There is plenty of fake stuff when it comes to cars in movies or on TV. The most common thing to fake is when the actors are "driving", but from what we can see through the windows we can clearly tell there's no real driving going on. Another common method of faking car related things in movies is by changing the engine sound so it will sound more aggressive in a car chase.
But these aren't the only methods of faking car stuff. Oh no, moviemakers have taken things much further than that. There are some fairly basic cheats, such as portraying cheaper, entry-level cars like the more powerful top of the line versions. Or how about replacing an expensive exotic car with a less expensive fiberglass replica? And we're not just talking about one that will be used to film a crash - we have a couple of examples where the fake fiberglass cars have been used throughout the movie.
One movie on this list actually had high-quality replicas built for every car featured, with full steel frames and roll cages - just so they could make the crashes as realistic as possible without using computer-generated effects.
The reasons above are of course due to the costs of purchasing and potentially destroying exclusive vehicles. But there are some other fake vehicles as well, and they're built with the blessings of the car companies. Some movies on this list featured cars that weren't commercially available during filming, and they ended up using plastic versions that are so well made we'd never spot the difference.
Today it is pretty widely known that the "Ferrari 250 GT" in Ferris Bueller's Day Off was actually a kit car built on an MG chassis. What is less well known is that the company who built it was sued into oblivion by Ferrari after the movie came out.
From a distance, it appears reasonably accurate, but Ferrari aficionados can spot the differences in their sleep, from the Triumph-sourced gauges to the MGB taillights. And don’t get them talking about the bogus Borrani wire wheels. A real California Spyder cost around $300,000 back in 1986, but it is worth tens of millions today. Two of the movie replicas have been sold in auctions through Mecum, one garnering $235,000, and the second sold for a whopping $407,000.
We get to see a Ferrari FXX, driven by Tej, in the Fast And Furious 6. Except, it is not a Ferrari FXX. The guys over at Axis of Oversteer first noticed that the car didn't look quite right, then one of their readers pointed out that the red track missile is, in fact, a kit car.
It has the Ferrari badges on the nose and sides, but there's no Ferrari engine. Under the hood, there's a BMW M62 V8 out of an M5, cradled in a chrome-moly tubular chassis. Not too shabby, but it's a far cry from being an 800+ horsepower Ferrari V12 like you get in a real FXX. We're still surprised Ferrari didn't sue everyone involved with both the car and the movie.
The Dupont Pepper Grey 1967 Ford Mustang fastback depicted as a Shelby GT500 in Gone in 60 Seconds was named Eleanor after the car in the 1974 original movie. There were eleven of the fictional Mustangs created for the film, with only three of them being working cars and two were destroyed during filming.
Though not an original Shelby, its power came from a 351 Ford V8 crate engine pumping out 400 horsepower. The car featured central-mounted driving lights, fender flares, a four-speed manual transmission, lowered coilover suspension, 17-inch wheels with Goodyear F1 tires, and a faux nitrous kit. A primary “beauty” car for the film was sold through Mecum in 2013 for a staggering $1 million but licensed Eleanor replicas can be bought through Fusion Motor Company for much less.
When the dentally-challenged villain shot up James Bond's iconic Aston Martin DB5 in Skyfall, it made many an Aston Martin fan squirm in horror. After all, the DB5 is a rare car these days.
Aston Martin only made 1059 examples of the DB5 between 1963 and 1965, and even the car that originally featured in the 1964 Bond film Goldfinger was a DB4-based prototype. But don't worry - the producers of Skyfall didn't actually destroy a DB5. They actually had a 1/3 scale model of a DB5 made, and then they destroyed that instead. It's easy to see why they chose that solution - DB5s tend to sell for around $5 million or so these days.
The Need For Speed movie followed in the wake of the successful video games carrying the same name. And of course, staying true to the games it was based on, the movie featured plenty of super and hypercars made from pure unobtainium that would go on to be destroyed in spectacular ways.
Except that wasn't really the case. All the cars featured in the movie were replicas, built on a steel tube frame and powered by a reliable Chevy LS3 V8 crate engine. While this might not seem as exotic as it could've been by using real Lambos and Koenigseggs, it did allow them to do real stunts and smash the cars up instead of relying on CGI - we approve of this!
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, a company from Australia created some fairly brutal muscle machines that never made it to the States. One of them was the Ford Falcon XB GT. For the movie Mad Max, the filmmakers transformed the already cool Falcon into the "Pursuit Special" or "Interceptor" by fitting a new nose on the front end, emblazoned the body with huge flares, and tucked seriously fat tires underneath them.
The centerpiece was under the hood, or more precisely, sticking out of it. The Falcon got its power from a 351 cid V8 - and in the movie, there's a switch-activated supercharger that boosts the power of the Interceptor. But, alas, that famous supercharger was completely fake.
Tony Stark has a nice collection of automobiles, but some of them are replicas, such as the Shelby Cobra he crashes in the first Ironman movie. Another car in Stark's garage that has a whiff of fakery about it is the NSX used in the Avengers.
It's not the worst offender but the NSX in the movie wasn't a legit new NSX, it was, in fact, nothing but a 1991 NSX wrapped in a new plastic body that would probably have fallen off above 10 mph. There was a perfectly good reason for that though; when they started shooting the Avengers movie, the 2015 Acura NSX was nothing more than a concept made of plastic and dreams.
This is a weird one. Those who've never watched this movie should count themselves lucky. It's bad in every imaginable way, and there's certainly no driving at 200 mph.
The car featured in the movie is continuously referred to as an MX5, which some of our readers probably know is the same as a Miata. However, the car shown on the screen magically changes from an FC RX-7 to an S14 240SX from shot to shot. The car got stolen during filming and they had to use a different one as they couldn't replace it due to a low budget. So, in reality, they're trying to pass off one car as another car, which they refer to as something else. How fake is that?!
The wonderfully styled BMW Z8 is perhaps Henrik Fisker's best work and was produced by BMW from 1999 to 2003. The Z8 featured in The World is not Enough was loaded with all the usual Q refinements including armor, missiles, a key chain that can control the car remotely, an infra-red tracking system, a high-sensitivity listening device and as John Cleese's character, R, proudly points out; cup holders. The Z8 ends up getting cut in half by a helicopter with a very large saw.
At the time of the filming on The World Is Not Enough, BMW only had a prototype shell and a running test car ready, so they provided Pinewood Studios with the shell and designs so they could make replica kit cars for the film.
Starring Lee Majors, Christopher Makepeace, and Burgess Meredith, the film presented an interesting early '80s dystopian view of the future where cars were banned everywhere but in California. There is some irony to that, seeing as California is now the strictest state when it comes to car emissions and modifications.
The Porsche 917/10 featured in the 1981 film The Last Chase was, in fact, a rather cheesy replica. It's barely passable as a Porsche replica at all, and we wouldn't be surprised if this movie, featuring a hero car with cracked fiberglass panels, is one of the biggest reasons why Porsche is so protective of their brand these days.
The Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 used in the film was built on the frames of Skyline GT-T models, which used similar body shells to the R34 GT-R. The R34 GT-R build for the film did not use turbochargers or all-wheel drive. With the GT-T being rear-wheel drive, the production team avoided having to remove the front driveshafts from the vehicles as they would with an R34 GT-R in order to perform burnout sequences.
Six Skylines were bought to use for the production of the film. Fiberglass replica shells of the R34 were mounted onto dune-buggy chassis for up-close and off-road sequences. Of the six genuine Skylines used, three of them were sold as part cars, two were destroyed and one was saved for potential sequels.
Redline was a bad car movie. Written and produced by Daniel Sadek, who used his own automobile collection in the film, Redline was funded by subprime loans issued by Sadek's company, Quick Loan Funding, which closed its doors in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis. It was featured on the CNBC special House of Cards as an example of the excess of the pre-meltdown mortgage market in the United States.
In addition to Sadek's cars, there's a bad replica of a Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster that was used for a crash scene. They used two Lamborghini Murcielagos for interior shots, one with a manual gearbox and another with automatic e-gear.
When accidentally visiting the wrong museum and thinking it was a Barbie museum, a family ends up stealing a car to get out of there. It's perhaps the funniest moment in the entire movie, well, unless you're a vintage Mercedes connoisseur... or perhaps a Lincoln enthusiast?
The 1930s Mercedes 770 they steal is actually not a Mercedes at all, it's a replica based on a 1935 Lincoln Hardtop Sedan. Back then, a lot of the cars had custom bodywork by one of the many coachbuilders available, so we have no problems approving of this fake movie car. Besides, most people would never notice the difference between old vintage cars like this.
When the producers of the 1971 classic Vanishing Point picked a car for main character Kowalski to drive across the US, there was only one choice - the all-new Dodge Challenger R/T - though the R/T in the movie was 440 powered.
It was the only choice because 20th Century Fox executive Richard Zanuck told them so. He wanted to do Chrysler a favor for its long-time practice of providing the studio with cars on a rental basis for only a dollar a day. So Chrysler loaned Fox five Challengers that had to be returned, making the final scene where Kowalski drives the Challenger into a pair of bulldozers a bit hard to execute. Unless you slyly substitute the Challenger for a white '67 Camaro for the end scene.
In the Miami Vice TV-show, Don Johnson's character, Sonny Crockett, drove a black 1972 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder. In reality, it was a fake built on a Corvette chassis. Still, there were a few Ferrari fans who didn't know it was fake and shed some tears when the car was blown up in front of Crockett and his pet alligator, Elvis.
Ferrari sued the makers of the replica but also offered real Ferraris to the TV show. According to legend, Ferrari offered five Testarossas - one each for main actors Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, one for producer Michael Mann and two to be used in the show. Ironically, a Testarossa replica was used for stunt work - built by the same guy who built the Daytona.
This short film was a huge inspiration to Alex Roy, the guy behind Gumball 3000's Team Polizei and coast-to-coast record breaker. It was also the inspiration behind the Getaway In Stockholm street racing series, and even Jay Leno has mentioned it on his show.
The legendary film is basically a highly illegal high-speed drive across Paris in the early morning. Filmed by French filmmaker Claude Lelouch with a 35mm camera attached to the front of a car, he also did the driving - in his own Ferrari 275 GTB. Except it actually wasn't. While the sound of the engine was the Ferrari, the actual car he used was his Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 - which actually makes it more impressive. The film is still banned in France.
The cool thing about John Wick is that it's a real car doing the driving without any CGI. Reeves also did most of the stunt driving himself after attending a performance driving school - one of the best scenes is watching him fishtail the Mustang around a wet airport parking lot, sliding it closer and closer to a row of dump trucks.
The Mustang he's driving is identified in the movie as being a "Boss 429," but that's not the case. A real Boss 429 is rare and highly collectible, one sold at auction back in 2015 for $550,000. Most likely it's a '69 Mustang Mach 1 with either a 390 V-8 or a 428. Both are plenty potent for on-screen antics.
Of course, there needs to be a horror movie centered around a 1958 Plymouth Fury on this list. Sources vary, but anywhere between 23 and 28 cars were used in the film, and not all of them were Furys. Columbia Pictures placed ads across the country looking to buy Belvederes and Savoys, too.
The illusion of Christine’s ability to regenerate herself was created using hydraulic pumps located inside the car that was attached to the sides of a plastic-paneled body double. The pumps then sucked in the sides to create a damaged version of the car, and then the film was reversed. Another deceiving trick? The sound from Christine’s engine isn’t actually a Plymouth Fury. They used a recording of a 1970 Mustang 428 Super Cobra Jet engine.
King Of The Mountain might not be a car movie masterpiece. In fact, it doesn’t even really live up to the hype of the Mulholland racing myth, other than to confirm that there really was races taking place there during the night.
The movie was based on an article entitled “Thunder Road” and premiered in 1981 to almost empty movie theaters nationwide. It had Dennis Hopper in the role as a burned out, overzealous, obsessive, half-crazed southern California street racer, and Harry Hamlin as the racing hero who beats everyone when he's driving his Porsche 356. Except the hero's car is actually a kit car based on a Volkswagen Beetle. Those who are interested in the Mulholland races could do far worse than watching this classic.
Remember the first Transformers movie when Bumblebee morphs from an old Camaro into a new one? Well, he didn't! The then-new Camaro was nothing more than a concept at the time, meaning Bumblebee was nothing more than a replica of the concept car.
The "Camaro" was built by GM and Saleen on a chopped up Pontiac GTO chassis with a Fiberglass body, made from exact molds of the Chevrolet Camaro Concept show
car. Even the "5-spoke alloy wheels" are fake - they are just wheel covers made from wheel molds of those on the concept show car. We didn't even notice!
Sources: Hagerty, Jalopnik & Motor1