Best TV Cars
If your TV show’s main character needs to get around, chances are they’ll need a car. If you’re a savvy creator, you’ll give this character a car that people will remember. Some shows have done this better than others, and here’s a list of six shows that feature vehicles that succeeded in capturing the hearts of audiences.
The Impala - Supernatural
Supernatural is about a lot of things — hunting cryptids, fighting demons, and shaping your own destiny are chief among them. But it’s also about family and shared bonds — a theme that is often centered around Dean Winchester’s 1967 Chevrolet Impala.
Passed down to Dean by his father (who was missing at the beginning of the TV series), the car was more than just a vehicle for Dean: It served as the closest thing to a home that the constantly-on-the-road Winchester brothers had. While it may not be the flashiest vehicle on this list, it’s the one that has the biggest emotional impact.
The A-Team Van - The A-Team
Sometimes you don’t want a fancy car. Sometimes you want your TV series to have a car that can haul a fugitive team of crack commandos to the edges of the earth. Having a sleek paint job doesn’t hurt, of course.
While the A-Team’s GMC van might not technically count as a “car,” it served as a home base for the show’s brand of cartoonish, over-the-top (but somehow never deadly) violence.
Ultimately, the van served as the starting-off point for everything people loved about the show’s unlikely heroes. When the A-Team’s van showed up on the battlefield, expect to see bad guys go flying (but never actually getting hurt, of course).
Red Ferarri - Magnum P.I.
Ferarri is an iconic brand, so you’d think plenty of shows would take advantage of its prestige to give its main characters an eye-catching ride. However, even though Ferarris show up in films quite often, few TV shows regularly feature the iconic brand. The most iconic is arguably the Ferrari 308 driven by Thomas Magnum in the 1980s crime drama TV series Magnum, P.I.
The easy-going Magnum, famously played by Tom Selleck, is portrayed as having a luxurious lifestyle, and his Ferarri helps drive that point home. When the mustachioed private investigator pulls up in his Ferarri to investigate, you know he’s only there because he wants to be — and whoever he’s investigating doesn’t stand a chance.
The Gran Torino - Starsky & Hutch
While Thomas Magnum’s red Ferarri emphasizes his role as a detective living the high life, the Ford Gran Torino driven by Detective David Starsky served a slightly different purpose: to emphasize the difference between him and his partner, Detective Kenneth Richard “Hutch” Hutchinson.
In the iconic 1970s buddy cop TV show, Starsky’s sleek, well-maintained Gran Torino was definitely a cool car on its own. But what really made it stand out was its contrast to the beaten-up, broken-down junker that Starsky drove — one that never worked right and was the center of many gags and mishaps throughout the series.
The cars helped define the characters and made the viewers long for a car like Starsky’s — especially if they drove one that looked like Hutch’s.
KITT - Knight Rider
Knight Rider is pretty much the idea of a cool cop driving a cool car brought to its logical sci-fi conclusion: a cool cop driving a sentient, indestructible robot car. While the car itself was just a black Pontiac Firebird with some flashing lights stuck on the front, the use of the car as a character capable of making its own decisions and aiding in investigations made it one of TV’s most memorable cars.
It didn’t hurt that KITT was filled to the brim with fancy Sci-Fi features, such as tracking suspects, hacking computers, and having a souped-up engine complete with afterburners. David Hasselhoff may have gotten top billing in Knight Rider, but KITT was clearly the star of the show.
The Batmobile - Batman (1966)
Adam West’s Batman series is treated like a joke these days — and frankly, it was meant to be a joke back when it was released. But even with its campiness, absurdity, and tongue-in-cheek dialogue, there’s no denying that the TV show featured one of the best cars on TV: the Batmobile.
While the TV series’ car might not hold a candle to the ones seen in the Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan films, the Batmobile stands out from every other car on television for one simple reason — there is simply nothing else on the road that looks like it.
The black-and-red batmobile was a heavily-modified version of a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car — one that drew a lot of attention for its unique design, but never went into production. Only one was ever created, and that car was given a bat-themed makeover, complete with wings, bat hubcaps, and a flame-spewing exhaust.
When the TV series became a hit, two more copies of the car were created, but they still stood out against everything else on the road.