you proud to embrace your inner redneck, everything about this Optimus Prime screams "Look at how badass I am!" Plus, having a truck that transforms into an enormous robot warrior in the face of any road rage is a highly appealing bonus.
DeLorean DMC-12 (Back to the Future)
We'd trade a Maybach Exelero (worth $8 million) for the chance to get behind the wheel of Marty McFly's beat up DeLorean.
A plutonium-powered time machine, Back to the Future's four-wheeled star was built by Doc Brown after slipping on his toilet while hanging a clock in 1955. When he came to he had a vision of the time machine's core component – the flux capacitor – but it would take him 30 years to finally complete it.
Capable of zipping into the past if it reaches 88 mph (142 km/h), the DeLorean is responsible for parading the awesomeness of gullwing doors throughout history.
When asked why he used a DeLorean as the core for his time machine, the good doctor replied: "If you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?"
Helicarrier (The Avengers)
If you're going to coordinate the world's most powerful team of superheroes, you might as well do it from the most awesome military vehicle ever conceived, right?
A cross between a helicopter and an aircraft carrier – no originality points for whoever named it – the helicarrier is Nick Fury's home away from home.
While a fleet of three more heavily-armed 'carriers made an appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, they didn't last long. Cap didn't like the implications of a fleet of flying super weapons with long-range precision guns capable of monitoring the whole planet. It's hard to argue with him.
'68 Ford Mustang GT (Bullitt)
Time for something a little more grounded, but no less awesome.
Steve McQueen's Mustang is the most iconic muscle car in history. And its duel with a pursuing 1968 Dodge Charger R/T is one of cinema's best car chases – one that ends rather painfully for some incinerated hitmen.
Two 325hp Mustangs with four-speed manual transmissions were used in the shooting of the sequence. Both featured engines, brakes and suspension heavily modified by the veteran car racer Max Balchowsky, and the cars reached speeds of up to 180 km/h (110 mph) during shooting.
The sequence inspired decades of Mustang sales, and in 2008 Ford built the Mustang Bullitt to mark the 40th anniversary of the film.
Who you gonna call?
As essential a part of the Ghostbusters' arsenal as their proton packs, the Ecto-1 is how Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, and Zeddemore get to the scene of the latest ghostly goings on.
Based on a 1959 Cadillac that was used as both an ambulance and a hearse, the Ecto-1 is a fitting ride for our favourite team of spectre stalkers, with enough room to carry the whole crew, their proton packs, and the stomp-activated traps they use to store busted ghosts.
The Batmobile (Batman)
Yes, we've already done a feature on the evolution of the Batmobile, but it's still more than deserving of a place on this list.
No matter which incarnation you prefer (sleek limousine, heavily-armoured tank), the 'mobile is undoubtedly one of best movie vehicles of all time, if not the best period. With a jet engine at its rear, flanked by a pair of bat wings, and that none more black paint job, it's an intimidating ride.
Crammed from tip to afterburner with an incredible arsenal of gadgets – each more improbable than the last – the Batmobile is the ultimate tech-lover's set of wheels.
Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger)
James Bond has always had a taste for the finer things in life, and that applies as much to cars as it does alcohol, women, and cheesy one-liners.
The Aston Martin DB5 has appeared in six Bond films, from its first appearance in Goldfinger to *spoilers* an unfortunate end in the most recent, Skyfall.
Earlier incarnations feature some typically out-there tech. The Goldfinger incarnation includes guns mounted behind the front indicators, a bullet shield protecting the rear window, and three-way revolving number plates, while the Goldeneye DB5 has a teleprinter that's disguised as a CD player, and a champagne cooler for Bond's last-minute romantic entanglements.
007 has had more than his fair share of incredible cars over the years, but the DB5 will forever remain the ultimate Bond-mobile.
- techradar's Movie Week is our celebration of the art of cinema, and the technology that makes it all possible.