For more details about the add-on costs and calculations for each vehicle, click through to our “Movie Math” data table that shows the cost of on-screen wheels.
|Movie / TV show||Car Name||Car Model||Stock Price||Cost With Add Ons|
|Knight Rider||KITT||1982 Pontiac Trans Am||$9,794||$15,076,794|
|Includes the world’s biggest supercomputer (at the time) with 1,000 MB of memory: $15 million|
|The Love Bug||Herbie||1963 VW Beetle||$1,595||$2,495 to $8M|
|If powered by one of the biggest supercomputers at the time: $8 million If not powered by a computer… Priceless|
|Back To The Future||DeLorean||DeLorean DMC-12||$25,000||$871,625|
|Addition of a Flux Capacitor powered by a plutonium-fueled nuclear reactor or lightning bolt: $834,330|
|The Spy Who Loved Me||Wet Nellie||1977 Lotus Esprit S1||$13,413||$651,413|
|Modified with a submarine package that includes a periscope and retractable wheels that turn into fins: $600,000|
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (The Movie)||Turtle Van||Surplus Army Van||$5,000||$390,400|
|Outfitted with a missile launcher: $345,000|
|Ferris Bueller’s Day Off||Ferrari||1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider||$350,000||$353,000|
|Replaced the transmission because Ferris couldn’t drive stick: $3,500|
|The Fast and The Furious||Dom’s Charger||1970 Dodge Charger R/T||$3,711||$230,415|
|Modified with a supercharged Chrysler 426 Hemi V-8 engine: $22,500|
|Speed Racer||Mach 5||Concept car||$35,000||$172,650|
|Added aux engines to deliver 5,000 horsepower to each wheel: $58,700|
|Cheech and Chong||Big Green Van||1961 Chevrolet Step-Van||$2,023||$148,923|
|The van has a ‘Fiberweed” shell is made entirely of marijuana: $146,900|
|Cars||Lightning McQueen||Concept car||$125,000||$125,000|
|A handbuilt stock racing car with V8 engine, 750 HP, arm front suspension, and a solid axle rear end.|
|The Simpsons||The Homer||Concept car||$82,000||$82,000|
|Concept car with included sound-proof bubble dome for the kids. (Optional restraints and muzzles)|
|Ghostbusters||The Ecto 1||1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance conversion||$4,800||$7,321|
|Used car with DIY repairs to suspension, brakes, steering box, transmission, rear end, muffler, and wiring: $2,397|
|The A-Team (The Movie)||Van||1994 Chevrolet G20 Cargo Van||$15,883||$3,367 (Used)|
|Added air shocks in the rear-to improve handling: $300|
Paste this Image on Your Site!
Simply copy and paste the code below and you can share this infographic on your site:
How We Got These Cost Totals?
To get the total cost of each vehicle, we went point by point through the specs of each modified car. Here are details about the base cars, modifications, add-ons, and costs.
KITT from Knight Rider started with a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am. Added to the car was the most advanced technology of the 1980s. It had the world’s biggest supercomputer (at the time) with 1,000 megabits of memory. It also had a turbo boost to achieve speeds up to 200 mph, front-mounted rocket motors so it could jump 40 feet in the air, an armored shell, and voice-command recognition with a voice synthesizer. After running the calculations, the cost totaled $15,076,794.
The Ecto 1 from Ghostbusters was a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance conversion. In the movie, Ray bought it used for $4,800, but it needed work. He repaired the suspension, brakes, steering box, transmission, rear end, muffler, and wiring. Because he did the work all himself, he only need to buy materials. Then he got the car ready for ghostbusting by adding a bullhorn, siren, police light bar, and spotlights, roof rack with directional antenna, and TV antenna. The total cost for the Ecto 1 and its repairs and modifications was $7,321.
The DeLorean from Back To The Future was a DeLorean DMC-12. To transform it into a time machine, Doc Brown added a flux capacitor that needs 1.21 gigawatts of electricity which can be powered by a plutonium-fueled nuclear reactor or lightning bolt. This DIY car modification was funded with Doc’s entire family fortune. However, the plutonium needed to fuel the car for a round trip to the past and back only costs $100. During a trip to the future (2015), the Doc adds a hover car propulsion system that he purchases during a 10% off sale. He also adds a Mr. Fusion to replace the nuclear reactor with a converter that uses garbage as fuel. The total cost for the DeLorean time machine was $871,625.
The Ferrari from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was a beauty. It was a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider. Its current value is $16.8 million, but the value at the time of filming was $350,000. The only modification needed was a transmission replacement because Ferris couldn’t drive stick. So the total cost comes to $353,000.
The Mach 5 from Speed Racer was a concept car. For our calculations, we started with the cost of a roadster in the ‘90s and then added modifications of aux engines to deliver 5,000 horsepower to each wheel, jumper jacks for easy repairs and leaping small distances, a deflector to shield against bullets, submarine accessories including periscope and 30-minute oxygen supply, and front-mounted rotary saws to cut through obstacles. The cost for the Mach 5 totals $172,650.
Dom’s Charger from The Fast and The Furious started with the muscle of a supercharged Chrysler 426 Hemi V-8 engine. Added to that was a hood-mounted BDS 8-71 Roots-style supercharger, a Chrysler 727 Three-Speed Automatic Transmission, Coy’s C-5 Wheels, Continental Sport Contact Tires, a nitrous booster, and a full roll cage. After adding the figures of the base car plus modifications, the total cost is $230,415.
The Turtle Van from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (The Movie) started with a cheap surplus army van. Modifications included an off-road suspension kit, solar panels, and custom turtle-shell camo paint. Added to that was a serious artillery of a missile launcher. In total, the Turtle Van costs $390,400.
Herbie from The Love Bug was a 1963 VW Beetle that had a Porsche Super 90 engine. Beyond the car mechanics, we asked what exactly is the price of vehicular sentience? If Herbie was powered by one of the biggest supercomputers at the time, it would cost: $8 million (that would be $60 million in today’s money). However, if it wasn’t powered by a computer, the cost would be priceless. So the total cost ranges between $2,495 and $8 million.
The Van from The A-Team (The Movie) referenced the ‘83 GMC Vandura that was used on the TV show and updated it for the big screen to a ‘94 Chevy G20. Added to the Chevy were roof-mounted fog/driving lights and air shocks in the rear to improve handling. The total cost comes to $3,367.
The Homer from The Simpsons was a concept car that was designed by Homer to have a separate sound-proof bubble dome for the kids with optional restraints and muzzles. It had three horns because “you can never find a horn when you’re mad,” and it had a bowling trophy hood ornament. In 1991, the retail price was $82,000; that would be $148,000 today.
Wet Nellie, the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me started with a 1977 Lotus Esprit S1. Its Bond modifications included a submarine package with a periscope and retractable wheels that turn into fins, and a weapons package with a rear deck missile, front grille torpedos, and cement sprayer. The total cost is $651,413.
The Big Green Van from Cheech and Chong started with a 1961 Chevrolet Step-Van. The van’s cost was minimal, but the frame had a ‘Fiberweed” shell made entirely of marijuana. Assuming the weight of a van frame made from aluminum is about 2,000 lbs, we calculated that to be 11.87 cubic feet of metal. And assuming “Fiberweed” has a similar density to fiberglass of 0.055 lbs/in3, you would need 1,130 pounds of weed to get the correct volume of fiberglass. Now using the 1970s weed prices of $100 per pound, the total cost for the Big Green Van equals $148,923.
Lightning McQueen from Cars was a handbuilt stock racing car that was inspired by the Le Mans endurance racer. It had a V8, 750 HP, arm front suspension, a solid axle rear end, red spoiler, 4-wheel vented disc brakes, and air flaps on his roof to prevent flipping. In 2006, it cost $125,000, but today’s value would be $151,777.
Submissions and Requests
Of course these nerdy calculations of car costs are just the beginning. There are many more movie and TV cars that we haven’t looked at yet.
Do you have favorite car that you’d like to add to the list? Or do you have a request that you’d like us to run the calculations for?
Please let us know! We’ll be regularly updating the vehicles that are included, and we hope that you’ll help us compile the best list of car modifications from your favorite Sci-Fi movies, TV shows, graphic novels, and books.