Throughout film history, one particular genre has always persisted. Unlike genres like drama, action, horror, thriller, comedy, animation, or even musicals, however, this one seems to be more discreet. Car movies may be recognized as generally great but they seemed to be further classified according to mainstream genres, too. Nonetheless, everyone can see that car movies are here to stay. After all, who can resist fast cars involved in some incredible car chases and track races?
Over the years, a number of car movies have already been made. Some are full of high-octane action. These include the likes of Gone In 60 Seconds, Drive, Mad Max, Bullitt, The Driver, Vanishing Point, Le Mans, and more. Meanwhile, other car movies went on to launch successful franchises. These include The Transporter and The Fast and the Furious. Meanwhile, some car movies also went on to become animated. One of the more recent ones is Disney's Cars, which also went on to become a film franchise.
With all this variety, it's impossible that you have not checked out a car movie at some point. And once you have watched them, it has probably become impossible for you to forget about some of the locations these were shot in.
Fortunately, some of these car movie sets are still around. Some are just a short drive away. Some may require a road trip. Meanwhile, others would take a trip to another country to check out. Curious what these sets are? We've come up with a list to help you plan your trip:
25 Quality Coffee Shop, Gone In 60 Seconds (2000)
The remake of the 1974 film Gone In 60 Seconds may not have been well received by critics. Nonetheless, it’s worth watching the film just to see Nicholas Cage and Angelina get involved in one of the most daring fictional car heists in history. One of the most memorable locations in the movie that you can still visit is the Quality Coffee Shop. In the movie, this is where Cage’s character consults with his mother. According to Movie-Locations.com, the café can be found at 1238 West Seventh Street in downtown Los Angeles.
24 Johnie’s Coffee Shop, Gone In 60 Seconds (2000)
Another set that is most likely familiar to anyone who watched the remake of Gone In 60 Seconds is Johnie’s Coffee Shop. As Movie-Locations.com has explained, “Along with Sway, Memphis steals Stacy from outside another screen star, Johnie’s Coffee Shop, Wilshire Boulevard, opposite the golden cylinder of the old Macy’s department store at Fairfax Avenue in Midtown.” Today, Johnie’s Coffee Shop is already closed. Nonetheless, it continues to be used as a film set from time to time. In fact, it was featured in American History X, Miracle Mile, and Reservoir Dogs.
23 Bob’s Frolic Room, Gone In 60 Seconds (2000)
Another set that is probably recognizable in the 2000 remake of Gone In 60 Seconds is Bob’s Frolic Room. Located at 6245 Hollywood Boulevard, this is described as a “Thirties neon-fronted dive bar with a great jukebox.” Moreover, according to Movie-Locations.com, this is where Shannon was stolen from in the movie. Aside from Gone in 60 Seconds, this location also appeared in other films. In fact, the bar inside Bob’s Frolic room was also used as a hangout for Kevin Spacey’s character in LA Confidential.
22 Bill's Beer, Pool & Gas Store, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry
For a lot of movie buffs, the film Dirty Mary Crazy Larry has always been enjoyable. Starring Peter Fonda, Susan George, and Adam Roarke, the film centers on three outlaws who are trying to outrun the police after holding up a grocery store. In the movie, the trio moved around in a lime green 1969 Dodge Charger. And at some point, they stop by Bill’s Beer, Pool & Gas Store to play pool and lay low. According to the website Movie-Locations.com, this store can still be found at 19500 H-26 at Flood Road 5200N in Linden, California.
21 Riverside International Raceway, The Love Bug
It may not be intense and supercharged with action, but there are still many reasons to enjoy watching The Love Bug. The Love Bug is a delightful comedy about a race car driver and his mechanic who find themselves in possession of Volkswagen Beetle that’s got a mind of its own. A part of this Disney movie was filmed on the Riverside International Raceway track in California. According to the Riverside International Automotive Museum, the track was opened back in 1957. And it remained in active use until 1989.
20 Great Ocean Road Beachfront House, Mad Max
The 1975 movie Mad Max has truly become an unforgettable classic. For starters, it starred the likes of Mel Gibson, Tim Burns, Joanne Samuel, Steve Bisley, and Hugh Keays-Byrne. Moreover, its storyline is quite interesting: an Australian policeman who is determined to stop a motorcycle gang. It’s no wonder that this movie went on to launch a film franchise. If you had seen Mad Max, you would be familiar with the Great Ocean Road Beachfront House. This is the place where Max lived with his wife and son.
19 Spotswood Pumping Station, Mad Max
Aside from the beachfront house, another familiar set from the film Mad Max would be the Spotswood Pumping Station. According to the website Mad Max, the exterior shots of the Main Force Patrol (MFP) headquarters were done here. And in case you want to check out this place, you can find it on Douglas Parade, Spotswood in Victoria, Australia. And in case you’re wondering, the interior shots of the headquarters were shot elsewhere. Hence, you would really need to go around the area to check out all of the movie’s filming locations.
18 Little River Hotel, Mad Max
If you were following the Toecutter’s outfit closely in Mad Max, you would be familiar with the pub where they went to have a drink. According to the website Mad Max, this can be found at the old Little River Hotel in Victoria, Australia. Today, the Little River Hotel still stands. However, it is now known as the Little River Bed and Breakfast. Aside from Mad Max other Hollywood productions such as The Eye of the Storm, The Pacific, and Ghost Rider were also filmed here.
17 Craigieburn Auto Wreckers, Mad Max
In Mad Max, there was an auto wreckers shop known as the Craigieburn Auto Wreckers. In the movie, this is the wrecking yard that Max’s family would visit. This is also where the Toecutter’s bike underwent repair. Today, there isn’t much of the structure left since the buildings were demolished sometime in 2000. Moreover, it seems the area is now a private property so in case you decide to pay a visit, you can probably just check out the site from the outside.
16 Clunes, Mad Max
Now any eagle-eyed fan of the movie Mad Max would probably recognize the town of Clunes, which is located in North Western Victoria, Australia. Clunes is the town that ended up getting invaded by the Toecutter’s gang. Furthermore, according to the website Mad Max, “The shop that the bikies throw a towns-person out of is now a respectable cafe. The wide streets are still much the same as seen in the film. The railway station is also at the same location.”
15 South Lawn Car Park, University of Melbourne, Mad Max
With filming for the movie Mad Max taking place in both Victoria and Melbourne, Australia, it only made sense that the production crew would eventually find themselves at the University of Melbourne. After all, it’s got a parking lot that’s been a popular film set for some time. As explained on the university’s website, “Our legendary underground car park is one of the University’s most in-demand locations. With its gothic-like arches and shadowy atmosphere, the car park has featured in many films and television series over the years.” In Mad Max, Max picked up his motor here.
14 Pretty Sally Roadhouse, Mad Max
Fans of the movie Mad Max are most likely familiar with the roadhouse where Goose had been seen eating. This is none other than the Pretty Sally Roadhouse, which is located on the Northern Highway. In case you’re curious, this place has quite an interesting backstory. According to Movie-Locations.com, “The place already seems to have a history of vehicular disasters. The story goes that Sally Smith, known locally as Pretty Sally, operated an unlicensed hotel on the site in the 1840s, before dying in an accident when her cart hit a stump and she fell under its wheels.”
13 South Melbourne Gasworks, Port Melbourne, Mad Max
As we have mentioned before, the interior shots of the MFP headquarters were not filmed at the exact same place as the exterior. Specifically, the interior shots were done at the old South Melbourne Gasworks in Port Melbourne, which has since been renovated. As explained by Movie-Locations.com, “After natural gas reserves were discovered around Australia in 1960, the site closed down and, at the time of filming, was abandoned. Since then, the complex has been redeveloped as Gasworks Arts Park, occupying eight acres of parkland – the heritage industrial buildings now housing theatres, art galleries, studios, and workshop spaces.”
12 Silverton, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is the follow up to the original Mad Max, movie which was released back in 1981. And some would argue that it is better than the first film. In fact, the website Rotten Tomatoes explains that the movie is “proof that not all sequels are inferior to their originals.” The website added, “If anything, this brutal sci-fi action film is even more intense and exciting than its predecessor, although the state of its post-apocalyptic world has only become worse.” For the film’s opening chase, filming was done in Silverton, Australia.
11 Mundi Mundi Plains, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
Some scenes in the movie Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, including the opening chase, also featured the long and winding Mundi Mundi Plains in Australia. Today, this spot is open to visitors. In fact, according to the New South Wales official tourism website, “The Mundi Mundi plains lookout is on the edge of the world! From the top of the hill, the flat lands of the Mundi Mundi plains stretch out for an eternity. Take a self-guided walk and take a champagne picnic! Visiting at dusk and watching the sun dip behind the alluvial fans on the edge of the vast plains is an unforgettable experience.”
10 Crocodile Harry's Underground Nest, Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome
With the relative success of Mad Max 2, it wasn’t long before Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome was released. The 1985 movie still featured Mel Gibson as Max. Meanwhile, he was also joined by stars like Bruce Spence and Tina Turner. One of the scenes in the movie was filmed at Crocodile Harry's Underground Nest. This was used as Jedediah’s dugout house at the end of the film. Crocodile Harry's Underground Nest is an actual dugout that belonged to a man named Crocodile Harry. Unfortunately, he had passed away back in 2006. Nonetheless, the place remains open to the public.
9 State Brickworks, Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome
Aside from the Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest, scenes for the film were also shot at the State Brickworks in Australia. According to Movie-Locations.com, “The State Brickworks, established by the NSW Government in 1911 at Homebush, an Inner West suburb, survived the various ups and downs of the housing market.” The State Brickworks was closed back in 1988 and it was scheduled to be developed into an Olympic Stadium for the 1992 Sydney games. However, endangered species of golden and green bell frogs were discovered here and the developments didn’t proceed.
8 Mermaids Cave, Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome
Another location that was utilized for Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome is the Mermaids Cave. According to Movie-Locations.com, this is “a sandstone cave near Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, about 50 miles northwest of Sydney.” Also known as the Mermaid’s Glen, this cave was named way back in 1882. The cave is easily accessible via a walking trail from the Megalong Valley Road. Once here, you can go to the Mermaids Cave Walk. According to the website, Things to do in The Blue Mountains, this is an “easy grade walk” that would take around 10 to 15 minutes.
7 Dorob National Park, Mad Max: Fury Road
Aside from the Mad Max trilogy, another follow-up movie worth checking out is Mad Max: Fury Road, which is also directed by George Miller. Starring Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, the story centers on Imperator Furiosa’s mission to find freedom for a truck full of enslaved women. Instead of Australia, production for the film took place in Namibia. Some of the scenes were shot at the Dorob National Park. According to the Namibia Tourism Board, the park “incorporates core conservation areas and multiple use areas for adventure tourism.”
6 Namib Desert, Namibia, Mad Max: Fury Road
Another famous location that was featured in Mad Max: Fury Road is the Namib Desert. According to the website The Cardboard Box Travel Shop, this dessert is “often referred to as the world's oldest desert and has been in existence for some 43 million years, remaining unchanged in its present form for the last 2 million years.” Moreover, several reports have also indicated that the filming of the movie here sparked outrage. According to a report from PRI, both residents and environmentalists complained that the film production caused some damages to the area.
5 Hawthorne Plaza Mall, The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift
The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift is a movie that belongs to the ever-growing Fast and Furious franchise. And while the title of the movie suggests that much of the high-speed action occurred in Tokyo, Japan, that wasn’t exactly the case. In fact, the garage with the spiral ramp where Lucas Black’s character, Sean, meets all the kids is the abandoned Hawthorne Plaza mall along Hawthorne Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. The Hawthorne Plaza Mall has remained vacant since the 1990s. And today, it remains to be seen if the place will be revived in the near future.
4 Ambassador College, Fast And Furious
The movie that started the successful Fast and Furious franchise was filmed all over Los Angeles, California, and Mexico. One of the scenes in the movie features the supposed headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In reality, the filming was done in the Hall of Administration of the former Ambassador College. According to Movie-Locations.com, the Ambassador College was closed back in 1997. Part of the campus has become the Maranatha High School while another part of it was turned into the Ambassador Mansion & Gardens.
3 Circuit de Charade, Grand Prix
Without a doubt, the 1966 film Grand Prix was as unforgettable as it was ambitious. Directed by John Frankenheimer, the film used a “system of harnessing an electronic remote control pan-and-tilt-head camera," which was originally intended for NASA. Furthermore, the film also boasted of appearances by Jackie Stewart, Bruce McLaren, Graham Hill, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jimmy Clark, Jack Brabha, and many other Formula 1 stars. Meanwhile, the film also famously filmed at the Circuit de Charade in France. The track hosted the Grand Prix back in the 1960s and 70s.
2 Cobstone Windmill, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The 1968 movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a true classic. After all, it’s a fantasy musical and a car movie all in one. What’s more, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang also stars some of the most famous faces in Hollywood at that time—Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, and Lionel Jeffries. If you’re a huge fan of this movie, then taking a trip to Buckinghamshire in the United Kingdom must be on your bucket list. After all, this is where you can find the Cobstone Mill, Caractacus Potts’ windmill home in the movie, according to the website Movie-Locations.com.
1 Ascot Speedway, Gone In 60 Seconds (1974) and Red Line 7000
The Ascot Park or Ascot Speedway was originally known as the Los Angeles Speedway. It’s a dirt racetrack that was located near Gardena, California. And because it was quite easy to reach, it seems the speedway ended up being a set for a number of Hollywood films. In fact, the venue was featured in original Gone In 60 Seconds movie which starred H.B. Halicki, Marion Busia and Jerry Daugirda. Moreover, the same location was also featured in the racing movie Red Line 7000 which starred James Caan, Laura Devon, and Gail Hire.
Sources: Movie Locations, Riverside International Raceway, Mad Max, Visit NSW, and The Cardboard Box Travel Shop.