Attraction of the Week: Hollywood Star Cars Museum
If you have ever visited or driven through Gatlinburg, you more than likely have noticed that almost the entirety of the town is loaded with cheesy & gimmicky attractions. If there ever was a tourist trap, it’s definitely Gatlinburg. While majority of the attractions are a bit on the tacky side, as well as overpriced & overrated, regardless you will probably head into 1 or 2 during your time here. If anything, these quirky attractions are a nice fill in between exploring the great outdoors.
Any film buff, particularly of classic movie fare, will want to plan a stop at the Hollywood Stars Cars Museum. While quite overpriced at $15 per person, it’s a pretty cool experience to see so many of your favorite movie cars, many of which were as much of a character as the actors themselves.
A variety of cars featured in both films & TV series from the past 5 decades are on display. Numerous works of George Barris, whom has created more movie cars than anyone else, can be viewed here including the famous Batmobile from the 1960’s TV series.
Some have debated as to the authenticity of several of the vehicles, believing many to be replicas not used in filming. Unfortunately, there is no way to no for sure! Regardless, it’s cool to see all these movie cars from our favorite films. Throughout the museum, will find various memorabilia from the cast and filming process, although there could have been a bit more info about the actual cars. The retro vibe is kinda cool and the props and sound effects by each display adds to the ambiance.
A few highlights from the museum!
You will notice so many of your favorites here including the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the Ecto-1 from The Ghostbusters, a Batmobile from Batman Returns, and the Mitsubishi Eclipse from the Fast and the Furious. As you take a stroll around, you will quickly notice long forgotten favorites as well.
The DeLorean from Back to the Future
Despite being on the market a very short time (1981-1983), the iconic sports car is set to make a 2019 comeback. The new addition will have many upgrades in comparison to the numerous problems that led to the previous model’s poor ratings and eventual discontinuation. It will also set you back $100,000! So now that we are well past Back to the Future Day (October 21, 2015), just how far have we come? While numerous predictions from Back to the Future came true, we are still not quite at the flying car stage!
Cool memorabilia from the film including autographed photos, the hoverboard, and the Sports Almanac
The Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters
The Ecto-1 is a 1959 Cadillac professional chassis, built by the Miller-Meteor company. As you peer into the windows, you will see that there is plenty of room for ghost hunting equipment! On a cool side note, the car was originally going to be painted black with flashing strobe lights. Producers decided to paint in white so it would stand out more during the numerous night scenes!
The Batmobile from Batman Returns
The Batmobile featured in both Batman & Batman Returns was a 1989 Chevy Impala Chassis. Designer Julian Caldow came up for the design of the Batmobile under direction from director Tim Burton and production designer Anton Furst. The film crew called this batmobile “the Keaton mobile” after star Michael Keaton. As Keaton will always be the best batman and the first 2 in this series are by far the best, it’s pretty cool to see this model in person.
Beach Boys T-Bird
The museum houses a 1955 Thunderbird owned by Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, autographed by the entire group. The T-bird will remain forever immortalized due to the catchy lyrics of Fun, Fun, Fun – And she’ll have fun fun fun ‘Til her daddy takes the T-Bird away
The Original Batmobile
The original Batmobile designed by George Barris for the classic 60’s TV series is on display. Barris designed it exclusively for the show from a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car. A total of 4 batmobiles were made with the first being auctioned for 4.2 million in January of 2013.
The possessed car from Christine
The supernatural car “Christine” based on the Stephen King thriller is literally the star of the film. No one really remembers who starred in this film besides the spooky demonic vehicle. The cheesy horror favorite has long been a Halloween tradition for many. While the 1958 Plymouth Fury made the most appearances in the film, the Savoy and Belvedere models were also used in various scenes.
The Bumblebee from Transformers
The famous Bumblebee camaro from Transformers is a fun sight for fans of the Michael Bay action series. The 1997 Bumblebee camaro transformed into a 2006 Chevy Camaro Concept, a smart marketing move which helped to revitalize interest in the car. The camaro returned to the market in 2009 thanks in part to the popularity of the movie.
A frequent question of Arnold Schwarzenegger fans is what motorcycle is he riding on in Terminator 2? The answer is a 1990 Harley Davidson “Fat Boy” model FLSTF. Not surprisingly, this has been one of the best selling models since its’ debut in 1990.
The Squad car from the Andy Griffith Show
While Mayberry from the beloved Andy Griffith show was actually a set in Culver City, CA, the town was based on Andy Griffith’s actual hometown: Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Today, you can take a tour of the town via an old Galaxy 500 squad car. Fans of the classic 60’s era TV series will love seeing Barney Fife’s squad car up close at this Gatlinburg museum.
The Stormchaser from Twister
The Stormchaser in the Helen Hunt classic Twister was a 1982 Jeep PickUp. Although four different trucks were used during the filming process, only this one remains. On an interesting side note, a tornado hit the town 14 years after the movie filmed! In May of 2010, a real life twister hit Wakita, Oklahoma. The farm featured in several movies scenes suffered heavy damages.
Lamborghini owned by Mike Tyson
This 2000 Lamborghini Diablo VT was once owned by heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. This was the first lamborghini able to exceed 200 MPH. This sleek looking sports car is reported to be the most expensive car at the museum.
The Beverly Hillbillies family truck
George Barris customized a 1921 Oldsmobile Model 43-A for use by the Clampetts as they adjust to their new life in Beverly Hills. This is probably one of the most recognizable cars of all time due to its’ ample screen time. Not surprisingly, the iconic hot rod always shows up on the list of best TV cars.
*These are just a few of the more popular cars on-site.
On a downside, there are only 40 or so, so it does not take long at all to walk through the museum. Honestly, it’s not the best value as you are paying 15 bucks to walk through a half hour museum. I recommend picking up a coupon booklet (located at various stands throughout town) to save yourself a few bucks. And as a side note, get out there and explore some of the beautiful trails and waterfalls in the region at the only free national park in the country – a much better value than any tacky museum!
- Location: 914 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
- Hours: 9am-10pm
- Admission: $15 at the gate, $12 online, $9 youth at the gate, $8 youth online