The Coolest Cars on TV
The Coolest Cars on Television - The Batmobile, The "Metallicar", KITT, Sonny Crockett's Ferrari Daytona Spyder and more
Since I did the baddest movie cars in another Hub, I thought I would give the small screen a go and make a list of the coolest cars from TV.
Of course cars have figured into TV shows since the beginning, and even if they didn’t really feature them prominently, a lot of us that remember old shows will remember what a character drove sometimes before we remember who played the character.
Even though the show may have bombed, I remember the 1928 "Porter" touring car from My Mother The Car.
On The Roy Rogers Show, Roy had Trigger and Bullet, but his sidekick Pat Brady his faithful jeep "Nellybelle", that at times seemed to have a mind of its own.
Can you think about The Rat Patrol and not think about the jeeps blasting through the desert?
Martin Milner, George Maharis and Glenn Corbett were the stars of Route 66, but so was the Corvette.
So here are some of the coolest (and baddest) cars to ever grace the small screen.
I am not putting them in any kind of ranking for reasons I will explain further down....
The 1966 Batmobile - Batman
Yeah I know I started my movie cars article off with the Batmobile from the movies, but hey...I like the Batmobile!
To this day, I want to drive right down Main Street in this (now retro) beauty.
Although the creation of the TV Batmobile has a lot of urban legend behind it, this is what happened as best as I can tell....
The Batmobile was based on the Lincoln Futura Show Car, and
20th Century Fox contracted Hollywood car customizer Dean Jeffries to design and build the car, and he started working on a modified 1959 Cadillac.
But ABC wanted to start filming faster than Jeffries could get the car done, so they paid him off and contracted George Barris.
Barris already had the original Futura so in three weeks, him and his team created the Batmobile.
Okay, it's more complicated than that, if you want all the details go here:
BTW, it didn’t really have an atomic turbine, it was powered by a 390 V-8.
The 1966 Batmobile ....The Movie
The 1967 Impala - Supernatural
Like the Corvette in Route 66, Dean's black 1967 Chevrolet Impala in Supernatural is as much a part of the show as Sam and Dean are.
It's even been named the "Metallicar" by the fans.
Although it lacks the high tech wizardry of the Batmobile, the trunk holds enough demon fighting equipment to more than make up for that.
In maybe the best TV car homage ever, in the season five episode "Changing Channels", the Impala briefly turns into KITT from Knight Rider.
And in the season five finale, it's revealed that the Impala is one of the most important objects in the Universe.
KITT, The Knight Industries Two Thousand - Knight Rider
Talk about a car being as important as the characters, KITT is the perfect example.
Without KITT, the show would have been a standard TV crime show that probably would have lasted a season.
KITT was designed by customizer Michael Scheffe from a 1982 Pontiac Firebird and the convertible and super-pursuit modifications were done by George Barris.
Of course there was a sequel made in 2008 which I really didn’t mind, other than the fact that KITT was in a Mustang instead of a Firebird.
By the way, KITT is the AI and The Knight Industries 2000 is the car.
And it's not a Mustang.
Knight Rider - Original Show Intro
Ferrari Daytona Spyder - Miami Vice
Sonny Crockett's Ferrari Daytona Spyder in the first two seasons of Miami Vice set the bar for cool.
At that time of course.
The Spyder cruising down the darkened streets of Miami was just as iconic as the Batmobile going down the streets in Gotham.
But the thing is, Crockett's Ferrari, wasn’t a Ferrari.
It was a replica built on a Corvette chassis, which the Ferrari PR people weren’t too happy about.
So in season three, the "Spyder" got blowed up, and was replaced with a for real Ferrari Testarossa.
GMC Vandura - The A Team
You may not recognize the name, but when you see that black and metallic grey van with the red stripe smash through a fence, slide to a stop, and Hannibal jumps out of the back doors, Ruger Mini 14 blazing, you know the A Team has arrived.
The van was so popular, that when the 2010 film was made, the van transitioned right over, almost unchanged.
It's even still a GMC Vandura.
The Monkeemobile - The Monkees
Well, not exactly an icon, actually my least favorite out of all of these I think.
But it was designed by Dean Jeffries and is based on a Pontiac GTO, so it's cool.
This car is famous for selling seven million MPC model kits.
I think the car was more popular than the Monkees!
And it had go to match its show.
The original Monkeemobile was powered by a 389 engine with a 6-71 supercharger.
Turns out, that gave the car too much power, so they later replaced the blower with a dummy.
Ferrari 308 GTS - Magnum, P.I.
Where Crockett's Ferrari Daytona Spyder defined cool for the MTV generation, another Ferrari (a real one) did it for an older one.
Yeah Thomas Magnum would have been just as cool tooling around in a beat up Firebird like Jim Rockford, but the Ferrari 308 GTS didn’t hurt his image any now did it?
I wonder if they do make a Magnum, P.I. movie, will the 308 be there?
1975 Ford Gran Torino - Starsky and Hutch
Like with the A Team van, when you saw the red 1975 Ford Gran Torino with the white vector stripe down the side, you knew who had arrived.
The "Striped Tomato" really wasn’t a very good undercover car, but it was the 70s and no one cared.
Although Starsky loved his car, Paul Michael Glaser later said in interviews that he really hated it.
In the first episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, you can see the Torino sitting in a junkyard and Cooter actually drives it.
The General Lee - 1969 Dodge Charger - The Dukes of Hazzard
Speaking of The Dukes of Hazzard, this is why I didn't make this a 1-10 list.
With all the KITT, Batmobile and General Lee fans out there, how could I list one of these cars as number one?
Anyway, most of the people I knew that watched The Dukes of Hazzard, watched it for The General...and Daisy Duke.
Her shorts at least.
Although not gifted with any supernatural powers, The General seemed to heal itself between shots, because after a jump, the crushed front grill would be a-okay.
And though it didn’t have high tech equipment, it had a no windows, a rollbar, the doors were welded shut and it had a Dixie horn.
The Munster Koach and DRAG-U-LA - The Munsters
Another classic designed and built by George Barris.
The Munster Koach was a monster itself, equipped with a 289 Ford Cobra V-8 bored out to 425 cubic inches, Jahns high compression pistons, 10 chrome plated Stromberg carburetors, an Isky cam, and a set of Bobby Barr racing headers.
Add to that a four speed manual transmission, and I bet the Koach could raise the dead on the back lot.
It was built on a 1926 Ford Model T chassis that had been lengthened to eighteen feet long, with a custom hearse body.
And of course if I mention The Munster Koach, I have to mention DRAG-U-LA (which gives The Munsters not one, but two bad rides).
DRAG-U-LA was shaped like a coffin, and was powered by a 350 horse power, 289 Ford V-8 equipped with two four barrels.
It also had a four speed manual transmission.
The exhaust system was made out of organ pipe, and Grandpa once said it was the only dragster in America that could play "Oh, Promise Me" in second gear.
The Black Beauty - The Green Hornet
Another cross over from my Movie Car Hub.
Where Batman had the awesome flash of the Batmobile, The Green Hornet had the style of The Black Beauty.
C'mon, Bruce Lee was even his chauffeur!
The Black Beauty was a 1966 Chrysler Crown Imperial sedan customized by Dean Jeffries, who started the Batmobile and did the Monkeemobile.
Wait a minute...green fedora, long black/green coat, The Hornet Sting was a long cane like weapon, modified Chrysler Crown Imperial for his ride and a martial arts master as his chauffeur?
Yes ladies and gentlemen, The Green Hornet was a pimp.
The 1974 Charger - Burn Notice
A car with almost as many lives as Supernatural's "Metallicar" is Michael Westen's 1973 Charger from Burn Notice.
I am saying 1974 here, but among fans there seems to be some debate over the actual year of the car.
Wikipedia lists it as a 1973, but the show's producer said in an interview that it was a 1974.
I'm gonna go with the show info.
The black Charger with its muscular hood scoop and all white interior has been in the series since the third episode, "Fight or Flight".
Like Supernatural's Impala, the Charger has emotional ties, the car was left to Michael by his estranged father.
And it also has emotional ties with the fans.
A lot of people consider the Charger as much a part of the team as Michael, Fiona, Sam, Jesse and even Madeline.
Dan Tanna's Red 1957 Thunderbird
Remember Dan Tanna's red '57 T-Bird from Vega$?
A lot of people loved that car, so many that Robert Urich supposedly once said "That car got more fan mail than I did!"
Incredibly only two T-Birds were used during the series run (compared to all the Chargers they destroyed on Dukes of Hazzard).
I dont know the specs of the car, but I kinda hope the one they used was the T-Bird with the 312 cubic inch engine and two four-barrel Holley carburetors or the one with the Paxton supercharger that put out 300 horsepower, just because it would be cool.
The Blue Ghost - Baretta
Long before the "Metallicar" on Supernatural there was another Impala that helped fight the forces of darkness.
Okay...it was street crime and not demons, but it was evil nonetheless.
It was "The Blue Ghost", a beat up, rusted out 1966 Chevy Impala four-door sedan driven by Detective Anthony Vincenzo "Tony" Baretta on the ABC TV show "Baretta".
The Blue Ghost always made sense to me as a crime fighting car because if you saw it on the street, you wouldn't look twice at it.
It wasn't flashy, the bad guys didn't think "Oooo...here comes Baretta!" when they saw it, but it got the job done.
I guess it was the detective show version of a sleeper car.
The Ford Thundercougarfalconbird - Futurama
Evidently they have muscle cars in the 31st Century.
Though they didn't actually say, "Ford" I don't think, considering the name, I'm gonna go with that.
No idea on the specs, but it does have a blower.
So I'm gonna say fast.
The car actually showed up in four episodes of Futurama and the video game.