When we tune into our favorite movies and TV shows, we’re often easily immersed in the drama that unfolds and we find ourselves lost within the storyline. It’s a great distraction to our daily lives, and a great opportunity to kick back with loved ones, relax, and get entertained!
More often than not, the average on-looker is pleasantly unaware of the fact that much of what they’re seeing is so incredibly fake. Plastic food looks perfect on the fake bun and still makes us salivate. We should know better, right? Well, some of us do – we can spot the falsities from a mile away. In all fairness, sometimes it’s really easy because the things we’re looking at are portrayed so obviously incorrectly. However, at other times, you have to really be in a critical mode of thinking to uncover the subtle hints that lead you to identify the fake features of what you’re seeing.
In the world of movies and TV, cars often steal the spotlight. Sometimes, they’re actually the main characters! While some movie and TV producers remain true to the authenticity of the vehicles they’re featuring, some cut all kinds of corners to give the façade of the real deal. Big bucks go into production, and with many cars being intentionally demolished in the process of filming, it wouldn’t make sense to use real cars for that purpose! Let’s take a look at 10 movies and 10 TV shows that used copycat cars to see if you were aware of all of them!
20 Movies - Need For Speed: Shelby Mustang
This is an obvious one to start with. Hinged on the wildly successful video games, this movie boasted a stunning Shelby that looked, and sounded the part. We all tuned in to see the quest Aaron Paul went on with this car, and we easily bought into the “work” he put into building it. Well, kind of!
This car was actually a replica, power by a Chevy V8. On the upside, they did actual stunts with it, and the sound was dubbed by the real sounds of the ‘Stang. It was great to look at through the entire movie, and was replicated perfectly!
19 Movies - James Bond; The World Is Not Enough: BMW Z8
We’re hoping you were able to identify this one as a fake since there were missiles launched from the sides and it had an infra-red system installed. You guessed it – prototype! There were actually several cars created and used for this movie. The kit cars were designed specifically for this set and carefully detailed to match one another perfectly.
With so much on-set demand for this vehicle, it’s no wonder they blasted through so many of them. This was one of our favorites, and we admit the aesthetic was kept pretty realistic, minus the special powers it had!
18 Movies - Top Gun: 1958 Porsche Speedster
Back when Tom Cruise was in his glory days, this movie owned the limelight, as did the cars that were featured in it. The Porsche in this flick sure got a lot of screen-time, and it was hard not to fall in love with it, right from the start. We should probably let you know that you had fallen in love with a replica though.
This car was nothing more than a creative fiberglass body, mounted on top of a VW Beetle frame. A reputable replica maker known as Intermeccanica gets all the credit for this one. They’re widely used on movie sets in California, and we give them kudos for maintaining the integrity of the Porsche’s design. This was so well done, we had no idea this was a copy-cat.
17 Movies - Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: 1960 Ferrari 250 GT
Of course, this one made our list. It was hard to keep our eyes away from this fabulous car. Or, shall we say, the copycat car. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as this one was actually just a superbly designed replica. If you look closely enough, you’ll see the MGB tail lights and the fake wire wheels.
We’ll admit this car is only real at first glance. Anyone who knows anything about this vehicle’s specs would have noticed the inadequacies after taking a closer look. Given that the true value of the vehicle is $12 million, we can see why they chose to get creative instead of buying one!
16 Movies - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: 1935 Auburn 851 Speedster
This was such an obvious fake. We wish they spent a little bit more time and money on the duplication of this car. The discrepancies between the real car and the fake one would be too numerous to list, and it would just be easier to try finding the one or two authentic-ish features that were somewhat-visible.
For a movie of its caliber, they could have done more to duplicate this car with greater detail, as there was so little about this car that was true-to-form. The car chase in this knock-off vehicle was pretty epic though, so we may just let this one slide based on sheer entertainment value!
15 Movies - Gone In 60 Seconds: 1967 Shelby Mustang GT 500
Oh Eleanor, how admired you’ve become! This fastback stole every scene, and her name was every bit as recognizable as Nicholas Cage’s name was. The real ’67 Shelby was a beast of a car, with 355 horses that would impress any driver. The current value of this impressive machine is reported as being well over $1,2 million; so understandably, this wasn’t featured in the movie in its true form.
While Nicholas Cage certainly made it believable, and the production crew made it look authentic, Eleanor was actually comprised of 11 kit cars that were powered by a Ford V8. We don’t care, we still love her!
14 Movies - Avengers 2015 Acura NSX
We all remember Tony Starks’ car! This wasn’t an easy one to forget! Although this was fun to watch and there was some decent entertainment value associated with it, we sadly report that the series of replica cars used in this movie was incredibly cheaply made.
They used the cheapest plastic that could be found, and truthfully, this “car” was nothing more than a prop on the set. We aren’t just giving you our opinion here, we’re serious – this artificial NSX was designed to look at, not to use. The plastic frame was so light that it would have fallen apart if moved faster than 10 mph.
13 Movies - Transformers: Camaro
This Camaro was likely the most famous car in this movie-derived from Bumblebee, of course! With an ode to the yellow coloring, it’s important to remember that this was just a concept car at the time of the production of this movie. The aesthetics were great on this one though. Who would have guessed that this car was actually completely designed using fiberglass on the frame of a Pontiac GTO?
Clearly, this movie was not designed to be true-to-life, so the cars depicted shouldn’t have that sort of expectation either. Regardless, this car is great, and looks like it would be a fun drive!
12 Movies - Christine: 1958 Plymouth Fury
You guessed it- copycat! Rough estimates declare at least 25 Christine rides were used for this movie. Oddly, not all of them were even the same type! Brands like Savoy and Belvedere were used and the discrepancies are easy to see if you look closely enough. Most viewers were too caught up in the horror scenes to notice!
The car had a great engine sound in this movie, thanks to the engine being dubbed in via another source. They did a decent job of creating a car with a defined identity, albeit not a very authentic one.
11 Movies - John Wick: Mustang Boss 429
This car’s popularity is heightened by the fact that Keanu Reeves is driving it! As an actual bike and car enthusiast, he’s innately believable so it’s easy to fall into the rhythm of the movie and get lost in the scene. The way he meshes with the vehicles he drives make them seem oh-so-real, but this one definitely was not.
We shouldn’t be surprised though, given the fact that the value of this beast is well over $600,000. They really did justice to this car in this case. It looked real and there were no real indicators to trigger us to think otherwise.
10 TV - Miami Vice: 1972 Ferrari 365 GTS Daytona Spyder
This car was so, so fake. So fake, in fact, that the show ended up getting sued by Ferrari! Ouch! That can’t be a good sign for anyone! We suppose the producers and crew behind the show had ultimately found some sort of happy medium in their negotiations with the higher-ups at Ferrari, as they somehow managed to have Ferrari donate real cars to the set for future use.
Starting with a fiberglass car mounted atop a Corvette chassis, and moving into the real fine motor and stylish detailing of the real-deal vehicle is quite an accomplishment to brag about.
9 TV - Friends: Porsche 911
Appropriately titled “The One With Joey’s Porsche,” this episode was underrated, as true fans of the show consider it to be a favorite. Known to sport Porsche caps, jackets, and gear, it was not exactly a secret that Joey loved his Porsches. This episode had us all chuckling when it was discovered that his car was a fake. So many scenes were shown with the perfect contouring of a Porsche 911 under a car cover, and Joey decked out in the Porsche-gear, acting like a proud owner.
We were all fooled when it was revealed that the car was nothing more than a bunch of boxes under the car cover! Don’t worry folks, the Porsche given to Monica by her father, and the one that Rachel drove, were both real ones!
8 TV - Dukes Of Hazzard: 1969 Dodge Charger
This category just couldn’t be complete without mention of General Lee! Quite easily, this is the show that put the Dodge Charger on the map and engrained its popularity into society. This car was the ride we all wished we had. It started out as a green car with an automatic transmission and was further customized with a push-bar welded into the front bumper and modifications made to the gas tank.
Multiple paint jobs saw the evolution of the car’s stripe, over time. General Lee remains one of the most instantly recognizable cars of all-time with over 40,000 fakes sold at auction for ridiculous amounts of money.
7 TV - Nash Bridges: 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda
This cop show based in San Francisco was a riot – obviously, it was a fun time both to make the show, and to watch it, since it featured Cheech Marin! The ‘Cuda in this show was drool-worthy. Anyone who knows cars is well aware that the real-deal version of these wheels are worth well over a million dollars now, so it’s not surprising that they used a fake, $50,000 version to make this show, instead!
They made it seem like we were all admiring the more expensive version of this car, and they did a great job of it, as most of us were completely duped!
6 TV - Miami Vice: 1986 Ferrari Testarossa
This car is a head-turner and boy did it ever turn more than a few heads. It was predominantly featured in the early years of the show, and it left its viewers green with envy. Sonny Crockett was the driver of this beauty, and it definitely made a real mark in the show, with numerous features, and stunts. Thankfully, no real Ferraris were harmed in the making of this show!
The Ferrari that was used for stunts was originally a black car which was later painted white and sat nicely on a Corvette chassis. Michael Mann, who produced the show, was quoted by the Hollywood Reporter as saying,” I would never beat up a real Ferrari in the grueling stunt work involved in filmmaking.”
5 TV - Thunderbirds: Rolls Royce
Pink Rolls Royce, anyone? Would you like 6 wheels? We pretty much had it figured out that this was not the real-deal, due to its quirky features. Owned by Lady Penelope, and often driven by her butler, Parker, this car featured the license plate “FAB 1” and was easily recognizable.
This funky-looking Rolls-replica car gained instant fame on the small screen and people tuned in to see it regularly. It’s safe to assume this was heavily modified, and based on current designs, we can see this vehicle was not one whose design made it to the manufacturing plant!
4 TV - My Mother The Car – 1928 Porter
This TV show from the mid-sixties featured a Porter replica which was pretty much the core of the plot line. The premise of the show was based on the fact that the owner of this car was being approached by a car collector who was bidding on the vehicle. In actuality, 3 of these stunners were built for use on the show’s set.
They were built on top of a 1924 Model T body and powered by a Chevy 283 V-8 engine. This was a fictional car that incorporated parts from a Maxwell & Hudson, and was far from real on any level!
3 TV - The Monkees: 1966 Pontiac GTO
What would the Monkees be without the Monkeemobile? With so much pressure on one car, it only made sense to have a few of them to rely on. This popular 60’s show used two very basic 1966 GTO convertibles, each powered by a V8. It was believed that there were two of these cars built for the set and that one of them was actually purchased by George Barris, the original maker of the TV Batmobile.
He got his hands on it after the show ended and sold it at auction for a whopping $396,000 price tag. Not a bad turnaround!
2 TV - The Rockford Files: Pontiac Firebird Esprit
We give this show credit for not completely abandoning original cars for fiberglass! Instead, they used real Firebirds…just not the Esprit, per se! Firebird Formula 400s were “dressed up” as Esprits for this series. The cars still had a decent motor thrown in and were boosted with Trans Am suspension.
The real spoilers were removed for some reason, and the hood was replaced and touched up. They did a good job of it, no complaints from us on this one!
1 TV - New Magnum PI: Ferrari 458 Spyder
We have to say it – everything about this show is a knock-off. The actor isn’t the one we want to see, and neither is the car. Sorry, but some things are best left in the original form, and these are both great examples of why that’s the case!
This fake Ferrari is a GM body that’s been jazzed up. According to Auto Blog, the dead-giveaway is the round instrument cluster that is clearly visible from any interior shot or angle. That said, we weren’t fooled – just disappointed!
Sources: Hollywood Reporter, Fox News & AutoBlog