The 10 Most Memorable TV Vehicles

From cars to spaceships, the type of vehicle a TV character drives can tell us everything about them.

Dean and Sam Winchester lean on their iconic Chevy Impala on Supernatural
Photo: The CW

Part of what makes TV so immersive is learning about the interests, possessions, and habits of our favorite characters. When we watch a television series for a long time, we start to notice objects that mean a lot to our main characters, such as the vehicles they drive. Whether it be a run-down old truck or a spaceship from a galaxy far, far away, the method of transportation used by protagonists remains at the forefront of our minds. These are the vehicles that are inherently tied to the traits exhibited by their drivers, and due to their symbolism, they are the most memorable vehicles in the history of TV!

KITT (Knight Rider)

Perhaps the most badass car in all of television is the famous artificially intelligent Knight Rider Trans Am (KITT). Driven by star David Hasselhoff throughout the four seasons of Knight Rider, KITT was equipped with everything you’d ever want from a weaponized vehicle. A molecular bonded shell, flame throwers, tear gas, flares, grappling hook, and passive laser restraint system were just some items that made KITT a complete workhorse and a vehicle that could overcome any situation. KITT represented the pipe dream of what cars could eventually look like in the future, as many 1980s kids were overly preoccupied with the thought of technological advancement throughout the decade. 

Ford Futura Batmobile (Batman)

The Batmobile is a little like if KITT wasn’t artificially intelligent. Batman’s trusted choice of transportation also sported some pretty awesome weaponized goodies such as a battering ram, super powered bat-magnet, the bat-deflector, the homing receiver scope, and the bat-radarscope. Fans of Batman always knew that if the Caped Crusader was in his Ford Futura, the criminals of Gotham City stood no chance at winning. This vehicle is still as relevant in pop culture today as it was over five decades ago.

Walter White’s 2004 Pontiac Aztek (Breaking Bad)

You know the old Freudian saying, “sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar?” It’s often a phrase used by exasperated literature students who are tired of analyzing every object or color in a book. Well, in the case of Vince GIlligan’s chef-d’œuvre Breaking Bad, a cigar is certainly never just a cigar, or rather a 2004 Pontiac Aztek is never just a random car choice for Walter White. We all know the basic background of Walter’s life before he became Heisenberg. He’s a self-loathing man who would rather drown in his own egoistic insecurities and eventually eviscerate the lives of everyone around him than accept his fate as an underachiever. His vehicle of choice is a metaphor so on-the-dot that even the most unaware viewer of the show will notice its magnitude. 

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The Pontiac Aztek is one of the most infamous crossover vehicles of the early 2000s. Pontiac only sold the SUV between 2000-2005 due to its inability to gain traction with car buyers. Many shoppers found the Aztek to be unconventional and not very attractive. Car critics did note that the Aztek was a good and reliable vehicle for a variety of purposes. Although unspectacular, it gets the job done. This is precisely what Walter White should have accepted about himself, but what can you do? The baby blue meth was calling and Heisenberg answered time and time again, often driving his Aztek to the lab to cook. This makes it an iconic symbol of the Albuquerque crime megahit. 

The Mystery Machine (Scooby-Doo)

Through a number of variations, spin-offs, and sequels, the Scooby-Doo franchise is effortlessly comforting and entertaining. A group of friends solving mysteries with a talking dog sounds like something out of our dreams. The Mystery Machine is therefore symbolic of a lot more than just transportation. Its reliability and ability to serve as a safe haven from the monsters Scooby, Shaggy, and the gang come across helps ease the audience’s anxieties and the characters’. This junky van also reminds many a stoner of their days experimenting with the substance of their choice (but the kids don’t have to know about this . . .)

The Boatmobile (Spongebob Squarepants)

One of the reasons audiences of all ages have fallen in love with Nickelodeon’s infinitely optimistic sea sponge is because of his perseverance. The running gag that Spongebob simply can’t overcome his driving test and get his license across two-plus decades of screen time is something that will never get old. The boatmobile symbolizes that elusive success that evades all of us in whatever endeavor we keep chasing. It’s also just downright funny to imagine anthropomorphic animals driving underwater ships to their jobs and for errands!

1929 Ford High Boy Roadster Pickup (Happy Days)

Almost five decades after it premiered in 1974, Happy Days remains one of the best nostalgic, era-driven shows ever put on TV. The series starring Ron Howard and Henry Winkler represented one of the first times a network sitcom tried to pull in viewers based on sentimentality for their younger years, and the Roadster Pickup that can be seen being driven by the main characters at the end of the opening credit song is a nod to the ways we hang on to our innocence. I could have chosen a variety of different retro hot rods from the show, but this truck’s relevance is heightened by it already being 40 years old in the show’s fictional universe. That takes old school to a whole new level!

Jax Teller’s 2003 Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide Sport (Sons of Anarchy)

If you’ve watched the entire run of FX’s most popular 2010’s drama, you probably know that Sons of Anarchy is about a million more things than motorcycles. Loyalty, betrayal, small town politics, family, and brotherhood are the main thematic symbols of the show. Still, the motorcycles these boys rode down the fictional streets of Charming, California were often quite pretty. No bike was more eye-catching than Jax Teller’s (Charlie Hunnam) Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide Sport. Jax rode this motorcycle throughout much of the series, and it represented a lot of things about his character. Jax was a unit of a club member. He never shied away from the attention of being the heir-apparent to the SAMCRO presidency. He was brash, boisterous, loyal to a fault, and commanded the attention of the room when he entered. The Dyna Super Glide Sport was synonymous with a lot of these same qualities, and Jackson was very faithful to this machine like he was everything else in his life. 

The 1967 Chevrolet Impala “Metallicar” (Supernatural)

If you combine the feel-good family vibes of Fred’s Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo and KITT from Knight Rider, you get the Chevy Impala from Supernatural. This awesome vehicle was the avenue brothers Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) used to track down the forces of evil across a decade and a half of the popular science fiction series. Because it was present in nearly every major scene, this Impala symbolized the antidote to evil spirits, if you will. The Metallicar was nicknamed such due to the Winchester brother’s fandom for heavy metal music while cruising in the vehicle. 

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Mark IV British Leyland Mini 1000 (Mr. Bean)

Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean is one of the most beloved British television characters by audiences of all ages due to his naivete, silliness, and downright funny slapstick comedic ability. A simple man needs to be paired with an equally simple car, and Mr. Bean was constantly seen around town being transported in a variation of the Mini. This amusing vehicle matches his style and helps to immediately conjure images of playful and immature manner. If we had to choose one version of the Mini, we’ll go with the Mark IV British Leyland Mini 1000. The tart green shade of the car was the second version audiences were treated to. 

Din Djarin’s Razor Crest (The Mandalorian)

Pedro Pascal’s titular bounty hunter no longer uses the Razor Crest in the third season of The Mandalorian due to its destruction during the Skirmish on Tython, but that doesn’t mean we’re just going to forget about all of the memorable excursions and valiant adventures it has on its resume. This ST-70 Assault Ship is yet another reminder of all Din Djarin has at his disposal. The Razor Crest was one of the most venerable ships in the galaxy, and it sure took a beating throughout the first two seasons of the show. It’s also a sentimental symbol of the journey Mando and Grogu have taken together. Through thick and thin, the two juxtaposed beings became loyal to each other in the safety and security of the Razor Crest.