In the Dodie Smith novel, Cruella's car is black and white, much like her hair. However, Mr. Dearly compares this to a moving zebra crossing. Cruella also notes that her horn is the loudest motor car horn in the country. She is shown to have a chauffeur who drives her car for her on some occasions.
As the Dalmatians make their way through the country, they see Cruella standing on the roof of the car, warming herself via a bakery on fire. When sneaking aboard the van, the Dalmatians need to cover their eyes, so that the car's headlights do not get reflected from their eyes.
In the animated films, Cruella's car is red with black trim. The headlights and front bumper look like a scowling face, and the hubcaps have a stylized "CD" on them. When Perdita hears the horn, she immediately recognizes it as belonging to Cruella.
Cruella herself is shown to be pretty reckless when it comes to driving said car, such as making drifting turns in the streets, driving extremely fast in snowy conditions, and sometimes running other cars off the road. However, she always blames a near accident on whoever is on the receiving side of the near motor accident.
The car is shown to be very resistant to damage. It survives Cruella's reckless driving, smashing into a fence on the side of the road, crashing through a wooden barrier, falling into a ditch, and crashing through another fence with no visible damage. It only begins to break apart when Cruella jumps it through a grove of trees. At this point, the roof and bonnet of the car come off, showing the motor, which has flames in it. The car falls apart even more as it spins through the air after being rammed by Horace and Jasper's van.
When the Dalmatian Pups reach Dimsford, Cruella drives her car around the village looking for them, before spotting the Dalmatians on the back of a moving truck. She chases after the van, trying to ram it off the. Cruella's car eventually gets lodged onto the rear bumper of the van, before Jasper and Horace crash their own van into her, resulting in both of the villains' vehicles falling into a ditch.
The car is briefly seen at the start of Patch's London Adventure, where it is in a condition to where it's nearly falling apart. As Cruella drives down the road, more and more pieces fall off, until it's just the wheels, seat and engine.
Live Action Films
In 101 Dalmatians, Cruella's car is shown to be black and white again, like in the novel, in the model of a Panther Deville. It is shown to have a license plate that reads: "De Vil" to match with Cruella's name.
It's the presence of this car that makes Anita know Cruella is visiting them, after she and Perdita return home from the doctor's/vet's. Cruella then drives to Devil Manor in Suffolk where, unaware to her knowledge, a skunk sneaks onto the passenger's seat of her car, which she later mistakes for her purse.
When Cruella and Le Pelt take the Dalmatians to France, Oddball and Waddlesworth stow away in the car, so as not to be caught. Cruella then drives insanely through the streets of Paris, including being on the wrong side of the road and going down the wrong direction of a one-way street.
When Cruella is later arrested, Alonzo arrives at "Second Chance Shelter" in Cruella's car, which at first makes Chloe concerned Cruella has been released again. However, Alonzo claims that he wanted the honor to hand the check of Cruella's estate to the shelter.
Cruella's car in 101 Dalmatians: The Series is shown to be red, like it is in the animated films.
Cruella's driving in it is shown to more even more chaotic than before; however, that could come from the car itself as it has shown to be quite erratical whoever's driving it (e.g. like Anita or the Dalmatian Puppies themselves).
The car has been damaged a lot in The Series, such as being crushed into a cube via a harvester or crashing into the swamp (the latter having it be repaired by Swamp Rat).
On some occasions, the car is shown to give off fire trails, which sometimes sets fire to the pavement or bridges which it crosses.
When Cruella opens her Cruella World amusement park, the "Coup Go Round" has a design similar to "Dumbo the Flying Elephant" ride at Disneyland, only with Cruella's car instead of an elephant.
Behind the Scenes
- To create the affect of the car moving for the animated film, Disney animators created a white model of the car, with bold black lines, before recording it and running the footage through the Xerox process. When Cruella is seen driving her car from a snow ditch, a sand-like substance was used for it to drive through.
- In 101 Dalmatians, when Cruella storms out of the Dearlys' house and after she gets in the car and Jasper closes the door, her coat is shown to be stuck in said door.
- The Internet automotive blog Jalopnik ranked Cruella's Car as #10 of the "greatest animated cars."