(settings) | Login Skip Navigation LinksRSC Home > Reports & News > Cars That Have Become Part of Pop Culture

Cars That Have Become Part of Pop Culture

Cars have dramatically changed just about all aspects of our society since they were invented. The freedom made possible by owning a personal vehicle has had a dramatic impact on the way we work, the way we play, and even the way we design the very places we call home. Our towns and cities are plotted with the motor car as a primary consideration and vast networks of roads sprawl across nations and continents connecting communities.

Many jobs have been created over the years since the car was invented. Of course, the vehicles themselves need manufacturing to begin with. However, there are many other fields of employment that would not exist without the car – traffic wardens, road workers, and driving instructors are but a few of the many work opportunities created by the car.

Cars haven’t just created new jobs though. They have also made it possible for people to live a much further from their place of work. This, of course, has had a massive impact on society too.

And, when work is done, you can load up your car with the wife and kids and take it across the country to wherever your heart desires. This has had a huge effect on what is possible during recreation time. It’s no exaggeration when we say that the car was one of the most important inventions of modern times!

Given their immense impact on society, it is hardly surprising that some cars have cemented their place in popular culture. These days, cars are used to sell products and to bestow status on characters in works of fiction. The public’s love of automobiles has become so vast that you’ll even find images of the hottest vehicles decorating casino slot machines (check out Nodeposit365’s selection of motoring-themed slots, for example).

Some of the following cars that will likely live on in popular culture long after the final model runs off the construction line earned their spot through appearances on TV or movies, others by their sheer proliferation on the roads at the time of their release and beyond. Finally, some are just so badass that they consistently adorn the walls of young petrol heads, dreaming of screaming along the asphalt in that must-have motor. Here, in no particular order, are just a few of the most iconic cars ever built. Oh, and we have definitely missed a lot!

Volkswagen Beetle

The original Beetle was released in 1938, just prior to World War II. However, it was not until several years later that the car would achieve the popularity that makes it worthy of inclusion on this list. After all, the car itself only made it to the US following the war in 1949.

The Beetle was to compete in a highly competitive, budget vehicle market. It would contend with low cost options from the likes of Fiat and Saab.

Thanks to a savvy advertising campaign, the Beetle rose to the top of its class and in 1968 almost half a million VW Beetles made it stateside. Such proliferation made it one of the most common sights on US roads in the second half of the twentieth century and its iconic curves made it one of the most instantly recognisable.

Chevrolet Corvette

The Corvette was originally designed by Chevrolet as a concept car. However, after it was put into mass production in 1953, the model gradually gained fans.

Subsequent versions of the Chevrolet Corvette would feature a lot more grunt under the hood, along with more aggressive stylings to suit its new super-charged performance. These amendments to the original model made the Corvette one of those cars that every young boy fantasised about - tearing away from traffic lights, foot jammed all the way down.

Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang debuted in 1964. It quickly became a poster-boy for sportscars, and its visage could be found on many a petrolheads bedroom wall. In fact, it still can be.

What really made the Ford Mustang a must-have motor was its appearance in various TV shows and movies – including the ever-popular Bond movies and the iconic Steve McQueen thriller, Bullit in 1968.

Proving that it’s still as hot as ever, Ford recently released a new version of the Mustang to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bullit. Of course, the only colour you can get it in is the original dark green hue from the movie itself!

Aston Martin DB5

Some believe the Aston Martin DB5 to be the most famous car in the world. They might be right too. Finding fame in the hugely popular James Bond movies, the DB5 is like a supercharged version of an earlier Aston Martin model, the DB4. The tweaks made to its predecessor allowed Bond’s whip to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.1 seconds, reaching a top speed of 142 mph – not bad at all for the mid-1960s!

Pontiac Trans-Am Sports

The next car on our list of motors making it into popular culture needs more than a few tweaks to its factory model to earn its place. After being equipped with voice control and enough gadgets to give Bond himself a run for his money, the Trans-Am sports becomes the Knight Industries Two Thousand, or KITT for short.

Of course, given the fact that KITT could talk and was involved in a badass 1980s show with heartthrob-of-the-day, David Hasselhoff, it was hardly surprising that the elongated, curvaceous, sporty number would become the dream of schoolchildren around the world. Just a shame that the original conversion cost around $100.000 in 1982, or about $250.000 in today’s money!

Volkswagen Type 2

Although our next selection might not be instantly recognisable when given its proper title, we reckon you could see just about any inch of bodywork and know exactly the vehicle we’re talking about. Here’s a big clue – on a list of cars impacting popular culture, this one might be disqualified on a technicality.

The VW Type 2 is, of course, Volkswagen’s van. In the UK, it is often colloquially referred to as a VW Camper and in the US, you might hear it called the VW Bus.

The Type 2 is the original hippy van. However, its proliferation began before the swinging ‘60s. Launched in 1949, the Type 2 was useful across Europe in the clean-up following World War Two. Job done, the shell of the van was ideal for conversion into a recreation vehicle and with the hippy movement just around the corner, the Type 2 became a must-have accessory for LSD-laced road trips. Later still, the van would be used by the team of paranormal mischief investigators accompanying Scooby and the gang in Hanna-Barbera’s classic cartoon. The so-called Mystery Machine has certainly inspired many Type 2 purchases!

The Type 2 remains popular to this day and rather than depreciate, you can, of course, expect to pay far more than the original asking price. Oh, and it’s still just as cool to own one as it ever was!

Random Photo
75 - Chevrolet Corvette