by Jonathan A. Stein
Like people, certain cars have a sinister look about them, especially in dark colours and particularly in black.
Some cars have been typecast for the large and small screens and others just look evil without any help from the mass media. Here are a handful of production cars that look as if they could scatter children and make law-abiding citizens run for their lives.
1935 Cord 810 Beverly or Westchester: Sleek and low for its era with that coffin nose, few cars have more of an air of threat about them. To me, the chrome pipes of the 812 take away a lot of the menace.
1957 Lincoln Premiere: Low, long, and wide, from its stacked headlamps to its perfectly proportioned fins, there is an air of menace about any ’57 Premiere in a dark colour.
I can’t see a ’52 or ’53 Cadillac Fleetwood in a dark colour without expecting Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) to step in or out of it. If ever a car was typecast, this is it.
1959-1966 Jaguar Mk II: This car has been cast repeatedly as the villain’s ride in all manner of British television and movies, though its menace is largely due to expectation rather than appearance.
1957 Plymouth Fury: This car would look threatening and scary even if it hadn’t been immortalized in Stephen King’s “Christine” as the embodiment of evil.
Very few cars look scarier than a Facel Vega HK 500 — in black. I’ll never forget the last time I saw a somewhat questionable – and now departed – car dealer. He was moving a black Facel Vega and it had a powerful burble and looked ready to spirit him away from a bank job or armored car heist.
1968-1972 Corvette Stingray: Talk about a car that looks “Bad Ass”; few cars top a black Stingray with chrome bumpers.
1961-1964 Lagonda Rapide: If there hadn’t been so few of them, this car definitely would have been a stereotypical “bad guy’s” car. They’re just plain menacing, even in white.
1963-1968 Marcos 1600 or 1800GT: Few cars are lower or look more sinister than these terrifically styled sports cars from England. They’re seldom seen on our shores. And although they look scary, they’d be hard to hop into for a quick getaway and there’s limited space to haul the loot.
The SAAB 900 Turbo had a very long life — from 1978 until 1998 — but it’s the cars from the mid-80s that will be best remembered as extremely predatory-looking. I’m talking about a black three-door Turbo, probably with tinted windows.
All kinds of cars make statements, but when you combine, long, low and wide with great presence, sometimes a car can be a little scary.
Jonathan A. Stein writes for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca