Cars are not only a large part of movies and movie history, they have also played a vital role in hundreds of television series over the years. Cars are typically the literal vehicles that take our characters from point A to point B, but they can be so much more than that. In many cases, the best TV cars were like members of the cast, attracting viewers for their own sake. Based on the roles they played, how important they were to the characters driving them, or how important they were to the series, these are the 8 best TV cars ranked.
8) 1969 Dodge Charger (The Dukes of Hazzard)
Despite the controversy surrounding the name and imagery on this car, the Duke boys’ 1969 Dodge Charger is a TV icon. Throughout the series, viewers witnessed this mean orange machine dodge police cars, fly over long jumps, and more. This car went through so many stunts and jumps on the show that former cast members and crew estimate that over 300 versions of it were used. Most of which were immediately retired after receiving significant structural damage from the various stunts and jumps. While the imagery, name, and some aspects of the show it was featured on may be controversial, there is no denying the legacy of this car as one of the best TV cars ranked in history and perhaps its greatest stunt car.
7) The Dragula (The Munsters)
Although The Munsters also had the great Munster Koach, the Dragula is truly one of the best TV cars. It is one of the most unique drag-strip-style cars ever built and made from a real fiberglass coffin. Although it was only used in one episode of the show, the Dragula left a lasting impact. The car even inspired a hit song by the same name from Rob Zombie. So, when one needs to dig through the ditches, burn through the witches, and win a few drag races, the best option is to hop in the Dragula!
6) The Striped Tomato (Starsky and Hutch)
While it is not the best car used by representatives of law and order on this list, Starsky and Hutch’s Striped Tomato helped make the 1976 Ford Gran Torino a car worth owning. Part of this was from the nickname itself. In the “Snowstorm” episode, Hutch refers to the car as “the Striped Tomato”, which was then adopted by fans of the series. Throughout the show’s run, the Striped Tomato was a quick and dependable asset for Starsky and Hutch and one of the best TV cars ranked.
5) 1983 GMC Vandura (The A-Team)
The A-Team was always getting into the middle of some action or drama. In order to maintain their status as the best team in the business, they needed a top-notch vehicle to get them around, outrun trouble, and carry any and all equipment. Only one vehicle could fill this need: the 1983 GMC Vandura customized by Mr. T’s character, B.A. Baracus. While it may not be the fastest car on this list, the A-Team’s van is still an impressive machine that helped save their butts more than a handful of times.
4) 1984 Ferrari 308 GTS (Magnum PI)
Few cars are cooler than Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV’s bright red 1984 Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole. Of the many TV detectives to have come and gone over the years, Tom Selleck’s Magnum was one of the coolest, and driving this car only added to that. Of the many cars on this list and on television, Magnum’s Ferrari is easily one of the fastest and best looking. Magnum and this car served as undeniable proof that TV’s cops and private investigators could be just as cool as the bad guys.
3) The Monkeemobile (The Monkees)
Although The Monkees TV series was intended to be about a group of wannabe musicians who never quite make it, The Monkees quickly became one of the biggest music groups of the 1960s with hits like “I’m a Believer”, “Last Train to Clarksville”, and “Daydream Believer”. Of course, a group of TV and music superstars like The Monkees needed a ride that was as unique as their rise to fame. Fortunately, legendary custom car designer Dean Jefferies delivered when he modified a 1966 Pontiac GTO into the Monkeemobile. The Monkeemobile became an instant icon and remains one to this day.
2) Black Beauty (The Green Hornet)
The Green Hornet‘s Black Beauty is undeniably one of the best TV cars — though not the best of all time. Black Beauty is a stylish vehicle that is also incredibly capable. Black Beauty was also designed by Dean Jefferies, the creator of the Monkeemobile. It was crafted from a 1966 Imperial Crown hardtop and turned into a sort of inconspicuous Batmobile — much like James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. Though you could hardly tell from the outside, Black Beauty housed all kinds of gadgets and weapons, including rockets, knock-out gas, and a surveillance drone. By mixing style with capability, Black Beauty is among the top of the best TV cars ranked.
1) K.I.T.T. (Knight Rider)
The Knight Industries Two Thousand — or K.I.T.T. for short — from the 1980s TV series, Knight Rider, is without a doubt the best of the best TV cars. This modified 1982 Pontiac Trans Am is quick, capable, fully-loaded, and good-looking, but K.I.T.T. is so much more than just a car. K.I.T.T. is also a complex and developing character throughout the Knight Rider series. Unlike the other TV cars on this list, K.I.T.T. has a personality and mind of its own. Because of that, K.I.T.T. is so much more than just a great TV car; K.I.T.T. is also one of the great 1980s TV characters.
Honorable Mentions for Best TV Cars
Unfortunately, several amazing TV cars are missing from this list simply by not making the cut to be in the top eight. Some honorable mentions for the best TV cars include the 1986 Ferrari Testarossa from Miami Vice, the Munster Koach from The Munsters, Tony Soprano’s 2003 Cadillac Escalade from The Sopranos, and the Batmobile from Adam West’s Batman TV series. (However, the Batmobile did rank highly on our list of the best movie cars!)