21 June 2012

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Five Iconic Cars From Television History

Iconic cars on television play a major role in shaping the personalities of shows. In many cases, people remember the cars over the actual content of the shows, and have fond memories of owning collectibles and model kits of cars from series. Some of the best cars to have appeared in television shows derive their appeal from their unusual features, or for their association with glamour and danger. And sometimes, they are just cool. Although many of these cars wouldn’t quite work in the same way in the real world, on their own merits within their shows they deserve some more specific attention. The most iconic cars from television consequently include, in no particular order: [...]

Iconic cars on television play a major role in shaping the personalities of shows. In many cases, people remember the cars over the actual content of the shows, and have fond memories of owning collectibles and model kits of cars from series. Some of the best cars to have appeared in television shows derive their appeal from their unusual features, or for their association with glamour and danger. And sometimes, they are just cool. Although many of these cars wouldn’t quite work in the same way in the real world, on their own merits within their shows they deserve some more specific attention. The most iconic cars from television consequently include, in no particular order:

1 - KITT, Knight Rider


KITT had everything. It talked, helped out Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) with mysteries, and had its own personality that helped it to become a favourite with children. The star of Knight Rider from 1982 to 1986 KITT was actually a T top 1982 Pontiac Trans-Am that was resigned for the series by engineer Michael Scheffe. Some of KITT’s best features included its voice commands, speed boosters, and its ability to run on autopilot when Knight was solving crimes. Models of KITT have sold on eBay, while other models have appeared on stage with Hasselhoff.



2 - Ferrari 308 GTS - Magnum PI


One of the most striking parts of the 1980s detective series Magnum PI, the Ferrari 308 GTS used by Tom Selleck’s character was a supercharged and prominent plot element in the show. Able to reach 155 miles an hour, the Ferrari 308 GTS was already a favourite with American drivers before it received its starring role in the Hawaiian set series. By the second season of the show, the Ferrari had received its iconic ROBIN 1 vanity plate, while models of the car were auctioned off each year.


3 - Ford Gran Torino - Starsky & Hutch

Probably the least subtle undercover car in detective series history, Starsky & Hutch’s Ford Gran Torino’s iconic status can be linked to its red and white colour, chrome wheels and sleek look. The car was a focal part of the show’s plotlines, which saw the two undercover detectives solving crimes in the fictional Bay City. The car’s use for stunts, most involving wooden boxes and abandoned docks and back alleys, meant that the producers had to frequently swap out its normal seats for bucket seats, which can be viewed in many long shots.


4 - General Lee - The Dukes of Hazzard

A modified 1969 Dodge Charger, the General Lee was the star of the Deep South action show, and epitomised the series’ slightly ropy, but good natured antics. With a 16 valve V8 engine and 375 horsepower, the General Lee was routinely tested for speed across episodes, and was notable for never upgrading to 1970s models, despite the series having most of its run in the 1980s. 309 different Dodge Chargers were used during the series, while various V8 engines were modified and restored for the car, which took pride of place on the Warner Brothers studio lot during The Dukes of Hazzard’s run.


5 - The Batmobile
TV series Batmobile

Difficult to get away from in terms of its mix of style and probable lack of practicality, the 1960s Batmobile from the Batman television series set the standard for new versions of the supercar in film and television. The Batmobile began as a 1955 Lincoln Futura Concept Car, which had been designed with a V8 engine in Italy, before being rescued from storage and kitted out by Barris Kustom City in the US in 1965. The car was something of a monster in terms of size and power, and also featured, at least fictionally, handy features like a Bat-glove compartment, a Bat safety belt and a Bat Ray.