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The Cars of Jurassic Park

Dinosaurs, cars, and action! Here’s your chance to take a look at some of the most fun and impressive vehicles of the Jurassic Park franchise so far!

Cars That Can Compete with Dinosaurs

Scene from Jurassic World Dominion - Jurassic World on facebook.com
Scene from Jurassic World Dominion - Jurassic World on facebook.com

When one thinks of dinosaurs, they don’t necessarily think about cars, but the Jurassic Park film franchise features a wide variety of vehicles. They can’t use just any old vehicle in a movie about dinosaurs, though. These trucks, crossovers, motorcycles, and four-wheelers need to have enough power to haul a dinosaur, be durable enough to survive a dinosaur, or be fast enough to outrace one.

At least a couple dozen vehicles have been used throughout the five previous Jurassic Park movies. With the sixth installment being released this week, there are sure to be a few additions to that list. Sadly, there won’t be an appearance by the Ford F-150 Raptor or the RAM 1500 TRX in Jurassic World: Dominion. Talk about missed opportunities! We do know to expect a few Jeep Wranglers, the Jeep Gladiator, and vintage Grand Wagoneer sightings.

Scene from Jurassic World - imdb.com
Scene from Jurassic World - imdb.com

Looking back over these movies now, what are the most memorable vehicles? Which ones were involved in the most impressive scenes of the franchise? After some thorough research (plus a movie marathon), here are the cars of Jurassic Park!

1992 Jeep Wrangler Sahara in Jurassic Park

1992 Jeep Wrangler Sahara - imcdb.org
1992 Jeep Wrangler Sahara - imcdb.org

We have to start with perhaps the most famous Jurassic Park vehicle there is: the Jeep Wrangler. In the movie, the 1992 Jeep Wrangler YJ Sahara was the official Jurassic Park vehicle, so multiple Jeep Wranglers were used, each with a different number on it. Jeep Wrangler 12 was the one Dennis Nedry used while trying to escape. Jeep Wrangler 10 was the one chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was Jeep Wrangler 18 that characters Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler used when they drove through the park and saw the Brachiosaurus for the first time.

That scene is a classic in cinematic history, and certainly in the Jurassic Park franchise. There were so many 1993 Wranglers used in the movie that some are now unaccounted for. Some are in private collections. Several are still owned and stored by Universal Studios. The exposure from being featured in a blockbuster like that certainly didn’t hurt Jeep’s sales. Avid fans have purchased Jeep Wrangler models and customized them to look like the vehicles used in the movie. I admit that it’d be pretty fun to spend an afternoon driving around town in a replica Jurassic Park Jeep Wrangler.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe in Jurassic World

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe - group-media.mercedes-benz.com
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe - group-media.mercedes-benz.com

Pairing up with guaranteed blockbusters is a smart promotional move for any carmaker. Audi did it with recent Marvel movies. Chevrolet did it with the Transformers movies. Mercedes did it with the most recent Jurassic Park movies. Mercedes timed the release of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Coupé to match the release of 2015’s Jurassic World. It was used within the first 20 minutes of the movie. The white coloring stood out among all the green on the island, and that Mercedes logo was very prominent. While it was mostly used on low-level off-roading trails, it made a good first impression.

Unimog U 4000 in Jurassic World

Unimog U 4000 - group-media.mercedes-benz.com
Unimog U 4000 - group-media.mercedes-benz.com

Before the Unimog U 4000 was used in the fourth movie, a 1997 Unimog U 1300 was used in the third one. Mercedes-Benz was all in on the Jurassic Park craze by the time the third movie came out. As a multi-purpose four-wheel-drive vehicle, it made sense for the multi-man crew to use the Unimog to travel the mountainous terrain on the island of Isla Nublar.

While the Unimog U 1300 was a fun feature in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the writers took a different route with the Unimog U 4000 in Jurassic World. It was used as a mobile veterinarian unit. After the dinosaurs escape and chaos ensues Claire (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) no longer has access to her GLE 450, so she ends up behind the wheel of the Unimog U 4000. The Unimog is bulky, but it’s also powerful. Claire had the pedal to the metal as she tried to outrun a large pack of angry raptors.

Triumph Scrambler in Jurassic World

Triumph Scrambler - imcdb.org
Triumph Scrambler - imcdb.org

When actor Chris Pratt joined the franchise for the second trilogy, so did some fun motorcycles. His trusty Triumph Scrambler was used in several scenes, but the most memorable may have been when he was riding it through a field, leading dozens of raptors to a specific spot in order to put a plan into action. Three Scramblers were customized for the movie with Arrow 2-1 exhaust and a Lucas tail light. The bikes were also upgraded with Renthal handlebars.

Triumph ended up gifting Pratt one of the customized bikes. One is at Triumph’s headquarters in the United Kingdom, and the last one was put up for auction. Minor SPOILER ALERT for Jurassic World: Dominion here: Pratt is still using two wheels in a chase scene, but this time he’s on a Montesa 4Ride. Maybe he’ll take one of those home to his personal collection, too.

1992 Hummer HMC2 in The Lost World: Jurassic Park

1992 Hummer HMC2 - imcdb.org
1992 Hummer HMC2 - imcdb.org

In the Jurassic Park movies, you don’t just outrun the dinosaurs. Sometimes, if you’re a villain, you capture them as well. For the unenviable task of capturing a human-sized dinosaur, characters used the 1992 Hummer. In one scene the 1992 Hummer HMC4 is seen getting some hang time as it was launched into mid-air, side-by-side with a motorcycle.

The standout moment for the vehicle was on the dinosaur hunt though. It was given the fictional name of the, ‘InGen Hunter Snagger,’ since it was specifically equipped to trap a dinosaur. The vehicle was modified with a passenger area on the back and extendable seats on either side of it. There are no indications that this vehicle was modified in other ways, so it likely had one of the original five engine types and three automatic transmissions. On the high end of that spectrum was a 6.6-liter turbo Duramax LLY V8 mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

1992 Ford Explorer in Jurassic Park

1992 Ford Explorer - imcdb.org
1992 Ford Explorer - imcdb.org

If the Jeep Wrangler is the most famous Jurassic Park vehicle, the 1992 Ford Explorer is a close second! It’s been used in video games, made into a special edition Matchbox car, is on display at Universal Studios in Orlando, and has been replicated by other Explorer owners for personal use and auction.

The Ford Explorer was still new when the decision was made to use it in the original 1993 Jurassic Park movie. Filmmakers used a first-generation 1992 Ford Explorer. The vehicle was presented as a very durable choice, surviving the wrath of a T-Rex. It’s got to be quality if it can survive that, right? Using the 1992 Ford Explorer for several off-roading scenes was logical, but it wasn’t just any 1992 Explorer that was used. Modifications were made for the movie.

Right away, you can tell that this 1992 Explorer stands out. The red, bright green, and bright yellow paint job certainly made sure of that. The other modifications may surprise you. The horsepower wasn’t ramped up. The tires weren’t replaced. Instead, to create the illusion of a driverless vehicle, the Explorer was modified so that a technician could drive it from the cargo area! With Ford’s approval, Steven Spielberg created a bit of futuristic movie magic with the help of some creative automotive experts.

1998 Mercedes-Benz ML 320 in Jurassic Park: the Lost World

1998 Mercedes-Benz ML 320 - imcdb.org
1998 Mercedes-Benz ML 320 - imcdb.org

Starting with the third Jurassic Park movie, Mercedes-Benz rolled the ML 320 into the spotlight. Maybe it was seeing Ford and Jeep get multiple memorable big-screen moments that convinced Mercedes-Benz to join in on the fun. While it’s maybe not as memorable as the Ford Explorer, the 1998 ML 320 also received a custom paint job. The Explorer stands out a little more with the bright colors, but, honestly, I think I’d take the ML 320 instead with the dark green camouflage finish.

Mercedes timed the release of this car to the release of the movie, so theater-goers were getting their first glimpse of what looked like an off-roading, tough, capable crossover. In real life, it was no Jeep, but they worked for the purposes of the movie. The vehicles on film looked to be equipped with certain features that would be useful while driving around on an island filled with potentially dangerous dinosaurs, but even ordinary versions of the vehicle caught the attention of Jurassic Park fans. Advertisements for the 1998 ML 320 appeared on every VHS copy of the movie.

2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom VII in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom VII - imcdb.org
2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom VII - imcdb.org

Although the Rolls-Royce Phantom VII wasn’t featured all that much in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but it did help tell a story. Rolls-Royce is a worldwide symbol of luxury, so Claire being chauffeured in the Phantom VII onto the grounds of a very old, ornate-looking mansion meant wealth. It meant power. Whoever she was going to meet had both. It’s not a big moment in the grand scheme of the Jurassic Park movies, but it’s interesting to see how the director and producers successfully used automobiles even when they weren’t involved in action scenes.

1969 Pontiac Custom S in The Lost World: Jurassic Park

1969 Pontiac Custom S - imcdb.org
1969 Pontiac Custom S - imcdb.org

When the carnivorous dinosaur escapes the ship and wanders through San Diego, he eventually ends up chasing Dr. Malcolm in his classic, red Custom S. Malcolm had that 330-horsepower 350 cubic-inch V8 working overtime to escape the angry, stubby-armed, sharp-toothed T-Rex. The scene ended without any damage being done to the 1969 Pontiac. Who really wants to damage a car like that anyway, even if it’s for a movie?

Dr. Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) was a mix of cool and smart with his tinted glasses and black leather jacket, so it stands to reason that his car of choice would be a 1969 Pontiac Custom S convertible. It’s the car he drove to an oceanfront dock while waiting for the arrival of a tyrannosaurus that was being transported to the mainland on a ship.

1996 Fleetwood Southwind Storm in The Lost World: Jurassic Park

1996 Fleetwood Southwind Storm - imcdb.org
1996 Fleetwood Southwind Storm - imcdb.org

If you’re going on a dinosaur-hunting expedition on an island without much shelter, a decked-out RV isn’t a bad thing to bring along. That’s what a group of scientists, observers, and hired henchmen did for the third installment of the franchise. With a green camouflage paint job, this RV doesn’t look like one you’d take a family vacation in. In the movie, it was a portable command center, filled with computers, video monitors, workspaces, and various other supplies.

The one thing you don’t want to do is kidnap a baby tyrannosaurus in your Fleetwood Southwind Storm, especially if Mommy T-Rex finds out about it. Similar to what happened with the Ford Explorer in the original movie, the Southwind Storm took a beating. It was flipped over by the dinosaurs, pushed towards a cliff, and eventually pushed off the cliff in an extended suspense-building scene. Despite being continuously flipped over, the Southwind frame remained sturdy.

Even More for a Keen Eye!

Jurassic World scene - group-media.mercedes-benz.com
Jurassic World scene - group-media.mercedes-benz.com

Those are the highlights, but there are several other vehicles that can be spotted throughout the six-movie franchise. Planes, helicopters, ships, tractor-trailers, bikes, and pretty much any other kind of transportation you can think of are all well-represented in the Jurassic Park movies. If it’s got an engine, it can probably be found somewhere in these iconic movies. You can spot a Freightliner Cascadia, a 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, 1983 BMW 733i E23, 1983 Ford LTD Wagon, and a 2014 Ford Fiesta if you’re paying attention.

For even more cinematic car coverage, click on The Cars of the Cars Movie or Famous Movie Cars: 10 of the Best. If speed is more your style, we’ve also looked at Paul Walker’s Supra, Dom’s Charger, and the Top 20 Fast and Furious Cars.

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Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson earned his journalism degree from South Dakota State University. No stranger to newsgathering and reporting, Jesse spent 13 years in TV news. 10 of those years were spent working in Charlotte, NC, home of NASCAR. A highlight of his time there was being able to take a lap around the Charlotte Motor Speedway. His interest in vehicles, starting with Matchbox cars, a Big Wheel, and the Transformers, evolved into taking photos of motocross events. Now, he puts his research skills to use on car culture, reviews, and comparisons.

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