Jay Gatsby had it all, except perhaps the presence of mind to dial down the drama so he could hold on to the good things, namely cars and bikes that would stand the test of time for unrelenting beauty and elegance. The art deco era, spanning over two decades, influenced design internationally — and vehicles were beneficiaries of this arty approach to industry. So much of what was built in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s now only exists in the hallowed halls of museums and collectors’ garages as we drool upon this glorious motoring past. Gatsby’s greatness could’ve remained had he chosen to drive one of these beauties into the West Egg sunset, leaving Daisy behind in a cloud of rich exhaust. Fresh for Baz Luhrmann’s full throttle cinematic interpretation of the landmark Fitzgerald novel, we’ve collected 10 of the finest art deco cars and bikes ever built.
Starpower trumps horsepower
Weeding through Hollywood’s entire crop of iconic movie cars in the hopes of arriving at an agreed upon best of list is like trying to choose the sexiest Victoria’s Secret model — it can be grueling work, but the research isn’t exactly painful. Car guys are a picky lot, especially when looking to the silver screen: Some go weak in the knees when they hear an American V8 rumble to life slightly out of frame, while others are gaga for the svelte silhouette of a European exotic on a twisty backdrop. A select few believe the essential chase scene is the deciding factor, while yet another breed is only happy when the director has chosen an “appropriate” vehicle for the character driving, regardless of whether the movie was even watchable.
The GP Team’s collection of petrolheads put all of these variables into play, entered into
deep philosophical debate and eventually agreed to disagree so we could present you with our picks for the best movie cars ever. Gentlemen, start your arguing engines!
The Woodlands Wool Varsity Jacket So you’ve been dating her for a while now and you want to take it to the next level. Take yourself off the market in style: let her wear your modern varsity jacket as a sign of your undying retro romance. Or just wear it yourself because it’s a damn…
Tops be droppin'
Summer isn’t nearly as enjoyable without top-down driving. As much as we’re fans of hardtop automotive design and the way a sweeping roofline catches the eye, we have to admit that the clear growl of an engine and the wind in your hair makes the warmer months that much better. Even a drive up Pacific Coast Highway in a cream-hued 1995 Chrysler Sebring Convertible can be a pleasure (as long as no one actually sees you). Bully for you, convertibles are better than ever — gone are the fussy tops, the anemic engines, and silhouettes that would make Quasimodo cringe. The crop of current convertibles range from modern nostalgia to supercar power players, but one thing they all do is make your motoring pleasure good for all the world to see.
Stirs the senses, not the wallet
When we found out the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA ($29,900 Base) wouldn’t be available stateside till September, we were willing to do anything to get our hands on it early; we even pondered selling our souls to the devil. Fortunately, we didn’t have to go quite that far. All we had to do was fly to the South of France for a day and half of driving. Yes, we spent 26 hours in the air to get 13 hours behind the wheel of this sub-$30,000 German ride.
Time to meet the winners
Imagine spending years designing, redesigning, engineering and finally building a car — only to have public opinion weigh in on your baby. No pressure, right? Well, at this year’s New York International Auto Show, plenty of brands did a damn good job. We were tantalized by some of what’s to come: cars that will certainly hit production in some form or another (and thank goodness for that). From track beasts to practical and attractive sedans, we rounded up the cream of the crop, in our humble opinion. Take a look at the 10 best in show.
One hell of a legacy
The SLS AMG by Mercedes-Benz is truly the 300SL Gullwing reincarnate. Only the resurrected version is so much faster, you’ll wonder what happened to your eyebrows. How do we know? We got behind the wheel and watched it make people’s necks sore.
A bargain German sex symbol
If Ferrari Spiders and Lamborghinis Spyders seem like commonplace cabriolets to you, and “Overkill” also happens to be your middle name, you’ll want to get in touch with the folks at upscale tuner Brabus for their latest birthing from the fifth circle of hell, the 800 Roadster. What started out as an “ordinary” Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG with a 621 hp V12 is surgically enhanced both inside and out, transforming it into the world’s most powerful roadster.
The King of Beasts
If military-grade Humvees or the “run-of-the-mill” bores you to tears and you simply can’t afford an M1 Abrams tank for your off-pavement adventures, look to Mercedes-Benz and their perfectly over-the-top G63 AMG 6×6. Yes folks, that’s six-wheel-drive, with enough torque to warp the earth’s crust (if that’s your thing). The limited-production beast is the result of a partnership with Austria’s Magna Steyr and is based on the military version of the Mercedes-Benz G320 CDI — and it’s positively bonkers.
Electric on the water
For most of us the world of powerboats is a bit on the abstract side — we simply imagine loud, fast and ridiculously expensive, but on water instead of pavement. The Cigarette AMG Electric Drive Concept boat is a spectacular example of at least the last two qualities.
Small car. Big engine. The 2014 A45 AMG is a guaranteed recipe for ear-to-ear grins and a way for Mercedes-Benz to prove they still know the magic elixir well. This beast of a hatchback, debuting early next month, gets a whole range of the badass treatment from our favorite German mad scientists (AMG): a new look and a big upgrade under the hood.
I believe I can fly
Most drivers with sport-tuned cars like BMW’s Ms and Audi’s S line are relegated to red light straightaways, only partially exploiting the true potential of their steeds. The pathway to higher speeds lies elsewhere. Mercedes recognized this problem and invited us to Rosamond, CA., a quiet farming town with long, unpatrolled stretches of road, to play with all their AMG
toys offerings for 2013 and to use the track at Willow Springs Raceway for their brand new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT ($200,000 Base Coupe).
E-Class is in session
Opting for the standard 2014 E-Class coupe, sedan, convertible or wagon gets you the new grill, hood and lights (along with a serious list of safety features) for a streamlined Optimus Prime look to the front as well as the put-a-drink-on-it wide and flat backside. But because we all need a little more-cedes in our…
You can just about stop coveting the pricey Mercedes-Benz CLS and start picking the color of your 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class sedan. Based on the edgy A-Class hatchback, the CLA sedan is an entry-level Merc that looks far more expensive than it is. Boasting an incredible 0.22 drag coefficient, it’s the most aerodynamic production car…
Give up in doors, gain in image
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan is sharp, but it just might be upstaged by the sportier-looking 2014 E-Class coupe. A huge grille and massive air intakes on the fascia set this two-door apart from its big brother. The coupe also retains a previous E-Class design — large haunches over the rear wheels — which is…
The German sedan wars wage on
To the average man on the street, the difference between the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will likely go largely unnoticed — but well-informed GP readers will have the leg up. Much found in the Sindelfingen, Germany-built sedan and wagon is new, and all the internal and external changes debut at…
Bringing water to Mars
From the revamped A-Class to mysterious Affalterbach gems, Mercedes knows a thing or two about pushing the boundaries of automotive design. Most of their time has been spent developing on-road capabilities — but at this year’s LA Design Challenge, Mercedes gave us a look into the off-road future with their Ener-G-Force. For Mercedes, this isn’t…
It doesn’t feel like that long ago when adding aftermarket amplifiers, separates, and elephantine subwoofers (remember the Bazooka?) seemed like the right thing to do to your car. We’ve come a long way since then; and when we checked in with the families and friends at the office, not one could even recall the last…
A shock to the eyes, as well as the wallet
Supercars tend to be about as subtle as an MMA pugilist after a couple Red Bull and vodkas. Stuff that mess into a retina-searing blue dress and you’ve got the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive. Forking up $530,000 for this gull-winged Smurf-mobile gets you 750 e-horsepower from four electric motors (one at each wheel) and…
Carve the aqua apex
If sporting the three-pointed star on land just isn’t enough for you, aim your vehicular aspirations to the water. Mercedes-Benz’s plans to broaden their design chops to more than just cars are officially under way, mimicking Porsche-like endeavors. Mercedes and U.K.-based Silver Arrows Marine have partnered to create the high-end, 46-foot Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow of…
Creature comforts where creatures roam
New Mexico seems other-worldly to those unaccustomed to the arid nature of the South West. But the desert-like atmosphere isn’t as stark as you might think. From Albuquerque to Santa Fe, the adobe style homes fit in well with the captivating landscape. Blue sky and enormous cumulus clouds as far as the eye can see…
A visit to the Affalterbach mothership
Childbirth is a painful thing. Mother screams, child cries, various fluids splash onto the cold floor of a sterile hospital room. Yet, through this (un)natural sequence of events, life and beauty spring forth. Mother heals, child grows strong and healthy, and the once separate genetics of a loving couple are combined into a new generation….
5 doors to your heart
Both the first and second generation Merc CLS sedans are stunning. How do you improve on the looks? Go family style with the new Mercedes-Benz Shooting Brake, which is Eurospeak for station wagon. But this isn’t some Teutonic Family Truckster. With rakishly good looks that it inherits from the four door in the kind of…
More good stuff from the three-pointed star
We think the latest cars from Mercedes have been well-designed, bordering on beautiful (the CLS, especially). This statement can easily be made for the soon-to-be-revealed Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe, or CSC, which will bow at the end of the month in Beijing. The rakish and sleek “four door coupe” that follows in the CLS’s footsteps…
Third time's a charm
If you know anything about the compact MPV known as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, you’d know that previous generations have been, um, less than thrilling. Well, that’s all changed with the 2012 Mercedes-Benz A-Class, a complete reworking that’s simply beautiful. Mercedes-Benz hopes this new version will make the A-class world class and push sales into the…
Brabus, the renowed German tuner responsible for untethered versions of already incredible automobiles, has just released the ridiculously fast Brabus Bullit Coupe 800 for the Geneva Auto Show. Based on the current C63 AMG, this iteration is far more potent, with a fat twin-turbo V12 from the S600 shoehorned into the engine bay. Brabus even…
1,000 miles never felt so easy
Recently, we hopped into the 9th generation E-class for an extended test on the unfamiliar (to us) roads of Miami. Over the span of a week, we logged nearly a thousand miles hurtling our Mercedes-Benz E350 Sport everywhere from South Beach to Little Havana, from the University of Miami to Dania Beach and we’re still…
The Mercedes-Benz SL has always been a much-coveted car, and what’s not to like? Big, luxurious, convertible and very German. All good things. The completely redesigned 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL carries on that tradition with a bit more boldness, a bit less weight and a generous heaping of opulence. With styling cues inherited from the range-topping…
Not So Mellow
Talk about a match made in motoring heaven. Merc and Ducati have partnered to create a worthy collaboration of two and four wheeled beauties. The Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG and Ducati Streetfighter 848 adorned in ‘Streetfighter Yellow’ showcase performance in a rare color that MB might just bring to their line of cars if enough…