It’s amazing to think of how many of our favourite TV shows are remembered as much for the iconic vehicles as the characters. Whether you are a child of the ‘60s, ’70s, ‘80s, ‘90s or later, you can bet your bottom dollar that at least one of your lasting childhood memories will have involved you sitting in your living room, cooing over the four wheels that graced our screens.
We’ve put our collective heads together here at Motors.co.uk and drawn up our top 10 favourite cars of the small screen.
1. The Sweeney – Ah, a veritable smorgasbord of Fords were used in this 1970s police classic that featured Jack Regan (John Thaw) and George Carter (Dennis Waterman). Our fondest memory is of the bronze Ford Consul GT (NHK295M) and the Ford Ghia (RHJ 997R). This episode will take you back:
2. Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes – We’re putting these together, even though they are two different series. In the former, the Ford Cortina GXL was Gene Hunt’s vehicle of choice. When we were transported to the 1980s in Ashes to Ashes, Hunt (Philip Glenister) had upgraded to a red Audi Quattro coup?. Incidentally, the Quattro sold at auction for £15,100 in 2014. Remember Hunt’s well-known phrase? Listen to it here:
3. Starsky and Hutch – The 1976 two-door Ford Gran Torino – bright red with striking white vector down the side – was nicknamed the “striped tomato” by Paul Michael Glaser, who played cardigan-loving Starsky. We rather like it. Love a car chase? Here’s a great clip:
4. Mr Bean – While Rowan Atkinson is a well-known petrolhead, his most famous creation Mr Bean drives a rather downbeat 1976 British Leyland Mini. The citron green car with matte black bonnet features the character’s very own security device to deter car thieves: a bolt latch and padlock. The original Mr Bean car was a 1969 orange Mini but it was swiftly replaced with the later model. Take a look:
5. Only Fools and Horses – The Reliant Regal Supervan was the luvvly jubbly car of choice for wheeler dealer Del Trotter and his brother Rodney. Emblazoned with the legend “Trotters Independent Trading: New York, Paris, Peckham”, this was a three-wheeled wonder. The Reliant wasn’t entirely reliable, as this clip shows:
6. Dukes of Hazard – The General Lee was based on the old ’69 Dodge Charger and was known for the distinctive sound of its horn and its ability to take long jumps. The doors were welded shut so Bo and Luke had to climb their way into the car. Those long jumps were pretty epic, too:
7. Knight Rider – Who didn’t wish their car had KITT, a supercomputer that was fitted to an advanced car? In the original series, KITT was part of a 1982 Pontiac TransAm, which had been modified. The car was virtually indestructible – just like David Hasselhoff’s hair!
8. Scooby Doo – The Mystery Machine has to be one of the most loved cars to appear in a children’s programme. Used by “those meddling kids” to take them on their ghostly investigations and crime-busting projects, the brightly painted van is an iconic symbol of late ‘60s psychedelia. Here’s an impressive replica:
9. The Saint – The Volvo P1800 coup? was as smooth as Simon Templar himself. This Swedish beauty, with the number plate ST1, was ice white and beautifully chromed. We’re drooling watching this:
10. Inspector Morse – Almost as famous as the detective himself, the 1960 MkII burgundy Jaguar appeared in all 33 episodes of this quintessentially English detective drama series, which featured John Thaw as the cerebral inspector. As this clip shows, it fits in perfectly with the Oxford background:
Which are your favourite cars of the small screen? Let us know on our Facebook page Facebook.com/Motors.co.uk