The term “underrated hero car” is a bit of an oxymoron. However, in many cases, cars that are as much of a cast member as the actual actors go by unnoticed. The General Lee, Trigger, and Mad Max’s Interceptor are all well-known and widely accepted examples of hero cars from the media. They seem to make it to most car enthusiasts’ top lists of cars from film or television. There’s no arguing that these cars steal the show every time they appear. However, they shouldn’t eat up all of the attention. You see, while they do well at knockin’ em dead, there are some other cars that deserve just as much love! So if you’re ready to mix things up and start drooling over a new set of wheels, here’s a list of some of the coolest cars you may have missed.
1967 Chevy Impala 4-door hard top, Supernatural (2005-Current)
Supernatural is a wildly popular horror television series that’s been on the CW for 13 seasons now. Brothers Sam and Dean Winchester battle all sorts of monsters, demons, and even an angel or two all across the country. Dean’s car of choice is his black 1967 Chevy Impala. Though it’s a 4-door, it shouldn’t be on the list as an underrated hero car. It’s black, it sounds mean as hell, and in action sequences this thing can seriously drop jaws. And that’s not even counting the fantastic classic rock cassette collection that Dean is typically jamming out to.
1971 Chevy Monte Carlo
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
The Fast and The Furious franchise is jam-packed with stunning cars that no one is soon to forget. Just about every enthusiast has a few dream cars inspired by the franchise. Though the Charger, Skyline, and Supra seem to make it to everyone’s list, one over-the-top muscle car always seems to get left out: the Monte Carlo in Tokyo Drift. The design of the car was very basic and pretty authentic to what a high school student could realistically afford to build. Genius in design, this car blew audiences away in the film’s opening race. However, it’s still a pretty underrated hero car when compared to others in the franchise.
1973 Chevy Malibu
The 2011 crime drama Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, slipped by unnoticed by many viewers. A moody, neo-noir film with an art-house style, it had minimum dialogue and a whole lotta violence. Throughout the movie, Gosling’s character, an unnamed Hollywood stunt car driver, takes a job as a getaway driver for what turns out to be a seriously botched heist.
Interestingly, around this same time, another film starring The Rock, called Faster, had premiered with some similarities. Both included main characters who simply went by the name “Driver,” and both featured a 1970 Chevelle. Because of this, Gosling took it upon himself to build a car for the film Drive. The primer gray 1973 Chevy Malibu may seem like an odd choice at first. But after the first time watching this cult classic, it proves to be a wholly capable and underrated hero car.
1969 Dodge Charger
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)
Dodge Chargers have a very special place in Hollywood. With their menacing style and raw intensity, Chargers are often the car of choice for anti-heros and straight up bad guys. Shortly after the iconic chase in Bullitt, and long before the Dukes could fly, Peter Fonda tore up the streets as the wheelman in a heist film in 1974. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry is a cult-classic featuring one of the greatest movie chase scenes of all time. The car of choice? A bright yellow 1969 Dodge Charger. Perhaps the title as an underrated hero car should be tweaked to an underrated anti-hero car for this choice.
1970 Chevy Nova
Death Proof (2007)
So we’ve established that bad guys love to drive Chargers, and in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof we can certainly find Kurt Russell’s character, Stunt Man Mike, terrorizing back road travelers in one. In fact, this exploitation horror film, paying homage to the grindhouse theater films of ’70s, uses American Muscle cars as the villain’s weapons of choice. Even though Mopars seem to dominate the second half of the film, the first weapon-on-wheels that we see is a 1970 Nova. With its flat black paint job and signature duck hood ornament performing in one of the most gut-wrenching crash sequences in film history, this should be on the top of everyone’s list as one of the most impactful cars in media.
2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Fast and Furious (2009)
As the 4th entry in the FAF franchise, any cars featured would have to be carefully selected in order to really leave an impression on audiences. Paul Walker drives two cars in this film. The first is a Nissan Skyline and later, a 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. So which one stole the show? The Skyline, as it’s Walker’s character, Brian O’Connor’s signature ride. However, we argue that this consensus deserves some reconsideration. The end of the film treats us to the Subaru jumping through the streets and leading to a massive Mad Max-inspired desert chase sequence. In our opinion, the Skyline plays a minor role in comparison.
1969 Chevy Chevelle
Not many people associate Will Ferrell with badass cars—even after this film. However, in this NASCAR comedy, Ferrell’s character would relearn the wheel in his dead beat dad’s 1969 Chevy Chevelle. The car has a paint scheme that is reminiscent of the early days of stock car racing, and paired with one of the best body styles in history? Well, it’s a definite underrated hero car in our books.
Tell us about your favorite underrated hero car down in the comments below!