By on November 5, 2013

FattyPierceArrow_resized

Robert Avrech is an Emmy Award winning screenwriter who blogs at a site called Seraphic Secret. He has a post up about the automobile and freedom and since Robert is an avowed political conservative you can probably guess how he feels about things like taxpayer funded high speed rail and government regulations. If advocacy of limited government gives you the vapors, you might want to skip over his text, but Avrech is a part of the entertainment industry, lives in Los Angeles and knows the fashions and trends in his own industry.

Today, Hollywood celebrities make sure to be seen driving a Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, or any of the dopey but politically correct green cars. It is something of an open secret here among my Hollywood colleagues that the garage is fully stocked with BMW, Mercedes, Bentley, and for sure, a few Jags—for real driving.

But once upon a time Hollywood produced great stars who proudly posed with their autos, symbols of glamour, affluence, and freedom.

To prove his point, Avrech posted a number of publicity shots of movie stars and their cars. I’ve reproduced them below as well as a few others that I found. How many of the stars and their cars can you identify?

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

01.FattyArbuckleandhis1919PierceArrow 01.HaroldLloydandwifeMildredDaviswiththeirBuick 01.JohnnyWeissmullerwithhis1932Chevrolet 01.LaurelandHardyintheirBuick1930Series30Model3045phaeton 01ClarkGablewithhis1932Packard 01JoanCrawfordwithher1929FordTownCar 02.AlJolsonwithhisMercedes 03.JeanHarlowwithherCadillac 04.JoanCrawford1932CadillacFleetwood 05.LilianHarveyandherMercedes 05.WilliamPowelladmiresGaryCoopersDuesy 06.ErrolFlynnandhisPackard 06.ErrolFlynnwithhisAuburnSpeedster 07.RobertMontgomerywithhisCadillacSportPhaeton 08.TyronePowerhadmanycarswehaveseenhiminaJaguarherewithhisDuesenberg 08.TyronePowerwithhisJaguar 09.GingerRogersandher1937Dodge 09.JamesStewartwithhisPlymouth 09.JoanCrawford1938LincolnmodelK 10.LincolnTheodoreMonroeAndrewPerryakaStepinFetchitwithhisCadillacPhaeton 10.MrCecilBdeMillewithhis1937Cord 11.BingCrosbygivingridesaroundthestudiolotinhis39Oldscoupeconvertible 11.BuckJoneswithhis1933PackardSpecial 11.RitaHayworthwithher1941LincolnContinental 12.CaryGrantparkedonthefenderofhis1941BuickCentury bb clark debbie-car_opt delrio duke garner garycooperstrippeddusey jill-st-john-thunderbird_opt jolsonpackard monroe-car_opt optimized-dee-mercedes-59 optimized-doris-day-in-her-car optimized-harlow-car optimized-robert-stack-in-his-car optimized-ruby-keeler-al-jolson-1934 ritahayworth rita-laroy-ruxton-sedan_opt sonya sophia tony vidor-car 00.PauletteGoddardgettingintoherhusbandsCharlieChaplinRollsRoycePhantomII Babe Ruth Receiving Automobile

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

50 Comments on “Stars and Their Cars...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Ronnie, great pictures, but who are they?

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
    My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
    Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
    So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?”

    Janis Joplin/ Mercedes Benz

  • avatar
    Syke

    As much as I’m an old movie junkie, I can only name about half the stars, and pick out in detail 2/3rds of the cars. To get the ball rolling, the first two pictures are Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and I think the car is a Hispano-Suiza.

    My favorite is Brigitte Bardot on the Renault Caravelle.

    While most of the shots are the stars and what they drove, a few seem to be only posed publicity shots. Marilyn Monroe and that Singer immediately come to mind (I was under the impression that she didn’t even have a driver’s license).

    And I wish I could figure out what Robert Stack was driving.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    It just boggles the mind how a photo from 1919 can seem so stunningly sharp today. Big negs, I guess.

    Arbuckle looks a lot like Churchill when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer ca. 1924.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    They apparently made more money then than they knew what do with, same as now.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    You know what’s funny, Laural and Hardy shared a car Ginger Rodgers drove a Dodge and Jimmy Stewart drove a Plymouth. I thought they all were doing better

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Maybe they just weren’t so flashy offstage?

      That L&H photo looks like a movie still. Maybe not a real private life indicator.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      The stars that weren’t motorheads were more than happy to be driving something that the average citizen at the time could walk into the dealer and buy. Keep in mind too, that a lot of these stars were only as big as they were because there was no competition – no television, etc. By today’s standards, a lot of them would be character actors, or picking up recurring roles on a television series in a short story arc.

  • avatar
    skor

    Look at the size of most of those cars….about as big as an Escalade. Not much changes with Hollywood types.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    These photos are all from a time when there was no awareness of environmental issues at all so the connection to modern movie stars and politics is clearly fabricated… I find that in poor taste and a distraction from the glory of the cars and the celebrities that are a part of history.
    The blue Mini is the odd one out.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Totally disagree, the contrast with today’s Hollywood elite is completely noteworthy and an indication of how much mainstream American attitudes have been skewed away from the sanctioned pursuit of wealth and happiness that was celebrated during Hollywood’s golden era.

      The dominant paradigm wasn’t always that you should don sackcloth and ashes while handing your daughters over to the invading beasts du jour.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Of course, today you have the situation where the star is still holding out for the big money, but not showing it off. If you think driving a from-the-dealer hybrid means they’re poorer, guess again.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Agreed, today stars must be expert hypocrites and furtive about their wealth. At least when the hoi polloi are watching.

          Unless they’re hamsters.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I believe it, that it’s the fashionable thing to do in Hollywood to be seen driving a hybrid while discretely keeping their Jaguars, Lambos and S-Classes garaged at home. Hollywood types hypocrites? They’re actors, they’re trained to be hypocrites

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “They’re actors, they’re trained to be hypocrites.”

            Couldn’t agree more. Been thinking a lot about just that recently as a result of self-inundation with British drama. Best actors in the world IMHO.

            But for all my admiration it very clearly strikes me that acting is the highest form of lying.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      They were also controlled by the studios so it was rare for any movie star to even talk about politics or the issues of the day.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Just incredible work with the camera.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Jill St John!….legs like that never go out of style.

  • avatar

    James Garner and his Mini are running some stance! I know he enjoyed his racing (mostly for Baja runs) so it’s not a surprise.

    Marilyn Monroe with… is that an MG TF?

  • avatar

    Great photography, people full of personality, and wonderful cars. I wish you’d included the names of the stars and the makes of the cars. While I recognized a lot of the cars, I didn’t recognize all of them, and the only stars I recognized were Laurel & Hardy, and Marilyn. Would have liked to know who had which car. (And don’t have firefox.)

    If this were a coffee table book I’d buy it.

    I kind of doubt Hollywood’s all Volts, Prions, and Leaves, or LEAFs, or whatever they call those things. For one thing, you can’t cross LA in a LEAF. You run out of electrons!

  • avatar

    I do recognize the Facel Vega (CA plate DER 000) thanks to the year in France (’65-66) but I don’t know who the pretty dame is.

    Could someone tell me who the pretty dame is sitting on the hood of the little white Fiat(?) ?

    I’d better get out of this candy store before I waste the whole day. And anyone who wants to PC me over calling women dames: I’m down with the times represented here!

  • avatar

    >>>If advocacy of limited government gives you the vapors, you might want to skip over his text,

    I didn’t see anything in his text that even hinted about views on limited gov’t. Despite the fact that I’m a left wing greenie, I do sympathize with his text as quoted. (I like my internal combustion straight, like my bourbon.) But I suspect that people in LA who are old enough to remember life and breath before environmental regs are happy to live with them.

  • avatar

    Some really wonderful cars, particularly the big Duesenbergs and Cadillacs. I did not realize Packard built right-hand drive cars (see the Errol Flynn photo) but apparently the company had a large and very successful dealership in London between the World Wars. And Fatty Arbuckle’s Pierce-Arrow was RHD, as were all of those Buffalo, NY cars until 1920. Ah, Rita Hayworth…wow.

  • avatar
    Neb

    @ Dave: I suspect you are correct.

    Also if there’s some actual argument going on in the quoted text, I’m not seeing it. Either it is “(some) (unnamed) hollywood types have a car that’s big on moral correctness but have other cars too” which doesn’t, ah, seem to be a real barn-burner of a point. The other interpretation, I suppose, is “Hollywood today supports the *evil* side (even though some are hypocrites) but classic hollywood was clearly on my side implicitly because they used their money to buy things and this resoundingly rejects the evil side’s environmentalism, which wasn’t even a thing until the late 50s.” Which is very culture war, I suppose, but clearly loopy as well.

    I had a hard time guessing cars if they were before 1960, but I did get a few stars. Scrolling back through the names, Gary Cooper’s mad Duselberg is great! James Stewart keepin’ it real with his Plymouth Business Coupe(?) Also, @ Dave, the girl on the Fiat is one Brigitte Bardot. The dame with the fancy plate is Debbie Reynolds, from Singin’ in the Rain and many other musicals, and the mom of Carrie Fisher. *You should have recognized Rita Hayworth*. Also, Sophia Loren. (But then again I thought Jill St. John was another shot of Mrs. Loren, so, I can’t cast any stones.)

    • 0 avatar

      “…a real barn-burner of a point”!

      +10

      I probably should have recognized a lot of them but I probably haven’t seen photos of many of them in 30 years or more. And I ***should*** know who played in Singing in the Rain next to Gene Kelly, but I couldn’t have named her… Anyway, thanks for pointing some of them out for me.

      If Gene Kelly had been in any of these, I would have recognized him.

    • 0 avatar

      Turns out Ronnie’s correct: this Avrech guy is… uh… somewhere to the right of Congress.

      But he does have about a third of the shots here on his site, with people and cars identified–except for the Renault Caravelle Brigitte Bardot is sitting on. Avrech confesses to not knowing what the dickens it is. I didn’t, either. Anyway, just click on the first link in the blog for those IDs.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    For you Click and Clack fans, the straight on shot of the Cord near the end is Sonja Henie, I believe.

  • avatar
    charly

    A volt (let alone a Prius) is a very cheap car for a movie star. You can drive one and not look cheap while you would if you would drive a 3 series.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Outstanding photos. I’ve seen these before on an e-mail someone sent me. It’s nice to be proud of what you drive, whether it’s a humble Plymouth, Chevy (guilty as charged), or a Duesenberg.

  • avatar
    phargophil

    Oh, to be able to own a Packard like Clark Gable’s. Simply gorgeous!

  • avatar
    April

    Celebrities and their manufactured image.

    Color me surprised.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Fantastic post Ronnie! It amazes me how banal some of them were. Buicks and Plymouths. An Olds. I’d assumed it would be way more Duesys and RR’s. Nobody had a Bentley which I thought strange, especially for the gearheads like Gable and Power.

    I like Garner’s Cooper S. Probably a works car since that would about the time he was doing Grand Prix and had access to all the major race heads at the time. I’m sure he just loved the image of him getting in and out of the Mini! Of course Curtis was driving an E-Type.

  • avatar
    Ratsnake

    Leno. Letterman. Hip-hop stars. Lots of action movie actors… There are plenty of entertainment industry figures that like cars and trucks now.

    Many don’t engage in rants against passenger railways, lead-free fuel, safety/consumer regulations, or other similar hatreds of some auto enthusiasts. And of course some stars just don’t care about cars, in the same way I don’t care about wristwatches. But there is no repression here…

    Also, when big-time wealth is measured in at least high double-digit millions, a car isn’t much. Obviously, a guy with one Veyron is a rich guy, but there are so many things more expensive than that. The standard seems to be the illicit aerial photograph of the star’s property, invariably valued over $10 million. What’s impressive for Clark Gable or Fatty Arbuckle is a toy for Warren Beatty or J. Seinfeld. So surely it is premature to think that the world’s headed for Galt, and famous people are ashamed of their wealth, because one has heard that L. DeCaprio drives a Toyota.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States