Famous Cars in Literature

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Now “World Name your Car Day” might sound like something only a car enthusiast might look forward to, but that doesn’t mean you should not enjoy this day. Cars hold a special place in literature. They act as a barometer to help readers understand a character. For instance, can you imagine James Bond driving a Maruti 800 instead of an Aston Martin? Cars can sometimes be integral to the plot as well, like in “The Great Gatsby.”

Here are a few books with cars almost as iconic as the books themselves.

Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car

Image Source: Goodreads.com

A children’s novel written by Ian Fleming, it was published in 1964. The story involved a crime fighting, flying car that accompanied a family in their adventures. Fleming started writing the stories after a friend suggested he write the bed time stories he told his son. The car was inspired after a series of aero-engine racing cars called “Chitty Bang Bang.”

The Number of the Beast

Image Source: Thezebra.com

This science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein was published in 1980. The book is a series of diary entries made by the book’s main characters as they travel through different dimensions. The novel’s universe contains six dimensions and the car, Gay Deceiver, has a “continua device” enabling it to enter all dimensions.


Image Source: Time

Stephen King’s 1983 horror novel about a car possessed by an evil spirit hell bent on killing people was an instant hit. The infamous 1958 Plymouth Fury which could also self-repair was adapted into a movie that same year.

Travels with Charley

Image Source: Wikipedia

A travelogue written by the Pulitzer Prize winning author, it tells the story about a road trip he made around the United States of America. Steinbeck was accompanied by his dog Charlie and travelled in a camper which he named Rocinante, after Don Quixote’s horse. His son later said that his father was dying at the time of the trip and that he wanted to see America “one last time.”

The Betsy

Image Source: Amazon

This 1971 novel by Harold Robbins was a massive best seller in its time. The book explored the world of the automobile industry. It included themes of ambition, searing passion and a desperate struggle for power.  It was adapted into a movie in 1978 by the author himself. The best-selling author called it the “best movie adaptation of any of my works.”


Image Source: batmobile89.com

Arguably the most well-known super hero ride, the bat mobile is equipped with the most awesome gadgets to aid the Dark Knight fight Gotham’s criminals. It is an armoured fighting vehicle that can even take on tanks! Depictions has changed according to the evolving car technologies and has the car has gone on to become one of pop culture’s most recognisable icons.





The Penguin India Blog

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