Tony Stark is a man of wealth and taste. He likes cars that are obscenely fast and ludicrously expensive, like the Audi R8 and the Saleen S7. But when he dons his Iron Man suit, cars get blown up. Specifically, his cars. And other people's cars. Also military equipment, aliens, and his enemies, but especially cars.
Bruce Wayne has his Lamborghinis, that sexy MV Agusta in The Dark Knight and his various Bat-vehicles, but the case could easily be made that Tony Stark is the foremost car guy in the realm of comic book movies. He's shown to have a need for speed and an enviable collection of old and new automobiles from around the world including a 1967 Shelby Cobra, a Tesla Roadster and an old Ford hot rod.
But Tony Stark also has a horrible track record when it comes to vehicular destruction, and it could be argued that he is, in fact, the world's most abusive car collector.
This isn't always his fault -- he's a superhero and a billionaire CEO, and that means he gets targeted by all sorts of laser-toting, missile-shooting, plasma-whip-having nutjobs. And sometimes his cars get caught in the crossfire. And sometimes, cars get blown up when Tony Stark simply happens to be around them. He's bad car luck, I tell you!
With everyone rushing out to see Iron Man 3 this weekend, now seems like a great time to tally up exactly how much it would cost to replace all of the cars that were damaged or destroyed in the first two films. For the purposes of this story, we're pretending that Iron Man and all of his cars are real, and not fibreglass movie props, obviously.
To do this, I conducted extensive scientific research for this piece -- I re-watched Iron Man and Iron Man 2 last night. The Avengers is much harder to pin down, but I'll get to that in a minute.
But for the moment, without having seen Iron Man 3 yet beyond a few trailers (I'm going after work, so no spoilers in the comments!) I put the official Jalopnik estimate at $US5.68 million. Seems like a lot, but I think Tony Stark can foot the bill.
Without further ado, let's examine Ol' Shellhead's appetite for automotive mayhem.
The Humvees in the military convoy
Now, this one really wasn't Tony Stark's fault, is it? He was riding in a US Air Force convoy of at least three Humvees when they were attacked by terrorists from the mysterious 10 Rings organisation. (Who were those guys, and what was their political motivation exactly? Maybe that's in the third one.) Anyway, this was the event that leads to Tony getting injured and captured, and it's what sparks the eventual birth of Iron Man.
Let's assume three Humvees were destroyed in the attack. At $US220,000 each for an Up-Armored Humvee (UAH), we're not exactly off to a great start.
Total damage: $US660,000
The Shelby Cobra in the workshop
I once read a funny joke somewhere about Shelby Cobras. "How do you tell if a Cobra is real or not?" The answer: "It's not real."
As the Cobra is the dream car for millions of bald rich men in their 60s, it's not a terribly uncommon car, although they're almost always replicas.
But this is Tony Stark we're talking about here! He's one of the richest and most powerful men in the world! He's not gonna roll around in some replica Cobra like a mark-ass bitch. He'd drive the real deal, baby.
So let's assume his '67 Cobra was real. That makes the fact that Stark landed on it during an early flight experiment even more painful.
Total damage: $US750,000 (estimated)
A bunch of cars on the freeway, including a hydrogen bus
The climax of the first Iron Man is a knock down, drag out fight between Tony and his ex-bestie Obadiah Stane, mad with power in a gigantic knockoff suit. Their scuffle carries over to a Los Angeles freeway, and a ton of cars get damaged or destroyed in the aftermath, including a city bus. (There's also a deleted scene where Rhodes drives the R8 into Iron Monger, but that was kept out of the film because the stunt didn't turn out right. We'll leave that off here.)
IMCDB shows the city bus that got blown up as a 1995 Novabus. In the film it's portrayed as a hydrogen powered bus, and at about $US2 million apiece, those things aren't cheap. I think a fair estimate of the damage to the other cars would be about $US250,000, so that brings us to...
Total damage: $US2,250,000 (estimated)
Racing cars at Monaco
I don't think Iron Man 2 is quite up to par with the original, but one of the film's highlights was the race scene at the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco that gets interrupted when Whiplash arrives and generally fucks shit up. In addition to a bit of racing, we get to see Tony use that sweet suitcase-armour. I want one of those!
It's also a great example of how irresponsible-yet-insanely-awesome Tony Stark is. He owns a racing team. He decides he wants to have a go around Monaco, so he fires the driver and hops in the seat himself. Wouldn't you do that if you were an eccentric bazillionaire?
Several of the cars used in that scene were supplied by the Historic Grand Prix Association. Stark's car, as well as some of the others, were replicas of 1978 Wolf F1 race cars. (Did you know that Tony's car was driven by Tanner Foust in the movie?)
By my count, Whiplash destroyed at least four of the cars. It's quite hard to determine how much one of these would cost if they were real. A 1978 Fittipaldi F1 car was listed last year at 195,000 British pounds, or about $US300,000. That's the best I can come up with. I'm open to a better estimate if anyone has one.
Multiplied by four, and that gives us...
Total damage: $US1,200,000 (estimated)
2009 Rolls-Royce Phantom
Not content with just trashing vintage race cars, Whiplash also goes after Tony's poor 2009 Rolls-Royce Phantom, nearly cleaving it in half with his plasma whips.
It's safe to say that will not buff right out.
Total damage: $US350,000
A whole mess of cars under the bridge
Like the first movie, Iron Man 2 ends with an inordinate amount of vehicular explosion-ing. (We're making up words at Jalopnik today and it's awesome.) As Iron Man is chased by a fleet of drone suits and his buddy Rhodes in the out of control War Machine armour, a ton of cars under a bridge near the Stark Expo become collateral damage.
It's hard to say how many cars were destroyed here or exactly what they were all worth. There don't appear to be any exotics involved, just normal, workaday cars that ordinary folks drive. I sure hope they had insurance. I think $US500,000 is a safe estimate, if a conservative one.
Total damage: $US500,000 (estimated)
Just about every car in Manhattan in The Avengers
When the Chitauri alien army shows up at the end of The Avengers, every car in Manhattan gets destroyed in the process. Seriously, all of them. Every last one.
Let's say you're a person living in the Marvel film universe. If you had a car in Manhattan that day, you were screwed, and that's all there is to it.
It's possible that was the least of your problems, however, as you may have been eaten by a giant snake.
Now, The Avengers are a team, so we can't pin this entirely on Iron Man, obviously. But once again, he was involved in a fight where an insane amount of vehicles were obliterated. I'm telling you, the guy's bad car luck. Since we can't get an accurate estimate here, we won't count it.
But hey! At least Tony's ugly fake NSX roadster survived, as did most of the SHIELD Acura ZDXs. So that's good, right?
Total damage: Impossible to accurately determine, but probably well into the tens of millions of dollars.
The Audi R8 E-Tron in Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 just came out, but things already don't look good for his latest ride, an electric Audi R8 E-Tron. In the trailers we can see that it gets blown up and sent into the ocean when attack helicopters unload their missiles into his swanky Malibu pad. Once again, that will probably not buff out.
The real R8 E-Tron may not actually see production, although at one point it was slated to. Back in 2009 Car and Driver said it would be out by 2012 and cost around $US150,000. Obviously, that didn't happen, except for one genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.
Total damage: $US150,000 (estimated)
Given Tony's past, it's safe to assume that the latest movie will have tons of exploding cars, so we may have to update the vehicular cost of his mayhem. But for now, it looks like we can put the total at an estimated $US5.86 million.
Don't worry. If anyone can afford it, Tony Stark can.
Photos credit IMCDB