If there's anyone reading this who hasn't pretended their car was a spaceship on a long, boring night drive in the middle of nowhere, then click that close box now. A dark road, the glow of your instruments, stars in the sky — why wouldn't you pretend to be in a spaceship?
Since we've almost all secretly geeked out like this, we may as well take the next step. If famous spaceships were cars, what cars would they be?
I was curious enough to run some numbers about this through the Jalopnik Mainframe, located deep under Los Angeles in Wink Martindale's old fallout shelter. Here are the connections it came up with for famous spaceships and cars:
• Millennium Falcon= this Rat Rod Bus Thing: The Millenium Falcon was known for two main things: being fast and ugly. Ugly in a cool way, though, I always thought. Though, we kind of had to take that on faith, since, really, all the ships looked like giant white Pompidou Centers flying around.
It was a very customized project that Han Solo was always tinkering with, but it was also primarily used to haul cargo. That's why I think a rat-rod bus or van-type of vehicle would be ideal. The kind of thing a space princess wouldn't feel so secure about getting into, but could haul ass.
• Serenity/Firefly= Volkswagen Microbus: Okay, hear me out. In the show Firefly, the ship was always a very important part, almost a character, as they like to say on DVD commentaries. When people refer to the ship, we hear them talking about it being an older design, regarded by some as junk but generally thought of fondly, with a reputation for durability. Characters tend to be fairly emotional and fond of the ship, understanding that the fondness isn't always rational. There's a number of vehicles out there that could fit this, but an old Microbus certainly has this sort of reputation and feel. Plus, like Serenity, many of the passengers on old Microbuses wanted to avoid any contact with the authority figures.
• Space Shuttle = 1st Gen Oldsmobile Silhouette: These things just look too much alike. A white with black detailing Olds Silhouette makes anybody think of the Space Shuttle. Plus, I think both have the same sized hoods. Also similar is that both are no longer in production, have big cargo doors in the middle, and you're about as likely to see either on the roads today.
• Battlestar Galactica = Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen: I think this one fits pretty well. Both are older designs developed for war, pressed into service for far longer than anyone would ever have imagined. Both have a very functional, chunky look about them, and I bet Edward James Almos has piloted them both, at some point.
• X-Wing - Lotus 7: The X-Wing always seemed like a stripped-down ship built for speed and maneuverability over everything else, and in that sense it feels like a Lotus (or now, Caterham) 7. It even has the same long hood-short everything else proportions as the Seven. I'm not entirely sure you can get a Seven with a provision for a droid to sit behind you, but it's worth looking into.
• USS Enterprise D - Chevy Volt: The Enterprise always struck me as so clean and refined and advanced it almost became boring. The insides were an explosion of neutral carpeting, and everything felt more like an office than a spaceship. The Volt feels similar, in this way— advanced, refined, but a bit dull as a result. I suppose you could make this argument for the Prius as well, but the Volts' reported issues with fire nicely parallel the way consoles on the Enterprise seem to like blowing up in peoples' faces.
• Sulaco - International MaxxPro: The Sulaco, from Aliens, was a no-nonsense military vehicle— it was even designed to resemble a big-ass gun when seen from space. The expected automotive analogue would be a Humvee, but I think one of these MaxxPro brutes seems to fit better. It feels a bit more purposeful, more aggressive, and, most importantly, just has more pointy crap all over it.
• Discovery One (2001)- Aston Martin Lagonda: The Discovery was a striking-looking ship, long, elegant, a bit skeletal. It was wildly futuristic in 1968. But more than anything, long. The Aston Martin Lagonda, wildly futuristic in 1976, and is also elegant and, yes, long. In white, the Lagonda looks like it could have been the Discovery's surface rover. The inside feels like it was designed by the same clean-surface-loving designer as the Discovery's interior. The clincher, of course, is that both vehicles' electronic brains seemed to be hell-bent on destruction.
• Planet Express ship - '59 DKW F89 L Shnellaster: At its robotic heart, the Planet Express ship from Futurama is a delivery vehicle. Sure, it runs on dark matter and has a seemingly unlimited top speed, but it's basically just a big green way to get crap around the universe. The DKW F89 van was basically the same thing, just much, much, much slower. It looks like the Planet Express ship, and, really it has that Futurama look in general. You could take its grille and headlights and put them on a Futurama robot as a face and no one would notice. Plus, if you think of the parts needed to keep one running today, you may as well be looking for dark matter to run it.