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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

The 10 Most Iconic Vehicles In Television History

Television vehicles are a seemingly overlooked aspect of television for many viewers. It might not seem like it, but vehicles play an essential role in the protagonist's quest and journey. Besides providing transportation, vehicles can inherit quintessential qualities of the setting and the characters. Some vehicles become almost like another character on the show.

10Thomas The Tank Engine Is Still A Popular And Beloved Kid's Character

Thomas the Tank Engine is an anthropomorphic steam locomotive that first appeared in The Railway Series novels by Wilbert Awdry and his son, Christopher. Television later adapted the character, and his show became known as Thomas & Friends.

For a train with a gigantic face on it, the character isn't as frightening or jarring as he might seem. Instead, he is pleasantly delightful. His design is colorful and unique and is very welcoming to kids. Unlike other anthropomorphic vehicles, the character has been continually well received by fans, specifically British. Thomas has contributed greatly to bettering British society (evident by his many awards).

9The Magic School Bus Made Learning Fun

As many fans recall, the Magic School Bus series followed Miss Frizzle and her class as they went on extraordinary and otherworldly adventures on their magic school bus. Unlike most other cartoons, this program was educational and became a cult classic in many elementary school classrooms.

As exuberant as Miss Frizzle was, the true spectacle of Magic School Bus was the bus. Whether it was going to the bottom of the ocean, flying around through space, or traversing inside a student's body, the bus could transform into any vehicle necessary for the trip. Because of the fantastical and magical nature of the automobile, the lessons were entertaining and engaging. It made the otherwise educational program quite enjoyable.

8The Mach 5 And Speed Racer Nicely Complemented Each Other

Although the anime is now a bit dated, Speed Racer remains one of the most recognizable animes in the western world. What made Speed Racer so great was the dynamic relationship between Speed Racer and his car, the Mach 5. The car wasn't just a simple racing machine, it had a personality and complemented Speed Racer's maverick and adventurous character.

The Mach 5 was a high-tech car equipped with a multitude of utilities and cool tech. It had a rotary saw, deflectors, jacks to boost up the car, and even a homing robot. Better than anything, the car was fun and made audiences feel like they were embarking on adventures with Speed Racer, Spritle, and the rest of the gang.

7K.I.T.T. From Knight Rider Was Like No Other Futuristic Car During That Time

One of David Hasselhoff's earliest roles was on a television series named Knight Rider, In Knight Rider, he played an undercover detective whose partner was an autonomous A.I. car named K.I.T.T. (short for Knight Industries Two Thousand). Unlike the typical futuristic cars in books, TV, and film at the time, K.I.T.T. wasn't a flying car, nor was he some sentient vehicle.

Instead, he was a more realistic supercar and was essentially a supercomputer on wheels. He could talk, drive himself, and do everything that a modern computer could do. Everything necessary for the case, K.I.T.T. had. As he wasn't a cartoon, K.I.T.T. felt even more real.

6The 1992 Animated Series Batmobile Simplified And Refined The 1989 Burton Batmobile

The Burton Batmobile was fast and had an elongated glossy design. Furthermore, it had nice curvature that distinguished it from other Batmobiles at that time, especially from the 1966 Batmobile. The Animated Series took this great Batmobile and made it even better in 1992.

Instead of the gothic Batmobile look, The Animated Series opted for a more noir feel. It still had all the essentials of the movie car, like the sliding door hatch and glossy shell, but the overall design was much more simplistic. The '92 Batmobile was noticeably flatter and had grooves on the front and sides. It now felt luxurious but still dangerous.

5Appa Served As Transportation And As An Animal Companion To Aang

Unlike most other vehicles on television, Appa of Avatar: The Last Airbender was not an automobile but a flying sky bison. Nonetheless, he was Aang's closest companion and was the gang's primary form of transportation. Aang and Appa had a close propinquity that spawned when they first met at the Eastern Air Temple a century prior.

The pair shared many similar traits and experiences. Both were the last of their kind for some time, both were Airbenders, and both were very protective of their kin. Appa was as integral to the plot as Aang was, and few television vehicles have achieved the status Appa achieved in The Last Airbender.

4The 1966 Batmobile Was The First Thematic Live-Action Batmobile

Adam West's Batmobile is one of the most iconic cars in television history. Though many fans believe that this was the first live-action rendition of the Batmobile, it wasn't. The Batmobile previously appeared in the 1943 Serial and the 1949 Serial. The 1943 Batmobile was a plain Cadillac Series 61, and the 1949 Batmobile was a 1949 Mercury.

The 1966 Batmobile, however, was the first thematic Batmobile and the first to feel like a conventional Batmobile. It had all the gadgets expected of the car, including a Batphone, a parachute, and afterburners. The coloring was also unique as the car had a fine red-lining that outlined its glossy black shell. On top of this, the car had that bat-themed flair to it, something noticeably missing from its predecessors.

3Optimus Prime's Truck Form Hid His True Form

Optimus Prime's truck form really isn't that special, some fans may even say it's generic. His G1 truck design is based on the Freightliner FL86, and his only unique feature is his bright red coloring. Occasionally, he did lug around his combat trailer. For the most part, he was the simple 6-wheeler. This makes sense since he's a robot in disguise, and he's hiding his true anthropoid form.

In Transformers, seeing him as a truck was exciting because it meant that he was going to transform. When he did, it was a true spectacle. The truck was a sign of bigger and better things to come (quite literally).

2The Mystery Machine Had A Neat And Original Look To It

No matter the rendition, the Mystery Machine will always be a staple of the Scooby-Doofranchise, and it's become as iconic as the characters themselves. According to Scooby-Doolore, Fred brought the van as-is from the keyboardist of The Mystery Kids, a family band, after their breakup. Besides being essential to Scooby-Doo, since it is the gang's main form of transportation, the Mystery Machine has one of the most quirky designs on television.

At the core, it's an amped-up van. The blue and green coloring is eye-catching and exuberant, and the orange flowers add personality to the vehicle. The name imprinted on the side (The Mystery Machine) helps to tie all the elements together.

1There's Nothing Quite Like The Flintstone's Car

The Flintstones' car was brilliant, to say the least, and absolutely innovative. It fit so well with the theme and setting of The Flintstones. Modern-day suburbia in the cavemen era, and their car is a vehicle powered by man and their feet.

Their car was just a prehistoric car frame on stone wheels. No other vehicle in television has been so creative and well-received, and nothing has come close to being as iconic as this. The popularity of their car is, in many ways, really a testament to how timeless and original The Flintstones is.

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