Sleek, beautiful futuristic cars have always been a staple of science fiction. But as times change, so do our ideas of what's futuristic. Here's a look back at ten of the coolest vehicles in scifi history, whose curves and bulges are right from the annals of retro-futurism.
The Adams Probe 16 from Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971)
In the movie it was known as the Durango '95. Alex and his Droogs played the "hogs of the road" in it, taking them to the novelist's house. The car was designed by Peter and Dennis Adams in 1969, powered by an 1,8l Austin engine. Only three existed, and its design was a real horrorshow.
The Whomobile from Doctor Who
It was really road-legal, and one of Jon Pertwee's personal vehicles. Some fans thought it was a hovercraft, but in fact it was a three wheeler, like the Morgan.
After his career as a Doctor, Pertwee drove it often while dressed as the Doctor. A few years later, he gave it to a fan, but sometimes borrowed back. Awesome!!
The cars from the British TV series UFO (1969-1970)
These futuristic cars with handmade aluminium bodies were designed by Derek Meddings or Ford stylist Len Bailey (there are two stories about it) for an other movie named Doppelganger, but redressed for UFO. These were built by the racing driver Alan Mann on Ford Zephyr IV chassis, and have a 1600ccm engine from the legendary Cortina.
The cars have sold a number of times, were reshaped for a futuristic porn movie (really!), damaged and finally one of them sold to a fan, who has owned it for 20 years (see the picture on the lower right corner).
The Audi RSQ concept from I, Robot (2004)
It's so new, but it already looks like something from the future past — and even if I, Robot isn't a classic, this car surely is. Audi created this concept for the movie set in 2035. The car with glass fibre construction was designed by Julian Hönig, the Senior Exterior Designer of Audi. It was the best product placement ever!
Mercedes Benz 2001 SEL Limited Edition from Spaceballs (1987)
Lone Star: What's she drivin'?
Roland: A brand new, white Mercedes, 2001 SEL Limited Edition. Moon roof, all leather interior. I got it at a very good price. I paid cash. My cousin, Prince Murray, has a dealership in the valley. He was very nice to me.
Captain Kirk's car, The Jupiter 8 from the Star Trek episode "Bread and Circuses" (1967)
The aluminium bodied Jupiter 8 was produced on Planet 892-IV in the series, but really it was called the Reactor Mach II, and built in 1965 by the legendary Gene Winfield. It was based on a 1956 Citroen DS chassis and powered by a chromed Chevrolet Corvair engine. It had electronic roof and doors. The car appeared in the TV series Bewitched (in an episode called "Supercar", 1967) and in Batman: it was the Catwoman's 'Kitty Car' in The Joke's on Catwoman.
(via Car Lust and screenshots)
The TARDIS TT Type 40 Mark III from Doctor Who (1963-1989; 2005-)
The Time and Relative Dimension in Space is a time machine and a spacecraft, the best vehicle ever to travel. Unfortunately the ship's "chameleon circuit" is faulty, so it has a constant 1960s-style London police box shape. And it's bigger on the inside!
DeLorean DMC-12 from Back to The Future
After entering a target date, accelerate the car to 88 miles per hour, leaving a pair of fire trails, and you're in the destination time. So easy, isn't it? By the way, the real DeLorean DMC-12 was manufactured in a suburb of Belfast, North Ireland in 1981-82. It has gull-wing doors and fiberglass underbody with stainless steel panels. Only 9000 were made, and 6500 of them are working now.
Robby The Robot's Space Patrol Car from Forbidden Planet (1956)
It appeared later in the TV series named 'Twilight Zone' (1959-1964), without Robby, of course.
Lexus 2054 from Spielberg's Minority Report (2002)
In 2002, Lexus designed a futurist vehicle for Spielberg's Philip K. Dick adaptation. The car has biometric security systems, and it's crashproof. The Lexus 2054 also appeared in The Island (2005), but colored blue instead of red.