Martorell, 30/12/2014. Thirty years on the road have made the SEAT Ibiza much more than a car. They have also made it an icon and benchmark in the audio-visual world. So says Alan Salvadó, lecturer in the history of cinema at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University, and the ESCAC Catalan film school. “The SEAT Ibiza has been seen in many films, television series and television advertisements. The curious thing is that it has not only had roles in Spanish films, but has gone on to appear in other European films in France and Italy”, he says.

Historias del Kronen, Carne trémula (Live Flesh) or The Bourne Supremacy are just some of the 500 Spanish and international film productions the car has starred in. According to Salvadó, the use of this model in the audio-visual world stems from the fact that “since it’s such a long-lived car, it logically created empathy, not only amongst drivers but also amongst society at large”.

The link between cars and films goes back a long way. It was born in the ‘70s with American road movies. At that time, the desire to sever links with the establishment gave rise to the cult of the journey, the road, and by extension the car. It was precisely during those years that vehicles began to be regarded as a fetish, and to take on a symbolism hitherto unknown.

With the passage of time, according to Salvadó, the iconic power of the car has transformed itself. “In some action or adventure films, the protagonist sees in the car what was seen by old-time heroes in their horse or sword. In other words, the car has become a major element for the hero to complete his mission”, he says.

In Spain, the link between car and films was born with another SEAT model – the 600. Salvadó himself explains that “this car embodied the representation of an era in which Spain was changing, and became a benchmark for the Spanish middle class”.

This university lecturer finds it difficult to define exactly what role the car will play in the audio-visual language of the future, although it is clear in his mind that it will always be related to modernity and progress. “We could say that cinema has become a sort of catalogue of images of what the car of the future could be”, he concludes.