Nine of the best cars in Australian cinema

If you include British and Hollywood films, a list of the greatest cars on celluloid would be pretty difficult to compile. Which of 007's Aston Martins would you include? (or leave out for that matter).

Surely, you'd have to include the 1968 Ford Mustang 390GT from Bullitt? And the 1963 Modena Spyder California where Ferris Bueller spent his day off would be a shoe-in. Ditto, the 1999 Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R from 2Fast 2Furious, and the stunning 1969 Mercedes 280SE convertible driven by Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones's Diary.

But when it comes to Australian films, notoriously low budgets mean that our automotive stars of the screen tend to be muscle cars that run the gamut from Falcon to Falcon (or in the case of Peter Weir's The Cars that Ate Paris – a VW Beetle with cardboard spikes stuck all over the bonnet).

Undeterred by difficulty of limiting it to just nine, here is a definitive list of cars in homegrown films:

'Interceptor' from Mad Max (1979)

You knew it had to be in the list, so why not get it out of the way immediately. The 1973 XB GT Ford Falcon Coupe is the most iconic car in Australian celluloid history. End of story. There wasn't a kid in the burb's that didn't dream of having the stealthy black police Interceptor parked in their driveway. The 'Concorde' front end that was bolted on for the movie became a genuine Ford accessory, unfortunately the supercharger sticking through the bonnet was a genuine fake.

1973 XA GT Ford Falcon, Two Hands (1999)

You don't mess with crime boss Pando and his mate Acko, and you sure as hell don't mess with this car. The purple XA GT Coupe was undoubtedly the star of this award-winning Australian film (sorry Bryan Brown). Powered by a 351 V8 Cleveland, putting out 224kW, the GT had a top speed of around 190km/hr and could move from in a snitch over 8 seconds. Comedian Merrick Watts became the owner of the car, before selling it at the 2011 Motorclassica auction for $43,700.

1970 Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III, Running on Empty (1982)

This forgettable coming of age drama starring Terry Serio as a street racer, is only worth watching for those fans of the greatest muscle car in Australian history: the GTHO Phase III. Winner of the Bathurst 500 with Allan Moffat at the wheel, the car was propelled by a 351 Cleveland and boasted a top speed of 228km/hr, making it the fastest four-door production car in the world. In more recent years the GTHO became the most coveted mid-life crisis car, with one pristine example selling for $750,000.

1974 Ford Falcon XB hardtop, Love the Beast (2009)

A brilliant, award-winning automotive documentary that explores the intimate relationship between actor Eric Bana and his prized Ford XB Falcon Hardtop. Bana was only 15-years-old when he purchased the car for $1,100. The film also stars Jeremy Clarkson, Jay Leno and Dr Phil, but don't let that put you off, it's a must-see piece of cinema. The car itself has been highly modified and now runs a frightening Windsor race engine, with 447kW on tap. Yeah, it's a beast.

Jaguar XJ6, The Big Steal (1990)

The first car in our list that's not a Falcon. Worth seeing for cinema buffs who are interested in Ben Mendelsohn's first major role. Steve Bisley plays a shonky used-car salesman who sells Mendelsohn a 4.2 litre lemon: "You're not buying a car, you're buying a piece of motoring history."


Citroen DS, The Goddess of 1967 (2000)

Another car of extremely dubious reliability, but hell did the chattering classes embrace it, especially bow-tie wearing architects. The film is about a wealthy Japanese bloke who travels to Australia to buy a Citroen DS he found for sale online. The car and the film are quite similar in that both are fantastic to look at, but you wouldn't want to spend too much time with either.

Porsche 911 Turbo, Freedom (1982)

The least known film on our list, but we had to include it because it's probably the only Australian movie that stars a Porsche 911 Turbo. Freedom was the first feature film directed by Scott Hicks and is about an angry young man (Jon Blake) who steals a 911 and hits the highway. The Porsche ends up going over a cliff, along with the box-office receipts.

1971 Chrysler Valiant Charger VH, Metal Skin (1994)

Yet another Australian film about muscle cars. If you are into highly modified Valiants, Toranas, and Monaros, who are we to stop you? The Charger is nice in a bulky kind of way.

1983 Duesenberg SJ, The Great Gatsby (2013)

Without doubt, the most elegant car to ever appear in an Australian movie, this is a 1980s reproduction of the 1932 supercharged model, built by Elite Heritage Motors in Wisconsin. With a 6.9 litre engine, it's not for the eco-warrior, but we're pretty sure Jay Gatsby didn't much consider the environment.

Check out the gallery of legendary film cars above.

Do you agree with our list? What cars would you have included? Tell us in the Comments section below.