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What Kind of Car Was Christine?

  • Things To Know
  • Renee Martin
  • 8 minutes

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Is she the creepiest car ever? Pure unadulterated evil on wheels? The answer to both is probably yes, but what kind of car was Christine? Sit back and grab the popcorn as we reveal what kind of car was in the 1983 movie Christine.

As every horror aficionado knows, when it comes to writing terrifying tales, no one tells them better than Stephen King. Christine is one of his most well-known works that has been adapted for the big screen. Many people have heard this terrifying tale about a ghostly automobile that deliberately crashes into pedestrians. We’re delving in to learn more about the classic car that plays a pivotal role in this eerie Stephen King story/movie.

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What kind of car was in the movie ‘Christine’?

Christine was a 1958 Plymouth Fury hardtop with automatic transmission. It was a two-door red and white car with red vinyl and cloth interiors.

Reportedly, Stephen King chose this model partly because it was less well-known and also not so much in the limelight then.

1958 Plymouth Fury hardtop Valder137, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

King imagined that the Fury would personify the wrath his story required of this vehicle. Also, he preferred that the flagship car not have a legendary reputation like the Thunderbird’s. He was looking for an old-school ride with a solid reputation but a low profile.

What the movie Christine is about (spoilers ahead)

Arnie Cunningham, a social outcast and nerd, buys a 1958 Plymouth Fury and calls it Christine. Arnie’s excessive fixation on the car raises concerns among his pals, including jock Dennis Guilder. When school bully Buddy Repperton defaces Christine, the car fixes itself! It then begins a murderous rampage against Buddy and his pals. Dennis and Arnie’s girlfriend, Leigh Cabot, are so distraught by the murders that they resolve to destroy Christine to stop the evil car.

via GIPHY

This Columbia Pictures movie earned approximately $21 million at the US box office. Critics also loved the movie, and it is now a cult classic in its own right.

The movie was directed by John Carpenter and written by Bill Phillips. Initially, Brooke Sheilds and Scott Baio were considered for lead roles. But eventually, the movie starred Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Proksy, and William Ostrander. But the true star was Christine. In fact, the car made more money than any of the actors in it!

How did that happen? Well, most of the actors weren’t big names at the time, and there was more than one Plymouth Fury on the sets. This then brings us to your next question:

How many cars were used in Christine?

As many as 26 different Christines were used in the movie! However, all the cars were not all the same. The crew used a different Christine depending on what was happening in each scene. For stunts, the special effects team, led by supervisor Roy Arbogast, made Christines tougher. There were also Christines with powerful engines and Christines that were clean and ready for the camera.

Although the original Christine was a 1958 Plymouth Fury, the crew also bought a bunch of Plymouth Belvederes and Plymouth Savoys, which were modified to resemble the intended model. After advertising nationwide, the producers purchased 25 separate 1958 Plymouths (they got a few 1957s, too). The majority of the film’s budget was allocated here. While they bought 25 cars, they actually used only 16 in the movie.

How many cars were destroyed in Christine?

The rumor goes that 16 or 17 of the Plymouths were totally destroyed, 6 were dismantled for parts, and only 2 or 3 survived.

Where is Christine, the car now?

As we mentioned earlier, there were multiple Christines in the movie. Of these, there are just three “Christines” left today. One was shipped to the United Kingdom, while Martin Sanchez purchased and restored one of the stunt cars.

Hylnder777 at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Scott Edminster won the lone Plymouth Fury Christine in a raffle, and he eventually sold it. This Christine was auctioned off by Barrett-Jackson and purchased by rich vehicle collector Ron Pratte. It was sold again in 2015 before retiring to the Rochester Auto Museum in New York.

How much did the car in Christine sell for?

Mecum estimates the movie automobiles to be worth between $400,000 and $500,000 each. On September 19th, 2020, one of the automobiles featured in the movie “Christine” sold for $275,000 at Saratoga Motorcar Auctions.

The 1958 Plymouth Fury

Chrysler produced the Plymouth Fury From 1956 until 1989. They used this moniker for both mid- and full-size cars throughout its extraordinary 34-year run. However, the legendary Fury was originally a stripped-down version of the Plymouth Belvedere from 1956 to 1958. The total number of 1958 Plymouth Fury vehicles produced was only 5,303.

Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 1958 Plymouth Fury, despite its spectacular finned appearance, seemed doomed to be the automobile that time forgot. Then King chose this model to be possessed demonic car, Christine, and things changed! In fact, Plymouth even brought back the Fury in 1983.

Christine opening scene

One of the most memorable scenes in cinematic history depicts Christine’s birth on a Detroit manufacturing line. However, that particular section of the book was omitted. Screenwriter Bill Philips wrote in it. To be fair, this wasn’t a huge deal, as the film was already in the works before the book was ever published.

via GIPHY

Christine is the only red Fury in the initial shot and features several other vehicles. Filming this sequence early on allowed for the other cars to be repainted and utilized as Christine’s stand-ins in subsequent scenes.

All the stunts were real!

A different stunt driver performed the driving for each Christine in the picture. In all of the film’s 24 vehicles, not a single one of them had a remote control. There were a few ‘mechanical’ aspects to the stunts, such as when Christine was pushed by a bulldozer or pulled ahead by cables, but that was about it. The rest was just straight-up stunts IRL!

In addition, 20 drivers performed as stunt doubles for the film. That’s a lot more than you see in most action movies these days, and they were all recognized for their efforts at the end of the film.

How did Christine fix herself?

In what is probably one of the most fascinating scenes in the movie, Christine fixes herself after a bully vandalizes her. To achieve this, hydraulic pumps in the car were hooked to the sides of a plastic-paneled body double, giving the illusion that Christine was fixing herself. Once the damaged version of the car was created by sucking in the sides with the pumps. They then reversed the video to give the impression that the car was mending itself.

It was a remarkable technological achievement to replicate such a memorable scene from the film with no CGI at all. After principal photography concluded, director John Carpenter commissioned Arbogast to develop pre-CGI effects showing Christine’s transformation from destroyed to pristine. Because of a lack of visual effects, the action that took place in front of Arnie was actually off-screen.

Is Christine the car based on a true story?

It may sound like complete fiction, but the shocking truth is that a real-life murder machine inspired the Christine car! It was inspired by a 1964 Dodge 330 LE purchased by the Old Orchard Beach, Maine, police force and dubbed the Golden Eagle.

Three police officers who frequently used the Golden Eagle on duty died by murder-suicides. Some vandals who messed with Golden Eagle have met unpleasant and gruesome ends, either poetically or because of another vehicle.

In the late 2000s, a local boy was apparently captivated by the legend of the cursed Golden Eagle automobile; he returned home, stabbed, and burned his entire family to death.

Whether the Golden Eagle planted the ideas in its alleged victim’s head or she uncovered and brought to the surface long-simmering intentions, it is certainly not a good car to own!

Insuring your classic car

If you own a classic car like the Plymouth Fury, you must care for it and insure it!  Way.com, the auto super app, can ensure your classic car gets the best insurance coverage. That too at the most reasonable rates available. How does Way do that? By giving you free auto insurance quotes from leading insurance providers. You can then choose and buy the classic car insurance policy that suits your needs.

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Here’s more info on top-rated airport parking, the best parking spots in your city, affordable auto insurance, easy auto refinance, and high-quality car washes near you.


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