- Starsky and Hutch thrashing their Torino. Check out the suspension performance from the day.

Cool American TV shows with Cars. Those were the days....

Digging into the disappearing car show question.

7w ago
11.2K

Ever wonder why there are no cop and robber stories on TV with fast cars or trucks showing off? Well, that is the question I came up with the other day when my phone rang. I have the Knight Rider theme song as my ringer. Guess what era I grew up in. Yep, the time I sat in front of the TV was the 70's and 80's. Those were the days of glory and I can testify.

Remember (or do some research) the shows of old? The cars were fast and flashy. Heck some were full size trucks. The drivers were usually some sort of hot shot crime fighters or dare devils who thought their cars could do anything including flying. Looking back on these shows now, they seem pretty dumb with all that uncontrolled sliding and jumping, the acting and story lines were a bit cheesy too. Try doing that for real, your car or truck is an instant junk heap and everyone involved is dead.

The usual for Bo and Luke Duke. Whats that sticking out from the passenger side behind the front wheel?

The usual for Bo and Luke Duke. Whats that sticking out from the passenger side behind the front wheel?

I have to assume the TV syndicates who produced and paid for the shows ran out of interest when we did. The technology was changing along with rules and regulations that inhibited the showing of proper car sliding and extra hard acceleration. I also have to assume the Big Three car companys at that time stopped spending money on sponsorships for those shows because the ratings were dropping. Think about it. When you watched Knight Rider, did you ever see a Ford commercial? No you didn't. GM paid for their cars to be advertised on those commercial breaks and probably gave the studio 15 black Trans Am cars to destroy on the show. Besides that, what if the general public wanted to try doing these stunts they see on TV in their cars. Is there a liability issue there? Maybe.

Michael and Kitt the Knight Rider crime fighting duo. What a stud.

Michael and Kitt the Knight Rider crime fighting duo. What a stud.

I think there was a slump in TV shows with cool cars because there just wasn't enough sales in the cool or fast cars to make sense spending the money on. In that case I remember the Show The Fall Guy who chased bad guys with a GMC K2500 pickup. Jumping that was probably fun and it did slide around corners,but it was reaching for a good story line. We are seeing that in today's trucks too, but I don't think I would try jumping one.

The Fall Guy and his flying truck.

The Fall Guy and his flying truck.

Perhaps I shouldn't complain, but the styling and performance have not been exciting for years. The crossover SUV and four door sedans all seemed to have the same swept curves and tail lights making me wonder what happened to car designs. Most of the really cool stuff had been reserved for the super cars and exotics but still there seems to be a reckoning for computer generation of design. This is allowing the designer and engineer to build a car or drawing into something tangible, in a computer where the program will tell you if it works or not. Things are looking up.

Now days, I think things are shaking up a bit with the High horse Mustangs, Challengers, and Camaros. That is a good thing but they are replicating cars from the 70's, futurizing them and teching them up to compete with the regulations and emissions of today, not creating new body designs. Those are great things make no mistake, especially when you find a 700 hp supercharged SUV that will loosen your retinas. I love that the car company's are seeing that there really is money in fast and nimble vehicles. No one enjoys boring.

Magnum PI with the now famous Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS

Magnum PI with the now famous Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS

Maybe the car shows are gone but the streaming TV channels and Apps for your phone can give you sweet car movies and super hero plots that will bend your mind. I also see reality shows on buying and selling cars, barn finds, restoration, customization and auctioning on some of the new channels, all of which are interesting, but not the same as the old shows. I miss seeing shredding tires and automotive antics while catching bad guys but I don't think it's coming back. The streaming, however handy the entertainment is, has been overcome with car and medical commercials so thick you would swear they are making their own programs recreating the 70's car shows. They all seem to say, "Go out and thrash your new crossover SUV in the snow and mud, but be sure to get the pain reliever you will need to relieve the pain from a cracked sternum when the airbag goes off."

I think I will catch one of the Avengers movies tonight after streaming an episode of Magnum PI just because I can. Thank you technology and I really mean it! I can even watch the old car show episodes on my phone.

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Comments (17)

  • There were dozens but the Rockford Files comes immediately to mind and often thought he drove backwards more than forward and every show was not complete without a couple of J-turns.

      23 days ago
    • I was going to mention it but you beat me to it. We used to refer to those J-turns as “Rockfords.” Cheers!

        22 days ago
  • I'm trying to think of the most recent TV show where the lead character drove a cool car...

    'Burn Notice' comes to mind.

      23 days ago
  • Oh that brings back the memories, I was watching during the same time frame.

    Don't forget the shows like Airwolf or Blue Thunder (yes it was also a tv show), same formula different vehicle.

      23 days ago
  • Don’t forget Rockford’s Pontiac and CHiPs Kawasakis.

      22 days ago
  • These days, if a car is featured in a TV drama, it's usually a glaringly obvious product placement. "Let's go follow up on that lead! We'll take my new Toyota RAV4. Just tell the navigation system the address!" I hate those. I get it; you have to pay the bills, but it sticks out like a sore thumb, and takes me out of the story, instead of contributing to it.

      22 days ago
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