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1989’s Road House is a Hollywood classic: big 80s action movie meets small-town America. Amazon’s recently released remake (starring Jake Gyllenhaal) riffs on this classic. But there will never be a film like the original. Here are some of my favorite V8 muscle cars and monster trucks from the original film.

1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

Black Mercedes coupe parked on a grassy field during a car show.
Mercedes-Benz 560SEC | MrWalkr via Wikimedia Commons

At the opening of Road House, bouncer James Dalton (Patrick Swayze) is driving an old clunker to work while protecting his real car in a nearby parking garage. His baby is a 1987 Mercedes-Benz coupe. This 560 SEC featured a V8 that made 275 bhp and 317 lb-ft of torque. This is the car he drives to Jasper, Missouri to take the job he’ll have for most of the film.

1965 Buick Riviera

Black Buick muscle car parked in front of a building during a mainstreet car show.
1965 Buick Riviera | Greg Gjerdingen via Wikimedia Commons

Dalton doesn’t exactly fit in in Jasper. He’s not only a black belt in karate, this guy has a PhD in philosophy. And his Mercedes stands out like a sore thumb. When a local gives him a hard time for buying an imported car, Dalton puts his 560SEC back in storage. Then he finds a classic 1965 Buick Riviera. This car one-ups his Mercedes with a 401 cubic-inch V8. Interestingly, the jalopy at the beginning of the film was a 1964 Riviera, which happened to be in much worse shape. I guess Dalton likes his Buicks.

1987 Mustang GT convertible

Red Fox Body Mustang convertible like the one in the Road House film.
Ford Mustang convertible | Mrbattmann via Wikimedia Commons

I’d expect the rich bad guy of the movie to be in some Boss Hog Cadillac. But no, he’s in a frickin Fox Body! How cool is that! It might be the most “80s” thing about this movie. Today, we look at this era Mustang as a weird blip in the history of the car. But in 1989, it looked like the future. So when Brad Wesley drives it through town, he stands out in his own way. The car features in the memorable scene of Wesley driving and swerving while singing “Sh-Boom.”

1988 Ford F-250

Bigfoot 7 monster truck performs car crushing in a stadium crowded with people.
Bigfoot monster truck | Tim Defrisco/Getty Images

Road House came out relatively early in the monster truck era. It had only been a few years since Bob Chandler slapped agriculture-spec 66s on his F-250 and invented the sport. He showed up with Bigfoot 7 so it could make a cameo in the movie. The directors insisted he pull the decals off before one of Wesley’s henchmen drives it through a building as an intimidation tactic.

What did Jake Gyllenhaal drive in Road House (2024)?

Amazon Studios remade Road House with Jake Gyllenhaal starring as a bouncer named Elmore Dalton. Instead of honoring the first film by putting him in a Buick Riviera or Mercedes 560SEC, he drives a beat up Chevrolet Monte Carlo sedan. It looks to be a 1977 or 1978.

Man, were there some missed opportunities here. Sure, Gyllenhaal’s Dalton isn’t exactly cruising in a brand new Mercedes at the beginning of the film. In fact he is living in his car. But making that car a beat up 1965 Buick Riviera would have been a very cool touch. Even a worn out Mercedes coupe would have been alright.

And I’m not saying they should have put the bad guy in a Fox Body Mustang. But Connor McGregor did highjack an F-150 and drive it through a building. The film was already so over the top, why not have him steal Bigfoot?

Anyway, find out what convertible Connor McGregor’s baddie drives in the 2024 ‘Road House‘ or watch the best fight scenes from the original in the video below: