Supercars from a galaxy far, far away
Hello there! To celebrate May the 4th PaddlUp put together a list of the best cars from each year that the nine Skywalker saga films were released. We would be honoured if you would join us.
It's an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. The Lego Star Wars video game has recently been released while the Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ limited series is just visible on the twin-sunned horizon at the end of the month.
It's perfect timing then, to celebrate May the 4th with a list of PaddlUp's favourite cars from the same year as each of the nine episodic releases of the iconic franchise.
Star Wars / A New Hope (1977) – Porsche 935
The world was first introduced to Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and the rest of the iconic Star Wars cast on 25 May, 1977 and it would go on to dominate the box office, much like the Porsche 935 would dominate the motorsport world in the late seventies and early eighties.
Although this one wouldn't technically be road legal, we couldn't resist kicking this list off with a bang. This motorsport icon was first offered up to customers in 1977 to race in the World Sportscar Championship, IMSA GT Championship and DTM-predecessor, Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft.
Powered by a 3.3L Type 935 twin-turbo flat-six engine, the 935 became more powerful than you could possibly imagine, winning over 150 races worldwide from 1976 to 1981 across its various iterations and dominating endurance racing in a way that hadn't been seen before.
The most memorable model is surely the infamous 'Moby Dick' Le Mans edition and, despite finishing a lowly eighth in the 24-hour race, would eventually inspire the creation of 77 new 935s in 2019.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – Porsche 930 S Flatnose Prototype
The successful follow-up to the original 'Star Wars' movie was released at the dawn of a new decade. In Germany, while Vader was delivering the historic “No, I am your father" line, a businessman made a request to Porsche; he wanted a road-going 935 to follow its success at Le Mans and thus, the 930 S Flatnose Prototype was born.
Although it wasn't available from the factory until 1986, the Flatnose, or Flachbau in German – sometimes referred to as the Slantnose – cost twice as much as the standard model making them exceptionally rare.
In the interim between 1980 and 1986, the Flatnose was an option offered only by Porsche's customer service department known as 'Sonderwunschen.'
Return of the Jedi (1983) – Lamborghini Countach LP500 S
1983 saw the release of Return of the Jedi and the end of the original Star Wars trilogy. The third film in the saga and the destruction of Death Star II coincided with the launch of the third Lamborghini Countach, the LP500 S.
As a direct response to Ferrari's Boxer – which was faster than the Countach LP400 S – Lamborghini produced a more powerful 4.8-litre version of the ultimate eighties automotive icon with an updated interior.
Announced during the 1982 Geneva Motor Show, the LP500 S saw significant weight gain (290kg to be exact) but still managed to outsell the LP400 and the LP400 S in just two short years.
Image from lambocars.com
The Phantom Menace (1999) – Pagani Zonda C12
The prequel era of Star Wars began in 1999 and introduced fans to the most divisive character since the Ewoks, Jar Jar Binks. The Pagani Zonda C12, however, would create no such divide between supercar enthusiasts.
As the first production car delivered by Pagani, the C12 had a lot to live up and it certainly delivered. The Italian manufacturer exploded onto the automotive scene with a 6-litre Mercedes-Benz V12 engine producing 394bhp at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show.
With the interior taking inspiration from a fighter jet as well as a distinctive curved windscreen and wing mirrors, Pagani announced itself as a serious supercar manufacturer and subsequently, the C12 became an instant classic as did Darth Maul's double-bladed lightsabre. *Duel of the Fates intensifies*
Attack of the Clones (2002) – Ferrari Enzo
It's 2002 and the prequel trilogy is in full swing. Count Dooku ensured that the tradition of Skywalkers having limbs removed continued and Kenobi uncovered the truth about the clone army. Elsewhere, the first Ferrari Enzo rolled off the production line at Maranello in Italy.
With learnings taken from the 288 GTO, the F40 and the F50 before it, the Enzo was the pinnacle of automotive engineering and Ferrari's most advanced hypercar to date. Borrowing technology from the era's Formula 1 cars, clever use of a low, angular front end and rear defuser made for profound cornering capabilities at that time.
As the last naturally aspirated, non-electrically-assisted hypercar Ferrari ever built – and at the time housing the most powerful naturally aspirated V12 engine in the world – the Enzo serves as an excellent investment piece, with average auction values rising from approximately £800,000-£900,000 to over £2 million* in less than a decade.
*stats from Glen March
Revenge of the Sith (2005) – Bugatti Veyron
The final instalment of the prequel trilogy would welcome the infamous droid leader General Grevious (and wave goodbye to him in short order), we would witness the eradication of the Jedi with Order 66 as well as discover how Darth Vader truly came into being.
Revenge of the Sith laid down a marker as the darkest instalment from a galaxy far, far away since The Empire Strikes Back but also laying down a marker at that time was Buggati. They were setting out to shake the car world to its core with the all-conquering Veyron.
A monstrous 8-litre, quad-turbocharged W16's output reached just 13 horses shy of 1000hp as well as 922lb ft of torque powering the Veyron to the eye-watering 250mph barrier and beyond – enviable performance figures even by today's standards after 17 years of automotive development.
The Veyron enjoyed an extraordinarily long lifespan. Having been revealed to the world at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show, Buggati produced the first example in 2005, with 449 more well on the way throughout the next decade.
Honourable mention: the Ferrari F430. At PaddlUp, we know our way around a Ferrari, especially an F430 so we couldn't deprive you of a nod to this classic supercar that also began life in 2005.
The Force Awakens (2015) – Lamborghini Aventador SV
As we step into the Disney era of Star Wars and we are introduced to a host of new characters like Rey, Finn and Poe, we see a step up in technology and enter what we now consider to be the modern era of performance cars. And so we come to the utterly mad Aventador SV.
You'd be forgiven for thinking you were one hell of a pilot with a 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 producing 740bhp at your disposal, carrying you all the way to an electronically-limited 217mph.
As if the original Aventador wasn't quick enough, a 50kg weight reduction, 170% more downforce and a 0-62mph time of just 2.8 seconds yielded a sub-seven minute Nordschleife run on its first, and only official run. Tell THAT to Kanjiklub!
The Last Jedi (2017) – McLaren 720S
The next stop on our journey in the PaddlUp branded Millennium Falcon is another divisive movie – are you sensing a theme here?
The usual McLaren characteristics of a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive and twin-turbocharged V8 engine were ever-present, but an improved carbon fibre tub design made for a lower centre of gravity, along with an updated suspension assemblage, the combination of which nullified the need for anti-roll bars.
When behind the wheel of the 720S, the unique accessibility and drivability will ensure that blue milk is a very distant memory. Autocar went as far as to say that "It’s so fast, so usable and so controllable that it might – just might – be the best supercar on the planet." But are they referring to Cantonica or Crait?
The Rise of Skywalker (2019) – Koenigsegg Jesko
The ninth and final film would see the saga culminate with the revival of an age-old villain and the redemption of a new one. That same year, Koenigsegg would announce its most ambitious project to date – the Jesko – at the Geneva Motor Show.
After the highly successful and, ultimately brand-defining Agera RS, somehow Koenigsegg returned with a £2.3 million self-proclaimed 'megacar' capable of 300mph and above making it the fastest car the Swedish manufacturer has ever produced, and potentially the fastest car in the world. 125 Jeskos are slated for production, all of which have already been sold and are due to be released this year.
With a staggering potential output of 1600 horsepower when running E85 fuel and a 40 per cent increase in downforce, the Jesko is a small jump away from installing a fully functioning hyperdrive.