How many movies or TV shows can you think of in which a car plays a central role or has additional capabilities that assist its owners when in danger?
Perhaps the most obvious are the James Bond Aston Martin, and the car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the magic car that sprouts floaters and wings as required.
But there have been other, equally memorable cars, such as the various versions of the Batmobile in the films and TV series, the high-powered car that has evolved over time into an armoured vehicle equipped with a number of armaments and other devices including the ability to spray flame-retardent foam.
The TV series Knightrider also featured a car as a central character named KITT (an acronym for its fictional maker Knight Industries Two Thousand) integral to the stories. KITT was actually a supercomputer installed in the car that enabled it to think, speak and interact with humans. It had a collection of useful additions such that included an ability to “jump” over obstacles, a grappling hook and flame throwers, sensors, super-speed and surveillance facilities.
Historically one of the most famous movie custom car builders is Jay Ohrberg, who was responsible for some of the batmobiles, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, KITT and the Ecto-1 in Ghostbusters among many others.
The most recent and possibly the most extreme in the chain of memorable cars is the flip, or ramp car used in the 2013 movie Fast and Furious 6.
This car was custom-designed and built to have the capability of flipping over all kinds of vehicles, from cars to trucks. It was devised by the film series’ car co-ordinator Dennis McCarthy on instructions from the film’s director Justin Lin to resemble a F1 car.
It is both drivable and capable of flipping vehicles as the director specified so that all the stunts seen in the chase sequences in the film are real, not computer-simulated. It takes considerable skill and nerve to drive cars and perform stunts for a film and the drivers spent four days learning to handle the flip car.
The flip car was used in chase sequences in London and it had to be transported to be at the right places at the right times for the filming schedule. This involved the use of a UK company with access to experienced personnel, the right equipment and enclosed transport to make sure everything happened on time.