Road and Track has an excellent 64-photo gallery of film stars and their cars. The most striking aspect of the gallery is that the famous really do like their cars. A lot. Seeing Jack Nicholson’s face in all its manic glory as he drives a Volkswagen Beetle is all it took to convince us of that. Also that Nicholson is scary.
Another thing we noticed is that Jaguar and Ford pop up more than any other automakers in this gallery (along with Steve McQueen; hmmmm). Observe:
Granted, this data isn’t an exhaustive look at all the classic cars that film stars have ever owned. It could simply be that whomever put this list together had a positive bias, known or unknown, for Jaguars and Fords. However, Jaguar is also known for having exceptionally stylish cars during the glamour days of Old Hollywood and perhaps it’s no coincidence that Steve McQueen—a stylish fellow himself—is driving most of the Jags pictured.
In addition, it’s worth commenting on the normality of the cars. Instead of reams of Lamborghinis and Maseratis, we see a lot of domestic brands. Ferrari gets up there with four vehicles, and Rolls-Royce with two, but the 48 percent of the vehicles listed are American. Perhaps this list is horribly misrepresentative and the movie stars of yesteryear were driving ridiculously overpriced cars just like ours today do.
However, if we saw a film star today driving a VW Beetle, our first reaction would be to wonder how many free Porsches Volkswagen had to give to make that happen. Maybe product marketing is more of a recent invention. Then again, maybe people back then just liked less expensive cars. Maybe they realized that every car has beauty, and that, given time, every car can become a classic.
In any case, enjoy looking through the gallery and our data.