When the John Wick movie came out, it was a game-changer. The film, starring Keanu Reeves and directed by Chad Stahelski, was a huge hit providing a gritty, realistic take on the typical “avenging hero” story. John Wick’s car forms a significant component of that realism.
If we look at the entertainment industry, the last decade was an extraordinary one. We saw the insane rise of superhero flicks, Marvel sagas, and several very accomplished independent movies.
The CGI effect brought us incredible visual thrills and brought the film to another level in terms of production. However, one of the most memorable movies of the decade was dark, brutal, exciting, and very popular John Wick, which exploded on the scene in 2014 and since spawned two sequels, with third, currently in post-production, is set for debut in 2022.
The John Wick movies gained a cult following with millions of fans all over the world.
But, what made this noir action thriller so famous? Sure, the appearance of Keanu Reeves played a big part as well as a perfectly directed storyline and tons of senseless violence with dark, eerie, noir photography and atmosphere. But, we believe one of the main reasons is the cars used in the movies.
In fact, in the original 2014 flick, John Wick’s car is the starting point for all other events and one of the leading roles.
Although there is not a ton of exciting machinery featured, the three cars John Wick drives are enough to call those three releases “car” movies and gain popularity amongst automotive fans. So, here is a bit more about each of his iconic rides.
Ford Mustang Boss 429 (1969)
The first installment of the series featured one of the most sought-after Mustang of all times – the mythical 1969 Boss 429.
For those who don’t know, the 1969 Boss 429 was very special and rare, even more than the Shelby models of the same vintage.
Designed as a NASCAR homologation special, Boss 429 featured a unique Semi-Hemi 429 cubic inch engine rated at 335 hp.
Of course, everybody knew that this unit delivered far more than that, but Ford did it for insurance reasons.
The Boss 429’s party trick was its competition engine, a high-revving monster which later proved very successful on NASCAR superspeedways but used in Torino body style.
The Boss 429 had a sticker price significantly higher than the rest of the Mustang lineup for 1969 and was notoriously difficult for everyday driving.
Ford produced only 859 examples of this classic Mustang for 1969, and this Mustang was a collector’s item ever since. So, it is no wonder why a unique character like John Wick is attracted to this car and why crime boss Viggo Tarasov’s son Iosef wanted to buy it so badly.
Despite Iosef referring to the vehicle as a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429, John Wick’s car driven by Keanu Reeves during the film is really a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1, dressed up like Boss 429.
Clues that its more likely a Mach 1 include the chin spoiler, interior, hood pins, and hood scoop. In fact, the steering wheel is from a Shelby Mustang.
Regardless of this, the real Boss models were too rare and too valuable, with the values of well-preserved or restored examples exceeding $500,000.
Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6 (1970)
John Wick is obviously a muscle car connoisseur of the highest order since the next John Wick’s car driven was a gorgeous and equally rare and expensive Chevelle SS 454 LS6.
John Wicks picks up the 1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6 from chop-shop owner Aurelio when his Mustang is stolen. Despite John Wick’s car screen time very limited, it does feature when John drives home from Aurelio’s and then once more when he drives to the Continental Hotel.
1970 was a pivotal year for muscle car culture in general since never before there were so many cars on offer.
For GM models, 1970 was very important since the corporate ban on engine size was lifted, which meant that buyers could get massive big-block V8 motors in smaller, intermediate cars like Chevelle.
Until 1970, the most significant and most powerful engines could be ordered only on full-size sedans and Corvette, which left the muscle car buyers very frustrated.
The appearance of big block 454 V8 in Chevelle results in one of the fastest and most desirable muscle cars ever made by Chevrolet.
The LS6 was the top engine option for Chevelle models. It was expensive and pretty rare, with over 4,470 cars with such an engine produced for the 1970 model year.
However, not all of them were Chevelles since this engine could be had in El Camino, as well. The LS6 option meant that you got a significant power upgrade from a standard 360-hp engine to 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque with the help of performance intake, engine internals, and go-fast components.
Although the power output is impressive even today, the actual number was close to the 500 hp mark, making the 1970 Chevelle SS454 LS6 one of the fastest, bone-stock muscle cars of the early ’70s and sure winner at the stoplight.
Valuation of 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6
Valuation as of May 2021 and courtesy of Hagerty
Dodge Charger SXT (2011)
The list of memorable cars wouldn’t be complete without the 2011 Charger SRT. This John Wicks car was gifted to him by the owner of the New York City branch of ‘The Continental’ Hotel.
Even though this is a thoroughly modern vehicle and doesn’t have the iconic tag of his previous rides (Mustang and Chevelle), it is still perfectly suited to his character and task.
The Charger is the only classic US sedan with V8 power and rear-wheel-drive still in production. It is the epitome of the iconic US automotive industry in the same way as the classic muscle cars he owned.
Despite its modern looks, four doors, and contemporary equipment, this is an old-school model in its essence. We can even call the Charger the personification of John Wick himself – reborn, improved, and deadlier than ever.
The base 5.7-liter model could be ordered with all-wheel-drive, but the SRT version with a bigger, 6.4-liter Hemi is only available with RWD, which better suits the car.
With 6.4-liter, naturally-aspirated Hemi V8 engine, the Charger is a fire-breathing beast that comes in the unassuming four-door package. Perfect for an ex-hired killer who prefers a stealth approach to his work.
It is believed the Dodge Charger that John drives is a black debadged SXT.
Rugged, spacious, and menacing, the Charger is the definitive hitman’s car. We believe that is a specific nod to two unnamed contract killers from the legendary movie “Bullitt,” who also drove the black Charger but made in 1968.