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Films that Predicted the Evolution of Cars

Have you ever watched a futuristic film and wondered how many of the predictions will come true? Perhaps surprisingly, some blockbuster films have even predicted the evolution of cars.

Film makers have the ability to explore wild ideas and concepts, so there’s always a chance that some of their visions will become a reality.

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Goldfinger

Any vehicle driven by the fictional British superspy James Bond 007 was destined to become famous.

The cars in Goldfinger included the stunning Aston Martin DB5, a much sought-after collectors’ car today. In the movie, it appears to have an early form of satellite navigation, as 007 drives it through Switzerland’s breathtaking Furka Pass.

While the gadget inventor Q created electrified walking sticks and knockout gas fountain pens for Bond, these haven’t gone into production – or if they have, we don’t know about it! However, Q was certainly on to something with sat nav, as it’s commonplace in most vehicles today, although 60 years ago, when Goldfinger was released, it wasn’t a thing!

Back to the Future II

When US science fiction movie Back to the Future II, starring Michael Fox as time traveller Marty McFly, was released in 1989, it featured a DeLorean sports car which was really a time machine.

Scientist Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, redesigned his time machine after its first outing in 1985.

While we’re not suggesting anyone has made a time machine, the Doc’s efforts to make the Back to the Future II car eco-friendly 35 years ago mirror what’s really happening today.

He replaced the DeLorean’s plutonium fission reactor with a home reactor, known as Mr Fusion and powered by household waste, creating 1.21 gigawatts of power to enable the vehicle to travel through time.

The script addressed the future problems that combustion engines would cause in the 21st century due to their high energy demands.

Total Recall

As Hauser realises something is wrong in this futuristic story, he tries desperately to discover the truth about his life, in the belief that sinister and tyrannical rulers have suppressed his real memories.

During his highly dangerous physical and mental journey to find out the truth, he commandeers a Johnny Cab, a futuristic vehicle driven by AI and a robot taxi driver. However, the Total Recall car has a few operational issues when the robo-cabbie doesn’t recognise Hauser’s voice commands, so he has to disable its autonomous system and drive it himself.

Now, 34 years later, self-driving cars are a reality, but the plot of Total Recall highlights the importance of having a manual override system, as even the best driverless cars might develop a fault.

The film was remade 22 years later, starring Colin Farrell in the role originally made famous by Arnie. The Total Recall 2012 car chase is stunning, thanks to advances in filming technology, as it features realistic flying vehicles on a futuristic multi-level highway.

The first road-legal flying car, Samson Sky’s Switchblade, made its maiden flight in Washington, US, on 9th November 2023. The electric hybrid car that flies like a small aircraft can transform into a car in under three minutes.

Production of the flying car is believed to have begun, with 2,300 motorists from 57 nations reportedly reserving a model, although there’s no firm date yet for its release.

Knight Rider

The legendary David Hasselhoff starred as undercover detective Michael Knight in the US drama series Knight Rider, which was screened between 1982 and 1986.

Knight Industries Two Thousand, or KITT for short, was a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am which was customised by Michael Scheffe into a futuristic car with a voice control system.

Today, as artificial intelligence advances, drivers really can speak to their cars, thanks to in-car voice assistants. They can vocally set the sat nav and listen to directions en route, receive and make hands-free calls and access the car manual, asking the AI to read out loud the relevant sections.

This is something people wouldn’t have believed possible when KITT was launched 42 years ago. There were 23 different cars in Knight Rider that were used during filming.

Cars

A cartoon comedy film about anthropomorphic vehicles that talk to each other and have their own living world hardly seems like the premise for a real car of the future. Okay, so we’re not suggesting that today’s cars are about to come to life, as that would take us into the realm of Stephen King’s horror movie, Christine. However, when Cars was released in 2006, the main character, stock car Lightning McQueen, gave viewers a glimpse of the future.

With a top speed of 200mph, the racing car in the film had a 750 horsepower V8 engine and could go from 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds. As Lightning left the Los Angeles International Speedway and drove onto the highway, cinemagoers were unknowingly looking ahead to an era when luxury sports cars with racing capabilities could actually drive on public roads.

Many of the leading cars from the film Cars looked like futuristic sporty supercars at the time. However, today, models like the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, McLaren P1 LM, Caterham Seven 620 R, BMW M4 GTS, Radical SR3 and KTM X-Bow are all road legal.

Rampage

The 2018 sci-fi movie Rampage, based on the retro 1980s computer game of the same name, starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the head of an American anti-poaching unit. His character, Davis Okoye, drives a Ford Bronco concept car. However, in a rather odd twist, it was actually a 2004 concept car that hadn’t gone into production at the time. After appearing in an auto show, it had disappeared without a trace, but was resurrected for the film.

The movie centred around animals, including a friendly gorilla who grew to giant proportions after being exposed to a chemical leak from a laboratory.

Since the film’s release, the Rampage car has been manufactured and released, first in the US and then imported into the UK. When the film was made, plans to put the Ford Bronco into production in 2020 had been drawn up and the manufacturer allowed the producers to use it, winning some valuable publicity into the bargain.

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