February 2, 2023

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The Godfather: 10 Best Classic Cars In The Trilogy

An incredible overall plot, impressive character development, and solid performances by most of the cast members are but a few reasons for The Godfather‘s everlasting legacy, but its aesthetic elements are another. The locations are beautiful but so are the cars that can mostly now be categorized as “classic,” given the era in which the movie is set.

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Michael Corleone is the trilogy’s biggest car lover, making sure to acquire an expensive ride wherever he travels to. For a man who oversees several businesses in both New York and Las Vegas, buying or leasing them is no problem for him. Even the antagonists aren’t left behind, with Sollozzo changing cars with the same frequency he does outfits.

10 1941 Packard Super 180 Sport Brougham

Paulie drives his car moments before his death in The Godfather

It’s the car in which the turncoat Paulie Gatto gets whacked for conspiring with Virgil “The Turk” Solozzo to kill Don Vito Corleone. It’s also in the car that fans got to hear one of Clemenza’s best quotes: “Leave the gun and take the cannoli.”

The 1941 Packard Super 180 Sport Brougham is a perfect car for mob hits since there isn’t much room inside, making it easier for whoever is in the back seat to surprise whoever is in the front. As a luxury vehicle, it’s also quite decent, as it has a 5.8-liter i8 engine and an Electromatic drive system (a groundbreaking feature at the time of its release), according to Classic.com. Even better is that it comes either as a convertible, town car, sedan, or limousine.

9 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 Special

Clemenza arrives home in his Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 Special in The Godfather

Vito steps out of his Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 to buy oranges before he gets shot. Clemenza also owns the same model and Consigliere Tom Hagen is seen going to visit Vito at the hospital while driving one too. There are also several Cardillac Fleetwoods at Vito Corleone’s funeral.

The fact that a good number of the best mobsters in the trilogy prefer the car is proof of its value. The vehicle has a huge visual appeal, with the front end having extended grille designs while the rear end is perfectly streamlined. As per Notorious Luxury, it also has a 390 CID 16-valve OHV V8 engine and 120 horsepower.

8 Fiat 508 Balila

Don Tomasino meets Michael while driving his Fiat in The Godfather

Vito’s friend, Don Tomasino, drives around the small village of Corleone, Italy, in a Fiat 508 Balila. The Don also confesses that he loves bicycles, though he only rides one once in the trilogy.

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Though it doesn’t look like it, the 508 Balila is a great offroader, since Tomasino is able to move with it through the rough terrain of the village without any problem, The vehicle is tiny but it’s very stable, thanks to its large tires and a powerful straight-4 995cc engine. Buyers also had the option of a 4-door or 2-door sedan when it was released, as per Classic Trader.

7 1937 Cord 812

A 1937 Cord 812 inside Hollywood producer Woltz's mansion in The Godfather

One of the best locations in The Godfather is the mansion of Hollywood producer Jack Woltz, and there are several luxury cars seen on the compound, the most notable being the 1937 Cord 812.

The car is a great part of history since it’s the first-ever American front-wheel-drive vehicle to have independent front suspension. Since it was one of the most expensive cars at the time, its inclusion in the first installment of the trilogy is meant to highlight Woltz’s general success and influence. Some of its impressive features include the inline-8 engine and 170 horsepower, according to Top Speed, but viewers don’t have to see it move in order to appreciate it. Its beauty definitely lies in its aesthetic.

6 Mercedes-Benz W123

Michael Corleone arrives for a meeting with catholic priests in The Godfather

Michael Corleone uses the Mercedes-Benz W123 during his time in Italy in 1979. Don Altobello also drives the same car model around Montelepre, Sicily.

Most Mercedes Benz models are elegant and the W123 is no exception. Even in today’s world, the W123 still makes eyeballs turn, mostly because of its straight-line design as opposed to the curvy look of other classic cars. Autoweek describes the W123 as having a 2.5-liter six-cylinder M123 engine. But for Michael and Altobello, vehicular power isn’t that much of a necessity. The only thing they care about is if their car is elegant enough.

5 Mercury Montclair

Michael Corleone's arrival in Havana in The Godfather

When he goes to Havana, Cuba, in 1958 to discuss business with Hyman Roth, Michael is chauffeured in a Mercury Montclair. The car is forced to squeeze itself through a group of protestors.

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There are many similar cars in Cuba, so Michael’s choice makes him blend in easily. The car also takes a couple of hits during the protest but appears to be without a scratch, a nod to its bodywork. Old Car Brochures lists some of the car’s features as a 292 cubic-inch V8 engine and a speed of 70mph. Like many of Michael’s other cars, the Montclair stands out more for its elegance than its performance.

4 Alfa Romeo 6C

Michael's wife Apolonia test drives the Alfa Romeo 6C in The Godfather

In one of the saddest scenes in The Godfather, Michael’s Sicilian wife, Apollonia, steps into his Alfa Romera 6C to test drive it, only for it to explode. Michael was the intended target, but he is forced to watch in horror as the love of his life dies.

Even in exile, Michael clearly had good taste. The Alfa Romeo 6C was the first-ever post-World War I car produced in Italy, hence it symbolizes the restabilization of the economy. Its general look is winsome, especially the front shield-shaped grill. With its 1,487cc in-line 6-cylinder engine and 44 horsepower, it was frequently used in races, according to Auto Revolution.

3 Cadillac Eldorado

Joey Zasa's henchmen pose with the Cadillac Eldorado in The Godfather

During Joey Zasa’s festival, the Meucci Association awarded the Eldorado to the winner of a lottery game. One of Zasa’s men is rigged to be the winner, but before he can claim it, Vincent Mancini’s assassins storm the venue and kill everyone.

Some of the car’s many great features include power steering, dual backup lamps, power brakes, speed wipers, and the ability to conceal its tires. It’s thus no surprise that Zasa and his men were very much interested in the vehicle. According to Hemmings, it’s also the first vehicle to combine front-wheel-drive power with a ratio power steering.

2 Buick Limited Touring Sedan

Sollozzo arrives at the meeting with Vito in The Godfather

Virgil Sollozzo is shown to have multiple cars, but the Buick is the one he likes to be chauffeured around in. He can be spotted in it when he goes to meet Vito in order to propose a narcotics deal.

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The car has a 344.8 (5.7-liter) OHV i8 engine, as per Top Gear. While this particular model looked good, later versions of the Buick were considered ugly by most car experts. The car fits with Sollozzo’s personality since it’s also loud. It has screaming white tires and a door size that calls for strength to push and pull.

1 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe

Sonny gets ambushed at the toll station in The Godfather

Eager to teach Carlo a lesson for abusing his sister Connie, Sonny drives off in his 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe, only to be ambushed by Barzini’s men at the Jones Beach Causeway. The gunmen then accord him one of the most tragic deaths in The Godfather by spraying his car with hundreds of bullets.

Even when riddled with bullets, the 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe still looks good. According to Hemmings, it has a Lincoln’s 75-degree, L-head, 140 horsepower, and a top speed of 100 mph, which make it all the more perfect for a speeding Sonny. If it wasn’t for the tollway being closed, he could have evaded the gangsters.

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