Television and films cars that aren’t what they appear to be

The cars that appear in television and films are hugely iconic, and often lead to many people dreaming of selling a car they currently own to trade it in for the film model.

But there have been circumstances where the car you are seeing onscreen isn’t actually the car you think it is! Sometimes the film makers can’t get the exact car they are after, or they cannot afford to destroy the car they want to destroy. We have taken a look at a few situations where this has occurred.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferrari as seen in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Did you know that the Ferrari 250 GT in the film was actually just a kit car built on an MG chassis? When car builders Mark Goyette and Neil Glassmoyer were tasked with building three versions of the car for the film, they thought they were in for a big pay day in this line of work.

However, Ferrari was pretty annoyed with kit car makers stealing their old designs, and were even more upset when they used the Ferrari name and logo on the fakes. The early 1980’s saw an influx of these fake Ferraris, which led the car giants to take many kit car makers to court.

Goyette and Glassmoyer had to pack in their business venture, although the latter spent years after the film came out perfecting the third, unused replica into a well-oiled machine which sold for $230,000 at auction!

Miami Vice

The Ferrari Daytona from Miami Vice, also fake

Much like the Ferrari in Ferris Bueller, the Daytona that Sonny Crockett drove in Miami Vice was also a fake. Ferrari sued the makers of the replica, but offered real Ferraris to the TV show. Hollywood folklore says that five Testarossas were offered by Ferrari – One each for lead actors Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, one for the producer Michael Mann, and two to be used in the show itself.

So in season three, Crockett drove a white Testarossa, courtesy of Ferrari. Ironically though, a replica Testarossa made from a De Tomaso Pantera was used for stunt work, and was created by the same guy who built (and got sued for building) the Daytona!

Vanishing Point

When the makers of Vanishing Point were choosing a car for the main character Kowalski to drive across the U.S, they chose the then all-new Dodge Challenger R/T. Why did they pick that car? Because 20th Century Fox executive Richard Zanuck told them to.

He wanted to do Chrysler a favour for the long term service they had provided to the studio, where they rented cars for only a dollar a day! Chrysler loaned five Challengers which all had to be returned, meaning the scene where Kowalski drives the car into a pair of bulldozers was a bit difficult to execute…

The studio decided to sub the Challenger for a white Camaro for the big scene, hoping no one would notice. Quite a few people did notice, however… You can watch the video of the switch for yourself here:


1965 Aston Martin DB5 coupe. Photograph taken at a 2003 Aston Martin Owners Club event.

In Skyfall, James Bond’s iconic Aston Martin DB5 was shot to pieces and destroyed, which led to many classic car fans squirming uncomfortably in their chair. Aston Martin only made 1059 versions of the DB5 between 1963 and 1965, which means they are pretty rare.

Instead of blowing up the real car, the film makers destroyed a 1/3 scale model of a DB5, meaning next time you see the scene, you can rest assured a £4 million car was not blown up for the sake of a film!