The Many Saints of Newark is a long-awaited prequel to one of the best television shows in recent memory. So naturally, I was excited to see David Chase’s take on the Newark riots, the origins of favorite characters, and a good old gangster movie. But as with most period films, I was as excited about the classic cars. Many Saints of Newark turned out to be a car movie you have to see. The classic cars in The Many Saints of Newark did not disappoint. Here are my three favorites.
1966 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport: the first classic car in The Many Saints of Newark
Throughout The Sopranos, Tony waxed poetic about his idol, Dickie Moltisanti. The Many Saints of Newark began in 1969. Dickie is young. He’s stylish. And he’s a tough captain in the mob.
Near the movie’s opening, Dickie is cruising in his white-on-white convertible. He runs into his lieutenant, Harold McBrayer, trying to catch some young thug who owes him money. Dickie throws his car in park and jumps out to dispense a smackdown. He leaves his car idling in the middle of the road and we can hear the muscle car’s V8 rumble.
Dickie is driving a 1966 Chevrolet Impala Supersport–according to the Internet Movie Car Database. Chevrolet built the fourth generation Impala from 1965 through 1970. GM introduced the Super Sport package in 1961, and it continued to be a top-trim Impala option through 1969. From 1964 through 1967, the Impala Super Sport was actually classified as a separate model from the regular Impala. Dealers offered the Super Sport with small-block V8s tuned for between 305 and 350 horsepower or the legendary big-block 409 V8. It is one of the easiest classic muscle cars to restore.
This Chevrolet may not be a luxury car, but as a convertible in a classy color scheme, it is effortlessly cool. As Dickie grows, he’ll graduate to more opulent cars, but always prefer convertibles.
1962 Cadillac Fleetwood 75
It might seem like Dickie Moltisanti is living large, but his life gets difficult fast. First, his father returns from Italy and moves in with him. His father is revered mob boss, “Hollywood” Dick Moltisanti (Ray Liotta).
Hollywood likes the finer things in life. In the words of his brother, he’s never had a callous and is always getting manicures. So it is unsurprising that Hollywood drives a classic Cadillac sedan.
Hollywood’s Cadillac is a 1962 Fleetwood. Fleetwood began as a coachbuilder offering custom bodies for Cadillacs and other luxury cars beginning in 1916. Later, Cadillac folded the Fleetwood name into its marketing, badging its absolute top-trim cars with a Fleetwood prefix before their model number. The 75 series Fleetwood was a premium Cadillac limousine, and the first car to use electric windows. Moltisanti’s 1962 Fleetwood 75 plays a central role one of the film’s most iconic scenes.
[Spoiler alert] Halfway through The Many Saints of Newark Hollywood Moltisanti gets in an argument with his young wife and kicks her down the stairs. His son, Dickie, stands up for her. While they are sitting in Hollywood’s Cadillac, Dickie attacks him. Hollywood floors the accelerator and crashes into their garage. In a fit of rage, Dickie smashes Hollywood’s head against the steering wheel, inadvertently killing his father.
Dickie needs to dispose of the mob boss’s body. He slides his father into the passenger seat and drives through the dangerous Newark riots. Then, he parks the Cadillac in one of their auto repair shops and lights the building on fire. It is a sad ending for Hollywood and his Cadillac.
1969 Lincoln Continental
The Ford Motor Company produced the fourth generation of the Lincoln Continental from 1960 through 1969. The reimagining of the timeless Continental was an imposing, slab-sided sedan with its rear-hinged “suicide” doors is an automotive icon. Somewhere along the way, the fourth generation Lincoln Continental became the go-to vehicle for mobsters in the movies.
It was not surprising to see a fourth-generation Lincoln Continental in The Many Saints of Newark.
Based on previous mob films, I would have expected to see a revered mob boss driven by his chauffeur in a Lincoln Continental–someone like Hollywood Moltisanti. But the sedan made an appearance in a surprising way.
[Spoiler Alert] When Harold McBrayer’s crew goes to war with Dickie Moltisanti, he attempts to kill his old captain. McBrayer and his crew come gunning for both Dickie Moltisanti and Giovanni “Johnny Boy” Soprano outside a nightclub. McBrayer is riding shotgun in a brand-new 1969 Lincoln Continental.
The vehicle shows that Harold McBrayer is a successful mobster in his own right: he can afford a new Lincoln. In addition to the cost of the car, Harold’s choice of car telegraphs his intention to become a mob boss. While it’s a unique appearance of the fourth-generation Lincoln Continental, it works well in Many Saints of Newark.