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Many Marvel fans forget or overlook the 2004 film “The Punisher.” Understandable, considering the John Bernthal “The Punisher” series, and the cultural significance of the MCU. However, long before “The Avengers” assembled on screen, Thomas Jane drove a perfect automotive companion for the man hell-bent on vengeance: a black 1969 Pontiac GTO. 

The black 1969 Pontiac GTO from ‘The Punisher’ is one of the better castings of any Marvel film

Most Marvel fans are aware of “The Punisher” and his impetus for violent vendetta. However, you won’t find a noteworthy muscle car in the recent John Bernthal series, save for the occasional Ford Mustang or Dodge Challenger. 

You will, however, find a thoroughly bad 1969 Pontiac GTO in the 2004 film featuring Thomas Jane as the murderous Frank Castle. In the movie, Castle acquires a GTO in a pretty sorry state. At least the movie ride featured the in-hood tach. He then, as expected from a comic book killer like Castle, resurrects the classic Pontiac. Of course, Castle couldn’t just restomod a second-generation GTO and call it. 

A 1969 Pontiac GTO from "The Punisher" shows off its not-very-Avenger-style matte black paint.
A 1969 Pontiac GTO from “The Punisher” | Barrett-Jackson

No, Thomas Jane installed modifications you wouldn’t find with a character from “The Avengers.” For instance, Castle installed a series of sliding metal shutters to protect occupants from small arms fire. Still, beyond the GTO’s armored shutters, the noir muscle car is a perfect aesthetic pairing for the Punisher. 

Its no-frills, orchestral V8 muscle car approach to a movie car fits Castle’s on-screen persona perfectly. Sure, the film includes flashier cars, like an Aston Martin Vanquish and a Jaguar XK8 X100. But nothing quite fits the skull-wearing soldier-turned-anti-hero as well as the matte black Pontiac. Not even Harry Heck’s 1968 Plymouth Satellite suits Castle to the same degree. 

A A 1969 Pontiac GTO from "The Punisher" shows off its interior.
A 1969 Pontiac GTO from “The Punisher” | Barrett-Jackson

Spoiler alert (well, the film did come out in 2004): Castle ends up taking Heck’s Satellite to replace his custom GTO after destroying it following a bridge-jump stunt. To accomplish the fancy wheelwork, the production team assembled three GTOs and a Le Mans, per IMDB. Of course, they chose to destroy the Pontiac Le Mans conversion for the spectacular rollover crash.

Still, not even Captain America on a series of Harley-Davidsons or Tony Stark behind the wheel of an Audi R8 is a better character-to-car casting.