For all of Tom Cruise’s blockbuster hits, Days of Thunder never quite hit the mainstream highs of Top Gun or Mission Impossible. However, the relatively niche attempt at taking NASCAR to the silver screen has a special place in our hearts. So, to see two of the cars allegedly used in the film discovered abandoned has caught our attention.
YouTuber Coors Bandit found a pair of Chevy Luminas, one of them a #51 Yello Mello driven in the film by Cruise’s character Cole Trickle and the other a #18 Hardees car. It’s claimed in the video that both were used on-set as stunt cars, and judging by their state, it’d be hard to argue otherwise. Interestingly, both were found in Florida, yet in two different forests, and both had missing wheels.
It’s the Yello Mello car that looks in the sorriest of states. A whole chunk of its front bumper is missing, perhaps a result of rubbin’ is racin’. The rear is hanging off at one side, and time has truly taken its toll, with rust, mold, and dust caked over the rest of the bodywork. The Hardees Lumina is in a marginally better condition bodywork-wise, even if its once-orange paintwork has turned white, but neither is anywhere close to the condition originally seen on-screen.
Sadly, Coors Bandit admits neither car can be restored to its original condition. They have been recovered, cleaned up a little bit with a pressure washer, and placed on display for the time being.
He adds that he thinks “they’re absolutely perfect the way they are,” as a lot of the battle scars come from their use in the film. In case you disagree, though, you might be out of luck, with no plans to sell the cars either. Maybe if you prod around Florida forests long enough, another may appear.