We Americans love our cars. So much so that some people consider their cars part of the family. And when it comes to TV and the silver screen, cars sometimes become characters themselves. It is strange to think of cars that way, but it’s true.
Below is a list of the most iconic cars from TV and the silver screen. Each one has become somewhat of a legend in American pop culture. However, you may not recognize all of them – but only because you are not old enough to recall the TV shows or films to which they were attached.
1. The Munsters’ Munster Koach
What would you expect a family of modern-day monsters to drive? A car cobbled together with whatever spare parts you could find. That’s what you get with The Munsters’MunsterKoach. Legend has it that this iconic car was pieced together using a Ford Cobra engine, Stromberg carburetors, a Model-T body, and Bobby Bar racing headers. The Munster Koach belongs on the list because it truly is one-of-a-kind.
2. Back to the Future’s DMC-12
As far as iconic silver screen cars go, few get the attention given to Back to the Future’s DeLorean DMC 12. DeLorean was a short-lived auto manufacturer that took only one model production. Even at that, the DMC-12 only lasted a short 14 months. Car Fast Cash, a company that pays cash for cars throughout Southern California, says that most of the DeLoreans still on the road today are owned by Back to the Future enthusiasts.
3. The A-Team’s 1983 GMC Vandura
Fans of 1980s action shows remember The A-Team with Mr. T, Dirk Benedict, and Dwight Schultz. The show was a combination of Mission Impossible and The Dirty Dozen. It was about a ragtag team of alleged Vietnam war heroes who go on to become mercenaries of sorts. Their 1983 GMC Vandura was exceptionally pimped out long before pimping your ride was a thing.
4. The Flintstones Footmobile
Even though The Flintstones was a cartoon and Fred’s car was a total violation of the laws of physics, the Footmobile deserves a place on our list due to its sheer creativity. To make it work, Fred and his passenger would start pushing with their feet. The car would eventually move forward from the momentum.
What’s crazy about this car is that kids have made this idea work with play cars for generations. The Footmobile’s principle is spot on, but the physics don’t work. Friction would eventually take over and slow the car down. Moreover, even the beefy Fred Flintstone and his pal Barney wouldn’t have enough muscle to push a four-passengersedan with solid stone wheels. But it’s the thought that counts.
5. The Dukes of Hazard’s 1969 Charger
Few TV cars are as memorable as the orange 1969 Dodge charger driven by The Dukes of Hazard’s two main characters, Bo and Luke Duke. As it turns out, the car dubbed ‘The General Lee’ by the Duke cousins was not a single car. The show’s creators actually had to obtain somewhere between 250 and 325 cars during the series run. Why? The show’s exciting car chase scenes were so rough that cars were being destroyed on a regular basis.
Nonetheless, everyone recognized the General Lee during the show’s heyday. And fans loved the car, so much so that they were writing letters to it as though it were a human actor. Amazing.
6. The Starsky & Hutch 1975 Gran Torino
If any car could compete with the General Lee in terms of fan recognition, it would probably be the 1975 Ford Gran Torino driven by TVs Starsky & Hutch. Nicknamed ‘The Striped Tomato’, what made this car instantly recognizable was the white triangular stripe that ran from back to front. The Striped Tomato was a 1970s muscle car in every way.
7. Batman’s Batmobile
This next car is actually not a single car, either. Between TV and the silver screen, Batman’s Batmobile has taken on multiple iterations. The original was a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car. It was purposely designed to look sleek and futuristic. As the TV series graduated to the silver screen, creators made every effort to make subsequent Batmobiles equally futuristic.
8. Knight Rider’s Pontiac Trans Am
In the 1980s TV series Knight Rider, one of the main characters actually was a car. In this case, it was a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am slightly modified to make it look like it was a custom build. The car was artificially intelligent and able to work alongside its human driver to fight crime. Because the car spoke and reasoned, fans connected with it as easily as any human actor.
9. American Graffiti’s 1932 Ford Coupe
American Graffiti was considered a risk when George Lucas produced it in 1973. The 1960s car culture was a big part of the film’s story line, so it is only fitting that the film featured some truly classic cars. Among them was a yellow, 1932 Ford Coupe featured in a memorable drag race scene. The special effects involved in making that scene were pretty forward thinking for the day. They are largely responsible for us remembering this particular car.
10. The Blues Brothers 1974 Dodge Monaco
Most of the iconic cars of TV and the silver screen are loved because they look good and feature either raw power or lots of gadgets. The Blues Brothers‘ 1974 Dodge Monaco offers none of that. It is a jalopy in every sense of the word. Why is it iconic? Because it fits the Blues brothers perfectly. No other car would be as befitting of their raw, a bluesy style and willingness to push the envelope to save the day. This one truly goes down in history.
There are plenty of other great cars that could have made the list. But there is only so much space. Needless to say, cars are sometimes characters all by themselves. They make TV and the silver screen a lot more enjoyable.