RK Nation: The Best TV-Show Casting of Cars

Cars can be big-time characters in TV and movies. Last week, we asked you which shows got the props right to add to the characters’ roles or even which cars become the shows’ characters. We won’t even bother putting Dukes of Hazzard in because it’s an obvious choice.

In the original post, I offered Breaking Bad as an example and got lots of confirmation from Roadkill Nation, too. However, our readers point out two things: Yeah, I misidentified Jesse Pinkman’s Monte Carlo as a Caprice. Sorry about that, it was an editing mistake. However, I stand by Mike Ehrmantrout’s GM cars as great automotive casting. Yes, he drove an ‘80s Chrysler Fifth Avenue usually, but his stashed/burner/dirty-work cars were usually front-wheel-drive GMs. Those care are totally invisible and great disposable choices for his line of work.

Alright, enough of my explaining. Here are your answers:


Stranger Things

We won’t say “unanimous” (or else we wouldn’t have a list), but this was the overwhelming answer to our question. The Netflix sci-fi/horror show takes place in the 1980s and the cars fit the bill perfectly. There weren’t really even a lot of quotes about it from RK Nation, just “This is the right answer.”


Mad Men

“Don Draper starts as a mid-level exec driving big Buicks then he moves up to Caddys and doesn’t care what they cost. The firm also lands Jaguar as an account and then Chevy as the ad firm who is suppose to promote a new car model, presumably the Vega.” – Jim Cronin

“I like the flashback scene where Don is fresh out of the service and happens upon a guy building up a chopped ’32 Ford hot rod.” – Matt Kefer (Author’s note: This is a great scene, albeit a short one, for a lot of reasons.)


The Wonder Years

“The episode ‘The Family Car’ should be on any gearhead’s short list. The Arnolds move on from a Polara wagon (the years are wrong based on the show), but they nailed it regarding emotional connections to a car:

“‘And so we finally got our new car. It wasn’t red, it wasn’t a convertible, heck, it wasn’t even a Mustang. But it was brand new. And it was pretty cool. ‘Course, Dad got his shot at king-for-a-day… and we were happy for him. But that afternoon, I began to understand what Dad had been going through. There was more to that old car than fuel pumps and crankshafts. There was a part of all of us in that car. The places we’d gone, the things we’d done… the family we had been. The family that was moving on. And for the first time, I understood the value of what my Dad had put into it. And why it was so hard to let it go.’” – Jeremy Powell


Burn Notice

“I always like ‘Burn Notice’ with the big-body late Mopar, Fiona’s Turbo Genesis, and Sam sporting the old Buick convertible.” – Jason Epperson


Trailer Park Boys

“’Trailer Park Boys.’ The s***mobile, Lahey’s convertible, Cyrus’s Corvette, and all of Julian’s hilarious sports cars.” – Derek Bee (Author’s note: RIP John Dunsworth, aka Mr. Lahey)



“What other show would have you contemplating whether it was cheaper to flat-bed a Ferrari 308 around than actually repair it?” – Derek Taylor



“’Life’ (with Damian Lewis and Sarah Shahi). He goes from a Bentley Continental GT, to a Buick Grand National, to a Maserati Quattroporte (and then back to the GN, of course).” – Brian Schulz


Arrested Development

“The F350 ‘Stair car’ was a great selection for the vehicle of a once-affluent family now in financial ruin. Plus a great running gag throughout the series. The ‘ANUSTART’ VW Cabriolet for Tobias, both of which are totally straight. Marky Bark’s AMC Pacer with camper trailer in tow. The Ford Escape that George test drove while on the run. ‘Bronco’s been discontinued. We’re trying to shed that whole fugitive on the run thing. This is the Escape.’” – Daniel Boulant



“’Mindhunters,’ the new show on Netflix, they got it pretty right.” – Steve Horak


“Is nobody gonna touch on the cars of Supernatural? A 4-door no-post ‘67 impala with a 327? All the other hunters’ cars? It’s great!” – Devin Skrintney

“The propmasters got it right, but the foley artists are on glue. They never get the impala to sound right.” – Jeff Regan


My Name is Earl

“‘My Name is Earl,’ although they got the era a bit wrong. The kind of cars the characters drive should have put the show in the late ‘80s, not 2005.” -Jeremy Knox

Married…With Children

“‘Married With Children’ and Al’s succession of A-body Mopars. They always just called it ‘the Dodge,’ but they used a whole bunch of different Malaise-colored Darts, Valiants, and Dusters.” – Ryan Connell


Andy Griffith Show

“As a Ford guy, I always liked the cars on ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ especially Aunt Bea’s black ‘56 Fairlane convertible.” – Scott Peterson

Perry Mason

“Perry Mason. Product placement, all the way!” – Jim Forbes


Simon & Simon

“‘Simon & Simon’ got it right! AJ drove the sleek and unique (custom targa roof) ’83-up Camaro and Rick drove the rough and rugged 70’s Power Wagon. The ’57 Bel Air convertible they shared showed they had classic souls as well.” – Pete Phillips

Rockford Files

“I’m showing my age a bit but I’ve gotta go with The Rockford Files. Garner’s Firebird and Rocky’s short-bed GMC. Perfect.” – Art Scott


That ‘70s Show

“‘That ‘70s Show’ – ’69 Olds Vista Cruiser, ’58 Vette, ’76 Toyota Corolla, and many more.” – Eric Buffenbarger

Charlie’s Angels

“‘Charlie’s Angels.’ Farrah Fawcett in the Mustang II Cobra. Very cool.” – Louie Meyer


Nash Bridges

“Nash Bridges. Fairly unrealistic a detective daily driving a hemi cuda convertible but it was a flashy show so it fit.” – Nathan Engle

Of course, you can read all of the responses right here and we’ll have another question for you later this week. One thing to note: If and when you respond to one of our questions, write a couple sentences to explain why you think what you think.

Roadkill Fall 2016 Cover