‘Top Gun’ and its sequel, ‘Maverick,’ are full of high-flying action. But these hotshot pilots have some even sweeter rides when they’re back below the hard deck.
Revving up your engine, listening to it howl and roar. “Top Gun” and “Top Gun: Maverick” are all about the planes, but the need for speed doesn’t disappear once the planes are back on the ground. Both films are filled with some ultracool metal sporting both two wheels and four.
That’s right, we’re going to take your breath away with the best rides from the Top Gun movies.
‘Top Gun’ Cool Rides
It’s hard to go wrong with the original Top Gun movie, especially with all the cool rides featured in the film.
Kawasaki Ninja GPZ900R
Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell rides one of the most iconic movie motorcycles of all time: a specially painted Kawasaki Ninja GPZ900R. This was the first Kawasaki Ninja, and the model was the originator of the modern sports bike.
Could the 900cc liquid-cooled four-cylinder chase down F-14s on a takeoff roll? Probably not, but with 115 horsepower, this was one of the fastest production bikes in the world when it was new.
Yes, the paintwork isn’t quite right, and it looks more like a Euro-market GPZ750R. That’s because it was repainted for the movie. Kawasaki reportedly wouldn’t give the production any bikes to use, so they were altered. Hence the lack of logos on the side.
Porsche 356 Speedster Replica
Charlie Blackwood, the civilian contractor — “You will not salute her!” — played by Kelly McGillis, runs around Miramar in a Porsche 356 Speedster. Except that the 1950s classic sports car isn’t a real Porsche. Look really closely — you might need IMAX for this — and you might see the logo of Canadian coachbuilder Intermeccanica. That company has been building its Speedster replica since 1975.
Yes, it’s more movie budget magic. But that actually makes it easier to buy the “right car” from the movie, because Intermeccanica still makes them. They’ll even make you an E-Roadster that boasts electric power instead of air-cooled.
One of the scenes featuring the faux 356 is when Charlie is chasing after an angry Maverick, and we can’t skip over that chase without talking about the absolutely bonkers ending.
Charlie blows through an intersection (sort of, she doesn’t actually have a stop sign), cutting off half a dozen cars. Those cars are a Datsun 240Z, Fox Body Ford Mustang convertible, Pontiac Trans Am, an Aerobird Ford Thunderbird, and a very early Porsche 911. Is that the coolest intersection ever? How on earth did they end up with that grouping?
Of course, it gets even better. She immediately pulls over and stops because the intersection is in front of her house. Just walking away as everyone sits there honking. It’s more boss than anything Maverick did in the movie, that’s for sure.
Forget the Game, Check the Beach Volleyball Parking Lot
If somehow, after those vehicles, you had any doubt that there were car people behind this movie, we bring you the volleyball scene. Forget that Tom Cruise is playing with the boys while wearing jeans in the sand, look at the background.
Mazda RX-7, first-gen Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebirds, a third-gen Camaro with T-tops, another later Firebird in the distance, a Mercedes SL and, of course, the 1960 or so first-generation Chevrolet Corvette. It’s a great California backdrop of cars.
But the 1955 Chevrolet 210 that just sits there off-court for the entire scene? Absolutely perfect placement. The car belonged to an actual US Naval sailor attached to Top Gun at the time, and director Tony Scott saw a photo of it on his desk. The car actually still exists, and there’s a YouTube channel that spent six episodes restoring it.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Cool Rides
OK, so that was 1986. What about today? Tom Cruise is back, the F-14 Tomcats have been swapped for Super Hornets, and the cars (and bikes) are still cool. We haven’t been able to spend quite as much time with “Maverick” as the original, but we still found some really sweet rides.
Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon
The Ninja from the original makes a cameo appearance, but there is a new bike in town nearly 40 years later.
This time, though, Maverick is piloting a Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon. A supercharged 998cc bike that makes 200 horsepower and has a top speed of more than 200 mph. One of these bikes set a record around the Isle of Man TT course, getting the highest top speed on that circuit by a motorcycle.
This Kawi might be able to keep up with those fighter planes for a lot longer. And Mav’s going to want to put a helmet on this time. It’s not 1986 anymore.
1973 Porsche 911 S
Jennifer Connelly has replaced Kelly McGillis as Tom Cruise’s love interest in “Maverick,” but Penny drives a Porsche just like Charlie.
Make that, she actually drives a Porsche, because this one’s real. A 1973 Porsche 911 S model that the director thought was a great pairing with the character’s love of sailboats. It’s hard to argue the coolness of any 911, but early cars like this are absolutely not up for debate. Even if a 2.3L flat-six and 190 horsepower aren’t quite as impressive today.
What we love is that Porsche launched an ad based on the new ride, with the tagline “Porsche and Top Gun, together again.” Conveniently ignoring that the first one wasn’t really a Porsche.
1956 Aston Martin DBR1
The trailer and music video for Maverick give us a look into Pete Mitchell’s garage and, well, somebody must be getting some of that sweet, sweet defense contractor consulting money. What do we mean?
Well, forget about the brace of motorcycles, including the Ninja, from the original. We don’t mean the P-51 Mustang (that actually belongs to Tom Cruise) either, even though that’s worth mid-seven figures.
We mean the Aston Martin DBR1 tucked away off to the side. Built in 1956, these Aston Martins were meant for sports car races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans (where they won in 1959). Only five were ever built, and the last one to sell at auction brought $22.5 million way back in 2017.
Maverick had better hope the IRS doesn’t get a look in that garage, or things might need some explaining and the garage might soon look like a rummage sale.
Classic Ford Bronco
OK, last one, and this time it’s the one that leads the trailer. We don’t want to get into spoilers, but one of the characters is an odd return from the first movie. Rooster (we’re not sure that’s the best callsign) hops out of a first-generation Bronco.
The off-road icon has nearly always been cool, but with the all-new Ford Bronco making its return to dealers, the original is cooler than ever. That’s a dangerous metaphor to be placed in a movie that’s a sequel happening nearly 40 years after the original. On the other hand, Ford has clearly pulled it off, and it looks like “Maverick” did it, too.
The brief glimpse of Bronco we get shows the deep blue off-roader looking near-perfect on chunky off-road tires while sitting in a dark Nevada desert. Then again, the original Bronco looks near-perfect sitting almost anywhere, which is why it’s a great choice for this hotshot aviator.
If you want to see more of it, or any of the rest of these, “Top Gun: Maverick” is still in theatres.