Most of us grew up watching television – unless we lived way out in the sticks with no electricity. Then, all we had to entertain ourselves were books and our imagination. Watching television with the family was and is a favorite pastime for millions of Americans. Since there’s bound to be some down-time this holiday season, here at Family Car Guide we thought it would be fun to do a list of the most memorable TV family cars.
In coming up with this list, there are only a few criteria. First, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a car (for example, it can be a truck, van, bus or some other conveyance with four wheels). Second, it has to be used by members of a family on TV – but that family requirement can be somewhat loosely defined. Third, the car doesn’t have to actually exist or be a production model.
So with that, here’s the first part of FCG’s list of most memorable TV family cars.
The Addams Family: 1933 Packard V-12
While it only lasted two seasons (64 episodes from 1964 to 1966), the Addams Family TV sitcom pictured a household of monsters of varying physical characteristics counter-balanced by their exuberant personalities. Carolyn Jones and John Astin played Morticia and Gomez Addams, respectively. Jackie Coogan played Uncle Fester and Ted Cassidy was Lurch. Of course, there were others in the family cast of characters, not the least of which was the family limo – a 1933 Packard V-12. (If you recall an episode featuring the car, let us know and we'll swap in another Hulu clip.)
Updated: ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ replica reaches nearly $10 million on eBay
Cousins Bo and Luke Duke, and their car “General Lee,” a modified 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, engaged in an ongoing battle with the authorities of Hazzard County in episodes that ran from 1979 to 1985. Assisted by Uncle Jesse and Cousin Daisy, the show provided weekly laughs and a string of car chases. Of course, the Confederate Flag-draped General Lee ensured that the Dukes got away most every time. Those in the know remember the car’s trunk was often filled with sandbags or concrete to keep its rear end from going sideways during flight.
The Munsters: the Munster Koach
Another monster-themed TV sitcom, The Munsters appeared for only two years, from 1964 to 1966. The father, Herman Munster (played by Fred Gwynne), looked like Frankenstein’s monster. Mother Lily (played by Yvonne DeCarlo) and Grandpa (played by Al Lewis) were vampires. Son Eddie (played by Butch Patrick) was a werewolf. The only normal family member was niece Marilyn (played by Pat Priest). But to get the Munsters around required another cast member: the Munster Koach. Designed by custom-car expert George Barris, this was a 6-door touring roadster with a 1927 Model T bucket affixed to the rear end. The Munster Koach had a four-on-the-floor 300 horsepower 289 Ford Cobra V-8 engine (from a 1966 Mustang GT), Isky cams, and numerous other performance hardware. There was also Drag-U-La, the dragster Grandpa built to win son Herman’s car back when he lost the family car in a drag race. George Barris also designed Drag-U-La. [Photo courtesy Barris.com]
Batman: 1955 Lincoln Futura Concept Car – aka Batmobile
The Batman television series ran from 1966 to 1968 and featured Batman and Robin doing battle with the evil forces with the aid of the trustworthy Batmobile. In actuality, the bullet-proof Batmobile was a 1955 Lincoln Futura Concept car with a Ford Galaxie engine and transmission. George Barris designed the Batmobile. [photo by GeeJo]
Starsky & Hutch: 1974 Ford Gran Torino – aka the Striped Tomato
Two hard-nosed California detectives, David Starsky (Paul Michael Glaser) and Kenneth Hutchinson (David Soul), pursued the bad guys in the TV series Starsky & Hutch from 1975 to 1979. Their choice of wheels was the 1974 Ford Gran Torino, which was affectionately referred to as the Striped Tomato.
Want to see more of the most memorable TV family cars? Be sure to check out part two.