Grand flicks: Autocar’s favourite car movies

For a start, that wonderful celluloid cad and bounder Terry-Thomas is in it – and not only that, he’s also driving a Benelli. Well, actually an Aston Martin DB3S, but here’s your first clue that this is no ordinary film, which uses four-wheeled plot devices. Hero Ian Carmichael is conned by Peter Jones and Dennis Price into buying the preposterous Swiftmobile, which underneath the serpent and elephant bonnet ornament is actually a 4.5-litre Bentley. It all comes good in the end as Carmichael part-exchanges it for a Healey 3000 and £100. James Ruppert

Cars (2006)

Directed by John Lasseter and Joe Ranft; starring Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman

Yes, it’s a computer-animated kids film about a world populated by anthropomorphic cars. But beyond the talking cartoon jalopies and Nascar racers, Cars celebrates the joy and romance of open-road motoring like few other films. The characters’ personalities encapsulate the spirit of the (surprisingly accurate) cars they represent, while the plot – racer Lightning McQueen gets stuck in the sleepy town of Radiator Springs – is really a touching lament to a golden age of motoring ended by the rise of highways. Plus it helped to make petrolheads of a generation of kids growing up in a world hostile to cars. Sadly, follow-up Cars 2 was turgid, although I will forever love Cars 3 for containing a Jocko Flocko reference. James Attwood

The Cannonball Run (1981)

Directed by Hal Needham; starring Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett

There’s no point pretending car chase films are high art; they’re all about entertainment. And you can’t get more entertaining than the hammed-up megastar-fest that was The Cannonball Run. The cast read like a Hollywood who’s who: Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Peter Fonda and – most importantly – the god-like Burt Reynolds. All they did was have a daft race across the US, but it was hilarious: the cars were brilliant and the character cameos likewise. Jackie Chan drove a rocket-powered Subaru GL. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr dressed up as Catholic priests, for heaven’s sake. What’s not to like? I haven’t seen it for years, but as a teenager my best mate had a copy on VHS that we wore out over a couple of otherwise uneventful summers. And I will remember the title sequence, with the white Lamborghini Countach on the run from the patrol car that gets ‘resprayed’ red, for as long as I live. Matt Saunders