The movie "Iron Man," starring Robert Downey Jr. as billionaire playboy and superhero Tony Stark, has more than explosions Gwyneth Paltrow to recommend it. For people who like exotic cars, there's the Iron Man car collection in Tony Stark's garage.
Like a lot of home tinkerers, genius Tony Stark spends a lot of his time holed up in his garage. Where most of us putter about fixing the lawn mower, though, Stark creates and installs his own life-sustaining device, then builds a super-powered metal suit. And where we have to walk around the minivan or the family sedan, Stark has four gleaming supercars lined up in his enviably spacious workshop: a 1932 Ford Flathead roadster, a 1967 Shelby Cobra, a Saleen S7, a 2008 Audi R8, and a prototype Tesla Roadster.
1932 Ford Flathead Roadster
The Ford Flathead in Tony Stark’s garage belongs to director Jon Favreau. He thought it would be cool to have the old Ford be the car that Stark tinkers with; it would be the car that he and his dad had restored together. It was a great idea -- until Favreau had to shoot the scene where Downey would be working on his Ford. The crew had to remove enough parts to make it seem authentic and strew them about the set, making the director think twice about his generosity with his car.
Luckily for Favreau, ’32 Fords are popular to repair, restore, and even rat-rod. Many restorers and collectors started with a Flathead and worked their way up to more intricate -- and expensive -- vehicles. Much like Tony Stark apparently did in the film. These cars (also known as Deuces) have been so modified in the past quarter-century that specs vary widely.
- 85-hp, 221-ci V8 engine
- 140 lb-ft of torque at 1500 rpm
- hot-rodded bodies are usually replaced with fiberglass or steel
1967 Shelby Cobra
This car suffers an awful fate in the film. After Stark’s first exhilarating test flight, flames shooting from the suit’s hands and feet, he crash-lands on the Cobra. Hard. Car connoisseurs in the audience always gasp at the wonton destruction; the uninitiated laugh at Tony Stark’s clumsiness.
Given the way the car is laid to waste, though, it can’t be a real-deal Cobra. Colin Comer of Colin’s Classic Autos in Milwaukee, Wis., called it “a Tupperware Cobra; a Fauxbra, if you will.” It’s most likely standing in for a 1965 or ’66 427 S/C Cobra.
- Front-mounted 7-liter, 427-hp V8 engine
- 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds
- Aluminum body over tubular frame
The Saleen in Stark’s garage doesn’t get much play in the movie, but it stands out among the cars nonetheless. It’s hard to miss its low-slung, aggressive curves covered in bright orange paint in the middle of the lineup. It also narrowly misses the crash landing that mangled the Cobra.
It’s no surprise that a billionaire American playboy would own an S7, as the car is capable of more than 200 mph and can do 0-60 in less than three seconds. That’s what a mere $580,000 will buy these days.
- all-aluminum 750-hp, 7-liter, rear-mounted V8 engine
- 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, quarter-mile in 10.5 seconds at 145 mph
- steel space frame with honeycomb composite panels
Audi’s supercar is instantly recognizable and very, very real. Even the light-up engine housing is authentic, though the fact that it reminds moviegoers of the glowing circle in Tony Stark’s chest was not lost on the production team.
Stark does drive the R8 in the film; it seems to be his favorite car for everyday use. With a top speed of 187 mph and that German engineering, this is Stark’s go-to grocery-getter. Audi took this opportunity for so much screen time seriously and created a microsite devoted to “Iron Man” and the cars used in the film.
- mid-mounted, 420-hp, 4.2-liter V8 engine
- 62 mph in 4.6 seconds
- aluminum and magnesium space frame
Though these cars are on the road in greater numbers by now, when this movie was being filmed there were nothing but prototypes of the all-electric Tesla Roadster. That’s how rich Tony Stark is. He already had one.
But he probably didn’t have it for its ecological aspects. While his character does become more aware of the destruction his company is causing in the world during the course of the movie, the Tesla is already in the garage. More likely, Tony Stark would have bought the car for the advances in engineering and the bleeding-edge technology in the lithium-ion batteries that power the car to 125 mph.
- 248-hp (185-kW) electric motor
- 0-60 in under 4 seconds
- Range of 220 miles, full recharge in 3.5 hours