The Most Memorable Christmas Movie Cars

November 30th, 2023 by

‘Tis the season once again, a time for bustling shopping adventures and stress-inducing family get-togethers. Fortunately, it’s also the season to unwind by the fireplace, grab a plate of leftovers, and doze off to the Hallmark Channel’s annual marathon of classic (and not-so-classic) holiday films.

No holiday season would be complete without these movies, and many rotational favorites have been made even more memorable by the iconic cars featured in them. Today, at Volkswagen of Macon, we delve into some Christmas classics and the vehicles that played pivotal supporting roles in them.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

We begin with the godfather of Christmas movies (if not The Godfather of Christmas movies). We all know the story by now: down on his luck George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) loses some cash, contemplates an early exit, is saved by wing-chasing angel Clarence, and proceeds to learn not only is he not ruined, but is in fact the richest man in town.

In a film teeming with fascinating cars from the 1940s, from Ernie’s taxicab to Burt’s police car, George is fittingly stuck driving a 1919 Dodge Brothers Touring. When an inebriated George drives said Touring into a tree on Christmas Eve, it sets off the chain of events that leads to both his rock bottom and his eventual salvation.

The actual Dodge from the film — which still includes its original studio ID badge — is currently owned by a Colorado couple. They put the Touring up for auction in 2014, but ultimately held off from selling it. Perhaps, like George himself, they realized that some things in life are too precious to stick a dollar tag on.

A Christmas Story (1983)

Bunny pajama-clad Ralphie may be the face of 1983’s classic A Christmas Story (which, as a period piece, is also set in the 1940’s), but real ones know the heart and soul of the movie is his turkey fiend of a father. Unfortunately, Old Man Parker’s 1937 Oldsmobile Six seems in perpetual need of maintenance. (Or, as its owner puts it, “That son of a b**** would freeze up in the middle of summer on the equator!”)

The Oldsmobile’s flat tire leads to one of the episodic film’s many iconic scenes, as Ralphie’s maiden attempt to help his father with the tire replacement goes awry (with some profanity thrown in for good measure). The incident is mostly forgotten one bar of soap later, but the Oldsmobile’s issues would presumably persist. If only Parker had won a time machine to visit Volkswagen of Macon’s Service Center, instead of that gaudy leg lamp.

Die Hard (1988)

In truth, there’s nothing particularly remarkable about the 1988 Lincoln Town Car limousine that escorts John McClane from LAX to Nakatomi Plaza. (The driver, however, does wind up playing a crucial role). It just seemed like a good time to slip in our annual reminder that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, end of discussion.

Christmas Vacation (1989)

Clark Griswold’s 1988 Ford Taurus wagon is arguably just as important a character in this holiday classic as any member of the extended Griswold family (save perhaps Cousin Eddie). It’s certainly the star of one of the film’s madcap intro, where Clark (Chevy Chase, notably not driving a Chevy) gets into it with some fellow roadsters on the way to the Christmas tree farm. During his ensuing bout of road rage, Clark doesn’t even realize he’s steering the Taurus beneath a tractor trailer hauling (insanely enormous) pine logs across the highway.

Clark does eventually navigate out of harm’s way, though he does need to evade a snowplow afterwards for good measure. And the Griswolds do arrive at their destination, albeit via a Dukes of Hazard-inspired aerial route. The scene sets the tone for the entire movie, and it’s all made possible by some impressive vehicular choreography.

Home Alone (1990)

You can’t say that the Wet Bandits didn’t put work into their backstory. Marv (Daniel Stern), one half of the criminal duo alongside Joe Pesci’s Harry, is obsessed with leaving their calling card in the form of running water at each house they burglarize. To further their story, the pair travels around in a 1986 Dodge Ram Van with “Oh-Kay Plumbing & Heating” painted on its side.

One of the unsolved mysteries of Home Alone is what – if anything – Harry and Marv are doing with all that van space. Are they sticking to their guise by traveling with actual plumbing and heating equipment? Is it stuffed with underutilized burglar tools? Whatever the case, the Wet Bandits were clearly ill-equipped to combat the squatter Kevin’s unhinged, DIY booby traps.

Step Into Christmas; Let’s Join Together

When it’s time to take a pause in your holiday movie marathon, consider making your way to Volkswagen of Macon. From the 2023 Jetta to the Atlas Cross Sport, we’re practically Santa’s workshop when it comes to new Volkswagens. Add in our vast inventory of pre-owned vehicles and you’ll be bound to find something to keep you in the holiday spirit year-round. Drive into the New Year the right way with an assist from Bibb County’s premiere Volkswagen dealership, Volkswagen of Macon.

Posted in Volkswagen History