Over the decades of television, many recognizable and beloved vehicles have entered American homes through the small screen. But only a few have been able to make an impression that lasts. Below, we’ll talk about some of the most recognizable cars in television history, from high-powered muscle cars to futuristic car sidekicks!
The General Lee (The Dukes of Hazzard)
For over a half-decade in the late 70s and early 80s, The Dukes of Hazzard was one of the most popular television shows in the country, regularly pulling millions of viewers every week. While fans loved watching the adventures of the Duke Boys in the fictional Hazzard County, Georgia, perhaps the most iconic character from the show was their trusty 1969 Dodge Charger, the General Lee.
The General Lee’s unmistakable orange color scheme and “01” racing number decal made it one of the most iconic classic cars made popular by Hollywood, along with the many high-flying stunts it performed to help the Duke Boys escape the law, criminals, and all manner of trouble. Even the car’s horn was recognizable, featuring the first few notes of the southern classic, Dixie. To this day, you’ll likely find a few cars in the South emulating the famous General Lee.
The Batmobile (Batman)
We couldn’t have a list of the most recognizable cars in television history without including the Batmobile. The caped crusader is perhaps American pop culture’s most recognizable comic book character. While Batman is known for his repertoire of gadgets and vehicles, none are more beloved than the Batmobile.
While the Batmobile may be more known for its movie adaptations, it first debuted on the small screen in the popular Batman TV series in the 60s, starring Adam West. The original Batmobile is a modified 1955 Lincoln Futura with extended fins, a snazzy black-and-red color scheme, and various crime-fighting tools and gadgets.
KITT (Knight Rider)
Eighties American TV produced some out-there ideas for series, and Knight Rider was one of the most memorable. Knight Rider’s premise featured a police detective fighting criminal underworld organizations alongside his partner, a talking car called Knight Industries Two Thousand, or KITT.
KITT was a modified Pontiac Trans Am that looked great on screen and was filled with futuristic gadgets to help his partner, David Hasselhoff, fight criminals. The show only lasted four seasons, but practically everyone from that era remembers the show about the crime-fighting, talking car, KITT.
Starsky’s Gran Torino (Starsky & Hutch)
In the 70s and 80s, American TV was littered with buddy-cop TV shows, but few enjoyed as much success and popularity as Starsky & Hutch. David Starsky and Kenneth Hutchinson kept Bay City, California’s streets, safe from criminals and did it all while looking like rockstars in Hutch’s iconic Ford Gran Torino.
The show’s Gran Torino was a sensation with its bright red and white color scheme that featured a striking vector stripe on each side. It was the epitome of a cool TV car and still lives on today, with a sizable collector’s market vying for replicas of the classic Gran Torino.