WHEN THE CAR IS THE STAR

July 13th, 2021

When you’re a car enthusiast it is hard to drag yourself away from a screen when the film, TV programme or even commercials feature a car that is fast, exotic or intriguing.

As those who wait anxiously for each new episode of Enthusiast Insurance’s @Sunday Driver series will know, there is something poetic about a vehicle being explored from a range of creative angles and in a variety of situations.

But how about when that vehicle is not being lovingly treated? When it is shrugging off a hail of machine gun fire, crashing through barricades or outrunning a hundred of the Highway Patrol’s finest?

Car chases have been a feature of film and television for a century. From North American gangster movies to cheap British murder mysteries, a car chase always sparked up the action and brought gasps from filmgoers closest to the action.

Cars used in these chase sequences were anonymous and usually black. Oldsmobiles and Packards in the USA, Wolseleys for the British police and Jaguars or Ford Zodiacs driven suicidally by the crims.

But then came James Bond with his DB5 Aston Martin, Emma Peel from The Avengers in her Lotus Elan, a bunch of enterprising burglars driving Minis on The Italian Job, Burt Reynolds’  Bandit in his black Pontiac Trans Amand of course the high jumping Dodge known as ‘General Lee’ in the Dukes of Hazzard television series.  

These cars all became icons in the true sense of the word. See a poster of an Aston with an ejector seat and Bond imagery immediately floods the mind. Same with any orange Dodge – or Valiant Charger – with ‘01’ decorating its doors; the twang of those banjos becomes overwhelming.

One of the greatest television and cinema automotive icons is the Batmobile. It had its origins in a pensioned off Lincoln Futura show car which ‘Customiser To The Stars’ George Barris transformed into a fire-spitting, nuclear powered, menace.

Batman’s influence on intergenerational culture is immense and there have of course been newer and more extreme Batmobiles. But take a look at sites where diecast collector models are sold and where highly detailed, 1960s versions of the original change hands for up to $3000.

Cars can still be stars with no human involvement at all.  The animated cast of Cars all had attributes that related to their vehicular identities and appealed to younger viewers in the same way as older film buffs would lust after a Bullitt Ford Mustang GT. Then there were others  who preferred the ethereal qualities of the white Thunderbird that wafted at various times through the teen angst action of American Graffiti.  

Even television puppets need suitably distinctive transport, as demonstrated by Lady Penelope from the Thunderbirds series who makes her covert contributions to the plot from the back seat of the six-wheeled Rolls-Royce ‘FAB1’.

Owning a car just like the TV and movie stars drive doesn’t need to involve an outlay of millions on an Aston-Martin either. If you have an old Mini and a drum of gacky green paint you can cruise around emulating Mr Bean (though not from the roof in an armchair, please) or slap some stripes and racing numbers on your VW Beetle and see it transformed into film world favourite Herbie.

Whether you have a Beetle or Bond-style Aston, a Sunbeam just like Max Smart’s or a Duke Boys’ Dodge, Enthusiast can insure it.

The distance you travel each year Is more important to us than the kind of car you drive, so for an instant quote on your superstar car, head to the Enthusiast website www.enthusiast.com.au any time of the day or night and check the amount you could save.

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