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Who drove these TV Classics?

Car Chases, a high speed get-away, cars jumping over anything in their way, or just a good old fashion burnout, these vehicles did it all. We all love watching our favorite TV shows from years gone by, but can we name the cars and the guys who drove them? Most of us can name the vehicle faster than we can the TV show or who stared in it. Some of the iconic cars in this list are simple to name and a few are not so easy…..see how many drivers of these classics you can name:

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1972 Ferrari Daytona – Miami Vice
In the 80’s, Miami Vice was the show to watch, but was it for the cool cars, the girls, the car chase scenes, or all of the above? The first two seasons saw Vice detective Sonny Crockett (played by Don Johnson) behind the wheel of a shiny black 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spyder 365 GTS/4 replica. The request to use real Ferraris in the filming of the show was turned down, but the cars they used looked amazing. The cars were commissioned for $49,000 each and were built from re-bodied 1976 Corvettes. A 1981 Chevy Corvette C3 chassis was also used to complete the builds. For the record the first time the car was seen in the pilot, an actual Daytona Spyder was used, but was kept on a moving flatbed truck for the star shots.

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1970 Plymouth Barracuda (Cuda) – Nash Bridges
Don Johnson is at it again, he makes the list in yet another iconic ride. This time he can be found behind the wheel of some classic Mopar in the show Nash Bridges. In the late 1990’s he found himself chasing the bad guys on the West coast as his character drove a 1971 Plymouth “Hemi” Cuda Convertible. However there was a bit of Hollywood magic on set due to the fact that none of the cars used during filming actually had a Hemi. Most of the cars began life as ‘70 Cuda convertibles and were equipped with 1971 scoops and bodywork to make them appear correct.

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1971 VW Coyote X – Hardcastle & McCormick
Who knew that a VW kit car could look so good? The Coyote X was equipped with a 1900cc engine and 4-speed transmission, custom built tubular chassis, and heavy duty suspension to handle the jumps and stunt work for the show, but the flashy red paint was hard to miss on this one. A hard-nosed Judge Milton C. Hardcastle and ex-con and race car driver Mark “Skid” McCormick teamed up to hunt down the villain and bring other criminals to justice. The car was loosely based on the McLaren M6GT and oddly enough still looks great today.

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1982 Trans-Am – Knight Rider
Michael Knight (played by David Hasselhoff) instantly became famous for his role in the hit TV show Knight Rider, but KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) was far more well known that he was. KITT was an artificially intelligent electronic computer module housed in the body of a technologically advanced car that was capable of doing the impossible. The dashboard was more like that from the Space Shuttle than a car and the tricks it had onboard were more like the ones found on the Batmobile. There wasn’t much the car couldn’t do including using its rocket power to jump anything in its way or use his witty sense of humor to get Michael out of a jam when needed.

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1982 GMC K-2500 Truck – Fall Guy
Pickup trucks ruled in the 80’s and nothing was cooler than Lee Majors and his crime fighting GMC 4×4 truck. Even his character name “Colt Seavers” was cool. He was a Hollywood stuntman turned bounty hunter and his truck was able to do it all with its 6-inch lift, 35-inch off-road tires, KC lights, front bumper guard (with Warn Winch) and last but not least- a secret compartment in the bed to conceal his weapons stash!

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1983 GMC G-15 Van – A-Team
From 1983 to 1987 the A-Team TV show on NBC made driving a van cool again. The odd-ball band of mercenaries fought crime and injustice out of a black van driven by Mr. T. (What could be cooler than that?) With 15” American Racing wheels, 60 series BF Goodrich TA radials and a wicked black/gun metal gray paintjob with red stripe, this van was unstoppable!

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1978 Ferrari 308 GTS – Magnum PI
The Pininfarina styled 308 GTS was produced from 1975 – 1985, a 1978 was used in the movie pilot and all of season one; however for the 2nd and 3rd season they switched to a 1980 308 GTSi. The car was then changed to the 1984 308 GTSi Quattrovalvoe for the remainder of the series. Navy Officer Thomas Magnum played by Tom Selleck was a real ladies man and the bright red Ferrari fit his single lifestyle as a private investigator on the island of Hawaii. The guys watched the show for the guns fights and car chases, and the ladies watched it to see him. Nevertheless the combination worked with viewers and another Star car was born.

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1975 Grand Torino – Starsky & Hutch
I guess there was just something about crime fighters and cool cars because yet again we have a red car that makes the list. California policemen David Starsky (Paul Michael Glaser) and Ken ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson (David Soul) burned up the streets in this not-so-well-known classic car, but with Starsky at the wheel and the wide white stripe over the tomato red paint, the car quickly became famous! When their radio handle of “Zebra -3” would blast on the radio, the guys would tear out to chase another criminal on the run. The ‘75 model was replaced by the new 1976 for its 2nd – 4th seasons. In 1976 Ford even offered a limited run (1002) replica of the shows car before the Grand Torino was eventually replaced by the LTD.

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1969 Dodge Charger – Dukes of Hazzard
One of the most iconic cars on the planet has to be the infamous ‘69 Charger known as “The General Lee”. The bright orange paint, the 01 racing number on the doors, and the colorful rebel flag painted on the roof instantly told you this car was special. Cousins Bo and Luke Duke (played by John Schneider and Tom Wopat) became household names in the ‘80’s and still remain as popular today. It seemed this car was capable of doing the most spectacular tricks and death defying stunts, but it was not all Hollywood magic, as most of the stunts and jumps were real. They were able to constantly evade the police and outrun anything with 5 counties even if it meant jumping the washed out bridge over the riverbed! The show ran from 1979 to 1985 and an approximate total of 240 Chargers were used during production of the show….some estimates say only 18 survived the show. The car was so famous it even had its own 12 note horn blast from the song “Dixie” that is unmistakable.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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