Top 10 Animated Cars
by Alison Lakin
Is there a more perfect duo than cartoons and cars? Not only can animated cars perform feats no real vehicle would be able to accomplish, but they also bring back cherished memories of lazy Sunday mornings when were were kids. As animation continues to become more advanced, we’re looking forward to seeing more automotive characters on the screen. In the meantime, here’s a top 10 list of our favorite animated cars.
The Mach 5, Speed Racer
The story of Speed Racer’s Mach 5 is a classic underdog tale. Technically, the Mach 5 is inferior to many of the other cars on the track, and without Speed’s impressive racing skills and a few nifty tricks the Mach 5 would just look cool. Not that that’s a bad trait, but we like some substance behind our style, which came from cool features like the deflector that makes the car bulletproof and crash-proof, the ability to release a homing robot bird to send messages and plenty of room for a pet monkey. Total substance right there.
Mystery Machine, Scooby Doo
In a cast full of kooky characters, the Mystery Machine played perhaps the most normal starring role. The van, piloted by Fred, was the capable set of wheels the Scooby Gang relied on when trouble came knocking. Scooby and his crew would invariably end up crowded in the front cabin as they rushed to save the day. The Van has had its own share of good times too, like in the episode when it became possessed and sported eerily green headlights. We like to think it was expressing itself creatively.
Cruella De Vil's De Ville, 101 Dalmatians
Sometimes it’s not the car that makes the person, but rather the person that makes the car. However insane the styling of a Panther De Ville is in real life, add a puppy-crazed Cruella De Vil behind the wheel and an icy country road and the car takes on a life of its own. The red and white death mobile also has the loudest horn in London (according to the book), which she insisted on using to get her dear Darling family’s attention. How thoughtful of her.
Benny the Cab, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
We first meet Benny after a narrow escape from Judge Doom and the Weasels, having been sprung from their clutches by Roger and Eddie Valiant. He then acts as escape vehicle for them on their crazy journey through Toontown. We give him props for being a loyal cabbie and always in the right place at the right time – unlike so many cabs we’ve had the pleasure of waiting for.
We’re big fans of Pixar’s movie Cars for obvious reasons, but the lovable Mater holds a special place in our hearts. He’s the ultimate hillbilly tow truck, voiced, of course, by Larry the Cable Guy. Self-proclaimed world champion of backward driving, Mater clearly has some tricks up his sleeve. Ultimately without Mater’s help, Lightning McQueen would have left Radiator Springs without learning the movie’s oh-so-important life lessons, and it wouldn’t be a Pixar flick without those.
Dick Dastardly's Mean Machine, Wacky Races
We’ll just come out and say that Dick Dastardly may be one of the best cartoon names ever. Dastardly’s Mean Machine is almost as cool. The purple and pointed car carried both him and his four-legged sidekick, Muttley, and produced some nifty tricks like a smoke screen. Really, the entire ensemble deserves praise for consistently inventing evil, but brilliant, plots to foil the other racers. Poor Dick regularly ended up on the receiving end of his bad intentions more often than not.
The Homer, Simpsons
The Homer only made an appearance for one episode of the long-running TV show, but it certainly made an impression. Backstory: Homer’s half-brother, Herb, designed the Homer in an attempt build a car that appealed to the average American. Unwisely, he put Homer in charge and the costly car put the company out of business. Makes sense when a it has features like three horns that play “La Cucaracha”, obscenely large cup holders and a separate bubble compartment and optional muzzles for annoying kids. We’re still wondering who wouldn’t buy one.
Gadgetmobile, Inspector Gadget
Who needs steering wheel controls to set cruise control when a Gadgetmobile has a voice command system that can trigger multiple sorts of evasive maneuvers? With a Santa-bag of tricks up its sleeve, the Delorean-styled car spewed out tacks, rockets and even a retractable claw to evade enemies. It is the ultimate vehicle for the man who has robotic arms coming out of his hat. Did we mention the Gadgetmobile routinely steps in to help save the world from evil villains? Even better.
Optimus Prime, Transformers
Transformers redefined the phrase “looks can be deceiving” by delivering us the leader of the Autobots in an unassuming semi truck guise. Optimus Prime wages war against the Decepticons and battles against Megatron using his extreme powers. The ability to lift 4 million pounds, exceptional vision which can spot an enemy from 30 miles away and access to a laser rifle are just a few of his talents. The capacity to drive over 130 mph comes in handy too.
George Jetson's Car, The Jetsons
George’s car of the future has no name, but that hasn’t stopped us from crowning it our number one animated car. It beats out the competition because of its extreme functionality and high desirability factor. In layman’s terms, it flies, duh. The aerocar zips around the skies, enveloping family members like daughter Judy in private bubbles to escort them easily to their intended destinations. And who wouldn’t want a flying car that folds neatly into a briefcase at the touch of a button?