#TBT Coolest Cars from the 80s: Miami Vice to Dukes of Hazzard

Written By, Todd M.

What does a narcotics agent, an orange Dodge Charger, a red Ferrari, and Michael Knight -- all have in common?

They were all characters in some of the most watched TV shows from the Eighties! Dukes of Hazzard, Miami Vice, Magnum P.I., Knight Rider and A-Team all featured memorable rides that became car icons of the generation.

Dukes of Hazzard

Dukes of Hazzard was a comedic TV show on air from 1979 to 1985. The TV series based on the movie Moonrunners starred two young cousins as Bo and Luke Duke living in the fictional Hazzard County, Georgia, and General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger. There was also their cousin Daisy. Her tiny jean shorts are the result of the term “Daisy Dukes.”

The Dukes’ 1969 Dodge Charger is easily recognizable for its Confederate flag that was painted on the roof and the number 1 on each door. The doors are welded closed, as it was originally built to be a racecar. When filming, a production crew often used both 1968 and ’69 models, simply changing the grille and taillight panels. These Chargers are famous for performing record breaking stunts in filming and being destroyed onset. Other notable automobiles that appeared on Dukes of Hazzard included a blue 1975 AMC Matador, a Jeep CJ-7, a Dodge Polara, as well as a white 1970 Cadillac Coupe deVille convertible.

Miami Vice

On air from 1984 to 1990, Miami Vice was a groundbreaking series that ran for five seasons. It was the first American network television programs to be broadcast in stereophonic sound and its top-notch soundtrack was unforgettable. The main character, narcotics agent Sonny Crockett drove two gorgeous Ferraris -- a black Daytona Spyder 365 GTS/4 and a 1986 Ferrari Testarossa. Crockett’s partner, Ricardo Tubbs, drove a 1964 Cadillac Coupe deVille Convertible -- not too shabby.

Miami Vice was known for featuring a number of exotic and impressive cars in every episode. Other notable cars included a black 1978 Porsche 911 SC, a turquoise 1961 Ford Thunderbird, a1971 Mercury Cougar XR-7 convertible, and American muscle cars, like a Ford GTO, a Plymouth Barracuda and a Buick Grand National.

Knight Rider

On the air from 1982 to 1986, Knight Rider starred KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand), an almost indestructible black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. The sleek ride featured a front mounted scanner bar, as well as a startling Turbo Boost to jump over obstacles obstructing the road. The customized 1982 Firebird featured artificial intelligence that spoke to the driver, decades before the iPhone or Siri. Full of cheesy one-liners, protagonist Michael Knight and KITT made a great team as they fought crime.

Magnum P.I.

From 1980 to 1988, there was no cooler private investigator on the tube than Magnum P.I. The show was based on Thomas Magnum, a private detective and his partner, a red Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole, fighting crime in Hawaii. Magnum, played by Tom Selleck, sleuthed in and out of the tropical streets of Oahu in a variety of Hawaiian shirts paired with a Rolex GMT Master and a Detroit Tigers baseball cap.

The red Ferrari 308 GTS QV was only one of many beautiful Ferrari’s featured in the show. Other Ferrari models included a 308 GTS that was used in the first season and a 308 GTSi used in Seasons 2 to 6. Magnum was not the only one lucky to drive around luxurious cars in the show either. Other fine cars included a 1985 Audi 5000 Type 44, a 1974 Jaguar XJ Series II, a 1969 Jaguar E-Type and a convertible Mercedes-Benz R107.

The A-Team

Focusing on fun more than chic adventures, The A-Team told the story of a crew of  former U.S. Special Forces members that were also Vietnam vets. Besides Mr. T’s famous mohawk, The A-Team was known for its 1983 black and metallic gray GMC G-Series Vandura van. On top of 8 cylinders, the ride has 15" American Racing 14 Spoke wheels with 60 Series BF Goodrich Sport Truck T/A radials. It also contained the familiar red stripe, along with its black and red turbine mag wheels. There was even a spoiler on the roof.

Each week, The A-Team aired a new car-stunt, despite how farfetched they were. The van would leap high into the air and make a crash landing before the characters would get out without a scratch. In some cases, spectators can see a sunroof on the van. However, the sunroof mysteriously disappears when stunts are performed. The same can be said about GMC logos on the front grille, as well as on the door. Nevertheless, The A-Team became a trendsetter in cars, as numerous automobiles, including the Bedford CF and Chevy Vandura, were modeled after the show’s famous van.  

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