Concept cars from movies

A six-wheel convertible, Lexus spacecraft and other models that passed the casting.

Often cars play a movie role not smaller than live actors. The car can be an embodiment of the main character (Walter White’s Pontiac Aztec from ‘Breaking Bad’), one of the main locations (the Cadillac Sedan DeVille in ‘Green book’), and sometimes even the main villain (the Plymouth Fury in ‘Christine’ based on Stephen King’s novel). But if you need to show the future in the movies, you can use concept cars.

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Take, for example, the Durango 95/Probe 16 created by brothers Peter and Dennis Adams, Marcos’s former designers. In 1969, it was one of the lowest cars in the world: the height of the body is 86 cm. This car with this height managed to fit a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine from the Austin 1800 sedan and two full seats. The only way to get into the bright orange compartment was through the sliding section of the roof – the low car didn't need a door.

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But what made Durango 95 famous was not its look or the roots from British Leyland. In 1971, it became the car of Alex DeLarge’s gang – he was the protagonist in the movie ‘Clockwork orange’. There are few things that can complement the image of a group of psychopaths better than a poisonous orange two-door car, rushing through the forest thicket. Director Stanley Kubrick praised the Probe 16, which, however, still did not become a financial success – only three copies were built, one of which now stands in the Petersen Automobile Museum in Los Angeles.

The Durango 95, rushing under accompaniment of Gioachino Rossini’s opera and blinding oncoming cars — this scene became one of the most famous in cinematography, but the movie was banned in the UK, Ireland and Singapore

However, Kubrick's film is an exception to the rule: it is difficult to expect an abundance of bright cars in it with a budget of $2 million. But Hollywood pictures are often full of unusual concepts. This is best seen in science fiction films. Take, for example, the 1993 action movie ‘Demolition Man’, which shows the events of the ‘30s — the streets of the future America are packed with futuristic Cadillacs, Chevrolets and Pontiacs. Each of the cars is a true concept of the late ‘80s.

The GM Ultralite Concept played the role of a patrol carThe Pontiac Protosport 4 concept with butterfly doors constantly appeared in moviesThis Chevrolet Corvette Stingray III Concept even participated in the chase. It is a bit of a pity that the production Corvette of the early ‘90s did not look like thisThe Pontiac Banshee is worthy of its own movie. A 4-liter V8 and a five-speed manual transmission - the car is completely on the move

This is not even half of the concept cars shot in ‘Demolition Man’. So, General Motors can be included in the cast next to Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes — this company has turned the fantastic action movie into a two-hour exhibition.

GM did not stop at ‘Demolition Man’: a couple of cars of the concern also slipped through in the picture ‘The 6th Day’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the main role. One of the cars, the GM HX3 Hybrid MPV, even managed to star in both pictures at once. The other one, the Pontiac Montana Thunder, was produced later, joining the Buick GL8, Chevrolet Trans Sport, Oldsmobile Silhouette and Opel Sintra.

Having played the role of an ordinary family van in ‘Demolition Man’, the GM HX3 Hybrid was re-qualified as a taxi in ‘The 6th Day’The Pontiac Montana Thunder concept skillfully mimicked an SUV. It also had a 4-liter V6, retractable headlights, and a small TV in the cabin.

If the writers of ‘Demolition Man’ looked into 2032, then 'Minority Report’ by Steven Spielberg takes place in 2054. Which country's manufacturers most often dream of the distant future? Right, Japanese. The Lexus 2054 with a V6 engine from Chevrolet was designed specifically for this movie.

It is true that the Lexus was an electric car, but the Japanese designers could not dream of suitable units in 2002. The plot did not end there: the bright red concept could move on autopilot, fix itself, change the color of the body at the touch of a button, and instead of the ignition key, it had a system for recognizing the owner's DNA.

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A total of several cars were assembled, and four are known for certain: two red coupes (one with an original interior design, the other without interior), a silver Roadster and a black coupe, which was put up for sale on eBay in 2002.

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The minimum price of the car was $88,000, about two-thirds of the cost of its creation. In 2016, another seller wanted to get $95,000 for a replica of the Lexus 2054, but the buyer was not found.

Unlike previous films, ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ describes the past (the end of the 19th century), but this did not prevent the concept car from being shown in the frame. It was the six-wheeled Nautilus convertible, which was owned by Captain Nemo himself, can be placed in the dictionary next to the word «redundancy».

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Its length is 6.7 meters, width is 2.74 meters, and the diameter of each of the six wheels is 24 inches. It was built on the chassis of one of the Land Rovers, and the V8 engine was also taken from there. Throughout the body there are figures made of metal in the Victorian style created by Carol Speer (the film's production designer), and the interior is finished in beige leather. By the way, in 2015, the Nautilus was put up for auction, where it was estimated at £18,000-£25,000. It's not a big price to pay for a battleship on wheels.

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The Nautilus was invented only for the sake of the film — there was no financial background in the creation of the six-wheeled «orphan». But the nameplate on the hood of the hero's car is often determined by the size of the suitcase with money donated by the manufacturer. One of the most successful examples is Audi, whose cars are now seen in every Marvel movie. This marketing strategy began in the early 2000s.

In 2003, the Germans released the Audi Le Mans quattro concept. It is difficult not to recognize the production Audi R8 released four years later in it. After several exhibitions, the Le Mans Quattro, like many other concepts, could be exhibited in the brand’s museum, but it found a more interesting application. Its exterior was completely redesigned, the wheels were covered with plugs, and the doors were converted into «opposite butterfly wings». The resulting concept was named the Audi RSQ and went straight to the set of the film «I, robot» based on the works of Isaac Asimov.

This is what the Audi Le Mans quattro looked likeAnd this is the RSQ modified for the movie

Two layouts were added to the concept. One of them was used for shooting close-ups, and the second — for the scene with the accident. With this stroke of genius, Audi killed not just two, but several birds with one stone: it worked out the design of the future R8, showed the RSQ on the big screen, and received the EACA Euro Effie award for a successful advertising campaign. And all this with the help of a single car!

This success could not be overlooked by competitors. The best lesson learned from Chevrolet, which showed their future models with the help of movies about Transformers. It all started with the first part of the film. The key role was given to Bumblebee, which was turning into a fifth-generation Camaro concept. What is funny, Bumblebee clashed in his first battle with Barricade, which turned into… Ford Mustang!

The 2007 Chevrolet Camaro Concept. The name "Bumblebee" was so firmly attached to the Camaro that the production petrol car was available to order with the Autobot emblems all over the bodyThis police Saleen S281 Extreme caused a lot of troubles to the yellow Camaro

Chevrolet went down a well-trodden path in the second film of the franchise. This time as many as five cars of the brand appeared in the film: a production Camaro in a body kit that hints at the ZL1 version, a Corvette Stingray concept, a prototype of the Volt hybrid, and a couple of Beat and Trax concepts -variations on the future Spark compact.

Chevrolet Camaro "Bumblebee"Chevrolet Corvette Stingray "Sideswipe" ConceptChevrolet Volt "Jolt"Chevrolet Beat ConceptChevrolet Trax Concept

This was just the beginning. Over the years, the franchise expanded with four more films, and its fleet grown significantly: the films were attended by the Lamborghini Aventador, the Pagani Huayra, and even the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse. However, no movie was without at least a couple of Chevrolet, and the name Camaro has become directly associated with alien robots.

Another superhero franchise was taken over by Mercedes-Benz. We are talking about the DC Comics film universe and Batman himself. In the Christopher Nolan trilogy, Bruce Wayne drove a matte-black Lamborghini, but Zack Snyder, the Director of the movie ‘Justice League’, prepared something more interesting for the hero.

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Batman drove the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo, which was invented for the racing simulator Gran Turismo 6. The virtual «silver arrow», weighing only 1.4 tons, was equipped a biturbo V8 with 585 hp. It was hardly the same as the full-size model, but the doors, as in the «toy» compartment, opened up. It was not so easy to make a model for the film: for example, due to the fact that the height of Ben Affleck, who played Batman, is 1.92 meters, the interior of the car had to be rethought. One of the catchphrases of Bruce («My superpower is money») sounded more convincing behind the wheel of the concept.

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It also happens that the brand is not associated with movie characters, but movie characters — with the brand. This is what happened to Aston Martin, which for more than half a century has been inextricably linked to James Bond movies. The Aston Martin car first appeared in the 1964 film ‘Goldfinger’. It was a DB5 driven by Sean Connery. In the most recent film, «No time to die», the audience is waiting for a whole handful of «Astons»: from the classic DB5 and V8 Vantage to the mid-engine coupe Valhalla. However, we are interested in one special car.

Aston Martin DB10 Aston Martin DB10

Have you ever wondered why after leaving the market the DB9 was replaced by the DB11 coupe? Where is the ‘missing’ number? In fact, a car with the DB10 index existed. The British sacrificed such an important place in the hierarchy for the film «007: SPECTRUM». The DB10 is a concept two-door model created for her Majesty's spy in the amount of ten copies. It was built on the V8 Vantage platform, extending the base and extending the track. The eight-cylinder engine develops 436 hp.

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To date, such a power does not surprise anyone, but the movie sports car had a couple of trumps up its sleeve. For example, the driver could eject from the cabin at the touch of a button, the car body did not take any bullets, and the DB10 could protect the agent with a built-in machine gun and flamethrower in a dangerous situation. Unfortunately, only three of the ten assembled cars have survived to this day — the rest were destroyed in the process of shooting. One of the remaining cars is exhibited in Aston Martin Museum’s, the second one is in the hands of the company involved in the shooting, and the third was auctioned off at Christie's for $3.4 million.

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Finally, automakers sometimes get tired of inventing simple cars for movies, and designers inspire by the sky. Many people know about the flying DeLorean from ‘Back to the Future’, but what about the Lexus spacecraft? This project, called the Lexus Skyjet, was developed by Japanese designers for Luc Besson's ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ released in 2017.

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According to the authors' idea, this is how Lexuses will look in 700 years — they will have nine wings, LC coupe-style headlights and a huge radiator grille in the shape of a spindle. Of course, the technology of our time did not allow us to build a fully working prototype, but a large-scale copy was still presented in Miami in January 2017. And this is not the first time that Director Luc Besson dreams of flying cars: it is worth noting cars in 'The Fifth Element’.

The Porsche designers created something bigger: they created a space interceptor for ‘Star Wars’. It is called Tri-Wing S-91x Pegasus Starfighter and debuted last year in ‘Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker’.

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Artists from the design studios of Weissach and San Francisco tried to come up with a spacecraft that would look organically in the universe of the franchise and at the same time echoed the design of the brand’s production models. For example, the front end has headlights that somewhat resemble those of the Taycan, and the grille with a stop light behind the driver directly hints at the 911 in the 992 body. The Germans did not even bother to create a large-scale replica of the spacecraft, which was shown at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles.

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Of course, the list of “movie stars with a motor” can go on indefinitely. Both the Audi lunar rover in the horror ‘Alien: Covenant’ and the beautiful Cadillac Ciel concept in the comedy ‘Entourage’ pursue one goal: to make the audience, leaving the hall, remember the car from the movie and want the same one. If it wasn't for product placement, we wouldn't have the tuned Peugeot in ‘Taxi’ movies, and Christopher Nolan's ‘Batman’ would be without its matte-black Lamborghini. However, if it works — we are only happy with it.

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Andrew 19 June at 12:26
I'm not sure whether it's appropriate to include Captain Nemo's car from 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ to the list. The title of the article and most of the content speak about the concept cars that were attached to movies. The six-wheeled symbol of eclecticism is not even branded by anyone - it is a typical shooting prop and nothing more, which makes it not suitable to be included in this article. You might as well have included the Tumbler from Nolan's ‘Batman’.