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Cars You Didn’t Know Were in “The Godfather”

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A 1040 Cadillac Fleetwood, much like the one driven by The Godfather himself
Photo: Sicnag via CC

When you think of “The Godfather,” the first thing that’s likely to pop into your head is Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone sitting in a dimly lit room, saying something like, “You come into my house, on the day my daughter is to be married…” But if you look a little closer, Francis Ford Coppola’s genre and generation-defining masterpiece is also a showcase for a huge variety of stunning vintage Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet vehicles.

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1940 Buick Limited

A 1940 Buick Limited, like the one driven by Virgil Sollozzo in The Godfather
Photo: Greg Gjerdingen via CC

Seen during the sequence where up-and-coming “narcotics man” Virgil Sollozzo approached Vito Corleone to discuss a potential — and clearly illegal — deal, the 1940 Buick Limited was the automaker’s top-line vehicle at the time. Fascinatingly, the Limited marked Buick’s switch from a number-based naming scheme to one that used actual names. Swanky as it was, it couldn’t stop Michael Corleone from introducing Sollozzo to his maker in one of the film’s most memorable sequences.

1940 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 Special

A 1040 Cadillac Fleetwood, much like the one driven by The Godfather himself
Photo: Sicnag via CC

Don Vito Corleone may have been the leader of an organized crime family, but there’s no denying he was a man of taste. That’s almost certainly why he wore fine suits with even finer lapel roses and chose to traverse New York in a 1940 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 Special, colloquially known as the Fleetwood Sixty Special. In a tragic twist of fate, it was another Sixty Special that blocked Sonny Corleone at a tollbooth, enabling multiple fedora-wearing mobsters to blast him mercilessly with Tommy Guns.

1941 Chevrolet Master Deluxe

A 1941 Chevrolet Special Deluxe
Photo: Sicnag via CC

During the opening scene of “The Godfather,” which takes place at the wedding of Vito’s daughter Connie, Sonny is informed that an FBI agent is in the driveway. He approaches the man’s 1941 Chevrolet Master Deluxe, says something antagonistic, spits, and then walks away after cursing. While a wedding packed to the gills with dozens of (almost certainly armed) mobsters may not have been the best time for the FBI to make their move, I do hope that James Caan’s furious spittle didn’t hit that beautiful car.

While its story will always be brilliantly constructed and its characters borderline-flawlessly portrayed, don’t forget to appreciate some of the undersung four-wheeled cast members that helped make “The Godfather” what it is.

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