Cars.com's Top 10 Most Memorable TV Cars

Earltv

Way back in May 2006, one of the first posts ever on this blog was about our Top 10 Movie Cars in celebration of the animated movie “Cars.” Now we’re tackling the next logical step in the pop culture lexicon involving cool cars and our shared memories: television.

The editorial staff thought long and hard; we argued viciously over the merits of “Magnum P.I.’s” Ferrari 308 GTS versus The General Lee from “The Dukes of Hazzard” — one of us even talked seriously about the yellow pickup from “Baywatch.” Eventually, we came up with an authoritative list of the 10 most memorable cars in television history. Don’t agree with us? Vent in the comments below. 

By David Thomas | January 29, 2007 | Comments (80)

Comments 

If one were to focus on hood slides (re: Dukes of Hazard), then almost any car used in TJ Hooker deserves a place of honor. Almost every episode would conclude with Shatner jumping on the hood of an escaping malefactor's car. That would be enough to stop me in my tracks, whatever I had done.

Another Honorable mention has to be Black Beauty from The Green Hornet.. check out the site... also don't forget the custom ride from Hardcastle and McCormick, personally, I always preferred Cannon's Lincoln.

Black Beauty was in on the discussion for sure but didn't make the final cut because of the short run of the show.

Manta, I'm with you on the Black Beauty, because at least it had lots of neat tricks, similar to a Bond car. Rockford's Firebird was a Firebird. In the vernacular of my contemporaries of that era: Big whoop. If the list were "Cars of the Top 10 Most Memorable or Longest-Running TV Shows With a Car in a Supporting Role," the list would be more appropriate. I lost that argument in our staff meeting. "Nash Bridges?" Please.

Bruzer

I think the General Lee had the best action scenes out of any of the cars. It spent more time sideways than straight and more time in the air than on the ground, and that’s what was memorable for me. The amount of gadgets on a car just didn’t so it for me, I’d rather see the thing barreling down a road with a rooster tail of gravel shooting from the rear tires.

two words Bruzer: Turbo boost.

Lil'Tom

Well ignoring the Transformers I'd have to say that The Prisoner's Lotus 7 would be the most egregious omission. It was only used in the first episode and the intro but IT'S A LOTUS 7. Bonus points for being a kit car.

While I'm on the subject of cars only seen in one episode I could mention a number of cars from The Simpsons. Mr. Burns has several cool cars. At least one akin to a Rolls Royce with his initials on the hood ornament and a deployable cow-catcher. He has a Stutz Bearcat and a "left handed roadster". Groundskeeper Willie has one of the greatest hot rods of all time. It's ultra-menacing with its huge wheels and weber carbs (or is it stack fuel injection) and inside there's a black and white CRT based video phone. What could possibly be cooler?

The Simpsons car that's been in several episodes that may deserve to be on the list is Snake's Lil' Bandit. It's more than just an ordinary hot rod like Tim Taylor's 33 Ford. It's "suped up six way from Sunday." From the chrome exhaust to the fuzzy dice it's everything the modern sociopath needs. Barring any unusually narrow alley it has no problem outrunning the Springfield PD.

Man, I'm a geek.

It's not hard to understand why you have The General Lee at number two; however in my mind that car is indelibly linked to Jessica Simpson. That has to be an automatic DQ.

Lil'Tom

Oh, and "KITT" was the supercomputer. The Trans Am was the "Knight 2000."

Peppy

die hard Dukes of Hazzard fan, but i do think KITT deserves the number one spot. why? cause all the ladies that i know that are old enough, all know who KITT is, you ask them about the General Lee and their like what?

Greg

Best comedy car of TV, Al Bundy's Dodge in 'Married with Children".
What about Don Johnson's white Ferrari in 'Miami Vice'?

Mae

My most memorable TV car is the Corvette convertible on Route 66, which aired on CBS from 1960 to 1964.

Actually, there was a new Corvette each season. I don't know what color they were because I had a black & white TV.

It was a great show.

As I remember it, KITT stood for Knight Industries Two Thousand, which I thought accounted for the car and its computer and everything else in it. That said, Lil'Tom's geekiness is well established, and he may be correct. KITT was my vote for #1 too, but I can't pass up the opportunity to note its most ridiculous feature: an airplane yoke in place of a steering wheel. A neat idea, but the steering ratio was unchanged, so Michael still had to do hand-over-hand when steering at slower speeds, and two handles don't exactly facilitate that. At high speeds where one turns the wheel only a few degrees, it makes more sense. Of course, I've noted the same about shift paddles, but that hasn't stopped every sports-car manufacturer and wannabe from putting them on their steering wheels. Am I rambling?

Joe, Lil'Tom is correct about the car and the computer being two separate entities working in tandem, and I tried to address the supercomputer issue a bit in my article without launching into a lengthy explanation. I think in most people's minds KITT *is* the car plus the supercomputer. However, it seems I didn't make the distinction clear enough for those true blue "Knight Rider" fans.

Mike

You can't leave out the Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit!

A. Wofford

I've never really watched Baywatch, but even I know that not all the trucks were Toyotas! The Ranger got in on the action too. Perhaps you just liked the Toyo more. I guess us Ford guys should be used to getting no respect.

M3

How about the Munster's creepy hot rod?
Or the Flintstone-mobile?
The van on Scooby-Doo?
Speed Buggy?

Ken L.

What about the Dodge Viper from the series "Viper"? I'm sure it would've kicked KITT's ass since it had weapons loaded onto it and outrun it too, even in KITT's Superbersupo’s transformation. Though I must admit, I was a huge Knight Ridder fan when I was a kid.

what? nobody votes for roger moore's white volvo P1800 from The Saint??

How about the Beverly Hillbillys Jalopy Truck ?
TV ICON Daddy-O from DJ J PILE Octane Radio

Of course, what you're all missing is that the Mach 5 is listed way too low. To me, KITT/Knight 2000 is but a cheap knockoff of Speed Racer's Mach 5.

Yes, Speed Racer is only an animated series, but Speed's acting shows more depth than some stars of "Knight Rider."

Kimberly Lynn Workman

While I'm very happy to see the Torino listed in the Top Ten...unless we've been mistaken all these years, Starsky's original Torino was a 1974. The special edition that Ford released was a 1976.

Kimberly Lynn Workman,
According to Ford, Starsky's Gran Torino was a 1975, as listed in the story:
http://media.ford.com/newsroom/release_display.cfm?release=15537

My understanding is that throughout the show, they used models from '74, '75 and '76 for stunts and other shots, but the model was essentially unchanged during those years so you likely wouldn't be able to tell the difference. The special edition Ford released was a '76 model.

John M

What about the Munstermobile and Dragula?

Chops

OK I gotta voice in on this. The General Lee has a fan base of a pro football star. Characters are left behind in the name sake of that car. The show is remembered for that car AND Daisy's shorts. KITT was cool in it's own way...but nowhere near as cool as the General Lee. In the End The General Lee fan swarm says its all. even the Director of the Dukes of Hazzard movie said that he made the movie BECAUSE of the car. Other than Eleanor from Gone in 60 Seconds....No other car has had that much devotion.

Shade

What about the '67 black Impala from the CW show "Supernatural"? That car is so much a part of that series that when the season one finale had a major car wreck with all the main characters in the Impala, the Impala was the one fans were most concerned wouldn't survive! Currently there's a lot of discussion because the main characters are having a bit of a misunderstanding with law enforcement types about whether they might have to hide their distinctive car. This is causing great anguish among fans. The Supernatural '67 Impala is easily as memorable as KITT or the General Lee, and the rumble of the bored-out 454 is almost a theme song for the show.

pigtailedgirl

The 1971/72 green Riveria from Due South?

That car was loved muchly and almost like Diefenbaker. And came back from the dead three times. Also featured in a number of car chases.

j.m. braun


How 'bout those turbo charged 2.2 litre K-cars from 'Night Heat'? Jambone's memberal night chases are not to be overlooked lightly!

j.a. ahsink

I go along with the Beverly Hillbillies jalopy. This one had real character.

What? No Bullitt Mustang? And thank God, somebody mentioned Eleanor. What I want to know is when "Spirit of America" is gonna run again!

Keith

How about the Mustang ('67 ?) on Spenser for Hire?

rick

1977 Pontiac Trans Am Special Edition must one of the most recognized cars in the world. Smokey and the bandit was #2 movie of teh year after star wars.....77Trans Am along 69 charger most famouscars ever.

Mike

The "My Name is Earl" El Camino and the "Entourage" Maserati, are they serious? What about the Munster Mobile, the Monkee's GTO or the Miami Vice Testarossa?

Michael

You missed quite a few candidates on your list

The '57 t- Bird convertible from "Vegas"

The Van from "Swat"

The Dodge Dart Convertible from "Mannix"

The Ferrari from Miami Vice

The Black Beauty from the Green Hornet

to name a few.

Kirk Hastings

"My Name Is Earl"? The van from "Scooby Doo"? You've got to be kidding!!

This list is seriously deficient in not including the gull-winged Coyote from "Hardcastle and McCormick" (1983-1986). Fire engine red, it was modified from a Manta Montage, with a base chassis from a VW and a VW-Porsche 914 engine. Its license plate read "Coyote X". A real "street monster" (according to "Hardcase" Milt Hardcastle, played by Brian Keith).

The Coyote should definitely be in the Top 5 on this list!!

Jamie Hall

It's a pity you don't have a specific list for movie cars, to really throw the cat among the pigeons. Being Australian, my vote would be the black Interceptor from Mad Max. I'm not normally a Ford fan, ut they did an amazing job of turning it into the meanest pursuit car to ever grace the silver screen. Technical info for those interested:

1976 Ford XB Falcon Coupe

Engine: 351 Cleveland
Transmission: 4 speed Top Loader
Differential: Standard Borg-Warner, ratio unknown.

The supercharger in this one is a fake, but they did do a cool job of making look like it had a clutch, to turn it on and off. The 8-barrel exhaust is real, and the 10 inch wide rear tyres were road spec.

Beans

I guess I'm out to lunch, because I think most of your picks are pure crap. There were many great cars to lust after on TV. Some of my faves are.
Honey West's Cobra
The hot rods on Spin & Marty
The dune buggy on Cowboy in Africa
Nellybelle
The Jeeps on Rat Patrol
Mrs. Peale's Lotus Elan
Lincoln Futura Batmobile
Route 66 Corvettes
Maxwell Smart's Sunbeam Tiger
Sky King's De Soto wagon
There are many more, especially if you count cars that just appear on one episode like
The original Mitchel Stingray/corvette SS race car on Perry Mason

Lisa

Helloooo? I'm shocked -- SHOCKED -- that nobody even mentioned the mother of all TV cars. Literally. The main character of a 1965 series was...a 1928 Porter. That's right,"My Mother the Car" -- one of the worst TV series in history.

Leon A. Goldstein

What about "Columbo's" (Peter Falk) Peugeot 403 convertible coupe?

When Ford Motor supplied the vehicles for Warner Bros. TV series, the "good guys" all had Galaxies, Crown Vics, and/or T-Birds. The T-Bird on "77 Sunset Strip" always had its top down so that a minor character who played a teen-age parking lot valet at a bar could athletically hop in each week to do his job. It was beyond silly, but certainly the product placement coup of the 1950-1960 TV age.

Vito

I have a question for all of you die hard tv fans. I have always wanted to buy the same Formula Firebird that "Ponch" drove on CHiPs. I just can't get the right year. I know the scoops were up front but that limits me to 3-4 years of production. Can anyone shed any light on this car? Thanks

Bobmo

What about Nelly Belle.
She's the first, and best, that I can remember!

Randy Burns

What no "My Mother the Car?" Hey she had her own TV series..

Opus

What, what, wait??

Baywatch had TRUCKS??

I don't recall that at ALL. ;)

Keith W. Jordan

I'm voting for Tim Taylor's '55 Nomad (which got smashed by a steel beam in one episode), and that little Plymouth or Dodge that Dennis Weaver drove in the made-for-TV movie, "Duel".

Sir Fartsalot

Hooray - somebody else mentioned Columbo's Peugeot 403 Convertible! My personal favorite, because I love seriously wierd cars.

She Who Must Be Obeyed's husband

How about those Charlie's Angels cars? Two Mustang II's and a Pinto. The finest American crap cars of the 70's...

ed

no one has yet to mention them. how about the car from Dragnet? or the truck from BJ and the Bear? or how about the intercepter from the movie The Wraith? who can forget the Ramcharger from Simon And Simon. And what about Sherrif Lobo's Cadilac Seville? all of these could make the list too. but, i have to say who didnt feel great when BJ ran his truck through so many cop cars and with the girls and the monkey what's better?

ed

how come nobody remembered the ARK II and its land buggy, they were real and on every Saturday morning. it was a dump truck or somthing similar chassis with a ford 390 engine. or how about the Plymouth Prowler from the show Nightman? we should also mention the Turbo Z Daytona from the show Hunter.

John

I always liked the Ford Galaxie squad car on the Andy Griffith show. The cars were supplied free of charge by a nearby Ford dealer, and whenever the newest model came out, it was sent to the studio and the old one was returned to the dealer who re-painted it and sold it. (bummer / Barrett-Jackson cries) Altogether, there were about 10 different Ford Galaxies used throughout the run of the series from 1960 to 1968.

Jerry

How about the red and white '72 Torino in Starsky & Hutch with the cool stripe across the top? Does anybody remember that one?

WHAT ABOUT COLT SEAVERS CHEVY4X4

Greg

elenor from gone in 60 sec.

craig

I'm showing my age here but has anyone mentioned Gene Barry's Rolls Royce from "Burke's Law"?

Aimee

Gotta say, I love the General. And KITT, for that matter. I can see the glossy black '67 Impala, lovingly dubbed the Metallicar by fans of the CW's "Supernatural," becoming quite popular. If only the show had better advertising, the fan base of this monster would grow even wider. As far as the impact of a car on a television show is concerned, this one is right up there with the best. The show might not be a classic (yet-give it thirty years), but the Metallicar is and it has ascended to character status; action prop no more.

Though the guys would be safer from the police and FBI by dumping the disctinctive car and it's never-changing Kansas plates, they-and viewers-just can't manage to do it.

Just as worthy, even if the show is in its infancy. Give it time, the fanbase will grow, and the car will go down in history.

hi im looking for a car that is new that no 1 has

Steve

No one has mentioned Stringray for the TV series of the same name, nor the Woodie from the Mod Squad.

wil

Ironsides truck? Don't know make or model but it did play a big role in the series.

Eric

One very important car is missing from that list...

Dean Winchester's 67' Black Chevy Impala from the show Supernatural.

Also known as the Metallicar. That car is smokin.

Tawny Woods

Missing the '67 Impala from Supernatural... THAT car more than deserved to be top on this list...

Jon

On for just two seasons of Miami Vice Crockett's Ferrari Daytona Spyder 365 GTS/4 convertible was awesome.

I too was glad to see the Grand Toreno made it.
Even as an eight year old I laughed at the thought of going "undercover" in that big tomato.

jon

Don't forget the Ford LTD and follow-on Mercedes E-500 from Men in Black. I want a red button!

Hey Everyone!! Talking about cool TV car news. The Bo Duke General Lee car is back up for auction on eBay starting Saturday, May 19th at 4:00pm PDT. Check it out! And a portion of the proceeds goes to charity! Talk about a wicked auction!!!! www.ebay.com/generallee

Search for in all major search engines simultaneously on the site http://www.iknowall.com.
Simultaneous search on Google, Yahoo and MSN Live Search.

Try http://www.iknowall.com

What a travesty! Too many fake "cartoon" cars. No place for for Jim Rockford's Firebird or the "That 70's Show" Oldsmobile Vista-Cruiser on the list.

But worst of all, no mention of Steve McGarrett's Black 1968 Mercury Parklane Brougham 4-door hardtop, which was the automotive star of Hawaii Five-O in approximately 130 episodes airing between 1968 through 1978.

"Book 'em Dano!"

Alan Weyant

Why didn't the Munster Koach make the list? Talk about sheer style!Two fiberglass model T bodies joined together, with Ford cobra power! And then there was the Drag-U-La. Grandpa Munster's high speed coffin. What a way to go!

Hannah Irwin

Uh Hello? What about the Metallicar from Supernatural? Its like the hottest and sweetest car on TV!

k1w1

The most memorable TV car would have to be Lady P's pink Rolls from thunderbirds - it could blow all the others away

SR1

Has anyone considered the Black '65 Sting Ray in the mid 80's show by the same name?

george howson

you seem to be forgetting herbie that beetle in the movie now that's a memorable car.

gr_elvis

Have you all forgotten the best cars ever to be on TV? The BATMOBILE and the MONKEEMOBILE

Profplchem

What about the 1950's Thunderbird that Robert Urlich drove in the TV show Vegas?

Bill Jones

You missed the #1 & #2 & #3 car's in the movie world. The Trans Am in Smokey & the Bandit, Elanor from Gone in Sixty Seconds, & the Mustang Bullit from "Bullit". You folks are obviously not car people. Hard to believe you have animated cars in your top 10. Who come up with this list? your kids?

jon

porsche 928 from risky business

Cosmic Condor

The BATMOBLE from the 60s BATMAN TV series was a modifed LINCOLN FUTURA and the PARTRIGE FAMILY bus was a 56 chevelet school bus and what about the SPACE CHARIOT from LOST IN SPACE a sort of family ATV

Out of all all the cars on this list only TWO made mine.
MY TOP 5

Dean Winchesters 1967 Chevy Impala / The Metalicar

Steve McGarrett's Black 1968 Mercury Parklane Brougham 4-door hardtop / "Book 'Em, Danno!"

Knight Riders KITT

Bo Duke's General Lee

AND

Starsky's 1975 351 Windsor V8-powered Bright Red 2-door Gran Torino.

Ha!

I know the scoops were up front but that limits me to 3-4 years of production@ http://onaprsc.com.vn

loi

I think the General Lee had the best action scenes out of any of the cars.
lioa
on ap

loi

I think the General Lee had the best action scenes out of any of the cars.
http://lioa.net.vn

From the chrome exhaust to the fuzzy dice it's everything the modern sociopath needs. Barring any unusually narrow alley it has no problem outrunning the Springfield PD.
http://thietbicongsuat.com/tin-tuc/31/dia-chi-bao-hanh-lioa-uy-tin-nhat-hien-nay.aspx
http://lioa.net.vn/vn/tin-tuc/69/mang-may-on-ap-bien-ap-lioa-standa-di-bao-hanh-o-dau.aspx

Cars.com 's Top 10 Most Memorable TV Cars
Thanks to share great cover
lioa
on ap

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