The Ford Mustang has always held a special place in my heart. When I was younger, my infatuation was purely based on aesthetics: who doesn’t want a car that looks as cool as the Shelby Mustang? Then once I got older, the connection became more personal when my first friend old enough to drive bought a 2004 Mustang. For my friends and me, any reference to that 2004 ‘stang is now synonymous with our adolescent hijinks.
I’m sure we’re not the only one who views the Mustang as a symbol of the unbridled optimism and freedom of youth. Movie directors have been casting the car in their action movies from the very first year the Mustang came on the market. It seems whenever a director wants a car to complement the effortless cool and overt vitality of a film’s protagonists, they turn to the Mustang.
The Mustang has appeared an astonishing 3343 times in movies and television shows. It made its first appearance on the silver screen in 1964, during its first year of production when a white ½ convertible showed up in the James Bond film Goldfinger. No, it wasn’t the “Bond car” of that film — that, of course, would be an Aston Martin — rather, this Mustang was driven by a beautiful woman trying to run Sean Connery off some winding mountain roads. Though it wasn’t Bond’s car, its appearance in Goldfinger might have played some role in Mustang sales jumping from 121,538 in 1964 to 559,451 in 1965.
The Mustang’s most iconic appearance, however, has got to be in the Steve McQueen tire-squealing blockbuster Bullitt in 1968. McQueen plays a police detective with great automotive tastes: he drives a 1968 Mustang GT390 in this film. When you have one of the coolest men to ever live drive a certain car in a ten minute chase scene through the hilly streets of San Francisco, you can bet that car’s status as an American treasure has been solidified forever.
The most recent major example of a film showcasing the Mustang’s abilities came in the appropriately titled 2011 film Drive. Ryan Gosling — perhaps the closest person this generation has to Steve McQueen — stars as a stunt driver/get-away driver who drives a black 2011 Mustang GT in one the film’s most exciting chase scenes.
The interesting thing about the Mustang in this film was how ordinary a model it was — everything was stock and it was an automatic transmission — yet it still preformed very impressively. Unlike most cars featured in movie chase scenes that have special modifications or are some kind of Italian supercar, the Mustang GT is a relatively common car. For once, if you wanted to, you really could own the exact same model car as the one driven in an awesome Hollywood chase scene without mortgaging your house.
Though it may be the most prominent, the Mustang is not the only car to make some legendary cameos in motion pictures. Check out the infographic below to see what films brought a few other cars to the forefront of the American consciousness.
via CJ PonyParts