It’s always interesting to find out where the stars of yesterday wind up. Sometimes it’s sad, but you take risks when you get close to the opera. There is an agreed suspension of disbelief you betray when you search for the truth.
It’s the same with people as it is with cars. Cars, as I found writing this, are a little harder to track down. What makes finding them difficult is a numbers game.
There was only ever one Mr. T, the actor who played B.A. Baracus on the T.V. show The A-Team. Tracking down that man is a trip to Hollywood. Actually, last check he lived in The Valley. We used to workout at the same gym.
Anyhew, cars? No. There was never just one. They made hundreds in some cases, like The General Lee. Finding them is impossible, bit I did my best.
These five were my favorites from the 80s.
The General Lee
From the show The Dukes of Hazzard, The General Lee made orange cool. This was a once-enviable car by many, but this 80s icon comes under scrutiny for the confederate flag tattooed on its roof. If you were a kid in the 80s you may not have even noticed or cared.
What you did care about was that The General Lee, named after the Confederate Army General, could fly. It wasn’t a flying car, but they jumped that thing over something at least once per episode. Forget about reality, I thought cars could jump when I was a seven.
Other than its questionable name and paint job, the car with the big 01 on the side had welded doors, so the main characters, Bo and Luke Duke, had to climb in through the windows.
Somewhere between 255 and 325 Chargers, with model years from ’68 to ’69, wore the Hemi-orange paint during the making of that show. Less than 20 still exist, but not all running like new.
Several are in auto museums, but the most famous sale was to the pro golfer, Bubba Watson. Since his purchase, Watson painted over the confederate flag. Fans were so outraged, one man offered to buy it from him, but Bubba refused.
KITT is not just the name of the car from the T.V. show Knight Rider, it also represents the character of the artificial intelligence living in the car.
The acronym stands for two cars built with the same name, the Knight Industries Two Thousand and the Three Thousand. The base model car for the original KITT was a 1982 Pontiac Trans AM.
Actor William Daniels voiced the lines for the car, lest you thought the AI technology was real. The car could operate without the main character, Michael Knight, but could also jump without a ramp. KITT launched over other cars using a turbo boost feature, two ejectors that shot out from the bottom of the car. (Try that Dukes of Hazzard.)
KITT did more tricks, all conjured by the magic of Hollywood. I once had the pleasure of sitting in the driver’s seat of KITT while visiting Universal Studios in the ’80s. Park operators had either programmed the model with Daniel’s voice or hired someone who sounded enough like him to my eight-year-old ears.
It’s not still there. They sold it years ago.
Producers made 23 KITT cars. All but one survived the show, but producers destroyed all but five when the show was over. Most are privately owned, but one lives in Miami at the Miami Auto Museum, in the Dezer Collection
The A-Team Van
The 1983 GMC Vandura cargo van used in the show is indistinguishable from any of the vans by the same name produced from 1971 to 1995. That is, unless you consider the custom paint job, two-tone black and gray with the iconic red stripe, which extended to the spoiler.
Who put a spoiler on a van in 1983? The A-Team did.
In the T.V. show but the same name the A-Team was the rag-tag group of special forces trained vigilantes that you could only find if you knew a guy. To get around, they drove their signature Vandura, which was crazy, considering they were fugitives.
What happened to any of the vans from the A-Team? Your guess is as good as mine, but there are so many fan rip-offs out there, you could buy your own.
Considering how GMC cranked out countless Vanduras from the 70s to the 90s, you could make your own whenever you want. It would run better than any on the show. They used to trash those vans.
Magnum PI’s 308 GTS
The 308 GTS was a V8 engine with 250 horsepower but still went fast due to its lightweight construction.
Ferrari introduced this model in 1977, producing only 3219 of them between ’77 and 1980. The 308 GTS and companion model the GTB are iconic models for the Ferrari brand. They owe some of that spotlight to Magnum PI, the T.V. series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum.
Magnum PI had it made. He lived on Oahu, in the guest house of a fictional novelist, Robin Masters, who had money to spare. The car, in fact, was Masters’, but Magnum drove it all the time.
Other than Selleck’s mustache, the GTS was one of the icons of the show. What I wouldn’t have given to spend a day tooling around the island in that car with the top off, even though I was half the legal driving age.
The show used a new car each season, all of which they auctioned, none of which my eight-year-old self-purchased. I was unable to find any credible sources for the cars used in this show.
The Fall Guy Truck
The premise of the show was that Colt Seavers (Lee Majors) was a Hollywood stuntman, who moonlighted as a bounty hunter.
After a few decades, unless you were a superfan or still watch reruns, you remember just parts of the show. One of those parts is the image of Seavers’ truck flying through the air. Anyone who liked trucks in the 80s would have killed for that lifted bad boy.
To be fair, there were two models that served as Colt Seavers’ (Lee Majors) truck; a ’80 GMC 4X4 K-25 and a ’82 GMC K-2500 Wideside. You might never have noticed as both versions stacked up about the same on TV.
Producers (or Seavers, however you want to look at it) lifted the truck six inches. They added a custom door behind the driver’s seat, which was perfect for smuggling various things over the years.
Again, they auctioned the trucks to private buyers after the show ended. They’ve since gone off-radar.
Of any on this list, the one that would be worth owning is the 308 GTS. It would be problematic at this point, expensive to maintain, but so worth it. It’s the only car on this list that was really something.
The rest were all lights and mirrors unless you want to drive a creepy van or truck from the time when they coined the phrase, it drives like a truck. No thank you.