Chillin Like a Villain: The 6 Best Bad-Guy Cars of All Time
Everybody loves a good villain. And there’s nothing like a character paired with the perfect movie car. Here are six of the scariest villain cars (and one villainous truck) from all of cinematic history!
Six – The Jaguars of James Bond
Since Sean Connery appeared in a beautiful silver DB5 during 1964’s Goldfinger, the connection between James Bond and Aston Martin seemed set in stone. Other British automakers have certainly courted 007, and Roger Moore even took a submersible Lotus Espirit for a spin. But when Jaguar/Land Rover approached Eon Productions about product placement during recent films, they settled on providing the villains’ cars.
Memorable products of this partnership include the ice racer Jaguar XKR that henchman Zao drove in 2002’s Die Another Day and the mid-engine C-X75 supercar Dave Bautista’s Mr. Hinx uses to pursue 007 across Rome relentlessly. These cars make the list less because they are ideal villain cars (though they are) but more because they prove the perfect foil for Bond in is Aston Martin. Jaguar even played up its villain car role with its “It’s good to be bad” commercial which you can see in the video above.
Love James Bond? You can see every car James Bond drives in No Time to Die.
Five – 1970 Chevy Nova: Death Proof
Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof is a tribute to some of the greatest car films of all time–and the stunt people who made them possible. Never mind that the antagonist (Kurt Russell’s Stuntman Mike) is a psychopath who uses his cars to kill people. One of the most memorable cars in the film is a 1970 Chevrolet Nova. It wears a ducky hood ornament from Convoy and identical license plates to Steve McQueen’s Mustang in Bullitt.
Tarantino had his team build two identical Novas to shoot two takes of the car’s final crash. But when his real-life stuntman (Buddy Hooker) nailed the trick in one shot, Tarantino sold him the backup car for $500. Hooker gave the car to his son Kanan and they fixed it up together.
Four – 1st-gen Dodge Charger: Bullitt and Vanishing Point
We are used to seeing the 1st-gen Dodge Charger as a hero car (The Dukes of Hazzard, The Fast and the Furious). But let’s be honest, it’s an anti-hero car at best. Perhaps this is why two of the Dodge Charger’s most iconic roles were as the bad guys’ car.
In 1968’s Bullitt, Steve McQueen uses his Mustang to pursue the bad guys in a black 1st-gen Dodge Charger through San Francisco. 1971’s Vanishing Point is another iconic car chase film starring a Mopar car, a supercharged 1971 Challenger. And in the film’s 1997 remake, the bad guys chase Kowalksi’s 1971 Dodge Challenger with–you guessed it–a black 1st-gen Dodge Charger. You can see the Bullitt chase in the video above.
Three – 4th-gen Lincoln Continental: The gangster car from Goldfinger to The Matrix
The 4th-generation of the Lincoln Continental, with its slab-sided design and rear-hinged “suicide” doors is one of the most iconic cars ever made. Not only is it popular among classic car fans, but it has become the quintessential mobster car in films.
Ford Motor Company actually partnered with Eon Productions for many of the Connery-era Bond films. As a result, many of the Bond girls drove Mustangs and many of the villains drove Lincolns. In 1964’s Goldfinger, Auric Goldfinger’s small army of mafioso henchmen drive a fleet of Lincoln Continentals. The car’s anti-hero reputation persists, making it the perfect car for The Matrix, and an obvious choice for Dax Shepard’s retired criminal in 2012’s Hit and Run.
Two – Panther De Ville: 101 Dalmations
Cruella de Vil’s long-nosed luxury car is not especially fast or dangerous. The only thing imposing about it is its size. But no car has better captured the personality of a villain than Cruella de Vil’s.
The animated 101 Dalmations film (1961) featured a much-exaggerated version of a 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante–according to Motorious. The live-action films (1996, 1997, and 2021) featured Glen Close and later Emma Stone playing the villain. But all three films featured custom-built Panther De Ville cars.
One – 1958 Plymouth Fury: Christine
The number one spot simply has to go to the car that was the villain. The 1983’s Christine (based on a Stephen King novel of the same name) follows the teenage Arnie Cunningham as he buys a 1958 Plymouth Fury and sets about restoring his beloved classic car. But the story takes an evil twist as his best friend slowly discovers that “Christine” is possessed by the devil and has her own evil plans.
There were so few Plymouth Fury cars built in 1958 that the film’s director had to advertise all over Southern California to come up with the 24 required for the stunt-heavy film. Many were actually rebadged Plymouth Belvederes.
Bonus – 1955 Peterbilt 281: Duel
The Duel Peterbilt is not a car, but it is certainly villainous. Duel (1971) is a Stephen Spielberg film based on a short story. It features David Mann, a mild-mannered salesman who is driving his Plymouth Valiant between cities when a Peterbilt 281 semi truck begins pursuing him through the desert and attempts to smash into him. While Mann tries to figure out who is driving the huge truck, and why they are chasing him, he must flee for his life.
Next, see what Jason Mamoa’s Fast and Furious villain drives in this summer’s Fast X.