Now, I’m sure we’ve all been in a scary car at one point or another in our lives. You know, your buddy’s Camry with rusted muffler that sounds like a dying cat every time he starts it up. Terrifying. However, that’s not what we’re here to talk about today.
We’ll be taking a look at some of the spookiest cars in automotive history. Some of them are driven by murderers on the Hollywood big screen, and others are real cars that just might kill you. So, let’s get into it, the scariest cars of all time!
1941 Chevy COE from Jeepers Creepers
Let’s start this list out right with a car you definitely don’t want to see in your rearview while heading down a country road. This 1941 Chevy COE was used by the aptly named Creeper to hunt down and transport victims in the 2001 film Jeepers Creepers.
We’ve all been there. It’s late at night, you’re driving down a winding and unfamiliar road, when suddenly you see a pair of headlights catching up to you. Your anxiety starts to spike as you imagine what might happen if they caught up to you. Is this a crazed maniac looking for his next victim? Is it a local cop looking to finally meet his quota? More often than not, it’s someone who’s just as lost as you are, and you’ll be fine.
You won’t be so lucky, however, if that set of headlights happens to belong to the Creeper. Then you better just pray he’s had his fill of human flesh for the evening. This 1941 Chevy COE truck has been specifically modified to suit the Creeper’s nefarious needs. Outfitted with a cow-catcher out front and plenty of boobytraps for added protection, this is one bad Chevy you don’t want to mess with.
Oh, and it’s completely bulletproof too, as if it needed anything else to further weaponize it. So, good luck trying to outrun the Creeper or defend yourself. From what we see in the movies, the COE truck likely has a 383 crate engine with a supercharger equipped. This is one seriously scary ride.
To make matters worse for anyone unlucky enough to find themselves being targeted by the Creeper, the crazed murderer seems to be spiritually linked to the Chevy, being able to summon the demon truck at will and spawn weapons just as easily. Yeah, that’s just bad news for anyone in this COE’s path.
The Creeper also uses a police radio to keep track of those pesky patrol cars, so hey, he’s not so different from you and me after all. Either way, you don’t want to end up a target of the Creeper and his beat-up Chevy. His truck won’t be the only thing with a few bruises.
Brian O’Conner’s 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse
Okay, so let’s move on from a car designed to kill, to one that accidentally ended up almost killing people. It’s Brian O’Conner’s 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse. This is a weird one to have on this list, but hear us out.
Performance cars are built by people with a firm understanding of engineering. Brian O’Conner may have been able to wrench on his own cars, but this was a car built with a budget in mind. Working for the FBI means O’Conner was under a strict set of guidelines, and he had to keep the cost down. Plus, we all know anything built by the government ends up half-assed.
The Eclipse uses a 420A 16-valve 4-banger with no turbo. Anyone who says it was turbo’d doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Among a ton of performance and visual mods, what really did the Eclipse in was the NOS kit that was slapped in. The system was used only once by O’Conner in his first drag race against Dom, and it promptly destroyed most of the internals. And it caused the floorpan to fall out. Yeah, rewatch the clip and you’ll be just as baffled as we are.
After escaping a police chase, Dom and Brian are nearly killed when Johnny Tran shows up with his crew and fills that Eclipse full of lead, causing an explosion. NOS shouldn’t detonate like that! Not only do we have a car that falls apart in the middle of a race, but it also seems like it’s rigged with C4.
I guess the FBI really wants to keep their secrets safe. It’s one of the most iconic cars in cinema history, but no one should be driving this deathtrap.
1957 Plymouth Fury from Christine
The Eclipse had its horror added on after leaving the factory, but let’s move on to a car that was built badly from the start. This is probably one of the most recognizable killer cars in history, Christine. No one really knows what made Christine so bad, and we probably don’t need to look into it.
Christine is evil incarnate on four wheels. Ordered by one Roland D. LeBay in September of 1957, the Plymouth Fury started out as the perfect dream car. After 21 years of loving ownership, Christine wasn’t looking so hot. The years had reduced the once proud little Plymouth Fury into a barely operating pile, but Arnie Cunningham didn’t seem to care, and snapped up Christine for $250. What a steal! Or you might think so if you turned the movie off at that point…
But, as we all know, Arnie should have probably walked away, because Christine builds up a pretty sizable body count throughout the movie. Going on a decade-long killing spree, Christine was, as the movie and the book state, bad from the start.
We all know that older cars can be dangerous, but this is a little extreme. Christine is one of the most recognizable cars in popular culture. Stephen King’s evil creation has gone down as one of the most diabolical inanimate objects in history. And Christine’s seen her fair share of cameos and homages in pop culture. Just be careful not to scratch the paint, she may just end up in your driveway.
The Car from The Car
We’ll keep things extra spooky, going from one haunted car to another. Christine may have become evil over the years, but the car from the The Car came straight out of the darkness. This car that seems to have come straight out of hell.
The car starts its killing spree as soon as the movie begins, killing two cyclists and a hitchhiker, attracting the attention of local police. The devil’s Continental Mark III doesn’t stop there, however, choosing witness Amos Clemens as its primary target.
After killing the local sheriff, revealing that there’s no driver present, the car keeps the murder wagon rolling, attacking the school’s marching band. After finally being lured by the deputy and his comrade, the car is buried under rubble from a triggered explosion. With one final look of pure evil in the resulting smoke, we’re left with a cliffhanger as the vehicle rides off into the streets of downtown Los Angeles.
With a menacing matte black paint job and an imposing chrome grill, the car from The Car has a presence that’s sure to strike fear into anyone that comes across it. With no make, model, or driver to speak of, this car is a possessed demon driven by an unseen force from another world. Actually, it was a Lincoln Continental Mark III with a crazy amount of customization, but this is one bad ride you never want to come across.
So far we’ve been focusing on single cars, demon-controlled and government-built. Now, let’s take a look at an entire company that’s built a reputation for dangerous cars, TVR. We all know classic TVR’s for their style and being quintessentially British. We also know them for having a completely bonkers business philosophy and bad luck.
Disaster seems to have followed the jumpstart company, particularly after the turn of the century. One car in particular, the Sagaris, is notorious for being unreliable, hard to control on the road, and completely incomprehensible.
It came with a naturally-aspirated 4-liter inline-six that made 400 horsepower and was matted to a manual transmission. There was no traction, no airbags, no ABS, and no BS. This car was not to be messed with. It’s also a car that ignored a bunch of current EU safety guidelines.
All of this fire breathing awesomeness was equipped to a car that weighs roughly the same as your neighbor’s chihuahua. Take, for example, the episode of Top Gear titled “Just Don’t Crash” reviewing the Sagaris. None of the common operating systems are where you’d expect. To open the doors, you press an unmarked button in the center console, and the speedometer reads a top speed of 20.
So, when you crash, you won’t know how to open the doors to escape the ensuing fireball and you’ll never be able to tell the ambulance driver how fast you were going. I guess that’s a car nut’s ideal way of going out, right?
The Deathmobile from Animal House
We’ve looked at a car from real life, now let’s head back to the cinema. Animal House isn’t a conventional car movie, but it does have one pretty iconic ride. This is for sure, the Deathmobile proves that even boozed-up frat boys can make an intimidating vehicle.
Animal House comes off as more of a comedy than a car movie, but rest assured, there are some seriously nice cars being driven by Delta house. First and foremost, there’s Flounder’s 1964 Lincoln Continental. Well, Flounder’s older brother’s Continental. Finished in black with its signature suicide doors, the Continental is one seriously badass set of wheels.
Unfortunately, the Lincoln meets its end at the hands of the Delta boys after an ill-fated road trip. After Flounder suffers a well-justified panic attack, the Delta crew puts all of their creative power together to build something diabolical, the Deathmobile.
Now, we do have to remember that this is a comedy movie, so nobody really met their end under the Deathmobile’s tires. But this revised Continental can certainly move. Reborn for full blown “ramming speed”, the Deathmobile is more tank than car.
It got new body work, paint, and a turret replacing the green house so Flounder and the boys are ready for battle. They also added red-trimmed flame-fins and mean teeth painted over the grill. Crashing the local town parade disguised as the famous “Eat Me” cake, the Deathmobile makes its premier in a way only the Delta boys could manage. Animal House is one of the best American comedies ever made, and it more than left its mark on our culture, Deathmobile and all.
While the Deathmobile was more of a weapon of mass destruction than a car, this next entry is even more explosive. We’re talking about one of the first American-made hatchbacks, the Ford Pinto. These two words alone should be enough to horrify the average car enthusiast: gas crisis.
The 1970’s were not a good time for the American muscle car. Gas prices were skyrocketing and Mustangs weren’t exactly the ideal car anymore. All the while, the Japanese had been making smaller, more fuel efficient, funner cars, putting the final nails in the big V8’s coffin year after year.
American car companies needed to act fast if they wanted to hold any value in the American market. For Ford, the Pinto was that solution. Produced as a two-door station wagon, a three-door hatchback, and a two-door fastback, the Pinto was going to be Ford’s savior from rising gas prices and Japanese competition.
Unfortunately, Ford wasn’t as good at designing cars as the Japanese. While charming in its own right, the Pinto wasn’t the best looking of cars, didn’t drive as well, and wasn’t as efficient as those vehicles from the Far East.
And thanks to a certain design flaw, it had a habit of catching fire even in low-speed impacts. When the Pinto was manufactured, the engineers thought it would be a good idea to put the fuel tank directly behind the rear bumper. That means even low impacts could puncture the fuel tank. I feel like I don’t need to explain that any further, that means, well… boom.
The scale of the problem was pretty sizable. Ford sent out a memo estimating repairs for all manufacturers to reduce fire risks in 1972. Initial repair costs were estimated to be $110 per car, and that multiplied by the 12.5 million cars and light trucks comes to about $137 million. That $137 million was then stacked up against the estimated $49.5 million benefit to society of the repairs, basically the dollar cost of the Pinto’s 180 burn deaths and 180 serious injuries per year.
This is a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo to take in, but basically it means that one of the scariest parts of the Pinto’s story is bureaucracy!
The Pinto ended up being one of the cutest little firebombs in American car history. This last car is much more sinister looking, but ended up being just as explosive. I’m talking about the Mazda Furai.
We all know and love Mazda. They’ve given us some of the best looking and best handling cars ever, and it’s no wonder enthusiasts love them! The Miata, the Mazdaspeed3, and who can forget the RX-7 and its legendary Wankel engine.
Unfortunately the Wankel wasn’t around too long thanks to low efficiency and long-term reliability issues. However, the Wankel has and always will be one of the most legendary engines ever made, making a lasting impression on all breeds of car enthusiasts.
So, what if I told you there was a concept from 2008 that attempted to bring the Wankel back? Mazda has a knack for using several different Japanese styles in their design, and the Furai is no exception. The lines and curves sculpt the silhouette brilliantly. But best part of this outlandish concept? A revision of Mazda’s rotary engine.
That’s right, this wasn’t just a concept study, it was a living, breathing beast. At Bentwaters Parks, August 19th, 2008, the guys from Top Gear got to try out the Furai for a press release. With The Stig at the helm, the Furai furiously thundered around the track, spitting blue flame all over the place.
Eventually, the Furai sounded more and more like it was starting to suffer. That’s when things really started to go wrong. A thick plume of smoke erupted from the car’s engine bay. Black smoke means one thing, and it’s not a good thing for a one-off concept.
This incident is as heartbreaking as it is terrifying. The Stig could have been seriously injured, but thankfully everyone remained unharmed. Unfortunately, the Furai wasn’t so lucky. The concept was completely destroyed from the fire, and the carcass was carted off, never to be seen again.
From its intimidating appearance, the ungodly noise, and eventual death by self-ignition, the Furai has to be one of the most stunning yet terrifying concepts ever made.