Top 10 Superhero Cars

Whether it’s the vintage models that speak to Tony Stark's massive ego, or Reed Richards' Fantasti-car, whose detachable components are crucial for a quartet as dysfunctional as The Fantastic Four, superhero cars often creatively, and tellingly illuminate the inner-life of their super-driver. They also tend to get smashed to pieces by a—holes like The Joker or Whiplash. Here are ten rides suitable for those used to leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

  1. The Batmobile

    The Batmobile first appeared in 1941, in issue number 5 of the Batman comic, only to be forced off a cliff by The Joker. Of course, DC comics knew a good ride when they had one, so the Batmobile reappeared intact in the same issue. Previously, Batman had driven a red convertible in Detective Comics, which is hard to imagine since this (Okay, we'll say it…) "bat-like" car is inseparable from the Batman brand. For the 1966 television show, a 1955 Lincoln Futura became the Batmobile.

  2. Black Beauty

    "Let's roll, Kato! But first, have we wasted enough time doing an idiot check of all of our pretend named-after-insects tools and weapons before we leave the garage?" The Green Hornet and his partner Kato who, given the fact he was played by martial arts icon Bruce Lee, probably gritted his teeth whenever the Hornet barked an order at him, rolled in what were actually two heavily customized 1966 Chrysler Imperials, built by star Hollywood carmaker Dean Jeffries. A character originally created for radio back in the 1930s, The Green Hornet's mystique was perfectly suited for 1960s television with lead Van Williams and Lee making fellow TV crime fighters Adam West (Batman) and Burt Ward (Robin) look truly camp in comparison.

  3. The Fantastic Four's Fantasi-Car

    The Fantastic Four, possibly the most dysfunctional of superhero teams, rely on leader Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards) to be a sort of combination den-mother and drill sergeant when tempers flare and the four squabble. The Reed-designed and built Fantasti-car is the perfect ride for this quarrelsome foursome, the main reason being it can split into four separate segments so that the Human Torch, Invisible Girl, and The Thing can all have some always welcome "alone" time.

  4. The Jokermobile

    The Joker is the Salvador Dali of comic book villains. His visage, like Dali with his saucer eyes and upwards-turned mustache, is a branding tool, and a pretty frightening and surreal one at that. Any gizmo, weapon, or in this case vehicle owned by the Joker incorporates his insane smile and thousand yard stare into its design. The Jokermobile is no exception. The car actually looks like it should be driven backwards, which only adds to its freakiness.

  5. Thor's Chariot

    Thor, the hammer wielding God of Thunder from Norse Mythology, doesn't need no hybrid to get to where he's got to go. He just swings his trusty hammer Mjolnir and he's off to wherever. Gas prices are a non-issue. However, if all that's required is a quick visit the local grocery store for a batch of Idunn Golden Apples, he'll fire up his dimension-spanning chariot, pulled by his two trusty pet goats Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder. It's the perfect candidate for a yet-to-be-aired episode of Pimp My Ride Norse Mythology-style.

  6. The Punisher's Battle Van

    Superhero and anti-hero The Punisher drives a nondescript van, not unlike what plain clothes policemen use for all night stake outs or punk and indie-rock bands drive on cross-country club tours. If you see this van parked on your street, it's probably best not to walk up to it, knock and the driver's side window, and ask the drive what's up. Inside is an armory at The Punisher's disposal for the disposing of criminals and anyone stupid enough to pull him over for a broken taillight.

  7. The Mistmobile

    Rich kid and eventual turncoat Red Mist's ride is a customized red and black Mustang, which he imaginatively calls the Mistmobile. The vehicle, specially built for the 2010 film adaptation of the cutting-edge graphic novel Kick Ass, boasts 550-horsepower 4.6-liter V-8 engine, custom-made 20-inch wheels, Lambo-style scissor doors, two-tone leather seats, red LED interior mood lighting, front and rear cameras, and a Navigation system. All of which is helpful, since the teenage Red Mist doesn't actually possess any superpowers or crime-fighting abilities, other than being able to speed dial 911.

  8. Captain Nemo's Otto Mobile

    Based on the moody and mysterious submarine captain from Jules Verne's novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Captain Nemo was resurrected by writer Alan Moore for his Victorian-period graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The 2003 film adaptation featured Naseeruddin Shah as Nemo rolling through the mean streets of Venice in a 100 foot long, six-wheeled ride that looks like a cross between a rolls Royce and giant ivory squid. Smokin'!

  9. The Spider-Mobile

    Tricked out with web shooters, a spider spotlight, and of course, ejection seats (Really, what good is a superhero car without an ejection seat?), the Spider-Mobile lasted just a couple of issues before being trashed not once but twice, both times by a pissed off Spiderman. The actual vehicle resembled a sand-buggy, its design nowhere near as cool as a gas guzzler like the Batmobile. Lesson here is, if you can travel across town swinging from building to building from strands of webbing, you probably don't really need a car.

  10. Iron Man's cars

    For men who read Car and Driver the way teenage boys read Playboy, "Iron Man 2", based on the Marvel Comic Iron Man, was retina-busting eye-candy for the cars in Iron Man's (Tony Stark) garage workshop. The vintage and modern rides included a 1932 Ford Flathead roadster, a 2008 Audi R8, and a Rolls Royce Phantom. Tragically, Stark's racing machine, the Mark IV Red Vortex complete with missiles for taking out the competition, gets destroyed by the evil Whiplash, played by a plastic surgically altered Mickey Rourke.

Leave a comment