Celebrate Selena Day by Taking a Look Back at the Film’s Most Iconic Vehicles
Today, citizens of Texas (and many others) celebrate Selena Day, which would have been Selena Quintanilla’s 46th birthday. The Mexican-American Tejano superstar was full of talent and promise, and she was on her way to becoming one of the biggest music stars in the world. Unfortunately, her life was tragically cut short when she was attacked by her former fan club president on March 31, 1995.
Selena’s life was documented in the 1997 film Selena, which premiered 20 years ago. The film, which was more of a celebration of Selena’s young life, featured a few iconic vehicles that made quite an impression on me as a child growing up in San Antonio, Texas during the time of its release.
Los Dinos’ 1958 Ford Ranch Wagon
The first major vehicle that makes an appearance in the film is that of Abraham Quintanilla (Selena’s father) and Los Dinos, the singing group he was a part of. The men travel in their light blue and white 1958 Ford Ranch Wagon to an audition that was set up for them, at a club on the beach. The owner of the club changes his mind when he sees that Los Dinos are Mexican, instead of Italian like he had originally thought. Abraham and his friends are sent away with an insulting check, so Los Dinos then travel to a Mexican club, but are subsequently booed offstage for singing “gringo” (white people) music, specifically “We Belong Together.”
Big Bertha Eagle Model 01 Bus
Although it didn’t originally have power steering, heating, air conditioning, electricity, or a working bathroom, the bus that toted Selena and her family around Texas was fondly referred to as Big Bertha. Inside, the bus did include plenty of seating, a table where Selena’s brother AB would write songs with the band, a cabinet with Suzette’s secret stash of Doritos, and bunk beds. One of the funniest scenes where Big Bertha is featured is when Selena’s father Abraham sends AB to get gas in Big Bertha but AB ends up getting the huge vehicle stuck in a ditch instead.
The Cholos’ 1969 Chevrolet Impala Low Rider
Directly after AB gets Big Bertha stuck in the ditch, two men in a 1969 Chevy Impala (with gold rims, an orange interior, and a golden steering wheel) drive by and come to an immediate halt when they recognize Selena on the side of the road. After reversing and pulling up to the stranded bus, they instantly became star struck with Selena and offered to help. Overestimating the power of the low rider Impala (featuring custom hood artwork of an Aztec carrying a woman), the two “cholos” fail to get Bertha out of the ditch and instead lose a bumper in the process. The owner of the car was unfazed, as he said he was proudly going to display the bumper in his garage and state that it was torn off by the bus of “Selenas” (with an S).
Selena’s 1981 Porsche 911
As portrayed in the film, Selena’s father was completely against her relationship with Chris Perez in the beginning and, because of this, she decided to get married to Chris without telling anyone. That day, after the duo had made it official on April 2, 1992, the happy couple is seen driving down a Texas highway in Selena’s red 1981 Porsche 911. Their moment of joy is instantly diminished when a radio announcer breaks the news that the two had secretly eloped, which meant Selena’s father would soon know and likely become irate. The Porsche is seen later in the film as well, when Selena arrives at her father’s office to discuss finances.
Gallery: See more photos of the iconic Selena vehicles
Morgan currently resides in Dayton, Ohio, after living across the entire nation (seven different states, to be exact) and even in Germany for a few years. Originally a graphic design major, Morgan floated around and eventually found her calling in writing and editing after working in marketing for a few years. Her hobbies include: board games, knowing way too many song lyrics, playing video games, quoting pop culture, going to concerts, and watching sports. It is advisable to not give her coffee after 3pm. See more articles by Morgan.