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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Car-o-mania – my ten favorite filmi cars!

Car cartoon: You fill up my senses. Between my new job and my new obsession, life has had no room for films in the past few weeks. What can possibly be so interesting that I have abandoned films? One word – CARS! Had someone told me even a month ago that I’d soon be interested in cars, I’d have thought they were crazy. Me? Actually thinking of cars as something more than a means to go from point A to point B? Ridiculous! But there is no denying it. I have caught the disease. From being a person who could only recognise one car – The VW Beatle – I’ve graduated to being a person who can now identify most major car makes (and some models, too) at a glance!

It all began when I made the decision to do my bit toward global warming by burning my fair share of fossil fuel. Why should the rest of the world carry my burden? Ergo, I must buy a car. But which car? I couldn’t pick a Lexus or a Honda or a… in a car park full of two cars! So how on earth do I decide which one to buy? “One does one’s research”, a wise friend pointed out. Aah yes! That is one thing I do know how to do. So I set out to do my research. But nobody warned me that a very serious side-effect of research on all things automative is car-o-mania. I’ve begun to actively notice cars in car-parks, on the road, on the internet, and yes, even in films! I clearly need professional help. While I get it, here’s a list of ten filmi cars that I wouldn’t mind receiving as a gift (Santa, I hope this is enough advance notice for you to get it right, this Christmas):

1. Remington Steele’s 1936 White Auburn – Can anybody be unmoved by the sight of this car? If I had to choose between my beloved Mr. Steele (Pierce Brosnan) and this car, I do believe I might settle for the car! Sorry Mr. Steele, you are handsome, dashing, and so very crush-worthy, but right now, I can’t see beyond your beautiful set of wheels.

1936 Auburn from Remington Steele

2. James Bond’s Aston Martin DB 5 from Goldfinger (1964): One might well wonder why Sean Connery needed a car with so much sex-appeal. Isn’t he appealing enough without it? Never mind... We will stick to discussing cars. They do tend to age much better than their Bonds. Just sneak a peek at this silver, sullen-faced beauty, and tell me that it won’t take your mind off 007. Hmm… I wonder… was the car there just to charm people who were immune to Mr. Bond’s legendary (and, in my opinion, largely imaginary) charm?

 Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger

3. The Saint’s 1962 Volvo P1800: Simon Templar (Roger Moore) is one class Robin Hood act, and nowhere is it more evident than in his choice of wheels. His car is classy, it’s beautiful, and it looks like it can talk to the wind and leave it behind! Mr. Templar, will you please remember that you are a modern-day Robin Hood and I am a very poor scientist who desperately wants a car? I don’t mind settling for your well-used Volvo. I’ll give it a very good home, I promise…

1962 Volvo p1800 from The Saint

4. The customised Paragon Panther from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968): I’ve not seen the film, so I have no idea what feats of magic this car is capable of, but one look at it’s goofy exterior is enough for me. I want to have at least one ride in it. Sigh! I know… 'tis not possible, but one can dream a dream, surely?

5: Robert Talbot’s 1960 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II from Come September (1961): Now your average woman would be more interested in the accessories (ladies, do observe the well-appointed Rock Hudson, placed just by the dashboard, for your viewing convenience), but I am made of sterner stuff. When it comes to resplendent Rolls-Royces, nothing, absolutely nothing, can distract my attention from this modern marvel of motor machinery. 

The 1960 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II from Come September

While Hollywood (and their trans-Atlantic cousins) clearly take the lead in all things automotive, Bollywood does not lag behind. They do tend to favour convertibles over regular sedans and coupes, and white seems to be a very popular color, especially with the Kapoor drivers. Does that mean that there isn’t a lot of variety in drool-worthy wheels? A big NAHIIIN!

1. The 'Champion' from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958) – A vintage car even when this film was made, this 1920s Ford model A is worth every ounce of tender-loving-care that the Ganguly brothers (Ashok Kumar, Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar) lavish on it. It’s goofy, it’s cute, and look, it even does tricks!

The Champion from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi

2. The Porsche 911 Targa from Shaan (1980) – Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) fell in lust for this car, and for once, he has my full sympathy! It is certainly one very lust-worthy car. Too bad he does not get to keep it for long, but the lucky man does get to take it for a spin.

Porsche 911 Targa from Shaan

3. The cars in Waqt (1965) – There is a virtual cavalcade of beautiful cars in this film. From the pretty convertibles that Ravi (Sunil Dutt) and Raja (Raj Kumar) race in, the cute open-topped Standard that Renu (Sharmila Tagore) drives to school, to this looong Buick (look – it’s accessorised with my favourite kind of chauffeur too!), they are all so very glamorous. Help! I feel a wave of pure covetousness coming on!!!

The cars of Waqt

4. Shammi Kapoor’s white 1948 Studebaker Commander from Kashmi Ki Kali: The two younger Kapoor brothers have a tendency to show off their driving skills in white open-topped cars. While I will admit to a slight preference for the pretty picture his baby brother makes against a white convertible, there is no denying that Shammi bags the better car. Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous? And to think that I’ve watched this song dozens of times before – I’ve drooled over Rafi’s voice, OP Nayyar’s music, noticed Shammi’s antics, but NEVER paid the slightest attention the car! What was I thinking of?!

5. Vivek Oberoi’s VW Beatle in Gunji si hai saari fiza (Kyon Ho Gaya Na): The Volkswagen Beatle was my first car-love, for the very simple reason that it was the only car I could unerringly pick out in a crowd! Besides, it’s so cute in an ugly and utterly frivolous way, that it is well-nigh irresistible. And looks like Aishwarya cannot resist it’s pull, either. She is actually dreaming that she is in love, and that her boy friend owns this cute little number (umm… was that Vivek’s attraction, Aish?).

VW Beatle from Kyon Ho Gaya Na

The internet tells me that I am neither the first nor the most car-obsessed of movie fans! Here are people who’re light years ahead of me:


  1. I now have a new job too and yes I too am starved of films :(
    By the way this post is car-o-licious. Great to see that you've included Hindi films too :)

  2. What a delightful idea for a post! I love the looks of all the cars you've listed (except perhaps the Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang one and the Kyon Ho Gaya Na one - both are too ugly for my taste!)

    P.S. The word for word verification I have to type in is 'dishers'. Does that have anything to do with how dishy these cars - or their drivers - are? ;-)

  3. Thanks, Sharmi! I wouldn't dream of putting up a car post without Bollywood cars. 60s Hindi films have been responsible for making me very fond of 60s "picnic" cars (the large open-topped cars with lots of space for giggling girl friends), long before I was even conscious of this need to notice and absorb every automotive detail everywhere!

    All the best in your new job. Hope you have enough energy left from settling in to still post often!

    dustedoff, thank you! I think your word verification is reminding you that it's been too long since you did an eye-candy post! :) Perhaps you could do a post on beautiful couples - dishy drivers and their delicious wheels?

    And of course the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car is ugly - it's a designer specimen AND it does magic. It needs to stand out. So, without any help from Rock Hudson, this is the only way to make it conspicuous! ;D

  4. The White Auburn is the one I like best, it's white, it has a lovely name, and what beautiful lines. I rarely notice cars too. But with this post, it all seems to come together, can understand car-o-mania, finally. :)


    One of my favorite films ever. I have seen it countless times. Great music, fabulous locales, gripping story, wonderful cast...and a magical flying-boat-car! You poor thing.

    Fabulous post! :)

  6. Lol and Fab post, funny how i was just thinking of posting a car query about the popular white car often seen in bolly movies from 70's - 80's. I've often wondered what make this said car is and why it was so popular, is it function over price or vice versa. here is the car in question, its the one at the beginning before getting bashed up

    So cool you included the one from Shaan i just love the way Bindiya rools up with the covertible one of my favourite entry scenes in Bollywood

    And here's one for you, in fact i asked about it in my post but no one responded, can you identify the car below its Dharmendra's one from The Burning train

  7. Along the lines of the car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the car in Satte Pe Satta. So ugly that it's...well, ugly.:-)

    Your post reminds me once again that I was born decades too late...even the cars were prettier in the 60s.

  8. That was such a novel post. I don't know much about cars, so that was really interesting. I wonder what car Dev Anand was driving in the song "jeevan ke safar mein raahi" in Munimjee. It is one of my favorite car songs.

  9. The car bug! I can't believe it, you poor soul. It is my other half that is obsessed with wheels in this family (specifically that of the Volkswagon variety), but that doesn't mean I don't have an eye for mechanical beauty!

    Love love love your pics too! Oh, I remember that Auburn with fond memories! Who needs a back seat when you have luxury like that!

    I just about dies seeing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on here. I have a VHS copy I can lend you (or if you don't have a dvd, maybe a Red Deer trip is in order!)

    Bond has had so many amazing cars, it's hard for me to pick the ones out I like the most. However, I prefer my bond cars with a side of Brosnan.

    I can't say I recall many cars from bolly films, but I do think the Porsche from Shaan firmly belongs in this category.

    Now that I'm thinking about it, old cars are sleek, classy and ultra feminine! I better be careful or I might catch this bug!

  10. Yes Banno, once you see how well equipped these cars are (with dishy drivers, as Dustedoff points out), car-o-mania isn't completely incomprehensible. ;D

    memsaab, thanks! I haven't seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang because I only discovered classic Hollywood when I was well past my childhood and did not take to the few 50s and 60s children's films that I did try. I might give it a try, though, since you recommend it so strongly (and because I am fascinated with the car).

    bollywooddeewana, the white car in the video is the Ambassador, manufactured by Hindustan Motors since 1958. It was one of the two major cars manufactured in India (the other was the Fiat Premiere Padmini) before the coming of Maruti-Suzuki in the early 80s changed the scenario.

    Dharam's car in that screen cap looks like a cheaper version of the Porsche from Shaan but I've no idea what car it is - my car obsession is barely a month old! Give me a few more years of car-spotting, and I may eventually identify it. :D

    Shalini, you and I, both! WHY weren't we born in the decade of beautiful cars, lovely dresses and dishy men?!

    Nivedita, the world wide web suggests that Dev A was driving an MG TC. It certainly was a beautiful car.

    Shell, I AM amazed at myself! Hopefully once I have bought my car, I will stop obsessing over them!

    Classic cars are certainly sleek and chic. And I do love my Bond cars with a side of Pierce Brosnan (or any Bond, for that matter), but the white Auburn is SO MUCH BETTER (and it comes with much better looking Brosnan, too).

    I do not have a VHS player, so maybe a trip to Red Deer is in order - as soon as I get my car! :D

  11. Here is a funny song from the 70's that refers to a Chevy Impala.

    Interesting post, I too usually think of cars as means of getting from point A to B. Unless of course, they are hybrids or electric; but do not mind some of these hot-looking all gasoline dinosaurs :)

  12. Anyone that can highlight the sexier shades of a Volvo really does deserve special mention. Good on you for including Roger Moore in The Saint.

    While not exactly Bollywood, my favourite Indi-car montage has to be the Peugeot 206 commercial. In case you missed this little nugget here's a link. You really can't get sexier:

  13. There is nothing like the good old cars!! Miss them.....

  14. Sigh. My little gray Yaris seems SO BORING now. I had never noticed how many white convertibles there are in Kapoor movies! All the better to set off the wild clothes and give room for dance moves? That scene from Shaan is one of my favorites in the whole film - so funny and so stylish too!

  15. Samir, I seem to remember hearing the name 'Impala' being spoken in awed tones by car-savvy adults, way back in my childhood. But I did not realise that it was the only car that has a Hindi song dedicated to it! Thanks for that addition to my car-o-pedia. :D

    Bolly Blogger, Roger Moore is great even without the car, but it does give him an extra edge. :D

    I saw the Peugeot commercial when bollywooddeewana linked to it in his comment above, and I must admit that every time I see the Peugeot symbol now, I think of the wanton destruction of a perfectly good Ambassador!

    Cigarette Sally, I wish I had been around in the 1930s and 40s. What wouldn't I give to have seen those cars in all their freshly minted glory...

    Beth, sigh indeed! My only consolation is that my Honda Fit is WHITE like a lot of these fabulous cars. Sadly, that is where all the similarities begin and end. On the plus side, my car does have air conditioning - which none of these Kapoor cars can boast of! O well, I'd rather see my car-dances onscreen, anyway...

  16. I myself have recently woken up to the existence of cars. You have listed dream-worthy cars here (except for new Beetle, old Beetle is so much better).

    It seems the curves of 60s cars are a class by themselves.

  17. Violet, the curves of 60s cars are certainly a class apart! I do prefer the newer Beatle, though. The older one reminds me of the Ambassador - ugly, cheap and functional!

  18. @ Bollyviewer,

    I agree with about the "front", but the back of the old Beetle (in early 60s) is so cute.

  19. Hmm... I've only seen pictures of the old Beatle, and they never feature it's backside. So my judgment is based on frontal photos alone!

  20. I wonder where the Batmobile can be placed here. Hehe. But seriously, these are old school classic cars that can never be matched by any car of today. Especially that Aston Martin DB 5 used by James Bond!

  21. Clint, from what I've seen of the Batmobile, I would not place it anywhere on this list! It may be very useful in a super-hero way, but it is not a particularly attractive car. James Bond, though, always manages to snag the coolest cars.