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The Mercedes-Benz ML320 From “The Lost World” Is My Favorite Movie Car Ever

Many cars are famous for being featured in movies — like the DeLorean from “Back to the Future,” the ambulance from “Ghostbusters,” the Aston Martin DB5 from “James Bond,” the Ferrari from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and on and on. You could name dozens of movie cars that are instantly recognizable to everyone.

My favorite movie car, however, is a bit… different. It’s the 1998 Mercedes-Benz ML320 from “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.” For those of you who don’t know this movie, let me just say that it’s the finest film in the “Jurassic Park” series, because at some point a T. Rex runs through San Diego and eats people. And folks, only the finest movies have dinosaurs eating people in major metropolitan areas.

But anyway, back to the ML320. This movie came out right when the ML320 was first going on sale, and Mercedes-Benz wanted the product tie-in — the hottest new car combined with the hottest new movie. So they did it, and they made the ML320 look wonderfully capable, tough and off-roady, with all sorts of weird add-ons that gave it the ability to fight the dinosaurs.

Of course, the ML320 has a rough go of it. Two examples are brought to the island where the dinosaurs live, and one falls off a cliff, and the other is destroyed by a dinosaur. But otherwise, it’s a wonderful situation, and it’s great to see these cars on screen, acting tough, doing things they never would’ve done in real life.

Interestingly, nobody replicates this now. Even though a lot of people have created replica Jeep Wrangler models from the first “Jurassic Park” movie, and even replicas of the original Ford Explorer from “Jurassic Park,” and many other movie cars, nobody that I’m aware of has done the ML320 — likely because this movie wasn’t particularly beloved, and the ML320 was hardly a movie icon in the way some other vehicles have been.

In the years that followed, Mercedes-Benz has remained a part of these movies, but I never really loved any future “Jurassic Park” car quite as much as I love the ML320 from “The Lost World.” I’ve written before about how I think the ML was a crucial car for this market, and it should go down as an automotive icon, but this movie was an important item that helped cement that status — Mercedes-Benz debuted this thing in the biggest way possible.

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  1. In his Top Gear interview a few years ago Jeff Goldblum told Clarkson Mercedes gave him a free ML320 for showing up at the US launch party and he still has it. 

  2. I saw this at the Mercedes Benz museum in Stuttgart, they had a section of famous person/movie cars.  Great visit, I highly recommend it. 

  3. You forgot to mention brilliant marketing of the ML320’s capabilities by putting the thing into 4WD and flooring it in reverse could pull two massive trailers back to safety off the side of the cliff. Poor Eddie just couldn’t finish the job!

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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