You know something you don’t see much of anymore? Hero vehicles. There are plenty of cool cars and stuff in movies, but distinctive vehicles that a certain character or series can be known by. It becomes part of their personality, helping to define who they are and what kind of character they are. Now, for this list, I had to define some rules. First, it can be from any genre. You’re going to see a lot of anime here, but that’s just because they have cooler vehicles than other genres. Blame the fact that Hollywood is out of creative ideas. With that in mind, no mobile suits or pieces of technology designed as weapons. It has to be a method of transportation first, potential for combat second. Let’s get down to this.
10. Trans Am 20,000 WR
If you haven’t seen this movie, go see this movie! Stop reading this post right now and go watch it! That’s not a request! That is an order, sailor! With that in mind, JP’s car is so damn cool. In a film that has some vehicles that run the gamut from absurdly-fast tanks to weird fembot mechs, JP decided to get a vehicle that has one gimmick and one alone – speed! He weapons, just speed. He wanted a car that can blaze past anything and everything. And that’s what he got. A vehicle that goes so fast that they he nearly dies when he pushes it past its potential. He does that a lot. Such an awesome car for such an awesome movie.
9. XGP 15A-11
Naturally, the vehicle for the hero of the series can be one that they don’t drive alone. This vehicle is the central hub of Starwind Enterprises and their ill-fated mission to seek fame and fortune. Not only does it do badass mech combat, but has a hilarious AI that is such a smarmy douche, and some of the funniest bits are them having to do simple shit like land the damn thing. When those grappler arms come out, you know shit just got real. Plus, the whole series is named for it. That says something.
8. Light Cycle
A film that is a cult classic, this vehicle helped define what so much of the 80’s looked like, historically speaking. Neon colors, and the light wave. These things are just so cool. I thought about putting the ones from the horrible sequel, but while those do looks pretty damn cool, they wouldn’t exist if not for the original. These things are complicated. The thing about them is that you have to defeat your opponents by using the light wave and strategy. I really dig that. Speed, strategy, and 80’s cheese. What more could I ask for?
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Probably the coolest thing in that entire boring-ass movie. The Fenrir is Cloud’s really cool bike. Pretty much all of this hangs on cool factor, but the vehicle isn’t just there for aesthetics. It is also used to house Cloud’s absurd collection of blades. It can somehow fit all of these enormous weapons in there. How? Nobody knows. If the movie couldn’t be good, at least it was able to have a cool bike. Credit where it’s due.
6. 1965 Aston Martin DB5
I miss the days where James Bond movies were partly defined by their cars. Not since the early Pierce Brosnan films have we seen that. Each film had a very cool car. But one vehicle has a special place in the history of Bond films, and that is the Aston Martin. This vehicle has been the center-piece for five different films, and getting to see it in Daniel Craig’s masterpiece Bond film was pretty damn awesome. This is a car with class, history, and style. I do love that.
5. Vespa SS 180
What do you get when you combine an evil space alien who smashes her guitar on people’s faces with a vehicle that has no right to be this cool? You get her absurd Vespa that defies the laws of reality. Much like everything to do with Haruka. This vehicle is her chief mode of transportation, and she has no problem smashing into whoever she has decided to latch onto with it. This series hold a special place in my childhood, and so does this vehicle.
4. ex-US Navy PT Boat
I thought about going with Benny’s car, but the more I thought about it, the thing that really felt like the hero vehicle in this series was Dutch’s boat. The former Vietnam vet has this as his primary means of getting around the South Pacific for his dirty business. It’s where we get to see him at his absolute most awesome. Some of the best dialogue moments come down to Dutch on this boat talking to people. Since he added a couple torpedo launchers to it, he has a bonafide ass-kicking machine that he decides to be the ultimate boss in and use a sunken ship as a launch pad to fly it into the air, then launch the two torpedoes at a helicopter. Groj how I love this show.
In the realm of classic cars, you don’t get much more iconic than the Ghostbuster’s chief mode of transportation, the Ecto-1. Taking a 1959 Cadillac and turning it into an absurd, totally impractical vehicle that probably is illegal because I would think that having lights and a siren on a vehicle that isn’t emergency services is illegal. But that doesn’t matter, this car is just so cool that you go with it. In a way, this was my put on this list for all the huge classic cars that you know of from movies, so you’re welcome.
2. Swordfish II
I thought about putting the Bebop itself on the list, but then I realized – that’s not what everyone thinks of when they think of this series. They think of Spike’s signature craft, the Swordfish. A former racer that Spike was able to get his hands on, this beat-up old monster is part of the history of a tragic character, and he views it as something that he just can’t get rid of. He describes it as something that has traveled with him, yet also then bad-mouths it. They are like an old relationship. And then you see that beam weapon go off, and you realize that this thing is badass with a capital B.
And my favorite hero vehicle of all time is…
Batman: The Animated Series
Don’t any of you talk about that bullshit Batmobile in Arkham Knight! That wasn’t a car. That was a tank. I hate that game so much because of the inclusion of the Battank. That’s what I call it. But when I think about hero vehicles, the first thing that came to my mind is one of the most iconic vehicles in all of modern culture – the Batmobile. Then it came down to which version I think of when I think of that vehicle. Well that wasn’t a difficult pick – the one from the flawless Animated Series. This thing is classic. It’s classy. It’s got that perfect Art Deco aesthetic the series has going for it. It’s got every gadget in the world, all while still being a badass car to boot. This thing is awesome, from a series that was awesome.
What are some of your favorite hero vehicles? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time, a quote,
“We’re taking the Batmobile? We’re taking the Batmobile!” – John Doe, Batman: The Enemy Within