Television’s Twenty Coolest Cars
Unfortunately I am not much of a ‘car guy’ in the real world. I can’t do any real repair work, I don’t spend Sunday’s watching NASCAR, and I really didn’t find all the subtle nuances in the Disney/Pixar CARS movie. However, what I do know and like are cars from great TV shows since television was and is such a huge part of my life, childhood and otherwise. As a kid, when a cool car was featured prominently on a show, I would actively seek out the toy, which, even then, wasn’t always easy since company’s didn’t readily exploit a show’s characters as much as they do today. Many of these cars are classics just for their aesthetic value and only seen for quick moments, yet just as iconic as those seen throughout the show. Now since there are two major sections of regular TV: live action and animated, it didn’t seem fair for me to find only ten and have to combine the two genre’s. So, what I did do was find ten from each, both real and cartoon, and hopefully that’ll satiate any irritated appetite.
The Munster Coach looked like a cross between a hot rod, a hearse, and a old horse-drawn coach from Transylvanian Vampire flicks. It wasn’t seen very often in the show save for the closing credits, but I’d bet that everyone knows this vehicle along with its cousin, the Drag-U-La.
Ask Jay Ward, mastermind behind Rocky and Bullwinkle, to create a few animated vignettes to drop between his episodes of George of the Jungle, and you get Tom Slick. A regular, All-American car-lovin’ Joe, Tom would compete in regular races with his trusty car, the Thunderbolt Grease Slapper.
No nickname, yet, and still on the climb as one of TV’s coolest cars, the jet-black ’73 Dodge Charger driven by Michael and Sam in the series, Burn Notice, is such a damn slick car. It’s been shot at and dinged up and subsequently patched back to life, but it makes an appearance in nearly every episode.
The Eighties were lousy with cartoons based on video games. In fact, very few went without the translation, even the racing game Pole Position didn’t get off Scott free. The toon ran smack in the middle of the craze from ’84-’86 and featured the Darret family and their racing children, Dan, Tess, and Daisy. Great intro.
Former Superior Court judge, Milt Hardcastle and his criminal partner, Mark McCormick go all vigilante as they attempt to clean out the judge’s files by catching and arresting losers. Good premise, but honestly, who remembers this show aside from the classic Coyote concept car. Kick ass.
Yet another cartoon based on the exploits of characters from a movie, Ghostbusters was actually one of the few that turned out to be really well done. It featured all the regulars: Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, and Zeddemore, and even the iconic ghost who became more than the center of attention, Slimer. But, playing a sizable roll itself was the converted ambulance, ECTO 1.
OK, fine: not exactly a car, but close enough. The old, re-painted tour bus, driven by Reuben Kincaid (the band’s manager) or mom, took the band all over the place to their next venues. Oh, and sure, family stuff and life lessons and whatnot happened too, much akin to the Brady Bunch, but it was the bus that lives on in infamy.
Too numerous to list in the title, here are the names of the autos in the great race: Dick Dastardly and Muttley in the Mean Machine 00, The Slag Brothers in the Bouldermobile 1, The Gruesome Twosome in the Creepy Coupe 2, Professor Pat Pending in the Convert-a-Car 3, Red Max in the Crimson Haybailer 4, Penelope Pitstop in the Compact Pussycat 5, Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly in the Army Surplus Special 6, The Ant Hill Mob in the Bulletproof Bomb 7, Lazy Luke and Blubber Bear in the Arkansas Chuggabug 8, Peter Perfect in the Turbo Terrific 9, and Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth in the Buzz Wagon 10. Such a great show featuring the animation of Hannah Barbera and their relentless racers.
Two SoCal street-wise detectives, David Starsky and Ken Hutchinson prowled the streets looking for crime in their classic 2-Door Ford Grand Torino. The show had its moments, especially Huggy Bear, but it was the car that sealed them in TV history.
What would the bumbling, highly inept Inspector Gadget be without his slew of springs, copter blades, and extensive limbs that shot out of his robotic body at often inopportune moments? Well, just about as bad at his job, actually, since it was Penny and Brain who generally solved most crimes. They all did, fortunately, get around in a gadget-laden police car.
Perhaps the most iconic vehicle in the whole of comic book history has to be the Bat Mobile. Bruce Wayne is the billionaire vigilante dressed as a flying mammal, but when he’s not swinging through Gotham, he’s driving the car. I prefer the original from the Sixties TV series, not so much any of the others, but that’s just me.
Despite the fact that little or nothing of modern life’s conveniences were invented back in the stone age, the Flintstones still managed to have electric razors (with bees), garbage disposals (a pig), and, of course, a family car. Of course this car, or any of them for that matter, was sans motor so each had to be ‘ran’ on foot power. Fred was the patriarch, so he drove and it was his feet that did all the work. “Let’s ride, with the family down the street, through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet.”
Running from 1980 to ’88, Magnum P.I. followed the exploits of the investigative prowess of Thomas Sullivan Magnum on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The show featured awesome scenery, kick ass floral silk shirts, and a shit-load of mustache. But the coolest part of the show had to be the red Ferrari.
I loved this single-season cartoon, but not even I can make it sound as patently ridiculous as this Wiki entry: “The series is about a teenager named Brett Matthews, who swerves off a road during a thunderstorm and crashes into a secret government laboratory. There, he and his red sports car are accidentally exposed to a molecular beam invented by a scientist named Dr. Chase. Man and machine become fused together and as a result, Brett gains the ability to morph into the car when exposed to extreme heat and revert back into his human form when exposed to extreme cold” That’s about the size of it.
I defy you not to create a hit when sticking The Hoff as one Michael Knight into a sentient, talking Pontiac TransAm called ‘Knight Industries Two Thousand’, or K.I.T.T. Seriously, just try. This show was damn cool and seemed a bit like a televised Spy Hunter, and that was a cool premise. Too bad the most recent reencarnation sucked. How can anyone ever take David Hasslehoff seriously?
Speed Buggy followed the adventures of an anthropomorphic, fiberglass Dune Buggy, Speed Buggy, his driver Tinker, and Tinker’s friends, Mark and Debbie. Mel Blanc provided the ‘voice’ of Buggy, so much as it was, since he pretty much just sputtered and occasionally spouted a word or two. Quite similar in structure to Scooby Doo, Speed Buggy can still be seen on the Boomerang network.
Yes. I know. Vans are technically not ‘cars’. Let’s just suspend disbelief for a second since this van is just about the coolest van of all time. If you don’t know the A-Team or their black van, well, you’ve obviously never seen a TV.
There’s an awful lot going on behind the plot scenes of the Speed Racer cartoon which was, sort of, touched on in the Wachowski Brothers flop film. Basically, Speed Racer is a driver of the mystical and quite advanced Mach 5 and he races everyone, anytime, anywhere. His nemesis is Racer X with his equally cool ‘No. 9 Shooting Star’.
Take some deep-south, back-woods cousins, Bo and Luke, give them an awesome, super hot female cousin, Daisy, have them always be on the run from cops named Cleetus and Roscoe, and give them a kick ass ’69 Dodge Charger named the General Lee with a big ass 01 on the side and you, my friend, have a bone fide hit on your hands. Oh, and this was a cartoon, too.
What? I have a van on a car list as the number one vehicle? Well that’s just crazy talk? What the hell is wrong with me? Shut it. This van is easily one of Televisions most famous and well known vehicles from quite possibly one of Televisions most beloved cartoons. The gang inside the van, well, we all know Fred, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and the big lovable Great Dane, Scooby Doo. Though Fred did most of the driving, did you know it was actually supplied by Daphne’s family? Yeah, well now ya do.