Cars That Debuted (or Got Famous) in Movies

Aston Martin DBS

Aston Martin DBS on the set of Quantum of Solace

Sometimes a movie is nothing more than one big advertisement.

Product placement in film is perhaps the most subtle, and effective, way to advertise a car or build excitement about a new one coming soon.

That’s why it’s smart for movie studios to shack up with automotive marketing departments. The studio gets to use a hot new car, and the auto company gets months of hype while its car becomes a movie star. Pretty sweet deal. So what are the best cars to debut (or get really famous) in feature films? Read on, friend.

The Audi R8 in Ironman

Audi R8 Ironman

Tony Stark’s ride in Ironman caused more of a stir than the movie itself.

The Audi R8 Spyder V10 Convertible in Ironman 2

Audi R8 Spider Ironman 2

Now we’re getting spy shots of the latest version of the R8. This highly anticipated roadster will be offered with the same 5.2-liter V10 from the coupe, with 525 horsepower and acceleration to 62 mph in about 4.1 seconds.

The smart fortwo in Just Married

Brittany Murphy, who died unexpectedly in 2009 at age 32, introduced America to the smart car several years before it went on sale here.

The Chevy Camaro in Transformers

Chevrolet Camaro Bumblebee

Bumblebee begins the movie as a 1977 Camaro, but transforms into a 2009 model. In reality, the car used was a Pontiac GTO rebadged to look exactly like the Camaro concept car that debuted at the North American International Auto Show in 2006.

The Aston Martin DBS in Quantum of Solace

Aston Martin DBS

I feel I don’t need to justify myself in explaining why a James Bond car is included in this list. Especially an Aston Martin. If you don’t understand, just move on, because the next one is for you.

The DeLorean DMC-12 in Back to the Future

DeLorean DMC-12

Had you even heard of DeLorean prior to 1985? Had it never appeared as a time machine, you probably never would have.

The Volkswagen Beetle in The Love Bug

1963 Volkswagen Beetle Herbie

Herbie’s number 53 sparked a love affair with the Beetle that still rages on today.

I know I missed some classics that were introduced on the big screen… let me know about the ones you remember.


Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Audi R8
Used smart fortwo
Used Chevy Camaro
Used Aston Martin DBS
Used Volkswagen Beetle


  1. @ Steven
    Well, the General Lee was in a TV show rather than a movie… but yes, it’s certainly notable!

  2. I have to love the way the Aussie Holden became your “new” Camaro back in the day of the real Camaro it got a fourdoor body fitted and became GM Holdens HQ range a best seller 71-74 despite absolute crap understeer handling

  3. Has anyone seen “Thief of Hearts,” a pretty bad thriller from ’85 that featured a very young David Caruso? One of the few good things about it was the 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing featured throughout. Nice.

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