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There were many great cars in the background of the movie Drive. Ryan Gosling drove only a few. Of those he drove, two stand out:  a 1973 Chevrolet Malibu and a 2011 Ford Mustang GT.

Gosling’s 1973 Chevrolet Malibu

Ryan Gosling’s character starts out driving a 1973 Chevrolet Malibu as a daily driver. To be clear (and so car enthusiasts do not blow up the comments section) Malibu was a trim choice in 1973, not a separate vehicle. The car is actually a 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle with the Malibu trim option. The Malibu did not become a distinct vehicle until the 1977 production year.

The car seems to show that this guy was forced to combine a need for adequate performance with a lack of cash, so the Malibu is not radically tricked-out or hot-rodded. The redesign for the 73 model year included an end to the traditional hardtop and a move to the ”Colonnade Hardtop” with a semi-fastback roofline, frameless door glass, and fixed style ”B” pillars. The new style created a roof that was structurally strong enough to increase occupant safety during a roll-over. This was also the first year for the federally required 5 mph bumper, which added to the overall length of the car. The Malibu featured chrome front and rear bumpers, a choice of cloth and vinyl or all vinyl seat trim, and deep-twist carpeting. The base engine was a either a 250 cid inline-six or 307 cid 2-barrel V8. Both engines were rated at 110 hp. If a buyer opted for the SS package, they could choose between a 350 or 454 V8 with 4-speed or Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission. Most likely, Gosling’s character (known only as the Driver) was running a later-model V8 mated to a 4-speed or 5-speed transmission.

Gosling’s (Stolen) 2011 Ford Mustang GT

The 2011 Ford Mustang GT is the fifth generation of the American classic. 2011 marked 47 years of continuous production of the Mustang. While the this is a fifth-gen model, it is also the the result of a mid-gen update in 2010. The chase involving this car in Drive is an obvious tribute to the iconic chase scene in Bullitt, also between a Mustang and a Mopar product.

The 2011 GT features many upgrades over previous years and the base model. For 2011 the engine is an all-aluminum 32-valve 5.0L DOHC V8. The engine, a.k.a. Coyote, made its first appearance in the 2011 Mustang GT. The engine is very similar to the older 5.0, but uses a wider bore diameter and longer stroke to make use of larger valves and camshaft torque-actuated Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT). The engine is capable of 412 hp and 390 lb/ft of torque.

The 2011 Mustang GT also has two upgraded transmission options. Each is a heavier duty version of those offered in the V6 models: a Getrag/Ford MT82 6-speed manual transmission and Ford’s 6R80 6-speed automatic transmission. Since the manual offers the better driving experience (in my mind anyway) we will only talk about it. It comes with a 3.31:1 rear axle. The transmission allows for a boost to fuel economy (have to please the Feds) to17 mpg city and 26 mph highway. Other upgrades for the GT are non-performance, but include ”5.0” fender badges (previously ”GT” badges were used), an option for the Brembo Brake Package featured in the Shelby GT500, suspension upgrades, and 19 inch wheels.

The movie Drive is a great, highly-stylized action movie with what is a bit confusing plot. Despite being a bit dry compared to other action/driver movies like Gone in Sixty Seconds and the Transporter series, it does feature several great background vehicles. Hit us up in the comment section so we know what your favorite one is.


About the author: Jerry Coffey


Jerry Coffey is the financial expert here at A recovered "debtaholic," he now preaches frugal-living and sound money management here and at, where he is the chief contributor. He works for a major automaker.


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