Which cars became harder to enjoy because of their pop culture status?

Colin
By Colin Wood
Sep 26, 2021 | TV Cars, Movie Cars

Photograph Courtesy RM Sotheby's

Ask anyone what their favorite car from a television show or a movie is, and chances are they'll name something like a DeLorean DMC-12, a Toyota AE86 or a 1977 Pontiac Trans-Am Special Edition–cars that are exponentially more recognizable by the non-enthusiast public than most cars popular in our scene.

While we like that these vehicles can act as a link between automotive enthusiasts and everyone else, their popularity can often bring unwanted attention virtually everywhere they go­–people wanting to take pictures, get up close and tell the owner stories when all they wanted to do was grab a few things from the store after a long day.

What are some other cars that are harder to enjoy because of their pop culture status? Also, if you've ever owned one of these cars, what was the experience like?

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JAdams
JAdams New Reader
9/24/21 10:24 a.m.

Mk4 Supra. I mean I get that they are pretty good cars, but I'm not convinced they would be nearly as valuable if it weren't for a certain movie series hyping them up. These days they have far surpassed the actual value and are over-priced garage queens IMO.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 10:36 a.m.

I saw a Mk4 Supra the other day, it looked to be completely stock. I think it was a Supra, it looked awfully small. But all the 90s cars do today and it's hard to mistake that wing.

AE86. They were a great Locost donor until the drift tax.

I always liked the 240SX, specifically the S14. Good looking little RWD coupe. And then the drifters discovered them and beat them all up.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 10:38 a.m.

Even though they were merely featured in the films and were not the hero cars, S13s and DSMs. 

 

The reason being that on the scale of performance capability versus price they were in the attainable range of the audience of the films while being more capable then the B15 Sentra and MK3 Jetta, which were also featured in the films. It's not so much that they were initially priced out of the market it's that clean unmolested ones disappeared. 

preach (fs)
preach (fs) Dork
9/24/21 11:17 a.m.

911T from The Big Chill. Damn I wanted to be a drug dealer with one nut.

EDIT: I read the question wrong and went with one that I love more due to a movie.

I can't really think of any that I do not like due to pop icon status...

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
9/24/21 11:20 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Both my son and I were looking for a 240Sx; we thought it could be a fun car to lightly modify. Finding one that hadn't been plagued with the craptastifiction / drift tax was a real uphill battle. For the same 8K budget he found a nicely modded Lexus LS400. He's spent another $1500 rectifying a few things (exhaust was beat to hell from it being to low).

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 11:24 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I remember someone pulling out the 4AGE from an AE86 to drop it in an MR2. They're probably kicking themselves by now.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/24/21 11:27 a.m.

68-70 Dodge Chargers. A good looking car made more desirable thanks to a certain TV series as well as more than a few movie roles.  I could have bought one in the early 90's, but it would have stretched me a bit.  Now prices are so far out of reach it's not likely I'll ever own one.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/24/21 11:30 a.m.
JAdams said:

Mk4 Supra. I mean I get that they are pretty good cars, but I'm not convinced they would be nearly as valuable if it weren't for a certain movie series hyping them up. These days they have far surpassed the actual value and are over-priced garage queens IMO.

To a degree, yes, but the turbo ones have always been expensive.  As is usually the case with car values, it's about rarity -- they only brought about 7000 turbo mk4 Supras to the US over the whole production run.  That's the lowest numbers of any of the 90s "Japanese supercars", even the 1st gen NSX has more than that.

 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 11:33 a.m.

Vista Cruiser

MrFancypants
MrFancypants Reader
9/24/21 11:37 a.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

68-70 Dodge Chargers. A good looking car made more desirable thanks to a certain TV series as well as more than a few movie roles.  I could have bought one in the early 90's, but it would have stretched me a bit.  Now prices are so far out of reach it's not likely I'll ever own one.

This particular problem was made worse by all the Chargers destroyed by the show itself.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 11:54 a.m.
MrFancypants said:
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

68-70 Dodge Chargers. A good looking car made more desirable thanks to a certain TV series as well as more than a few movie roles.  I could have bought one in the early 90's, but it would have stretched me a bit.  Now prices are so far out of reach it's not likely I'll ever own one.

This particular problem was made worse by all the Chargers destroyed by the show itself.

Not really. Production of the 1969 Charger was about 19,000 cars. The show destroyed roughly 300 of them, or 1.5%. 

NOT A TA
NOT A TA UltraDork
9/24/21 12:09 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I worked in an office on the 2nd floor and overlooked a repair garage. The owner had a Charger all "Duked" out. Occasionally he wasn't able to put it inside overnight and would leave it out front, it was a busy street. One morning I arrived to see the car destroyed. It had been stolen and someone apparently thought they could play stunt driver. Not a panel on the car that wasn't damaged and looked like it had been rolled more than once.

When I was in high school mid 70's I'd see a girl driving one at the local burger spots we used to cruise occasionally. Twenty years later I was driving home a bunch of my stepdaughters friends after some kind of event and when we pulled up to one girls house there was the same Charger still sportin Crager SS wheels, along with two others! Turned out mom was the girl I knew many years earlier and they were ALL her moms cars! ahahaha

j_tso
j_tso GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/24/21 12:18 p.m.

Every time I take the Aston out people always ask about the ejector seat and machine guns.

never mind, that was a dream

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 12:26 p.m.

In reply to NOT A TA :

Perhaps I should have said that the show directly destroyed about 300 :) I'm sure there was some collateral damage like the one you saw!

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
9/24/21 1:03 p.m.
BoxheadTim said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I remember someone pulling out the 4AGE from an AE86 to drop it in an MR2. They're probably kicking themselves by now.

I turned down buying an SR5 notch for $200 because it didn't look like a 302 would fit underhood.

Car was in good shape, needed a clutch.

 

Somewhere there is a guy kicking himself that he scrapped an SR5 notch that just needed a clutch.

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
9/24/21 1:05 p.m.

I'm going to say a Skyline R34. I like them from back in the Grand Turismo 2 days well before ever seeing F&F, or know of the existence of a "Tuner" scene. I just love the way they look. However after all of the above its no shock at the masses like them too and I suspect as a huge influx of imports come pouring in they'll be at first oggled over, then everyone and their brother will have one, and then quickly go to stupid money for a pile of trash and even more stupid for a nice one like MK4 Supras

NOT A TA
NOT A TA UltraDork
9/24/21 1:10 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Oh, I knew you meant just the show. I'd bet more have been wrecked by imitators, ever see how many there are on youtube?

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 1:25 p.m.

Every single Honda and Acura with vtec because it was going to get stolen?

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 1:31 p.m.

In reply to asphalt_gundam :

R34 GT-Rs are already going for a lot of money in Japan.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
9/24/21 1:34 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

Probably because they got to the R35 and were all "What the heck is this mess?"

JAdams
JAdams New Reader
9/24/21 1:49 p.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
JAdams said:

Mk4 Supra. I mean I get that they are pretty good cars, but I'm not convinced they would be nearly as valuable if it weren't for a certain movie series hyping them up. These days they have far surpassed the actual value and are over-priced garage queens IMO.

To a degree, yes, but the turbo ones have always been expensive.  As is usually the case with car values, it's about rarity -- they only brought about 7000 turbo mk4 Supras to the US over the whole production run.  That's the lowest numbers of any of the 90s "Japanese supercars", even the 1st gen NSX has more than that.

 

I understand that and they probably wouldn't be cheap regardless but I don't believe they would have held value quite as well if it weren't for the movie. I get that they aren't exactly common but holy crap they are expensive. Also, the website below puts the U.S. market at a bit over 11k Supras sold, but only about 4k of those were turbo models. With a MSRP of around ~$40k for a brand new one in 1998 though, that number plugged in the inflation calculator is almost $70k in today's dollars.

https://mkiv.com/specifications/sales_numbers/retail_sales.html

https://www.hotcars.com/heres-how-much-a-1998-toyota-supra-costs-today-/

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 2:06 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to BoxheadTim :

Probably because they got to the R35 and were all "What the heck is this mess?"

Who can blame them?

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/24/21 2:16 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
MrFancypants said:
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

68-70 Dodge Chargers. A good looking car made more desirable thanks to a certain TV series as well as more than a few movie roles.  I could have bought one in the early 90's, but it would have stretched me a bit.  Now prices are so far out of reach it's not likely I'll ever own one.

This particular problem was made worse by all the Chargers destroyed by the show itself.

Not really. Production of the 1969 Charger was about 19,000 cars. The show destroyed roughly 300 of them, or 1.5%. 

True.  While a number of cars were wrecked, the vehicle crew also rebuilt a lot of them since they only needed to look presentable from 100+ feet away and on low-res TV for a few seconds of a stunt. And not all of them were '69s.  Some were 68's and 70's with front/rear clips replaced.  I remember even seeing a '69 Charger 500 in one show - noticeable by the flush rear window.  I'm sure collectors squirm when they see it today, but back then nobody really cared.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/24/21 2:23 p.m.
JAdams said:
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
JAdams said:

Mk4 Supra. I mean I get that they are pretty good cars, but I'm not convinced they would be nearly as valuable if it weren't for a certain movie series hyping them up. These days they have far surpassed the actual value and are over-priced garage queens IMO.

To a degree, yes, but the turbo ones have always been expensive.  As is usually the case with car values, it's about rarity -- they only brought about 7000 turbo mk4 Supras to the US over the whole production run.  That's the lowest numbers of any of the 90s "Japanese supercars", even the 1st gen NSX has more than that.

 

I understand that and they probably wouldn't be cheap regardless but I don't believe they would have held value quite as well if it weren't for the movie. I get that they aren't exactly common but holy crap they are expensive. Also, the website below puts the U.S. market at a bit over 11k Supras sold, but only about 4k of those were turbo models. With a MSRP of around ~$40k for a brand new one in 1998 though, that number plugged in the inflation calculator is almost $70k in today's dollars.

https://mkiv.com/specifications/sales_numbers/retail_sales.html

https://www.hotcars.com/heres-how-much-a-1998-toyota-supra-costs-today-/

4000 manual turbos, 3000 automatics, so a total of 7000 turbos (and another 4000 NA cars of various configs).  The autos aren't worth as much as the manuals, but they're still stupidly expensive.

 

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 2:26 p.m.
preach (fs) said:

911T from The Big Chill. Damn I wanted to be a drug dealer with one nut.

 

I don't think he was a drug dealer with one nut, I think he was just a drug user with one nut. 

MrFancypants
MrFancypants Reader
9/24/21 2:30 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
MrFancypants said:
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

68-70 Dodge Chargers. A good looking car made more desirable thanks to a certain TV series as well as more than a few movie roles.  I could have bought one in the early 90's, but it would have stretched me a bit.  Now prices are so far out of reach it's not likely I'll ever own one.

This particular problem was made worse by all the Chargers destroyed by the show itself.

Not really. Production of the 1969 Charger was about 19,000 cars. The show destroyed roughly 300 of them, or 1.5%. 

Sure, but I would say that if you love these cars you'd appreciate an extra 1.5% chance of finding a clean one that wasn't overpriced because people still want to recreate the show's hero car.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
9/24/21 3:18 p.m.

In reply to MrFancypants :

Ah, but how many were saved from being scrapped because they were somewhat valuable?

When the show was made, they were just 8-10 year old used cars, nothing special.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 3:21 p.m.
MrFancypants said:
Keith Tanner said:
MrFancypants said:
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

68-70 Dodge Chargers. A good looking car made more desirable thanks to a certain TV series as well as more than a few movie roles.  I could have bought one in the early 90's, but it would have stretched me a bit.  Now prices are so far out of reach it's not likely I'll ever own one.

This particular problem was made worse by all the Chargers destroyed by the show itself.

Not really. Production of the 1969 Charger was about 19,000 cars. The show destroyed roughly 300 of them, or 1.5%. 

Sure, but I would say that if you love these cars you'd appreciate an extra 1.5% chance of finding a clean one that wasn't overpriced because people still want to recreate the show's hero car.

The flip side is something like my CRX. Never the star of a TV show, too old for the F&F crowd so it never became an icon. And that means that they just got used up and thrown away. They were everywhere. Now they're really scarce because almost nobody wants to fix them up.

The odds of a ratty '69 Charger getting saved is much higher because of the Dukes, which I think more than offsets the ones damaged during filming.

"Overpriced" just means "I refuse to acknowlege the state of the market" :)

MrFancypants
MrFancypants Reader
9/24/21 3:23 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to MrFancypants :

Ah, but how many were saved from being scrapped because they were somewhat valuable?

When the show was made, they were just 8-10 year old used cars, nothing special.

For the safety of the stunt drivers I imagine all of these were cars that had straight, strong frames and had reasonably straight bodies. They may or may not have had running engines, but these don't qualify as vehicles with such exotic, expensive, difficult to service engine that it would mean an immediate death sentence. Maybe parked in a field to eventually rot, or saved before rotting. Either way an increased chance for current enthusiasts to get one.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
9/24/21 3:30 p.m.

In reply to MrFancypants :

What I mean is what Keith meant:  How many cars would have been scrapped because they were rusty or blown up or something, but got saved instead because of that corny TV show making something interesting out of a somewhat forgettable B-body?

 

You're focusing on the 80 cars destroyed during production, I'm focusing on the other 18,000 that were made that suddenly had cultural significance.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
9/24/21 3:35 p.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

Every single Honda and Acura with vtec because it was going to get stolen?

This. Very much this.

MrFancypants
MrFancypants Reader
9/24/21 4:27 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to MrFancypants :

What I mean is what Keith meant:  How many cars would have been scrapped because they were rusty or blown up or something, but got saved instead because of that corny TV show making something interesting out of a somewhat forgettable B-body?

 

You're focusing on the 80 cars destroyed during production, I'm focusing on the other 18,000 that were made that suddenly had cultural significance.

Man, I don't come here to argue. Had I known that what I thought was a pretty simple statement to add to a conversation would have led to multiple negative interactions with a post I made I wouldn't have even logged in.

I apologize for the controversial post. I had no idea it would have been received like this.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 4:54 p.m.

These aren't negative interactions. This is a bunch of people sitting around a table in a bar discussing whether the Dukes of Hazzard was good or bad for the 1969 Charger in the long run when it doesn't really matter at all :)

MrFancypants
MrFancypants Reader
9/24/21 5:00 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Sorry, I'm autistic. Sometimes I can't tell the difference.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/24/21 5:18 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to MrFancypants :

Ah, but how many were saved from being scrapped because they were somewhat valuable?

When the show was made, they were just 8-10 year old used cars, nothing special.

At this time, you're absolutely right.  I've seen shells that most would consider scrap metal sell for $10K simply because it had a VIN and could therefore be restored. Pretty much every piece of sheet metal for a Charger can be had. I'm still surprised Dynacorn reproduced the Challenger but not the Charger. 

The car used as the stunt car for the last Dukes Fest was not a Charger for this reason. The builder basically decided that a car that was solid enough to be a stunt car was good enough to be restored. Then he figured out a P71 is pretty darned close in dimensions to a Charger. A bit of cutting and welding later, and he had a car that looked like a Charger for stunt driving purposes but was actually a Crown Vic underneath.  I did some napkin figuring and determined you could duplicate his work for about $10K, plus the P71. Maybe someday... 

The market for Volvo 1800's is almost like that. When I bought my crusty 1800ES 16 years ago for $800, it was a parts car. But now they are valuable enough that while it still needs butt-load of rust repair, it's still a straight car that could be restored without being horrifically upside-down vs value. Or in my case, I have a car I can modify to my liking without concerns about destroying a more original example (like my ex's car). 

"Overpriced" is most definitely a term in the eye of the beholder. Staring at my collection of bikes and guitars, I have no right to call anything overpriced. More than I'm willing to pay - perhaps. But not overpriced. The market determined the price of an item and a seller is free to get whatever they can for their items.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
9/24/21 5:27 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

"Overpriced" just means "I refuse to acknowlege the state of the market" :)

This is me all day long.............. Rather than give into reality I'm crawled up in the fetal position sucking my thumb cuz I'm to cheap to pay for lollipops. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/24/21 5:56 p.m.

Windowless white vans. Seriously. If I'm buying something off marketplace, or going on a critter rescue run, I always make sure to mention I'm "in a big, ugly, white van" so they aren't too surprised or creeped out. 

anything that is lifted and on A/T's that didn't come that way

E30

'67 Impala

DjGreggieP
DjGreggieP HalfDork
9/25/21 9:24 a.m.

In reply to Uncle David (Forum Supporter) :

Every. Time. I mention I want a 67 Impala it gets assumed I want a 4 door because of Supernatural... no... I want a 2 door because I built a model of one (still have it) when I was 14 and thought it would be a sweet project. 

Danny Shields (Forum Supporter)
Danny Shields (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/25/21 11:21 a.m.

911 Cab. The go-to ride for the creepy evil rich guy.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/27/21 2:13 p.m.

I'm with Colin's original example: DeLorean. Figure they're all silver (okay, 99.999% of them are silver) and they all look the same. 

P3PPY
P3PPY Dork
9/28/21 7:26 a.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:
 

The car used as the stunt car for the last Dukes Fest was not a Charger for this reason. The builder basically decided that a car that was solid enough to be a stunt car was good enough to be restored. Then he figured out a P71 is pretty darned close in dimensions to a Charger. A bit of cutting and welding later, and he had a car that looked like a Charger for stunt driving purposes but was actually a Crown Vic underneath. 

! That just made my day. I was driving thru LA shorly before that film came out and saw a car carrier with 5 of them on it. When the movie came out I was bummed that they'd probably been on their version of a cattle car.
I, too, always considered the show to be auto enthusiast treachery; that's an interesting long-run perspective that they've been saved from destruction simply because of the icon status.

Forgettable, though, they certainly are not. They, along with the RoadRunner have the classiest subtle lines, hinting at muscle rather than in-your-face like my other favorite, the Chevelle. Gorgeous cars in the darker colors.

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