Petrol heads on big screen - In search of screen cars driving our imagination

By Chris Page
Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 3:28 pm
Silver Aston DB5 just like James Bond's car (photo: Getty Images)
Silver Aston DB5 just like James Bond's car (photo: Getty Images)

Ultimate on-screen motors

There have been some high octane petrol head vehicles that have graced both the big and small screen, but which one is the daddy of them all?

After much soul-searching a survey has revealed the number one motor vehicle.

Del Boy and Rodney’s iconic yellow three-wheeled Robin Reliant takes poll position in a list of the greatest on-screen vehicles, beating the high-flying Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Herbie, the 1963 Volkswagen Beetle.

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    The survey, conducted by Carmoola, put James Bond’s silver Aston DB5 from Goldfinger into fourth place, no doubt leaving the spy a little shaken and stirred that his car was outmaneuvered by Doc-Brown’s time-travelling DeLorean from Back to the Future.

    Doc Brown's time-travelling De Lorean (photo: Getty Images)

    Strangely enough, talking of Back To The Future DeLorean Motor Company has teased a brand new all-electric take on the iconic 80s sportscar from the movie.

    The company — technically a new Texas outfit bought the rights to the DeLorean intellectual property after the original company went defunct in 1982.

    Carmoola – a newly launched car financing service encouraging motorists to “suss out their budget first” before being dazzled by a second-hand car, calculated the monthly finance payments for the most iconic film and TV motors with eye watering results.

    One of the DeLorean’s used in the hit 1985 movie, sold for close to £400,000 in 2011.

    A yellow three-wheeler used in the much-loved Only Fools and Horses TV series sold for £38,000 at an auction in 2021.

    Any list of best-loved screen cars wouldn’t be complete without an Aston Martin and 007’s DB5, which came fourth. Recently sold for £5.2 million following its use in promoting 1965’s Thunderball film.

    In fifth place was KITT, the legendary talking car from the 1980s and 90s TV series Knight Rider featuring David ‘The Hoff’ Hasselhoff. The motor – now minus the KITT computer system - fetched £225,000 when Hasselhoff sold it last January.

    Herbie, the VW Beetle from the 1963 movie Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, came sixth.

    In April 2018, the 1963 Volkswagen Beetle that starred as Herbie in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) and

    Herbie Goes Bananas (1980) were snapped up at Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach auction in 2015 for $126,000 and exactly three years later at the same auction on April 14, 2018, it sold for $128,700 (£98,000).

    The Ghostbusters Car sold at Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas 2021 auction, held from June 2021 for $220,000 (£169,000).

    The Batmobile came eighth in the poll. The original model used in the 1960s – based on a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car – sold for £3.2m ($4.2m) in June 2013.

    Aidan Rushby, CEO of Carmoola app that provides drivers with budget and finance decisions, giving people the freedom to pay for a new set of wheels instantly with a virtual card, said: “As far back as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on-screen cars have stolen our hearts as much as the characters, and that is still the case today.

    “But having the heart rule the head when making a car purchase isn’t a good thing. Our research shows nearly a quarter of (24 per cent) Brits have bought a car without a clear idea about what they could spend or afford.

    “And over a quarter (27 per cent) have searched for cars in the past with the intention of buying, without knowing if they could afford the finance or loan.

    “Rather than hunting down the perfect car only to find you can’t afford it, Carmoola gives you an approved budget in 60 seconds without sending off reams of forms and pay slips, meaning you have the freedom to shop anywhere knowing what you can spend, putting you immediately in control of your car purchase.”

    Carmoola, which also provides free vehicle checking, vetting for accident history, mileage adjustments and outstanding finance, also costed up another desirable classic in less-than-desirable nick – the Inbetweeners yellow Fiat Cinquecento.

    Having been sold on eBay as part of Comic Relief’s 2011 fund-raising campaign the clapped-out car went for an eye-popping £15,000 following an intense bidding war.

    The stunning orange Toyota Supra which featured in The Fast and The Furious films, was driven by the late Paul Walker and was recently sold at auction for £417,000 ($550,000).


    1. Del Boy and Rodney’s yellow three-wheeler from Only Fools and Horses (42 per cent)

    Del Boy Robin Reliant voted number one on-screen car (photo: Getty Images)

    2. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (31 pc)

    Chitty chitty bang bang voted on-screen second favourite car (photo: Getty Images)

    3. Doc-Brown’s time-travelling DeLorean from Back to the Future (31 pc)

    Doc Brown's time-travelling De Lorean (photo: Getty Images)

    4. Silver Aston DB5, driven by James Bond in Goldfinger (29 pc)

    Silver Aston DB5 just like James Bond's car (photo: Getty Images)

    5. KITT from Knight Rider (28 pc)

    Another top ten favourite was KITT from Knight Rider (photo: Getty Images)

    6. Herbie – the 1963 Volkswagen Beetle (23 pc)

    Herbie - the 1963 Volkswagen Beetle (photo: Getty Images)

    7. Ghostbusters Car (The Ectomobile) – from 1984 movie Ghostbusters (22 pc)

    Ghostbusters Car (The Ectomobile) (photo: Getty Images)

    8. Batmobile Original 1960s Batmobile (20 pc)

    The Batmobile another favourite on-screen car (photo: Getty Images)

    9. The Inbetweeners yellow Fiat Cinquecento (11 pc)

    A yellow car like the Inbetweeners yellow Fiat Cinquecento (photo: Adobe)

    10. Orange Toyota Supra driven by the late Paul Walker in Fast & Furious (9 pc)

    An orange Toyota Suprsa like the one from The Fast & The Furious (photo: Adobe)