The 10 Best TV & Movie Car Moments in 2015
If you didn’t know, now you know.
The intersection of automotive and popular media suffered some hits this year. An overgrown oaf dealt a blow heard ‘round the world, leading to the dissolution of the preeminent motoring show. There was a sorrowful swan song from the beloved actor who came to embody fast and furious. And Lincoln’s misfire with the perplexing McConaughey spots provided plenty of fodder for anyone with eyes. However, along with the valleys came some seriously great peaks. Let’s celebrate the apexes, shall we?
Fiat's 500X Superbowl commercial
Whether you love or hate the beefier big brother of the staple miniscule city car, Fiat’s 500, you have to respect their Superbowl ad, which shows precisely how the 500X got so swole: Viagra. Leave it to the amorous Italians to frame an entire advertisement around virility drugs.
Last Man On Earth properly tackling gas’ shelf life
Whenever anyone’s car sputters to a halt on that zombie show, someone simply siphons some petrol from a nearby ride that’s been sitting for God-knows-how-long. That fallacy is only one of the reasons we’ve taken umbrage at the show. Enter Will Forte’s genius post-apocalyptic comedy that not only has better vehicular casting but nails the science of fuel. During the second season, after a generator seizes, our befuddled protagonist discovers the gas has turned to sludge, allowing for lovely exposition from another character about how fast fuel types break down, correctly noting diesel will last longer. Thank. You.
Furious 7’s homage to Paul Walker
Walker died early into the filming of the seventh installment of the 14-year franchise, but the outpouring of feels from the car community meant there was no way he could be trimmed from the forthcoming film. Thus, with the help of his two brothers and a myriad of digital effects, the director and producers painstakingly finished Walker’s performance for him. The seamless finished product is a touching tribute to the man.
Pablo Escobar's glorious fleet of Toyota Land Cruisers in Narcos
Netflix’s hit about the meteoric rise and tumultuous fall of Colombia’s drug czar is stupendous for a number of reasons, but our favorite is the level of detail exercised when it came to casting Escobar’s wheels. The cocaine kingpin had a penchant for Toyota’s durable and rugged Land Cruisers, since they navigated the rural trafficking routes with ease. Accordingly, the show portrays a slew of FJs that are as comely as the female leads.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. chase scene between a Wartburg 311 and a Trabant 601
Watching two East German mid-60s warthogs go tete-a-tete is pretty grand. The synchronized driving sequences are sublime, however. In the flick, the Wartburg bests the Trabi, though in reality the ‘Burg was trounced by the Trabi, given a production run that lasted 25 years longer. The 601 was East Germany’s response to West Germany’s “People’s car,” VW’s Beetle, and it was as affordable, repairable and efficiently effective as the Bug.
Jay Leno's Garage was renewed for a second season
Sure, the denim-ensconced host’s comedy can often leave something to be desired, however Jay Leno knows his shit and he’s able to cram a wide swath of interesting information into his program. Our favorite gleaned tidbit from his inaugural season was that the 1938 Tatra T87 helped kill Nazis. Seriously. The three head-lamped, swooping beauty was built to be as sleek as a teardrop, so it wouldn’t use as much fuel. When Hitler’s men overtook the Czech region where the T87 was built, they were so enamored with the car, they confiscated all of them. It was so aerodynamic, people never realized how fast they were going until it was too late. As a result, in the first week of occupation, seven Nazi top commanders died crashing the Tatra. Want proof that Ledwinka’s aero design was so incredible 77 years ago? The Tatra has a .36 coefficient of drag. By comparison, the 2015 Corvette Z06 has a Cd of .37.
Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman
Adam Carolla is our kinda gearhead. He owns a fair amount of Newman’s cars so it came as a shock to nobody when he decided to compile the ultimate film about Newman’s legendary and storied racing career. It’s the best documentary about a champion driver since Senna.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The road to Valhalla is unpaved and full of pitfalls and danger, which makes the redux of the iconic film so enthralling. Factor in that every vehicle on screen was drivable, and the sequences were real, with nominal CGI added in post, and this is a greasemonkey’s dream movie. While it’s hard to overlook the stellar performances by the likes of Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy and Nicholas Hoult, the true stars are the rides being worshiped by the War Boys from the Citadel. The Cult of the V8? Where do we sign up? Let’s ride eternal, shiny and chrome.
Clarkson, Hammond and May inked their deal with Amazon
While Jezza’s cantankerous personality tanked Top Gear as we knew and loved it, we’ve still been jonesing to see that curmudgeon back on the small screen, Hamster and Captain Slow in tow. Which is why when Amazon announced they forked over gobs of money to get Clarkson back to grousing, grumbling and grunting, we were elated. Until we can get the trio behind the wheel, where they belong, at least we can watch Clarkson hawk Jeff Bezos’ drones.