‘Top Gun’ Cars and Bikes Might Be Even Cooler Than Airplanes
‘Top Gun’ and its sequel, ‘Maverick’, are packed with high-flying action. But these top riders have even better rides when they’re back below the hard deck.
Rev up your engine, listen to it howl and roar. “Top Gun” and “Top Gun: Maverick” are all about planes, but the need for speed doesn’t go away once planes are back on the ground. Both films are filled with ultracool metal sporting both two wheels and four.
That’s right, we’re going to take your breath away with the best rides from the Top Gun movies.
Cool rides “Top Gun”
It’s hard to go wrong with the original Top Gun movie, especially with all the cool rides featured in the film.
Kawasaki Ninja GPZ900R
Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell rides one of the most iconic movie motorcycles of all time: a specially painted Kawasaki Ninja GPZ900R. It was the first Kawasaki Ninja, and the model was the origin of the modern sport motorcycle.
Could the liquid-cooled 900cc four-cylinder chase the F-14s on a take-off run? Probably not, but at 115 horsepower it was one of the fastest production bikes in the world when new.
Yes, the paint is not quite right, and it looks more like a European market GPZ750R. That’s because it was repainted for the movie. Kawasaki reportedly didn’t give production bikes, so they were modified. Hence the lack of logos on the side.
Replica Porsche 356 Speedster
Charlie Blackwood, the civilian contractor – “You will not greet her! – played by Kelly McGillis, runs around Miramar in a Porsche 356 Speedsters. Except the classic 1950s sports car isn’t a real Porsche. Look very closely — you might need IMAX for that — and you might see the Canadian coachbuilder’s logo Intermeccanica. This company has been building its Speedster replica since 1975.
Yeah, it’s more movie budget magic. But it actually makes it easier to buy the “right car” from the movie, because Intermeccanica still makes them. They will even make you an E-Roadster that has electric power instead of air cooling.
One of the scenes featuring the fake 356 is where Charlie is chasing an angry Maverick, and we can’t skip that chase without talking about the absolutely bonkers ending.
Charlie blasts through an intersection (sort of, it doesn’t really have a stop sign), cutting off half a dozen cars. These cars are a Datsun 240Z, Fox Body Ford Mustang convertible, Pontiac Trans Am, an Aerobird Ford Thunderbird and a very old Porsche 911. Is this the coolest intersection ever? How the hell did they end up with this group?
Of course, it gets even better. She immediately stops and stops because the intersection is in front of her house. Just walk away while everyone is sitting there honking their horns. He’s more of a boss than anything Maverick has done in the movie, that’s for sure.
Forget the game, check the beach volleyball parking lot
If somehow, after these vehicles, you had the slightest doubt that there were car people behind this film, we bring you the volleyball scene. Forget Tom Cruise playing with the boys while wearing jeans in the sand, look at the bottom.
Mazda RX-7, first generation Ford Mustangs, Pontiac Firebirds, a third generation Camaro with T-tops, another newer Firebird in the distance, a Mercedes SL and, of course, the first generation from around 1960 Chevrolet Corvette. It’s a great California car backdrop.
But the 1955 Chevy 210 that sits off the field for the entire scene? Absolutely perfect location. The car belonged to an actual US Navy sailor attached to Top Gun at the time, and director Tony Scott saw a picture of it on his desk. The car still exists, and there is a Youtube channel who spent six episodes restoring it.
Cool rides from “Top Gun: Maverick”
OK, so that was 1986. What about today? Tom Cruise is back, F-14 Tomcats have been swapped out for Super Hornets, and the cars (and motorcycles) are still cool. We didn’t get to spend as much time with “Maverick” as the original, but we still found some really cool rides.
Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon
The Ninja from the original makes an appearance, but there’s a new bike in town nearly 40 years later.
This time, however, Maverick is riding a Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon. A 998cc supercharged bike that puts out 200 horsepower and has a top speed of over 200 mph. One of these bikes set a record around the Isle of Man TT course, achieving the highest top speed on that circuit by a motorcycle.
This Kawi might be able to keep up with those fighter jets much longer. And Mav is going to want to put on a helmet this time. We are no longer in 1986.
1973 Porsche 911S
Jennifer Connelly replaced Kelly McGillis as Tom Cruise’s love interest in ‘Maverick’, but Penny drives a Porsche just like Charlie.
Do this, she drives a Porsche, because this one is real. A 1973 model Porsche 911 S that the director said was a perfect match for the character’s love of sailboats. It’s hard to argue how cool a 911 is, but early cars like this are absolutely not up for debate. Although a 2.3-liter flat-six and 190 horsepower aren’t as impressive today.
What we love is that Porsche launched an ad based on the new car, with the tagline “Porsche and Top Gun, together again.” Conveniently unaware that the first one wasn’t actually a Porsche.
1956 Aston Martin DBR1
The Maverick trailer and clip give us a peek into Pete Mitchell’s garage and, well, someone’s gotta get some of that defense contractor advice money. What do we mean?
Well, forget the couple of motorcycles, including the Ninja, from the original. We’re also not talking about the P-51 Mustang (which actually belongs to Tom Cruise), even though that’s worth around seven figures.
We mean the Aston Martin DBR1 hidden on the side. Built in 1956, these Aston Martins were intended for sports car racing such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans (where they won in 1959). Only five were built, and the last to be sold at auction fetched $22.5 million in 2017.
Maverick better hope the IRS doesn’t peek into that garage, or things might need explaining and the garage might soon look like a junkyard.
Classic Ford Bronco
OK, the last one, and this time it’s the one leading the trailer. We don’t want to get into spoilers, but one of the characters is an odd return from the first movie. The rooster (we’re not sure that’s the best designator) jumps out of a first-generation Bronco.
The off-road icon has almost always been cool, but with the all-new Ford Bronco making its return to dealerships, the original is cooler than ever. It’s a dangerous metaphor to place in a movie that’s a sequel set almost 40 years after the original. On the other hand, Ford clearly pulled it off, and it looks like “Maverick” did too.
The brief glimpse of the Bronco we get shows that the deep blue off-roader looks almost perfect on big chunks off-road tires as he sat in a dark Nevada desert. Then again, the original Bronco looks almost perfect sitting almost anywhere, which is why it’s a great choice for that hotshot aviator.
If you want to see more, or any of the others, “Top Gun: Maverick” is always at the cinema.