Deja Vroom – Three Times You’ve Seen that Hollywood Ride At Least Twice

This Reactor Mach II appeared in three popular 1960s TV shows.

Ever find yourself experiencing a moment of automotive deja vu while enjoying a movie? There’s good reason. Producing a blockbuster Hollywood film or hit television show ain’t cheap. So when producers find something – anything – that works, whether it’s props, costumes or sets, it gets recycled. And as we here at E3 Spark Plugs have noticed on more than one occasion, those recycled on-set items often include classic movie rides.

Here are three vehicles that have made repeat on-screen appearances in Hollywood productions:

  • 1973 Gran Torino in The Big Lebowski, X-Files and Blue Streak: If you’re a fan of Coen Brothers’ films and a car buff as well, no doubt you noticed the yellow 1973 Gran Torino that made its Hollywood debut in the 1998 classic The Big Lebowski, in which a regular guy who shares a last name with an elderly millionaire seeks to get compensated for his peed-on rug in a crazed comedy involving an angry porn tycoon, a faux severed toe, a briefcase full of dirty laundry, a a gun-toting Jewish-convert bowling buddy with anger issues and a mysterious cowboy. The Torino’s next big-screen appearance was in the 1999 Martin Lawrence film Blue Streak, another crime comedy centered on an ex-con who poses as a cop to retrieve a diamond he stole years ago. It’s final known screen time happened during Season 8, Episode 9 of the X-Files in 2001.
  • 1955 Chevy 150 in Two Lane Blacktop and American Graffiti: The 1971 road race drama Two Lane Blacktop followed the story of two men who challenge a random eccentric they meet at a gas station to a cross-country drag race against their primer gray 1955 Chevy 150. Classic crooner James Taylor drove while The Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson slung a wrench and Warren Oates, the go-go guy for odd characters of the day, played their opponent. Two years later, the car appeared in the cult classic American Graffiti, in which two high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with buddies before dawn, when each must decide his next life step. Sadly, this would be the iconic ride’s last film role, as it was wrecked in stunt, parted out and sold off.
  • Reactor Mach II in Star Trek, Bewitched and Batman: A custom car born in the Golden Era of car customizers, the Gene Winfield-designed Reactor Mach II had parts in TV’s Star Trek (appearing in a print ad and an on-set television screen) in 1966 and in Bewitched and Batman the next year. In that last appearance, the car originally known as the Autorama Special sported a tail and cat ears with the sultry Eartha Kitt at the wheel as Catwoman.

Are there other Hollywood rides you’ve noticed making multiple on-screen appearances? Post them on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.

This 1793 Gran Torino was featured in three films including the Coen Brothers classic “The Big Lebowski.”

Recognize this 1955 Chevy 150? It was featured in two early 1970s films.


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