When we mention “car show,” that might make you think of your local “classic car show,” annual “car shows” where they show off the latest models, or maybe one of those television car shows along the lines of “Top Gear” or “Pimp My Ride.” That’s not what we’re talking about today, however. What about television shows where the cars are the stars, and not so much the people who yap about them?
We could probably start off with the late-1960’s Adam West Batman series… “The Batmobile” was based on the futuristic 1955 Lincoln Futura concept, or the late-70’s Starsky & Hutch “Striped Tomato,” a 1975 Ford Gran Torino. Who doesn’t recall the early-2000’s That 70’s Show 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser or the 1960’s The Beverly Hillbillies 1921 Oldsmobile? Here are a few more shows where the cars are the stars.
Knight Rider – 1982-1986
Who are we to doubt the acting abilities of The Hoff’s pectorals? Indeed, half of the country probably would never have watched Knight Rider if it weren’t for them! On the other hand, his teched-out 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, otherwise known as K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand), was enough attraction for the other half of the audience. KITT, voiced by William Daniels, was an artificially-intelligent autonomous vehicle, with exceptional driving skills, witty retorts, and more technology than even a Bond car.
Wheelie and The Chopper Bunch – 1974-1975
This might be a little obscure, but who wouldn’t love a show about a heroic Volkswagen Beetle, Wheelie, and the love of his life, a cute little Mazda convertible – her name was Rota Ree, after all. While Wheelie was unable to speak, he managed to get his message across via car sounds, horn beeps, and messages on his windshield, always managing to rout The Chopper Bunch by the end of a six-minute short.
The Dukes of Hazzard – 1979-1985
Boss Hogg had his fingers in every pie in Hazzard County, most of them illegal, which is funny because he’s also “the law” in Hazzard County. For some reason, most of his schemes threatened the Duke family farm or involved framing recently paroled Bo and Luke Duke for the crime. “The General Lee,” a 1969 Dodge Charger, was practically the only way for the boys to get out of a jam in those times. Over 300 cars were wrecked over the course of the show – Rest in peace, General Lee.
One Car Too Far & Car vs Wild – 2012-2014
We found it somewhat difficult to find anything more recent – has our love for cars died? Still, we thought it fitting to include this one, a couple of short-lived shows starring a 1998 Jeep Wrangler, Ruby, dropped with her drivers in the middle of nowhere. The name of the game is survival, and Ruby has been through the jungles of Chile, the high deserts and a volcano in Mexico, and lives to tell the tale, and she’s a four-banger!
Honestly, I think we need more TV shows about cars, where the cars are the real stars. Maybe someone can pitch a new Vanishing Point series or Mad Max series?