Barbie movie corvette

Driving in a Barbie World: Barbie’s Most Iconic Rides

Ron Ruelle model car hall of fame
by Ron Ruelle

With the new Barbie movie in theaters, we decided it would be a good time to look at the iconic doll’s most iconic cars. Since her earliest days, the folks at Mattel decided she needed some accessories to round out her fabulous life, and that includes what she drives. This is not really a ranking, but here are our selections for her five most memorable vehicles.

We’re sticking to ones that were based on real cars, so some of your fictional, unlicensed childhood favorites might not make the list.

Corvettes… but which one?

Barbie Star Vette

In the Barbie movie, she drives a C1 Vette with a back seat, which works better than it sounds. She later had a C4, but the execution of the model feels kind of cheap. The winner here is the “Star ‘Vette,” a purple C3 with white letter drag tires and a chrome luggage rack. It was the perfect car for the era.

RVs… lots of RVs

Barbie Star Traveler

She’s driven and lived in numerous recreational vehicles over the years, but you have to go with the 1976 Star Traveler MotorHome. Based on the still beautiful 1970s GMC MotorHome, it’s huge, not made of chintzy vinyl, and full of amenities. 

Ferrari 328

Barbie Ferrari

There were a couple of different versions of this car… the early ones were cheap and toylike compared to the 1987 redesign. The classic 5-spoke chrome wheels really gave it that Magnum, P.I. vibe.

Volkswagen Beetle

Barbie VW Beetle

In the 1990s, the New VW Beetle became THE car for women who liked a little zip in their ride. Whether the stereotype was fair or not, Barbie got hers in bright pink. It was nicely scaled and detailed, distorted just enough to be practical for a doll her size. She also got a second-generation New Beetle a few years later.

Austin Healy 3000 Roadster

Barbie Austin Healy

Ahhh, yes, Barbie’s original ride. This nicely detailed sports car came in a salmon color with a turquoise interior and captures the proportions and details of the real car nicely. And given the reliability of those cars, she probably learned a thing or two about maintenance and repair. Such strength and independence would become one of her trademarks over the years, so it’s the perfect car for Barbie.

By the way, did you notice only one of our choices was pink? Barbie really does get around.

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