Six Badass Movie Trucks You Don’t Want to Meet on the Highway

Updated December 26, 2015


Forget George Clooney or Daniel Craig. Sometimes it’s the truck that makes the movie.  Here is a list of the trucks who would earn an Oscar as Best Badass Truck.


    “Big Trouble in Little China” —  The Pork Chop Express

A love of all things Kurt Russell helped get this 1985 Freightliner FLC-120, dubbed the Pork Chop Express, on the list for the movie, “Big Trouble in Little China.” Besides, this is the favorite movie of The Rock. “You just listen to the old Pork Chop Express and take his advice on a dark and stormy night, alright? When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol’ Jack Burton always says at a time like that: “Have ya paid your dues, Jack?” “Yessir, the check is in the mail.”


Jeepers Creepers – 1941 Chevrolet


This cab over engine truck is the vehicle of choice for the creeper who feasts for 23 days every 23 years. It transports bodies — dead or alive — to a cave underneath an old church. Early in the film, the truck scares the two innocents on their way home from spring break off the road. Later, it rams their car, leaving it broken and smoking in a field. Close observers will note the license plate reads BEATINGU.


    “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” – the big rig 

It’s one of the best chase scenes in movies. T-1000 commandeers a big rig giving chase to the young John Connor on his motor bike. Of course, AHnold rides his trusty steed, a Harley, to the rescue with a shotgun. It ends — sort of — with an explosive exclamation point.


 “Mad Max:Fury Road” — The War Rig

If ever a truck made good on the promise of its name, it’s the rig of Tom Hardy as Mad Max and the baddest badass, Charlize Theron as Furiosa. The 78-foot-long Tatra semi is powered by twin supercharged V-8s. Up front, it has an extended cab made with the rear half of a 1947 Chevy Fleetmaster sedan for passengers. The rig hauls a tanker and fuel pod. The main tanker has two turrets, the rear one made of a chopped Volkswagen Beetle. The rear turret has two swing arms that allow for War Boys to move around the tanker quickly and mount the pod. Along the sides are spikes and slanted sharp pieces of metal combined with circular saw blades. All is nicely tied together by the decorative and menacing skulls.

   Maximum Overdrive — the Happy Toyz truck

Stephen King’s only stint as a director produced this movie about a rogue comet that causes the machinery on Earth to become sentient and start attacking humans. Of course, an evil 18-wheeler with a front grill modeled after Marvel’s Green Goblin is the main villain. It traps survivors at a truck stop and terrorizes them. King later said he was high on cocaine during much of the filming. Asked once why he’d never directed another movie, he replied, “Did you see Maximum Overdrive?” The AC?DC soundtrack offers a bit of redemption.


Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior – Mack R-600 Coolpower

Mel Gibson’s Max finds this 1970s vintage truck and brings it to life, eventually driving it back to the main compound, evading Humungus and his band of bad guys. He modifies the truck to add armor to protect the radiator and a cow-catcher in front to plow through marauders.  In the movie’s final scene, Max drives the rig through the attackers as a decoy, it’s tanks filled with sand, allowing the inhabitants of the compound to escape. Writing on the side contains a cheerful homily for the times: “The vermin have inherited the Earth.”

The Duel – 1955 Peterbilt 281

There’s no doubt the truck co-stars with Dennis Weaver, who plays the mild-mannered commuter pushed to the breaking point by a menacing 18-wheeler on a lonely highway in the Southwestern desert. You never see or hear the psychotic driver of the truck which follows Weaver after he passes it in his 1971 Plymouth Valiant. The movie originally was made for TV, but was so well received it was released in movie theaters. The first-time director was a guy named Steven Spielberg. Spielberg chose the 281 for its appearance, feeling it suggested a face viewed from the front.

So what do you think? What badass movie trucks are your favorite?



Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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