Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers have a pretty sweet garage.
May the 4th (be with you) is unofficially Star Wars Day, a holiday celebrating everything awesome from a galaxy far, far away. If you think this is incredibly geeky you’re in the minority with that opinion. Hell, even automakers and gearheads aren’t immune to Star Wars madness. This May the 4th we decided to take a look at the automobiles that pay tribute to two of the series’ most iconic dark side characters: Darth Vader and the nameless/faceless (for the most part) Stormtrooper. With one glaring exception the dark side's collection is pretty badass.
We kick things off with the life-sized Darth Vader car created by Hot Wheels lead designer Bryan Benedict. Although it looks a bit silly—it’s modeled after Darth Vader’s helmet after all—this car can haul some serious ass. It was built using a Corvette C5 but is said to be 50% lighter than the donor car thanks to its fiberglass body and carbon fiber front splitter. Powering it is an LS3 V8 making 526 horsepower and mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Did you really think a man who force chokes his own soldiers would drive an automatic?! The car can hit a theoretical top speed of 150 mph. It should come as no surprise to anyone that a car designed to pay homage to Darth Vader would be so powerful.
It also shouldn’t shock anyone that this car is popular, as evidenced by its trip to Jay Leno’s garage.
Wait, before you go pledging your allegiance to Emperor Palpatine you need to remember that only the head honchos of the dark side get cool cars. First Order Stormtroopers are stuck with this, the Fiat 500e. This custom car was made to promote the latest Star Wars film and made its debut at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. On the outside it’s not so bad but the inside takes the Stormtrooper helmet theme too far. That little helmet cap in the center of the steering wheel just looks childish. Luckily Finn escaped from the First Order before he had to drive one of these things.
No, this isn’t technically a Darth Vader-themed car but it is named the Force 1. Vader has command of the force and this car is powerful. So, this is what he would drive. The logic makes perfect sense. VLF Automotive’s first car made its debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show and borrows heavily from the Dodge Viper, including its 8.4-liter V10 and overall look. Of course VLF used the force to turn the nob up to 11, with the Force 1’s engine making 745 horsepower and 638 lb-ft of torque. A run from 0-60 mph happens in just 3.0 seconds and its top speed is 218 mph. We think it could keep pace with Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced x1.
While the life of a Stormtrooper is rough it’s not all being stabbed by lightsabers and driving electric Fiat 500s. Sometimes the universe throws you a bone in the form of a Dodge Charger Hellcat. Like the 500e above Dodge’s muscle car sports a design inspired by the helmets of the First Order’s Stormtroopers. Unlike the 500e these cars actually saw the street as part of a promotion with Star Wars, Hot Wheels and Uber. While Darth Vader has the cooler cars overall the garage of a Stormtrooper doesn’t seem all that awful either. Damn, maybe the dark side really is the place to be for gearheads?