Cartoon Cars and Their Real Counterparts

You are here: Home » Blog » Cartoon Cars and Their Real Counterparts
toy car

In the past 10 years, many cartoon movies have had live-action remakes, particularly Disney recreating a lot of their princess movies. But, for decades, people have attempted to recreate the vehicles of our childhoods like the Mystery Machine and the Flintstone Car. Here are some of the most famous cartoon cars and their real counterparts.

  1. The Mystery Machine
  2. Bumblebee
  3. Flintstone Car
  4. Jetson Car
  5. Mach 5
  6. Gadgetmobile
  7. Lightning McQueen
  8. The Magic School Bus

1. The Mystery Machine – “Scooby Doo”

Modeled after a 1960s era panel van, the Mystery Machine was able to adapt to any situation in regard to what it could hold inside the back trunk. It had various equipment tools, a bench could be stored, it fit a table and chairs, the walls could be lined with computer equipment, there was a large antenna, and the walls also held kitchen cabinets.

The Real Mystery Machine

For a long time, it was debated what the Mystery Machine was truly modeled after. People used to think a Volkswagen, when it was actually modeled after the Ford Econoline van. There is a real one designed like the Mystery Machine that is a 1972 Ford E200 Econoline van with a $15,000 paintjob alone. The interior is equipped with a disco ball, couch, table, and “ghost finder”. It was built by a man who used to build props for rides at Disney World.

2. Bumblebee – “Transformers”

Bumblebee is a transformer, specifically an Autobot, that could transform form a yellow car into a fighting robot. He talked and did a lot more of physical activity than most cars again. He first appeared as a cartoon on TV in the Generation I series.

The Real Bumblebee

If you look at the first car Bumblebee was modeled after, his body was based off of a European Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle. Later, he was also designed after a Suzuki Swift. After the live-action movie came out in 2007, Bumblebee transformed into a 2006, yellow Chevrolet Camaro. While the real version may not be able to talk or transform, in 2012 GM created 371 authentic, special edition 2012 Chevy Camaros painted just like Bumblebee. They even had the Transformers emblem in different locations on the car. There’s currently one of the special edition cars on eBay with over 3,000 miles going for $28,900.

3. Flintstone Car – “The Flintstones”

A floorless car that could reach highway speeds? In today’s society, minus the manual labor, a car the releases no emissions, is made with wood and cloth, and runs on cardio would be the ultimate vehicle to save the planet. But, don’t forget about the insane amount of leg power you’d need.

The Real Flintstone Car

You know, you’d think with all of the technology today, no one would want to replicate the Flintstone car. Someone has! As a birthday present, a Malaysian sultan received an authentic replica of the Flintstone car, but his had a running engine. Otherwise, it was identical with the same wood-like finish, stone-like finish, and cloth roof. If you wanted to make one that uses your feet, you might not pay much at all!

4. Jetson’s Car – “The Jetsons”

Some may consider a plane, but it’s a flying car. Which means it counts! While it was able to fold into a briefcase half the time, this flying car was what everyone envisioned we’d be driving in by now. While we may not have them, sometimes we seem pretty close.

The Real Jetson Car

There are two “flying cars” we could consider the real Jetson car of today’s society. While neither are quite yet available, they are at least mentionable.

This flying vehicle is in its early stages of production, but they expect it to be able to travel 500 miles, run on unleaded gas, and be the same size as a standard vehicle. It may require some training to fly, and they are probably going to price it near the same amount as a high-end luxury vehicle.

Called the “gyroplane”, it’s said to be safer and easier to fly than a helicopter or small plane. You can drive it on land or fly, and you can fill it up at the gas station. They expect it to cost about $399,000 to $599,000 with a $25,000 deposit.

5. Mach 5 – “Speed Racer”

Who could forget the aerodynamic design of the Mach 5 with all of its special devices:

  • Powerful jacks to boost car and leap
  • Special grip tires
  • Rotary saws
  • Powerful deflector that makes it bullet-proof, crash-proof, water-tight, and air-conditioned
  • Illumination
  • Ability to go underwater
  • Homing robot
  • And more!

The Real Mach 5

There was actually a real Mach 5 owned by the former Executive Marketing Director of Speed Racer Enterprises before switching ownership. It is built to match the dimensions of the Mach 5, and it can reach 180 mph. It even has a few of the doable specs:

  • Illuminating headlights
  • Wrap around windshield
  • Working saw blades
  • Working periscope

6. Gadgetmobile – “Inspector Gadget”

The real questions is: what couldn’t the Gadgetmobile do? Every episode and even into the live-action movies, the Gadgetmobile always had a new trick up its sleeve. Not only could it talk, but it had:

  • Rocket
  • Eject button
  • Fire tacks
  • Extendable wheels
  • And more!

Did we mention it was voice operated?

The Real Gadgetmobile

The Gadgetmobile’s design was modeled after a 1964 Lincoln Continental. In the first movie from 1999, it was painted white. The next installments gave it a whole new look with purple custom painting. In fact, you can find the actual car used in the movies with all the customizations like:

  • The paintjob
  • Custom windshield
  • Buttons and switches (only light up)
  • Eye-shaped headlights

7. Lightning McQueen – “Cars”

Lightning McQueen has become one of the most popular cars among kids since the first movie came out. What doesn’t catch the eye of children more than a car that races, talks, has humor, and falls in love?

The Real Lightning McQueen

When designing Lightning McQueen as a car, the creators modeled after elements of the Chevy Corvette C6 and the Corvette C1. At the Auto Show in Detroit, they actually had a real life Lightning McQueen – well, as real as they can get – with the shape of him, stickers, and eyes.

8. The Magic School Bus – “The Magic School Bus”

Ms. Frizzles magic school bus was the envy of all children watching. It took them to field trips where they were able to experience their science experiments first hand. The bus could fly, shrink, bring them into space, grow again, and transform into different insects to disguise itself.

The Real Magic School Bus

It’s obvious what kind of car the Magic School Bus was modeled after – a school bus. There have been many attempts to replicate the bus to people’s best abilities without needing actual magic.