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The 50 Car Models Most Commonly Seen on Film and Television

Which car has made the most appearances on film and television? The team at Alan’s Factory Outlet turned to the popular Internet movie car database IMCDB to find the answer. Their ultimate list of cars in movies covers more than 70,000 pieces of media, including movies, animated features, movies made for TV, miniseries, TV series, short films, music videos, documentaries, and nonfiction TV. The Ford Crown Victoria was found to be the big winner when it comes to the most TV and film appearances, and it has twice as many appearances as its second-place cousin, the Ford Mustang. The Ford Crown Victoria has been the default choice for decades when filming police cars and taxis, which has helped it earn its well-deserved first-place spot with nearly 7,000 appearances. Which of your favorite famous movie cars made our list of the 50 car models most commonly seen on film and television?

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The 50 Car Models Most Commonly Seen on Film and Television

Which Car Model Has the Most Film and Television Appearances?

The car model with the most film and television appearances is the Ford Crown Victoria, with 6,874 total appearances across 70,335 pieces of media. This large number of appearances can be attributed to their common use as police cars and taxicabs. With the production of Ford Crown Victorias having ceased in 2011 and highway patrols across the nation now retiring their Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors, how often will we see these nostalgic cars make an appearance in future pieces of media?

Why Did Police Use Crown Victorias?

As you can see, the most common car shown in TV shows and movies is the Ford Crown Victoria, and that’s partly because there are undoubtedly a lot of police cars in movies and TV cop cars in shows such as Law & Order, NCIS, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. After all, car chase scenes are a wildly popular plot choice to keep the audience captivated and primed for the next thrill. While the Ford Crown Victoria has declined in usage among law enforcement agencies, its appearance still evokes authority due to its long tenure as a faithful public servant. Most of us can agree with the words of The Drive journalist Rob Stumpf: “I can’t think of another vehicle that would make my heart jump as quickly as the Crown Vic would when it popped up on my rearview mirror.”

Why did police choose the Crown Vic? Law enforcement needs vehicles that are quick, comfortable, reliable, durable, and imposing in their simplicity. The first selling point was the ample size for storing equipment and transporting criminals. It also had a heavy-duty frame capable of sustaining damage. When did the Crown Vic become a police car? According to the Crime Museum, it became the ideal police vehicle when Ford introduced it in 1992. They specifically modified the Crown Vic Police Interceptor so that it had superior handling and overall performance over the civilian model. It had rough suspension to handle tight corners, bigger brakes, aggressive shifting points, a higher idle range, a reinforced roof in case of rollover crashes, stab-proof seating materials, and a fire suppression system.

Are Crown Vics still used by police? Yes, but their numbers are dwindling. In 2020, the California Highway Patrol retired the last of its Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors from active service, a trend that has been occurring across the United States as a whole since Ford stopped production of the fleet-service Crown Victoria in 2011.

What Movies Have a Mustang?

Here are a few of the most iconic movies that feature a Mustang:

  • Basic Instinct (1991 Ford Mustang GT)
  • Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (1967 Mustang Fastback)
  • The Troops of St. Tropez (1964 Mustang, believed to be the first Mustang on film)
  • Grand Prix (1966 Shelby GT350H)
  • I Am Legend (2007 Mustang Shelby GT500)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (1971 Mustang Mach 1)
  • The Thomas Crown Affair (1968 Shelby GT350)
  • John Wick (1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1)
  • Gone in 60 Seconds (1967 Shelby GT500)
  • Bullitt (1968 Ford Mustang)

What movie has a yellow Mustang? This could be a fun tidbit for trivia night! In the 1974 American action film Gone in 60 Seconds, a customized yellow 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang starred as “Eleanor,” a distinctive vehicle that main character Maindrian Pace was extremely eager to steal as part of a grand 48-car heist. Each of the 48 cars was given a female code name, hence the name Eleanor. Did you know that Gone in 60 Seconds has one of the longest car chase scenes in history? Ninety-three cars were destroyed in the legendary chase scene. In total, 127 cars were either destroyed or damaged during the movie.

What Movie Had the First Car Chase?

The first car chase scene in a movie occurred in a 1903 short silent film called Runaway Match. In the firm, a couple in a car planning to elope are chased by a limousine driven by the woman’s wealthy father. It is considered the first auto-centered narrative film as well as the first car chase in movie history. In more modern times, the first car chase movie was 1968’s Bullitt. It featured a revolutionary 10-minute car chase scene with interior camera placement that made it feel like the audience was along for the tumultuous ride.

What Movie Destroyed the Most Cars?

Here are the top ten movies that involved the most vehicle “fatalities” during filming, according to Forbes:

  1. Transformers III: Dark of the Moon (2011): 532 cars destroyed
  2. The Matrix Reloaded (2003): 300 cars destroyed
  3. The Fast and Furious 5 (2011): 250 cars destroyed
  4.  The Junkman (1982): 150 cars destroyed
  5. A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): 132 cars destroyed
  6. G.I. Joe (2009): 112 cars destroyed
  7. Blues Brothers 2000 (2000): 105 cars destroyed
  8. The Blues Brothers (1980): 104 cars destroyed
  9. Gone in 60 Seconds (1974 original): 93 cars destroyed
  10. Bullitt (1968): More than 80 cars destroyed

So do cars really get destroyed in movies? Absolutely! But usually, for rare or expensive vehicles, reproductions or kit cars are swapped in and destroyed. And many of the cars destroyed during production were destined for the junkyard and fixed up just to be wrecked for our entertainment.

Below is the list of the 50 car models that had the most appearances on film and television. To tally the results, we narrowed our list down to the vehicles that were used a lot by a main character or for a long time, used by another character or in a car chase, used as a minor action vehicle, or used in only a short scene.

The Top 50 Car Models by Number of Appearances on Film and Television

  1. Ford Crown Victoria: 6,874
  2. Ford Mustang: 3,707
  3. Mercedes-Benz S-Klasse: 3,689
  4. Ford Econoline: 3,610
  5. Chevrolet Impala: 3,343
  6. Chevrolet Caprice: 2,985
  7. Ford F-Series: 2,770
  8. Ford Transit: 2,696
  9. Volkswagen Golf: 2,542
  10. Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse: 2,415
  11. Lincoln Town Car Stretched Limousine: 2,351
  12. Toyota Land Cruiser: 2,135
  13. Lincoln Town Car: 2,090
  14. BMW 5: 2,056
  15. Toyota Corolla: 2,025
  16. Land Rover Range Rover: 1,842
  17. Chevrolet Suburban: 1,795
  18. Chevrolet Camaro: 1,793
  19. Volkswagen Transporter: 1,718
  20. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: 1,714
  21. BMW 3: 1,656
  22. Ford Taurus: 1,543
  23. Jeep Grand Cherokee: 1,478
  24. Chevrolet Chevy Van: 1,446
  25. Honda Civic: 1,423
  26. Jeep Cherokee: 1,356
  27. Ford LTD Crown Victoria: 1,327
  28. Chevrolet Bel Air: 1,321
  29. Ford Explorer: 1,288
  30. Lincoln Continental: 1,288
  31. Volkswagen Passat Variant: 1,286
  32. Toyota Camry: 1,269
  33. Willys MB Jeep: 1,242
  34. BMW 7: 1,213
  35. Honda Accord: 1,209
  36. Ford Escort: 1,206
  37. Cadillac Fleetwood 75: 1,178
  38. Ford Falcon: 1,176
  39. GAZ 24 Volga: 1,164
  40. Ford Thunderbird: 1,145
  41. Jeep Wrangler: 1,141
  42. Chevrolet Corvette: 1,111
  43. Ford F-150: 1,109
  44. Plymouth Fury: 1,103
  45. Ford Focus: 1,077
  46. Toyota Crown: 1,076
  47. Toyota Hilux: 1,044
  48. Dodge Ram: 1,034
  49. Volkswagen Passat: 1,022
  50. Ford Mondeo: 995

Which Car Brands Are Most Commonly Seen on Film and Television?

The car brand with the most film and TV appearances is Ford, which had more than 30,000 appearances. With an American car brand like Ford creating some of the most recognizable car models for more than a century, it’s no surprise to see it have such a large number of appearances on film and TV. Another popular American car brand, Chevrolet, has the second most appearances, with 13,794.

The Top 15 Car Brands Ranked by Appearances on Film and Television

  1. Ford: 30,523
  2. Chevrolet: 13,794
  3. Lincoln: 5,729
  4. Mercedes-Benz: 7,818
  5. Toyota: 7,549
  6. Volkswagen: 6,568
  7. BMW: 4,925
  8. Jeep: 3,975
  9. Honda: 2,632
  10. Land Rover: 1,842
  11. Willys MB: 1,242
  12. Cadillac: 1,178
  13. GAZ: 1,164
  14. Plymouth: 1,103
  15. Dodge: 1,034

This infographic was brought to you by Alan’s Factory Outlet, America’s top source for metal garages and storage buildings.

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By Alan Bernau Jr

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