By on April 7, 2017


One of the great things about childhood is the feeling that unlimited possibilities will arrive the moment you turn 18. Rich and famous? Adventurer? Carefree private eye who lives in a trailer by the beach? All of those future lifestyles exist in the realm of possibility when you’re a kid.

You’ll make it happen one day. First, you just need to grow up.

Adulthood, of course, has a way of stepping in and saying, “Whoa there…. whoa, whoa, whoa. Easy now. Have you thought about coding? Plastics? Think, son — what about your retirement?”

Adulthood is one giant buzzkill after another.

Even as that youthful feeling fades, memories loom large. Long before the internet and Facebook made us antisocial, we spent hours sitting alone in front of the TV, wishing — in my case — that we lived on Robin Master’s estate, with full access to the trappings the mysterious novelist apparently never needed.


As a child in the 1980s, the bulk of my television exposure came from mediocre sitcoms of the era (WKRP being a noted exception — that show was brilliantly ahead of its time), but it was the cop, spy and private eye shows of the 1960s and ’70s that tickled me the most. Not surprisingly, the cars gave me a special thrill. (Miami Vice was never my bag, so you won’t see a white Testarossa anywhere on this page. Knight Rider? Don’t get me started.)

“I’m going to pull up to my building one day just like that,” I thought, watching Maxwell Smart’s gadgeted-out ’65 Sunbeam Tiger squeal to a stop in front of CONTROL headquarters.

“Three-point turns are for losers. I’m going to change directions like that,” I pondered after seeing Jim Rockford evade baddies in his very attainable gold Pontiac Firebird Esprit for the umpteenth time.

[IMCDB .org]

Because massive land barges always struck a chord, Steve McGarrett’s all-black 1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham needed no extra help to stimulate my salivary glands. The Jack Lord character’s replacement car — a ’74 Marquis Brougham — might have lacked the same panache, but I’ll still take it any day of the week. Living the landau life isn’t for everyone, but I like to stretch out.

Come at me, greenies.


I’d say that of all of those Johnson-through-Reagan-era shows, the most desirable daily driver would have to be the red, early-80s Ferrari 308GTSi driven by that titan among men, Thomas Magnum.

While Tom Selleck is worthy of some sort of award for living the best TV life (and keeping a moustache for his entire adult life), the show’s creators deserve royalty checks from Maranello. Magnum, P.I. ingrained that car in the minds of so many.

Okay, now it’s question time. Think back. Think way, way back. Growing up, what car tempted you on the small screen week after week?


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141 Comments on “QOTD: What TV Show Car Did You Lust Over as a Kid?...”

  • avatar

    Bewitched …Darrens 64 Malibu convertible. Other notables would be the Monkee Mobile. Herman Munster had a cool ride.

    If I think way back “My three sons” was exclusively Pontiac. I seem to recall one of the sons having a 64 Bonnevile rag top.

  • avatar

    Vista cruiser

    Also, a certain Dodge Ram

    • 0 avatar

      All of you youngsters….
      Sky King had a Cessna T-50 that I lusted after later replaced with a Cessna 310B
      they also had a sweet early 1950s Plymouth woody

      and yes I went on to become a professional pilot

  • avatar

    Moonlighting: BWW 635 CSI

    The Fall Guy: GMC Sierra 1500

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Darrin Stephens’ Camaro. But it took a distant second to thoughts about Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha).

    Cannon’s Mark Lincolns.

    Magnum’s Ferrari.

    Starsky and Hutch’s Torino??? Well I had a Gran Torino Elite which was a step up from their car, so at least got that satisfaction.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with Starsky and Hutch. I had a 74 Gran Torino coupe at the time but it was blue. I stopped by the Ford dealer somewhere around 75 or 76 and they had a Starsky and Hutch Gran Torino on the showroom floor. It even had the 460 V8. I wanted to trade but my wife nixed the idea.

  • avatar

    Had to register for this one.. Hardcastle and McCormick Coyote X.. rear engine two seater which went ludicrous speed. As a child of the 80’s this was always my favorite.

  • avatar

    Hey! you’re trying to find out how old your readers are! It’s not exact, because as kids we all saw older cars that caught our eye, not the latest in the showroom. The first car that caught my eye was my uncle’s 1958 Thunderbird convertible. I wanted one when I would get my license – until I saw a 1964 Buick Riviera. I got over that quickly in high school, when I saw the “new” 1966 GTO/LeMans. I really, really wanted one for my high school graduation, but got my older sister’s hand-me-down 1963 Rambler Classic 770. That was a BIG letdown.

  • avatar

    The Prisoner’s Lotus 7. If anyone wants to give me a Caterham Seven, I’m game :-)

    • 0 avatar

      +1 on the Lotus 7, this was prior to the Caterham sale. I had quite a phase for British imports both TV shows and the cars and my memories are mostly of “The Avengers.” One of the coolest theme tunes ever, I tried to research all of Steed’s various Bentleys but one of my first preadolescent lusts were for both Diana Rigg as Mrs Peel and the Lotus Elan she drove, in equal parts. I have to admit that the subliminal reason I bought my first Mazda Miata was due to its strong semblance to her Lotus though my wife in no way resembled Mrs. Peel save her beauty.

      • 0 avatar

        TheDoctorIsOut write: “I tried to research all of Steed’s various Bentleys but one of my first preadolescent lusts were for both Diana Rigg as Mrs Peel and the Lotus Elan she drove, in equal parts.”

        A man of taste and discernment.

  • avatar

    The Adam West Batmobile (as it was still in frequent reruns when I was five) is still the definitive Batmobile for me. Hell, Adam West is still the definitive Batman for me.

  • avatar

    Green Acres ..Mr Douglas had a early 60’s Lincoln 4 door convertble. I often thought Mr Haneys truck could be a cool “Rat Rod”.

    On my bedroom wall I had a poster of Gracie Slick a 68 Charger. Then there was the Frank Zappa sitting on the toilet Zappa El Crapa poster. My mother thought it was disgusting.

    Yeah..I’m old

  • avatar

    I never lusted over a TV car as much as I wanted a (fictional) video game car: the G-6155 Interceptor (especially the Mark 2 seen in the PS2 Spy Hunter). I suppose owning a trans am got that out of my system, but it never did have pop-up machine guns.

    But if we’re talking real TV cars, the trophy goes to B.A. Baracus’ van.

  • avatar

    I watched all the Rockford Files episodes back in the day and loved the Firebird. Jim was always flat broke but managed to get a new Firebird each year. I think the first one was a 74 with a 400 engine.

    • 0 avatar

      Rocky’s GMC. For the mid 70’s it was really built: 4×4, roll bar, winch, chrome wheels. Always looked sharp. It was one of the vechiles that survived Rockford’s driving thru fields, over curbs etc…. l loved it! Not Melaise at all!

  • avatar

    Well, I’ve always been an “import intender,” so…Mach 5 Go! Go! Go!

    (I also was envious as hell of Efrem Zimbalist, who got a brand spankin’ new Mustang every year to tool around Washington in during the closing credits of “The FBI”.)

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Not as cool as the T-Bird convertible he had in 77 Sunset Strip. That’s Ann-Margaret’s husband of 50+ years driving.

    • 0 avatar

      At the impressionable age of 8, the Mach 5 was my imaginary future car. So many strange capabilities, and a power-retracting glass convertible top.
      Once Back the Future came out, that blue Toyota pickup was a slightly more realistically achievable goal. (“Some day, Jennifer… some day!”)

  • avatar

    KITT: Michael, what was the name of the show we were on?

  • avatar

    Another vote for Jim Rockford’s Firebird, though that was affected by (a) wanting to be as cool and handsome as Jim and (b) the way he managed to get two of my favorite Hollywood actresses, Lindsay Wagner and Stephanie Powers, in the passenger seat.

  • avatar

    I was always partial to Automan’s (don’t call it a) Countach…

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t believe that someone else beat me to Automan! I was going to mention that one, especially since KITT, the General Lee and the Batmobile are already spoken for.

      A bit off-topic, but I also wanted the “Screaming Mimi” helicopter from the short-lived show Riptide.

  • avatar

    Speed Racer’s Mach 5. It looked real enough for 8-year-old me, on our new color TV.

  • avatar

    As a child of the 80’s, I remember many older shows still in syndication, and as a very young child the Batmobile from the 60’s Adam West TV series was so cool.

    Despite the author’s aversion, this was quickly replaced for me with K.I.T.T….it talked! It went fast! It looked mean! It went fast! Also, the 1969 Charger that was the General Lee has left me with an irrational longing to own a a Charger of that vintage or the current one, and maybe even the 3rd gen (but never the 4th gen…ugh!)

    The A-Team’s GMC Vandura gets a mention as well.

    And since they aren’t specifically disallowed in the question, cartoons like Transformers and M.A.S.K created a whole list of cars that I thought were drool-worthy: the 3rd gen Camaro, the C4 Corvette, the 1971 GTO, the 300ZX Z31, the Fairlady 280ZX, the Porsche 935 Turbo, the Lamborghini Countach, and the Lancia Stratos Alitallia.

    SO, yeah, cartoons are what first made me really notice cool cars that were not full of malaise.

  • avatar

    The Ecto-1.

    It came from a movie, but there was an animated TV series featuring it as well.

  • avatar

    I was a big Star Trek fan growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. So when the Lumina APV came out when I was 7-8 years old I thought it was soooo cool because it looked a little like a Type 6 shuttle from Next Generation.

    Please don’t judge me too harshly.

    For movies, I thought Marty McFly’s Toyota truck was awesome, even more than the DeLorean.

  • avatar

    Mannix’ Dodge Dart GTS. I still jones for that one.

    At least it still exists.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    So many to choose from…The Fall Guy’s K1500 for sure along with the Dodge Power Wagon from Simon and Simon.

    Not sure why, but I was a fan of BJ and the Bear’s Kenworth too.

  • avatar

    #1) Magnum’s 308 GTS. I still think this is perhaps the best design to come out of Italy.

    #2) Hawk’s white BMW 635CSi (not that Maddie’s 635 was anything to sneeze at)

    #3) Sonny’s 1972 Ferrari Daytona (replica, I know…I know). While the white Testarossa came later (and was provided by Ferrari), the black Daytona, especially anytime “In the Air Tonight” played was epic!

    • 0 avatar

      That “in the Air Tonight” with the (fake) Daytona cruising along the streets of Miami…Oh man, I wanted to be Crockett so bad! Ultimate cool for a gangly 17 year old at the time.

      Although this is about TV, my ultimate car scene was the opening of the original Cannonball Run movie. Watching that Lamborghini Countach revving out at dawn in the Californian desert…That will Forever be ingrained in my mind!

      • 0 avatar

        This +100. Seven-year-old me. Family’s first VCR. Cannonball Run over and over and over.

        I was also obsessed with the General Lee and, to a lesser extent, KITT.

    • 0 avatar

      Get out of my head!!!

      Seriously, that list + Rockford’s Firebird and it’s my perfect 4.

  • avatar

    On a more recent note…can’t believe no one’s commented on Don Draper’s rides. The Caddies were great, but the ’64 Imperial he tooled around Cali in was worth selling a kidney for.

    (Hey, it’s a show set in the ’60s, so it qualifies, right?)

    • 0 avatar

      > (Hey, it’s a show set in the ’60s, so it qualifies, right?)

      The question was more about shows that were on when you were a kid, not what time period they were set in.

      If you asked me what TV show cars I would most want now, I’d say something from Mad Men, Crime Story or the Cuda from Nash Bridges.

  • avatar

    The Jaguar Mark 2 from Inspector Morse. That’s what got me into Jaguars.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Have to give you a big thumbs up for that one. That particular vehicle sold for a record amount (53,000 pounds?) as it also came with the number plate used in the show.

  • avatar

    My first car was a ’73 Torino coupe. No, it wasn’t red with a huge white stripe…it was brown with as much rust as metal….but it was mine and I so wanted to be Starsky. I even had the blue sneakers with the white stripes.

  • avatar

    Wish I could post the pic. The key word in the question is lust.

  • avatar

    My favorite came from Bewitched. It was Darren’s Reactor Mach II:

  • avatar

    KITT. Duh. Why is this even a question? (According to Google, an ’84 Trans Am)

    It was the first show my parents let me stay up “late” to watch. (I think it came on at 8PM.)

  • avatar

    Northern Exposure – Maurice J. Minnifield’s Cadillac convertible a 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. It was perfectly emblematic of the man and his attitudes. He also had a habit of driving top down no matter the temperatures.

  • avatar

    Without question, the 1966 Imperial AKA “Black Beauty” from the The Green Hornet TV show. It was equipped with a drone TV camera and armed to the teeth.

  • avatar

    First and foremost Magnum’s Ferrari 308GTSi.

    1957 Ford Thunderbird : Vega$

    1966 Ford Mustang : Spenser For Hire

    General Lee Dodge Charger : Dukes of Hazzard

    1983 GMC Vandura : A-Team

    1980 GMC 4×4 K-25 : Fall Guy

  • avatar

    the dukes of hazard Charger – General Lee
    The Fall Guy GMC Sierra
    Chip’s Ponch’s Firebird
    BJ and the Bear Kenworth (K100 ?)

    How about today’s TV shows? for me, definitely Longmire’s Bronco

  • avatar

    WKRP – Herb Tarlek’s Chrysler Cordoba. We’re talking Corinthian Leather.

  • avatar

    Don’t forget the ’60-63 (Edit: ’64) Corvettes in “Route 66”.

    My two loves as a kid: The ’63 split-window and the best Mouseketeer – Annette.

    • 0 avatar

      Same as Shaker Route 66 with their Corvette. Problem was that there was little to no attention given to the car. I also remember watching any Chevy TV commercial hoping that they’d show a corvette.

      And another yes to Annette.

      Later on I also adored Emma Peal and her Lotus.

  • avatar

    Sergeant Dee Dee McCall’s Dodge Daytona :x

    • 0 avatar

      That would have been a great package deal.

      As others have said:

      Rick Simon’s Power Wagon.
      The 365 (replica or not) from Miami Vice.
      The General Lee.
      All of Agent 86′ cars were pretty sweet when I was young.
      TC’s MD500 from Magnum PI. The Ferrari was OK too.
      The truck from Fall Guy was a nice 80’s truck as well as the one from CHiPs. Especially when John took it to the Baja.
      Bond’s Austin Martins.
      The two main hero cars from Gumball Rally. Do drive your heros, at least one of them. One day I will ride in a 365GTS as well.
      The Ramcharger from Lone Wolf McQuade.

      So many cars, so little money.

  • avatar

    Oh I almost forgot!
    Sam Malone’s (64-67) Corvette!

  • avatar

    The General Lee, and it’s not even close. I did own a ’70, but the General has to be a ’69, so it kept its blue paint and black top.

    If I could pick a movie car, it would be Max’s Falcon XB – the last of the V8 interceptors.

  • avatar
    dash riprock

    The Canyonero

    No way would Homer accept the ecoboosted 4 cylinder version either

  • avatar

    Quincy ME always had the pop-up headrest popped up. I guess it was the medical angle? Since no other show bothered.

    I liked William Conrad’s conti. And EMERGENCY’s heavy duty blare.

  • avatar

    How has not a single person mentioned the Viper from the show Viper? Come on!

  • avatar

    There are several. Obviously, the Magnum PI Ferrari, and the Knight Industries Two Thousand are neck and neck at the top. The General Lee though, is my all-time favorite. Honorable mentions are the Coyote kit car in Hardcastle & McCormick. I always thought that thing was pretty damn cool. The Sanford & Son Ford pickup…that patina! The A-Team GMC van…another cool custom. I’m sure there are others I can dig out of the memory banks, but these are the ones that truly stand out for me.

  • avatar

    Lamborghini Countach – Transformers
    VW Beetle – Herbie, The Love Bug
    Alfa Romeo Gran Sport Quattroruote – Lupin the Third

    and then of course, KITT.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    I’ll take Amos Burke’s Rolls in Burke’s Law but only if Henry comes with.

  • avatar

    Barracuda convertible on The Brady Bunch.

    • 0 avatar

      Mike Brady always had a cool car. I think he had a Caprice convertible at one time. Although, since he was an architect, I never understood how come all those kids shared two bedrooms. You would think he would have come up with something a little more user friendly.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        One the earlier episodes the Brady’s had Mopar products. I think they were a sponsor. Mrs. and I guess Alice borrowed the 69 Plymouth Satellite Sport Wagon.

        I remember the episode where Bobby punched a hole in the top of the 70-71? Barracuda convertible with a umbrella when he sat in the back during Greg’s date at a drive in movie. My young self yelled at the TV at him.

        In the later episodes Mike had the Caprice convertible.

  • avatar

    Don Johnson and his yellow on white 71′ Hemi Cuda Convertible on Nash Bridges

  • avatar

    Speed Racer’s powerful Mach 5!

  • avatar

    Banacek`s Packard Darrin and Emma Peel`s Lotus Elan

  • avatar

    Any of Mr.Drysdale’s Imperials from The Beverly Hillbillies.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The Corvettes on Route 66–miss Todd,Buz,and Link. I really liked that show when I was growing up. One time I saw them unloading the Corvettes while filming in Houston which was about 1961. Also like the theme song by Nelson Riddle.

    Second choice would be the Volvo P 1800 on The Saint. Roger Moore was cool as Simon Templar and drove a cool car.

    • 0 avatar

      As a kid, my favorite TV show was Route 66. Once, in September 1963, they were filming an episode in Niagara Falls N.Y. and since we lived nearby on the Canadian side, I had my dad take me to see them on location in downtown Niagara Falls. (Interestingly, I think the 1963 Vette they used was fawn-colored.) I waited anxiously to see the episode aired on TV – it was called “I’m Here To Kill A King”, about a political assassination, with a body double of Todd’s as the killer – but it was pre-empted by breaking news: it was scheduled for broadcast the evening of Friday, Nov. 22, 1963. It eventually got to air for the first time in spring of 1964. True story.

  • avatar

    The Monkey Mobile – a convertible wagon. But that was until I grew up and swore off wagons because I had been schlepped around in them as a kid.

    Or the REAL Batmobile.

  • avatar

    If cartoon cars count: Mark IV Danger Car from Danger Mouse. If not, “Oh, carrots!”

  • avatar

    The Honey West Cobra.

  • avatar

    JR Ewing’s 450 SEL.

    Seinfeld’s SAAB 900 Cabriolet.

  • avatar

    Not one single car-related TV show as a kid. My interest in cars was awakened when dad brought home a nice 1960 Impala sports sedan shortly after I turned 14.

    Different story, then.

    Now? The dude’s red Camaro on “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives”. I dislike food shows, and only watch the opening when what’s-his-name sits in that gorgeous car!. I then turn it off, crying in my beer, so to speak…

  • avatar

    The Jeep in Rat Patrol.

  • avatar

    Loved the yellow Corvette convertible that Robert Stack drove in The Name of the Game.

  • avatar

    I’ll go with the tv show RIPTIDE, which ran for 3 seasons on NBC in the classic Brandon Tartikoff era.

    Two Vietnam vets, who live on a boat (the eponymous “Riptide”), bang hot chicks and solve crimes, all while hanging out with their “based on Bill Gates” nerd buddy who they looked after in Vietnam. That nerd has a sister played by Geena Davis, but I digress.

    Anyway, while solving crimes they need transportation, which comes in the form of a speedboat (the “Ebb Tide”), a Sikorsky S58 helicopter that never quite starts when they need it to (the “Screaming Mimi”), a classic Corvette, a classic woody wagon and a customized GMC Jimmy.

    I happen to have picked up the first season on DVD for $6, and unlike many shows of that era (I’m looking at you A-Team), it really holds up.

  • avatar

    My favorite “star car” was always the VW Beetle in Herbie livery from the original Disney movies.

  • avatar

    -Jim Rockford’s Firebird
    -Mannix’s 198/69 Dart GTS convertible
    -Rick Hunter’s various 1977/78 Dodge Monacos
    -Rick Simon’s Power Wagon
    -Steve McGarret’s 1968 Mercury Park Lane
    -Mick Belker’s clapped-out 1963 Chevy II
    -The 1973 Satellite 4-door from the short-lived 1973-74 series ‘Chase”
    -Sledge Hammer’s Dodge St Regis

  • avatar

    The Argo (Yamato) with Wave Motion Engine and gun. Sweet ride!

    And Columbo’s Peugeot.

    • 0 avatar

      I absolutely loved watching Star Blazers as a kid and continue to love Yamato to this day. Have you checked out the 2199 remake? Seriously cool stuff.

      I remember there was another anime also brought to America and redubbed right around the same time, called “Battle of the Planets” (originally Science Ninja Team Gatchaman). IIRC the character of Jason drove a simple blue two-door coupe that could transform into a formula one racecar complete with weaponry for fighting the monster of the week.

    • 0 avatar

      Star Blazers was awesome, and I thought the same thing… I wanted the Argo (and still do).

      Probably 15 years ago, I bought the Seasons 1 and 2 on DVD. What a blast! Amazing how some of the concepts and story ideas, even graphics, were used in following movies/episodes of Star Wars and Star Trek.

    • 0 avatar

      The fact that Star Blazers (Uchū Senkan Yamato)showed up here impresses me and make me happy.

      But Battle the Planets? (Science Ninja Team Gatchaman)

      I have truly found my people.

  • avatar

    Roger Moore’s Aston Martin DBS in The Persuaders!

  • avatar

    The Mercedes-Benz 600 from Falcon Crest.

  • avatar

    The Munster Coach
    Dragula – Granpa’s car
    The Adam West Batomobile
    The Man from U.N.C.L.E. car
    Bullitt Mustang
    Monkeemobile – with all the Vox stuff included.

  • avatar

    As a kid in the 70’s, our middle school lunchtime conversations centered around how many J turns Rockford did in his Firebird and how many times Starsky slid over the hood of the Torino.

    Between the Batmobile, the Rockford Firebird and the S&H Torino, I’d have to rank the Starskymobile number one.

  • avatar

    Oh another one… 3 wheels instead of 4 (haha)… Airwolf! I so wanted an Airwolf!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    LA Law: The Jaguar in the opening credits.
    Miami Vice: Rico’s Cadillac convertible.
    Movie, The wild Geese: the plane that got them out of there.

  • avatar

    Emma Peel’s 1st Lotus in the Avengers.

  • avatar

    JR Ewing’s Allante (and Mark VII)

    Optimus Prime

    Silverthorn’s ’88 Ford LTD limo from The Girl From Tomorrow


    Autocar (Lamborghini Countach LP400)

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    Al Bundy’s tan 72 “Dodge” (actually a Duster)… I remember they once opened the hood and I was like, “wait a second, that does not look like a slant-6” :) More like a 340! I was so happy back then that Al drove a proper V8.

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