Burn N’ Rubber: Two-Lane Blacktop (1971, Monte Hellman)
Friday, July 18 & Saturday, July 19; Midnite | Buy Tickets

This month at Nitehawk, our midnite and brunch series Burn N’ Rubber pays tribute to some of the best car movies ever made. The series features cars from the future, cars that can transform into robots, and cars that can outrun just about anything. The cars in these movies largely reflect the men and women behind the wheel, especially this weekend’s midnite feature Two-Lane Blacktop (Buy Tickets), where a pair of stoic gearheads race across the country in their primer-grey beast of a Chevy.

All of the shop talk in the office got us to thinking about our favorite cars in film, and below our blog editors Kris King and Caryn Coleman discuss some of their favorites. Buckle up!

diabolikThe Car: 1961 Jaguar E-Type
The Movie: Danger: Diabolik (1968, Mario Bava)
The Reason: When re-creating Italy’s notorious comic Diabolik for the big screen, Mario Bava knew that high style visuals were a must: from the slinky outfits to the seemingly endless cavernous lair and, of course, that perfect, sleek Jaguar. Just like John Phillip Law’s version of Diabolik, the car is veiled in black, angularly thin and agile as it dodges bullets from helicopters and escapes into the mountains after stealing some jewels. You know, the usual. There’s really not much more to say other than this car is supremely sexy. – CC

dp2The Car: 1971 Chevy Nova SS 396
The Movie: Death Proof (2007, Quentin Tarantino)
The Reason: Homicidal fall guy Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) drives a car that’s as menacing and old school as himself. Mike’s Chevy Nova is a stocky, menacing beast painted asphalt black. Its such a scuffed, affectless color that it makes the whole car look like a product of the road itself rather than a factory in Detroit. When it’s on the road, the only noticeable feature of this mean-looking muscle car is its chrome grill and those electrified skull-and-crossbones. The whole thing adds up to the automotive version of Jason’s hockey mask, a nightmare version of an everyday object. – KK

i045610The Car: Custom 1972 Volkswagen Beetle/Rolls Royce Hybrid
The Movie: Major League (1989, David S. Ward)
The Reason: For the baller on a budget, I present to you the fine ride of upstart Indians outfielder Willie “Mays” Hayes: the show stopping Beetle/Rolls Royce. A car that has all of the convenience and reliability of a Volkswagen, and all of the grace and good taste of a Rolls Royce. Don’t let those white-wall tires and mis-matched paint fool you. This car struts down the road, sending a message that the man the man behind the wheel is going somewhere in life, and he’s not going to let obstacles like lack of income or no discernible upward mobility stop him. This man, like his car, has style. – KK

christineThe Car: 1958 Plymouth Fury
The Movie: Christine (1983, John Carpenter)
The Reason: Cherry red and literally on fire, John Carpenter’s evil take on this classic car is dead on. I chose Christine because it’s a killer and, as far as dealing with evil cars from hell go, you could do a lot worse than a 1958 Plymouth Fury. Fury, get it? Still, what a nightmare situation for a young man who is finally able to own a car (and a cool one at that) that not only needs fixing up but, apparently, his entire being. – CC

smokeyThe Car: 1977 Pontiac Trans-Am Special Edition
The Movie: Smokey and the Bandit (1977, Hal Needham)
The Reason: Too frequently Southern culture gets associated with the pick-up truck — it’s not wholly inaccurate (This southerner drives a pick-up truck), but it omits the rich history of the ass-whoopin’ good ol’ boy speedster. Enter The Bandit’s black and gold Pontiac Trans-Am. Southerners tend to paint themselves as rebels, and nothing quite exemplifies that like smokin’ smokey in a road race. This Trans-Am is everything: it’s fast, it’s sexy and it has a giant flaming bird on the hood. And, AND! It’s a T-Top. There’s just something about a T-Top. – KK

bttf4The Car: Custom 1981 DeLorean DMC-12
The Movie: Back to the Future (1985, Robert Zemeckis)
The Reason: This almost needs no explanation as the DeLorean is perhaps the coolest car you’ll never have, never mind the fact that it is a TIME TRAVEL DEVICE. Stainless steel with car doors that go up like bird wings have become the epitome of 1980s cool that, unfortunately for most of us, we’ll only ever experience watching on the big screen.

ndThe Car: Custom 1955 Chevrolet Good Humor Ice Cream Truck
The Movie: Nice Dreams (1981, Tommy Chong)
The Reason: When it comes to cars and Cheech and Chong, Up in Smoke is the movie that first springs to mind. There’s that delivery truck made entirely of weed; Cheech’s busted-ass, much loved six-four Impala; and, hey look, Chong drove a Volkswagen with a Rolls Royce grill too! That said, our favorite C&C ride is the kushed-out Good Humor truck from the pair’s third, and best (to us, at least), movie: Nice Dreams. We love everything about that truck, from the open air cab all the way down to its red and green hubcaps. Just imagine driving that thing around on a beautiful California day. You’re making bank on pot, and your only care in the world is whether or not you should buy a new Fender with the money. Sounds like a nice retirement.

It’s such a sweet gig, in fact, that selling drugs from ice cream trucks is practically a past time here in New York. – KK