Home » Let’s Explore The Strange And Unexpected Automotive Choices In The World Of Barbie

Let’s Explore The Strange And Unexpected Automotive Choices In The World Of Barbie

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Is Barbie an Autopian? Admittedly Barbie is not, in fact, a real person at all, but she has a pretty well-defined persona in toys, music, and film. A persona that includes cars … a lot of cars.

The controversial doll-turned-movie-character certainly appears to be a rather materialistic person, based on her Dream House and the vehicles she drives. While the partial-to-pink character seems to choose cars that are always flashy, they’re typically more mainstream than the rather obscure vehicles that many Autopians would gravitate towards, with a few exceptions.

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Corvettes appear prominently over the years as Barbie’s daily driver; at a local thrift mall this week I saw several C4s to choose from:

Barbie Volo 1

Barbie Volo 1

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Ken is stuck with an old C3, but it appears to be a final-year 1975 drop-top. Hopefully it’s L82 equipped, as Ken has a lot to compensate for (or nothing to compensate for, if you know what I mean).

Barbie Vol0 4

In the recent Barbie The Movie, she drives a plastic-bodied first-gen Corvette that inexplicably has a back seat:

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… But it’s not all Chevys in Barbie World. Based on the vintage offerings I discovered at the antique mall, it appears Barbie really started spending money on herself in the go-go eighties, splashing out cash for not one but two Ferraris, each a 328GTS. The Rossa Corsa example is sporting the smooth-faced wheels of the later ABS-equipped GTS, but Mattel chose to slather the wheels of both Ferraris in chrome, so … blech.

Barbie Volo 3

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The money must have been flowing like wine for the now-middle-aged, botox-injecting, one-step-away-from-the-Betty-Ford-center Barbie [Ed note: Wow, OK] since she appears to have also purchased a MKI Golf /Rabbit Cabriolet for “Jazzie,” her “cool teenage cousin.”

Barbie Volo 2

Jazzie Vw

Depictions of Barbie outside of Mattel’s iron – er, plastic – fist feature more obscure machines. The video for the catchy, annoying, slightly filthy 1997 song I’m A Barbie Girl by the Danish-Norwegian band Aqua features a pink car, but it’s driven by Ken so one would assume that it’s his name on the title. As horrific as this tune is, at least the video includes a somewhat Autopian machine in the form of a mid-70s Ford  Taunus via Germany, twin to the Dangenham-built British Cortina. It’s a “convertible” in the video, but the chopped top was likely literally chopped – call it a Sawzall sacrifice for music-video immortality.

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My guess is there is no structural stiffening, so it’s strictly a video prop and opening both doors at the same time is not recommended. I say this because Ford never made a drop-top Taunus or Cortina, beyond some coachbuilt examples like this one that was for sale some time back; you’ll note the add-on “roll bar” helping hold the thing together:

Taunus
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Barbie seems pleased enough with Bald Ken’s ride in the Aqua video, a stark contrast to the famous 1996 Nissan commercial that sees Ken get his injection-molded heart shattered. Poor Ken is left behind as Barbie hops into a Z32 300ZX Turbo procured from a toy stash by square-jawed action figure (Ken is a mere fashion doll) who undoubtedly stole Barbie’s affection with his manly cleft chin and the erotic possibilities of his far greater articulation. Jointed elbows and knees? What can’t he do?

I don’t know what the Ken character in this commercial was driving at the time, but it’s unlikely that it was as dope as arguably the second-greatest Nissan product ever made next to the 240Z. Yes, I know the GT-R will mop the floor with a Z32, but the styling of the newer car looks to me like the box and packaging material that the 1990 300ZX arrived in. I’m partial since we had a Z32 for fifteen years and 150,000 miles, and I never tired of the shape. As opposed to Barbie, who had tired of Ken’s shape after some 35 years, apparently. (Ken was introduced in 1961.)

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If I were Barbie (now there’s a strange thought), what would I drive? The answer was for sale not too long ago, by the owner of 43 years. A woman named Lorrie Stern bought the car new in Upper Nyack, New York and had it painted light pink soon after acquiring it. She then proceeded to put 114,000 miles on it over the next four decades. So, what was this long-serving car? Surely a reliable mile-eater, perhaps a blush-colored Cadillac Eldorado? A Lincoln Mark IV wearing a shade of rose?

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Not even close: Mrs. Stern chose a Lamborghini Espada with a 5-speed. The listing photos show jarring black lap belts in the rear seat, but Mrs. Stern claimed to need those to hold the grandkid’s child seats. I’ll allow it.

Lambo Pink
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Some people question whether Barbie should be a role model for young girls today. I don’t know how to answer that, but I sure as shit know that Lorrie Stern is an Autopian role model to beat all role models. Barbie is cool, but she will never be that cool.

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Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
29 days ago

My neighbour had the purple C4 corvette, and because she was 2 years older than me, there was a point when she no longer cared for it, so me and her brother played the shit out of that C4 for another 2-3 years. No dolls, because we were being brought according to the good old principles of 90s mysoginy, so we knew quite well dolls=bad. Took me a while to unlearn that shit. Anyway, the C4 was awsome. It was gigantic compared to our model cars and held up quite well over the years – no scratches or broken parts. It was just such a cool toy.

I wish my daughter had any interst in Barbie cars, but that ship may have sailed. She has some pretty cool Barbies but just arrived at that age when she’s starting to lose interest for toys.

Zac H
Zac H
1 month ago

My sister had Barbie’s translucent sparkly pink Jaguar XJS convertible in the mid ‘90s. I used to put our hamster in the driver’s seat and drive him around the house.

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
1 month ago

Would 100% daily drive that pink Espada!

Alpine 911
Alpine 911
1 month ago

Wasn’t there a Jeep Wrangler at some point?

Barry Allen
Barry Allen
29 days ago
Reply to  Alpine 911

There was (still is?) a very popular Power Wheels car. No idea if there is a doll sized version, Barbie isn’t my thing.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
1 month ago

My sister had the silver C4. I would pile Barbie and Ken in that and launch them off of a cardboard ramp into various Nylint steel trucks I had at that age. This landed me in trouble across the board. First with my sister because of course. Then with my parents who really didn’t like me banging up the nice trucks I had gotten as presents. “What are you doing? Those could be valuable some day.”

Since I eventually ended up recreating vehicle accidents as a career, I’d say I knew exactly what I was doing.

SLM
SLM
1 month ago

I heard children on the street while I was driving my 205 cabriolet two weeks ago “hey, look he’s driving Barbie’s car !”.

Ben Chia
Ben Chia
1 month ago

She had a VW New Beetle in the early 2000s too I believe.

Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
1 month ago

We had the red Ferrari in our Barbie world.

Comet_65cali
Comet_65cali
1 month ago

My 12″ GI Joes rolled in a Barbie 964 Cabriolet in Grand-Prix White and Magenta Interior.

Barry Allen
Barry Allen
29 days ago
Reply to  Comet_65cali

Love it

Scott Ross
Scott Ross
1 month ago

I enjoyed the movie, but the 4 seat corvette bothered me, and the fact that the bad guys were in gas guzzling SUVs while the heros were in Blazer Evs.

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
1 month ago
Reply to  The Bishop

Keep commercialism out of our famous-toy-based cinema!

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
1 month ago

I want to say my sister’s Barbie was rolling in a yellow C3 Vette convertible. I think it was called the “Classy Corvette” and was made in the late ’70’s.

IDM3
IDM3
1 month ago

We hardcore toy collectors can find nearly everything. My toy collection has the following:
*Yellow Malibu Barbie Beach buggy (and it’s blue Big Jim counterpart) from the 1970s. You’d be surprised how dangerous the Barbie nuts can get if you refuse to give it to them. Sometimes you have to fight.

*Bronze Jammin’ In Jamaica Beach Buggy from 2000.

*Pink C4 Corvette from U.S. Toy Company.

And from Hot wheels:
*Pink Barbie Dream Camper.

*Barbie Extra Roadster.

*Barbie VW Kombi Shortie Van

*Barbie Monster Vette, HW’s Treasure Hunt model for the 2021 Monster Truck Series. A fun model to have except when you have to deal with the Barbie crazies and Hot Wheels scalpers. Especially at the cash register.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago

I admire Mrs Stern’s attitude, because racking up 114k in a Lamborghini over 4 decades requires determination and the sort of resources most people would put into real estate. Not a woman to be trifled with, I imagine—and definitely a cool grandma.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
1 month ago

NGL I probably would have left that thrift store with all that Barbie stuff. Especially the cars.

Also Barbie’s white Ferrari is clearly on fucking TRXs. Goddamnit Michelin she’s not made of money!

Last edited 1 month ago by Adrian Clarke
Chronometric
Chronometric
1 month ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Have you seen the movie box office numbers?
Barbie is rolling in more than plastic cars.

Last edited 1 month ago by Chronometric
IDM3
IDM3
1 month ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

But how would you fend against the Barbie fanatics? I’ve dealt with them too many times to count. Especially with the 2021 Hot Wheels Barbie Monster Vette Treasure Hunt. That was a fight.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
1 month ago
Reply to  IDM3

You not seen me trampling on kids to get to a fresh box of Hot Wheels. They’re small and feeble and easily defeated.

IDM3
IDM3
1 month ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

So you’re the one who started that riot in the Dollar General storeroom with the other Hot Wheels hoodlums! Too bad you all were sent to jail and banned from the store for life.

(BTW, I wound up getting first pick from the box after the crowd settled down. I get better picks that way.)

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
1 month ago
Reply to  The Bishop

Oh to hell with that idea then. I nearly bought a NASCAR Barbie from a motorsport memorabilia shop in Maranello (funnily enough) but at €300 she was staying on the shelf.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago

Barbie needs something from the same year she’s from.

Pink 1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille convertible.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago
Reply to  The Bishop

GI Joe had a freaking aircraft carrier. Barbie can have a big ol’ boat, too.

Data
Data
1 month ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

A real American Hero. Yo Joe!

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago
Reply to  Data

And knowing is half the battle!

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 month ago

Not a coincidence that the two most notable plastic inventions of the 1950s were the original credit card (Bank Americard, 1958) and the original material girl, Barbie (1959). Wouldn’t surprise me at all if they didn’t come from the same family tr…er, oil well.

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
1 month ago

I had a pink C4 for my childhood Barbie car. As an adult, I got an ’82 Collector’s Edition, which is just fantastically louche and about the exact opposite of a Barbie car

Goof
Goof
1 month ago

Even now, it appears her options are a Jeep Wrangler or a generic roadster.

Missed opportunity for the Barbie Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet.

Autonerdery
Autonerdery
1 month ago

My mom’s Barbie (a 1963 model) had an Austin-Healey 3000 Mk. II. Even then, it was pink.

Autonerdery
Autonerdery
1 month ago
Reply to  The Bishop

Undoubtedly true. I’ve seen photos of the Barbie Healey in its original box, which just refers to it as “Barbie’s own sports car.” I don’t think even Hot Wheels or Matchbox et. al. were typically licensed until the ’80s—it just wasn’t really a thing.

Maymar
Maymar
1 month ago
Reply to  Autonerdery

At a minimum, Hot Wheels and Matchbox were very much making miniaturized versions of real cars from the beginning – one of the more notorious examples is that the ’68 Corvette was launched in Hot Wheels form before the real thing (supposedly by an ex-GM designer who defected to Mattel with blueprints in his cane).

Data
Data
1 month ago

Wait, what? No mention of the Barbie Star Traveller GMC Motorhome? Barbie had her own EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle.

Mazzaratti5
Mazzaratti5
1 month ago
Reply to  Data

Oh man, my sisters had one of these growing up in the 80s/90s. The thing was like 4 feet long and I remember it was the ugliest yellow/tan color. This must have been the Barbie equivalent of the USS Flagg for GI Joe kids.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
1 month ago

I was pleasantly surprised when I was looking for my Boxster on Facebook Marketplace and found a Barbie Boxster in Guards Red complete with battery-operated (plastic facsimile of) power soft top. If Barbie had one, it must be quite the dream car, as Barbara has a history of good taste in automobiles.

Zack Lester
Zack Lester
1 month ago
Reply to  Ricardo Mercio

Well cripes. Now I need Barbie’s Guards Red Porsche Boxster.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
1 month ago
Reply to  The Bishop

It appears not to in the box art that pops up as the most prolific image, but closer inspection shows that it’s the poor picture quality turning it tiny and fuzzy. Closer pictures of the toy out of box do show the crest.

Edit: It is missing from many for-sale postings, but I found at least one with the crest present, which would indicate it was held on with some sort of adhesive from the factory. Honestly, it’s just as funny to me that Porsche required them to mold it separately, likely for fidelity and level of detail or some such “optimal brand representation” reason.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ricardo Mercio
Drew
Drew
1 month ago

[Ed note: Wow, OK] 

Great editor’s note. No notes.

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