What About Cars Do Movies Get Wrong?

Illustration for article titled What About Cars Do Movies Get Wrong?
Photo: Fast Five

There’s definitely no shortage of cars in movies. There are movies about cars, movies about driving and movies not about cars but where cars do plenty of stunts. The problem is that sometimes directors and editors get sloppy and mistakes appear onscreen.


Personally, I don’t like it when what a car sounds like in the movie doesn’t match up with what it’s doing. You see this in a lot of action movies and chase scenes. There’s usually a gratuitous use of tire screeching sound effects, the sounds of engines climbing revs, when it’s very plain that the car is maintaining traction perfectly and it isn’t accelerating as violently as its sound suggests.

Of course, some movies also dub incorrect engine notes into their scenes. Why does the the 3 Series in Wheelman sometimes sound like a bellowing V10? Hm.

Then there is the actual chase scene itself. Are you telling me that in Overdrive, a bunch of vintage cars can outrun a modern Maserati in a straight line with no problem at all? Please.

Jason’s written about this in the past, but I want to hear from you. What other pet peeves do you have about how cars are portrayed in movies? And, please, don’t bring up anything from the Fast and Furious universe. That’s just low-hanging fruit. You can do better.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.


Obfuscatio: philosopher at large

Perhaps not so much of late, but back in the day every car crash in movies or on TV involved an explosion. Drove off a cliff? Explosion. (Occasionally in mid-air. FTW? WTF!?!) Drove into a wall? Explosion. Drove into a tree? Explosion. Crashed into another car? Explosion. Hit by lightning? Explosion. Slammed the door too hard? Explosion. Stone chip in the windshield? Explosion. Drove into fog? Explosion.

Ok, so I’m getting a bit carried away, but how did the auto industry NOT file suit against the Hollywood studios for misrepresentation of the quality of their products?