What is it about footage of cars set to music that’s just inherently cool? You could seemingly film any sedan off the street, put some smooth guitar riffs or thumping bass over it, maybe add a little slow motion, and suddenly it looks like a supercar. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point: cars look cool in music videos. The most talented music video directors have made this observation too, and the list of iconic autos in music videos is long. To celebrate this fact, we’re breaking down some of our favorite music video cars throughout each decade.
The 90s was a wonderful decade for cars in music videos. There are dozens of high-profile videos from the decade that feature incredible cars, so culling them to create this list was a challenge. In the end, we’ve selected seven iconic 90s vids across genres and artists, who are outshined only by the classic and unforgettable cars they feature. Here are just a handful of great car moments from 90s music videos, don’t be shy about telling us what we missed (we’ll most likely come back and cover them in a future installment).
Dr. Dre (featuring Snoop Dogg) “Let Me Ride” (1993)
Car: 1964 Chevrolet Impala
A classic music video driving around Los Angeles with shots of cars, parties and freeways for Dr. Dre’s song, the “Let Me Ride” features several iconic cars, but the most prominent one is a customized 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS, a classic lowrider. The car serves as a symbol of West Coast hip-hop culture and is closely associated with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s music from that era.
The video helped popularize lowrider culture and had a significant impact on the automotive customization scene. Lowriders are known for their unique modifications, including lowered suspension, elaborate paint jobs, and often, intricate hydraulic systems that allow the car to “hop” or bounce. The car became an iconic symbol of West Coast hip-hop and lowrider culture, and it remains closely associated with the song and the artists to this day.
Jamiroquai, “Cosmic Girl” (1996)
Cars: 1987 Ferrari F40, 1994 Ferrari F355 Berlinetta, 1994 Lamborghini Diablo SE30
According to MTV, “Jamiroquai’s lead singer Jay Kay is … famous for his inability to keep a valid license,” partly due to his penchant for speeding. So it’s no surprise that we see a whole fleet of European supercars in the video for “Cosmic Girl,” including one that belongs to another musical legend.
Driving over hills to a drag race in the desert, this Ferrari F40, owned by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, is the star of this music video. Mason, with his discerning eye for both music and motoring, recognized the F40’s significance, driving it himself in the “Cosmic Girl” video.
The video also features a 1994 Lamborghini Diablo SE30, which played a significant role in establishing the video’s vibrant, futuristic atmosphere. The Diablo SE30’s striking presence is unmistakable. The video, filled with dynamic shots and thrilling chase sequences, effectively highlights the vehicle’s sleek design and formidable speed. What we don’t see, however, is that the stunt driver hired for the shoot damaged the Lambo, at which point Nick Kay himself took over driving for the rest of the production. While the Lamborghini Diablo SE30 was already an icon in the automotive world, being a limited edition released for Lamborghini’s 30th anniversary, its appearance in this popular music video further solidified its status in pop culture. With its aggressive design, coupled with the backdrop of the video’s surreal landscapes, the Diablo SE30 became an emblematic representation of 90s supercar allure and the era’s fascination with blending futuristic concepts with contemporary style.
Oh, and the video also features a 1994 Ferrari F355 Berlinetta, just for good measure.
Smash Mouth, “Walking on the Sun” (1997)
Car: 1932 Ford V8 Roadster
In the music video for “Walkin’ on the Sun” we see a handful of throwback vehicles, but none so remarkable as the orange 1932 Ford V8 Roadster, which the band uses to compete in a drag race. It’s implied that they suffered a terrible crash toward the end of the video, but it isn’t seen on camera—likely because they didn’t want to risk hurting this beautiful car!
The V8 Roadster represents a pivotal moment in automotive history. When it was introduced, it swiftly became an emblem of American ingenuity and the spirit of the open road. This car, often simply referred to as the “Deuce,” marked the introduction of Ford’s flathead V8 engine, a marvel of engineering for its time. This affordable, yet powerful engine made the ’32 Ford a favorite among everyday consumers and car enthusiasts alike. The Roadster’s design, with its clean lines and simple elegance, further solidified its place in car culture. As the years passed, the 1932 Ford V8 Roadster would gain legendary status, especially in hot rodding circles, where its lightweight frame and powerful engine made it an ideal candidate for customization. The enduring legacy of the ’32 Ford is a testament to its innovative design and the profound impact it had on the automotive world and popular culture.
Alanis Morissette “Ironic” (1996)
Car: 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V
This iconic 90s anthem has an underrated music video to accompany it, featuring four Alanis Morissette’s on a wintery road trip, all singing along as the iconic car—the 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V– drives down the snowy highway.
The 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V stood as a testament to American luxury car design at the height of the personal luxury coupe era. With an expansive body, the Mark V was both long and wide, exuding a sense of opulence and prestige. Its sharp lines, iconic radiator grille, hidden headlights, and prominent opera windows emphasized its status as a high-end luxury vehicle. Under the hood, the Mark V offered powerful V8 engine options, ensuring that its performance was in line with its grandeur. The interior, adorned with plush seating, wood grain accents, and state-of-the-art (for its time) technology, offered passengers a lavish experience.
Beastie Boys “Sabotage” (1994)
Car: 1983 Ford LTD Crown Victoria
Inspired by 1970s cop TV shows in California like The Streets of San Francisco, S.W.A.T., Baretta, and Starsky and Hutch, The Beastie Boys’ Sabotage is a classic music video in which the Ford LTD Crown Victoria gets a starring role. The Beastie Boys star as fictitious characters in this Spike Jonze-directed music video and the car is their main prop, getting the guys around town in various escapades.
Running around Los Angeles driving the 1983 Ford LTD Crown Victoria –a car that Ford made a special edition for police cars– they go wild jumping into pools, investigating crimes in motels, racing down hills all over town. Ford introduced the line of cars in 1980 with two V8 engines and its power is on full display in this high action video.
Vanilla Ice “Ice Ice Baby” (1990)
Car: Fox-Body Mustang GT 5.0
Shot on the roof of a warehouse in Dallas, Vanilla Ice’s classic music video features all of the elements of a music video –dancing, DJs, graffiti and of course a cool car. When he’s not dancing, rapping or flirting with women, Vanilla Ice is “rollin’” down the street in his “5.0” “with my ragtop down so my hair can blow” he raps. The 5.0 is of course a Fox-Body Mustang GT 5.0, a third generation Mustang produced from 1979-1993.
Spice Girls “Say You’ll Be There” (1996)
Cars: Dodge Charger Daytona, Ford Thunderbird, Chevrolet Corvair Rampside Pickup
Set on a stage in the middle of the desert, this video features a number of classic vehicles driving through as the singers perform and take breaks shoot spaceships with laser guns. First we see the Ford Thunderbird, likely a late ‘60s model, with suicide doors, which epitomized the era’s shift towards personal luxury cars. Introduced in the 1950s as a two-seater sports car to rival Chevrolet’s Corvette, the Thunderbird underwent a transformative evolution in the 60s. It blossomed into a four-seater, redefining luxury and comfort. With its distinctive design featuring a long hood, unique rooflines, and spacious interiors, the T-Bird became a symbol of American automotive opulence. Under the hood, powerful V8 engines roared, ensuring the Thunderbird was not just about style but also had the performance to match.
Next we see the car the Spice Girls are driving throughout the video The Dodge Charger Daytona is a unique and distinctive model in the realm of American muscle cars, designed primarily for one purpose: to dominate on the NASCAR race tracks. Introduced in 1969, the Charger Daytona was an aerodynamically enhanced version of the standard Dodge Charger. Its creation was in direct response to the need for increased speed and stability on the high-banked ovals of NASCAR circuits, where fractions of a second could determine victory.
The last, and perhaps most distinctive car featured in the video is an extremely odd looking pickup, The Chevrolet Corvair Rampside. Produced between 1961 and 1964, it was a unique departure from traditional truck designs of its era distinguished by its side-loading ramp on the passenger side, a feature that provided easy access for loading and unloading cargo and set it apart from other pickups. This innovative design was particularly useful for businesses that required frequent loading and unloading of goods. The Corvair Rampside was rear-engined, utilizing an air-cooled flat-six, similar to the Corvair car series.