Captain America and Dr. Strange. Audi, Lexus, and Ford. Take a look at the Iron Man car and all the other sporty, luxury, and classic cars of Marvel!
The latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) hits theaters on May 4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness involves portals to mirroring universes, but, if past Marvel movies are any indication, there should be some four-wheeled stars alongside the actors. In almost all of the 27 Marvel movies, auto enthusiasts have had something to admire. We’ve looked at the Cars of the Transformers Movies and the Cars of the Cars Movie, but now let’s take a look at some of the most impressive automobile cameos in the MCU so far.
We have to start with the vehicle that may have the most appearances in Marvel movies. Different Audi R8 models have been featured in five Marvel movies. That’s a lot of marketing for Audi! There’s also more continuity there than in some other entire movie franchises. The R8 is undoubtedly Tony Stark’s car of choice. 2008’s Iron Man featured a silver 2008 Audi R8 in multiple scenes. In the sequel, Tony was driving a white Audi R8 during a particularly memorable scene involving a large-scale expo model positioned in the passenger seat. The visual of these giant boards sticking straight up, out of the convertible made for a nice comedic moment. This version was an R8 with a 5.2-liter V10 engine that produces more than 500 bhp. The car was also featured in Iron Man 3 in 2013.
A few years later, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel used an orange 2015 Audi R8. This one may be the most memorable because the vehicle drives itself up to where Tony is walking. He gets into the sunset orange car and drives it off into the sunset. The same car showed up again in Captain America: Civil War, which is good because the car is too awesome to not use twice. The final Audi R8 appearance is in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, when Tony gets into a yellow 2017 Audi R8 V10 Spyder (the Spyder in a Spider-Man movie). If Tony Stark ever shows up in another Marvel show or movie, he’ll have to roll up in an Audi R8.
While the Audi R8 seemed to be Tony Stark’s favorite car, he seemed to be always adding to his collection. The Audi e-tron GT concept was chosen as perhaps the final vehicle connected to Iron Man. While Tony usually drove the Audi R8, he switched to the Audi e-tron GT concept for his final appearance in the series. It was shown briefly while parked at Tony’s wooded lake cabin. Later in the movie, the concept got several seconds of big screen time as it was driven around a long, circular driveway, pulling up to the Avengers’ headquarters.
Audi delivered this tech-heavy four-door coupe to Marvel, and it seemed to make sense for the tech-savvy Tony Stark character. The all-electric vehicle has regenerative braking paddles, has dual electric motors producing between 522 and 637 horsepower, and has a range of 238 miles. Inside is leather or recycled materials as part of a leather-free package. On the tech side of things, there’s a head-up display, heated-and-cooled front seats, a 10.1-inch touchscreen, and even massage functions. As part of the Marvel-Audi relationship, actor Robert Downey Jr. himself unveiled the e-tron GT for Audi at a Los Angelese event.
Another vehicle that can be spotted multiple times throughout Marvel movies is the 1972 Ford Econoline. The Ford E-series, which included a variety of full-size vans, was developed in 1948, but began production in 1961. Over 10 years later, the sliding door was a brand-new feature on the 1972 Ford Econoline model. It’s a model many people have used to make their own, customized Mystery Machine. These days, a 1972 Ford Econoline is more a barn find than a classic, but it’s definitely a favorite. Maybe that’s why it was chosen for the Marvel movies.
This distinct van, with its short nose and sliding door, was made even more distinct for Marvel movies with shades of pink, red, and tan body colors. It went from being a van that was used in heists to a van being used as the company vehicle for a security consultant company to being a portal. The Econoline was even more of a focus for Ant-Man and The Wasp when it was outfitted with quantum technology that transported people to the Quantum Realm. Just like Marty McFly and Doc Brown used the DeLorean to time travel, Ant-Man used the van to leap into the Quantum Realm. It got even more screentime in Avengers: Endgame since the van, and its portal abilities, became a central part of the movie’s plot.
Marvel producers must like their 1970s Ford models because the 1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra is another Ford from that decade to be used on the big screen. When it was released, the King Cobra drew strong opinions. More specifically, negative opinions because of lackluster engine options. Despite the resounding rejections, Ford didn’t upgrade the 5.0L V8. Instead, they opted to focus on cosmetic upgrades. Let’s face it: the 1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra did look cool!
While the vehicle may have left Ford disappointed decades ago, this car was the perfect choice for cinema. The orange seats and hood decal stood out in an overhead shot as the stars sang along to ‘Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl).’ An opening shot of the turquoise King Cobra on the open road lasted about 10 seconds. The car continued down the roadway and eventually turned into a Dairy Queen. In total, the King Cobra was showcased for under a minute. There were no car chases or impressive handling. This Ford Mustang served its purpose for the movie though. It took us back in time for a few moments.
If you can’t tell by now, Marvel and Audi reached a deal early on in the MCU’s history to feature Audi vehicles. I don’t know the specifics of the deal, but it continued on into 2016 for Spider-Man‘s first solo Marvel movie. The 2018 Audi TTS Roadster is very quick with a five-cylinder turbocharged engine, puts out 292 horsepower, and handles well. Much of that is on display in the movie. Although actual screen time probably adds up to under a minute, the car is used more than once. During the times it is on screen, the 2018 Audi TTS looks and drives like a car people would want.
There’s not much better product placement than the main attraction of a box office hit crouched on top of your vehicle. The scene with Black Panther on top of the first-ever 2018 Lexus LC 500 certainly put some focus on the Lexus brand. Marvel stuck with Audi for the Iron Man character, but it’s appropriate they went with something different for Black Panther. Since the fictional land of Wakanda is a mix of tradition and technology, Lexus brought those same qualities to the table.
The 2018 Lexus LC 500 has an impeccable interior with very few hard plastics. Instead, it was filled with leather, metal, metal-feeling plastics, and simulated suede. A large 10.3-inch center screen is used to calculate routes and control other functions of the cabin. This inspired version of the flagship coupe has a 5.0L V8 that accelerates quickly. The acceleration, handling, and flare of the 2018 LC 500 are on full display during an almost five-minute scene throughout the streets of Busan, South Korea. It was an impressive film debut!
This vehicle may not have been on full display like the Lexus LC 500 or the Audi TTS Roadster, but even just parked in a garage in Iron Man, it didn’t fade into the background. How could it? The classic 1932 Ford Roadster stands out by itself due to the shape of the vehicle. Then you add in the red seats and yellow-orange flame paint job against the black finish. It’s one sharp vehicle!
The Ford Flathead Roadster wasn’t used on freeways or on crowded city streets. It didn’t need to be. This classic was the perfect addition to Tony Stark’s fictional car collection. The focus isn’t on the car as Tony is tinkering with engine components, but that didn’t matter. Fans still remember ‘Hotrod,’ as it was named. Producers even carried it over into Iron Man 2. The sequel showed the car on Tony’s computer screen as he was looking at additional modifications to be made. This Ford, with the Flathead V8 engine, actually belongs to Iron Man Director Jon Favreau, so it’s no wonder it was used in the movies. Read all about the original hot rod in this Retro Review: ‘32 Ford V8.
Since Captain America was set in the early 1940s, it made sense to feature a 1941 Cadillac Series 62. There was a twist on this classic, though. The idea was that Howard Stark (Tony Stark’s father) modified the glossy, bright red first-generation Cadillac Series 62 with technology that was ahead of its time. The Series 62 was on display at an exhibition a la a World Expo. As the assistants took the wheels off of the car, it hovered in place. Yep, a flying 1941 Cadillac Series 62. Although the hovering was fictional, the car itself was a very real 1941 Series 62 Touring Sedan.
In reality, this Cadillac made up 37% of the year’s sales for the popular automaker. Chrome lines were used on all four fenders. The grille was wide and barred. Cars of the time featured large, aerodynamic curves, and the 1941 Cadillac Series 62 was no exception. There were several other impressive cars of the late 1930s and early 1940s featured in this movie as well. Keep your eyes peeled in the first half-hour or so of the movie for about a dozen other classics from Oldsmobile, Buick, and Plymouth.
Instead of going entirely the luxury or classic route in all Marvel movies, 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp utilized a Hyundai. Lexus, Lamborghini, and, certainly, Audi have been well-represented in the past. A handful of Ford models have been used as well. Hyundai didn’t have a chance to shine until this movie though. If Hyundai wanted a car to represent energy, boldness, and attitude, then the 2019 Hyundai Veloster was the correct choice.
Let’s start with the purple paint job, enhanced with yellow flames across the entirety of the body. The look alone stands out on any street. Throw in a heist, a car chase, the streets of San Francisco, and futuristic technology that can shrink the Veloster, and you’ve got quality entertainment! The entire scene was one that could only work in the fantasy-filled world of Marvel, but it worked very well. It definitely has a different flavor than the Bullitt chase. There’s plenty of burning rubber and smoke in this one too though. This Marvel movie really showcases the 2019 Hyundai Veloster’s nimble handling, stop-on-a-dime capability, and quick acceleration from the 275-horsepower turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
This list wouldn’t be complete without talking about a highlight from the first Doctor Strange movie: a Lamborghini Huracán coupe. It’s the perfect car for a successful, well-paid surgeon. The speed of this Italian supercar is displayed as it takes sharp turns on a wooded highway. Even in the cloak of darkness, this car stands out! The scene only lasted a couple of minutes, but the movie successfully highlighted the Huracán’s impressive handling, sleek shape, and reputation as a status symbol.
There are, of course, other vehicles prominently displayed and not-so-prominently displayed in the other Marvel movies. That tends to happen when there are more than 20 movies in the series, some set in previous time periods. Marvel shows no signs of slowing down even expanding into TV shows, so there are sure to be other vehicles popping up soon, from concept cars to classics to the bold and the quirky. When done right, vehicles have proven to add as much personality to these movies as some of the characters themselves.