Tuesday, February 1, 2011

TODAY IN HISTORY: Cars.com Names The Most Memorable Cars (2007)

On this day in 2007, Cars.com names its top 10 most memorable TV cars; a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am named KITT from the show "Knight Rider" tops the list.

Pontiac, a division of General Motors (GM), began making fast, sporty muscle cars in the 1960s, including the GTO, which launched in 1964, the Firebird, introduced in 1967 and the Trans Am, which debuted in 1969. The Trans Am got its first big dose of Hollywood stardom when it was featured in the 1977 Burt Reynolds movie "Smokey and the Bandit." Continued fame for the car followed with the TV show "Knight Rider," which originally aired from 1982 to 1986 and starred David Hasselhoff as a man named Michael Knight who traveled around America fighting crime with his indestructible automotive sidekick KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand), a talking, two-door coupe equipped with artificial intelligence.
Pontiac discontinued the Trans Am in 2002. On April 27, 2009, a financially troubled GM announced it would phase out the entire Pontiac brand by 2010.

The second-place vehicle on the Cars.com list was the the General Lee, a souped-up 1969 Dodge Charger featured on "The Dukes of Hazzard." The show, which originally aired from 1979 to 1985, centered around two good-old-boy cousins, Bo Duke (John Schneider) and Luke Duke (Tom Wopat), who lived in the rural South and were on a continual quest to elude their nemeses, the crooked county commissioner "Boss" Jefferson Davis Hogg (Sorrell Booke) and the bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best). "The Dukes of Hazzard" was known for its car chases and stunts and the General Lee, which had an orange paint job, a horn that played the first 12 notes of the song "Dixie," a Confederate flag across its roof and the numbers "01" on its welded-shut doors, became a star of the show. Due to all the fast driving, jumps and crashes, it was common for several different General Lees to be used during the filming of each episode. Chrysler introduced the Dodge Charger for the model year 1966 and the car remained in production through 1987. After a hiatus of nearly two decades, Chrysler relaunched the Charger in 2006.

Third place on the Cars.com list went to the mythical Mystery Machine, a multicolored van from the cartoon "Scooby-Doo." Coming in fourth was the Ferrari 308 GTS from "Magnum, P.I." Fifth on the list was the Batmobile, a modified 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car that was featured on the show "Batman." Rounding out the second half of the list were the 1975 Ford Gran Torino from "Starsky and Hutch," the 1973 Chevrolet El Camino from "My Name is Earl," the 1983 GMC G-Series from "The A-Team," the Mach 5 from the animated show "Speed Racer" and the 2005 Maserati Quattroporte seen on "Entourage."

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