Hottest TV Cars of All Time
TV's Dream Cars
Pity the fool who bought a black Chevy Camaro and drove it down the streets of Gahanna, Ohio, in 1981.
To children of the day it just couldn't compare to a Pontiac Trans-Am. Especially one that had a roving red light in the grill and a smooth voice that cooed "Hello, Michael."
But you still had a chance to earn our respect. You just needed to blare Dixie, Duke Boys-style, from one of those electronic horns - quite possibly the most annoying car accessory in history. At least until we saw a Civic glow in neon.
As day drifted into dusk, Mom would call us for dinner. And again. And a third time. We picked at our meatloaf, cleverly hid our green beans underneath the ridge of our plate. We politely asked to be excused, and then darted to the beanbag chair in front of that magical box in the living room.
No matter how much trouble we got into that day, no matter how many girls gave us the cooties, we knew that at that same Bat Time - on that same Bat Channel - we'd get to dream, if only for 60 minutes.
Kids will be kids, sure. All we had were dreams back then. But we grew up, became adults, learned what life is really all about. Along the way, those memories got pushed behind the bills that fill our mailbox, the work that fills our in-box.
But they never go away. No, they lurk there, waiting until a Gran Torino speeds past you on I-275. And they make you smile.
Chances are most of us will never own a Ferrari. Or a Barracuda. Or a psychedelic green van with - zoinks! - a talking dog named Scooby Doo. Back then, it was enough to just think that someday that would be us behind the wheel. So every time we see Mr. T, we can think back to watching TV with our dad and our brother, knowing that we all loved it when a plan came together in that GMC.
Hottest TV Cars of All Time
1. Batmobile (Batman 1966-68)
The '55 Lincoln Futura debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in 1955, and like hundreds of concept cars, it never made it to a dealer near you. But it caught the eye of the show's producers 11 years later and George Barris, known as the "King of the Kustomizers" worked his magic.
Sure, what ultimately kept the streets of Gotham safe was the street smarts of the Caped Crusader, the Boy Wonder and, let's be honest, Alfred. But we got fired up every time we saw the Batmobile scorch out of the Batcave to "POW!" The Penguin.
Where to see it: The series isn't on DVD, but rent the comically brilliant 1966 flick Batman - The Movie (gotta love the Shark Repellent!).
2. The General Lee (The Dukes of Hazzard 1979-85)
If you miss the bright orange paint on the '69 Dodge Charger, or the Confederate flag on its roof, you'll definitely yield to its Dixie horn.
A generation of boys never meanin' no harm grew up dreaming of skimming across the hood of their car and rescuing leggy Daisy Duke by launching their car over Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane's always-doomed cruiser.
Where to see it: The series is on DVD, or you can create your own YouTube version with the $275 General Lee decal kit from www.buildagenerallee.com.
3. Magnum's Ferrari (Magnum, P.I. 1980-88)
The '79 Ferrari 308 GTS was designed by Italian car design firm Pininfarina, and driven cross-country by writer P.J. O'Rourke before the series began.
Forget that big number on the gas station signs these days - Ferrari is synony-mous with the ultimate luxury in sports cars. And who wouldn't want Magnum's life? Living in a plush guest house, drinking beer, romancing the ladies? And all on someone else's dime.
Where to see it: The show airs daily on the Sleuth Channel, but catch the real thing at the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Great Britain or on the Universal Studios' Studio Tour in Hollywood.
4. KITT (Knight Rider 1982-86)
Knight Industries Two Thousand, a '82 Pontiac Trans-Am T-top, was designed by Michael Scheffe.
If you commute the streets of Tampa every day, you want - dare we say, need - Turbo Boost, flame-throwers and automatic pilot.
Where to see it: On DVD. The updated series, starring Justin Bruening, debuts on NBC at 9 p.m. Sunday.
5. Corvette (Route 66 1960-64)
Its colors (first powder blue, later beige) were chosen to show up better in the black & white we saw it as.
"Nothing flashy, no gimmicks, and certainly no Hollywood effects!," says Times reader Roger Allen, 60, of Spring Hill. "Just one of the greatest cars ever mass-produced right here in the good old USA!"
Where to see it: The first season and classic episodes are available on DVD, or check out James Rosin's book, Route 66 The Television Series 1960-64.
6. Crockett's Ferrari Daytona Spyder (Miami Vice 1984-89)
Enzo Ferrari, and many Times readers, have been quick to remind viewers that the '72 Daytona Spyder 365 Don Johnson zoomed around in was really an '80 Corvette C3 sporting Ferrari body panels.
We get to grow cool stubble, wear flashy clothes, nab the bad guys - and make enough money to drive a Ferrari?!? Sign us up for vice cop work. (Good thing we had guidance counselors to tell us the truth.)
Where to see it: Daily on the Sleuth Channel. Or buy it at www.miamivicecar.com for $37,500.
7. Koach (The Munsters 1964-66)
Another George Barris classic, it was built from Model T bodies for $18,000.
Best of both worlds - an old-school car hot-rodded for the future.
Where to see it: 8 a.m. Sundays on TV Land.
8. Starsky's Ford Grand Torino (Starsky & Hutch 1975-79)
The red, V8-powered two-door with a white stripe was chosen over the Chevrolet Camaro creator William Blinn preferred.
Admit it. You'd much rather get pulled over by a car that looks like a striped tomato, especially if your passenger is named "Huggy."
Where to see it: On DVD, or in the 2004 big-screen remake.
9. Nash's Plymouth Barracuda (Nash Bridges 1996-2001)
The '71 electric yellow ragtop is a true muscle car.
When America rediscovered its love affair with convertibles, what better one to tool around in on the curvy streets of San Fran?
Where to see it: Daily on WGN.
10. Clampett family jalopy (The Beverly Hillbillies 1962-71)
The '21 Oldsmobile Roadster also came from the hands of George Barris.
Finally, we have a car on this list that looks closer to what we park in the driveway every night.
Where to see it: Daily on WGN and TV Land.
11. Pontiac Firebird (The Rockford Files) 2%
12. Monkee Mobile (The Monkees) 2%
13. Mystery Machine (Scooby-Doo) 2%
14. Mach 5 (Speed Racer) 2%
15. Black Beauty (Green Hornet) 2%
16. Chevrolet El Camino (My Name is Earl) 1%
17. Flintmobile (The Flintstones) 1%
18. Partridge Family bus (Partridge Family) 1%
19. Toyota pickup (Baywatch) 1%
20. GMC G-Series van (A-Team) 0%
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