Finding a car to buy can be a bland experience. Many cars look the same and there are already too many SUVs, minivans and other typical cars that all blend in together on the road.
If you want your car to stand out, think about buying a replica of one of the famous cars you see in TV shows. The stars who drive them in the shows may not drive them in real life, but you can be a mini-celebrity and add a little pizazz to the highway.
Whether you’re using eBay, classified ads, auction websites, auto dealers or other ways, replica cars from TV shows can be found. If you’re handy with cars, you can build it from scratch.
Here are some cars from famous TV shows that can be bought or built, with approximate costs:
Downtown Abbey: 1924-9 AC Royal Roadster. A total of 850 cars were produced, and 41 are still surviving, so a value is difficult to assess because they’re traded so rarely, says Brian Massie, a communications consultant and car enthusiast.
If you could get your hands on one of them, finding parts for an 88-year-old defunct car company is impossible, so parts would have to be handmade or rebuilt using existing parts, Massie says.
“Want brake shoes?” he writes in an email. “Remove them, send them to a country in Europe that still works with asbestos and wait two months.”
Andy Griffith Show: 1963 Ford Galaxie patrol car. If you want to look like you’re patrolling Mayberry, N.C., the fictional town where this show takes place, you’re not alone. A website for the show’s fans details how to buy all of the parts -- including the red police light on top and the door shield -- and build your own replica. A 1963 Ford Galaxie can be bought online for $1,670 (needs a lot of work) to $37,500 (red with only 250 miles).
Scooby Doo: Mystery Machine van. Better known as a 1965 Form Econoline, one with the exterior and interior made to look like the van in the goofy cartoon show sold at auction last year for $22,000. It comes equipped with an ice cream dispenser and 26-inch flat screen with DVD player.
If you want to restore one of these vans, one is for sale in Phoenix for $2,500. Or you could just paint Scooby Doo on the side of any old van, as one eBay seller recently did with a 1971 Volkswagen Transporter listed for $7,500.
Starsky & Hutch: 1976 Gran Torino. The show only lasted four years, but red Gran Torinos with white strips around the sides and over the back of the hood have been popular for years. A restored one can cost $15,000, but restoring it yourself can save thousands of dollars.
Greg Mancine of Rochester, N.Y., says he bought a 1973 Gran Torino 10 years ago for $1,280 on eBay so he could turn it into a Starsky & Hutch clone by putting 1976 parts on the 1973 car. About $2,000 in work later, Mancine had a car that still gets him plenty of looks.
“It’s a fun car to drive around in,” he said in a phone interview. “You get a lot of looks when you drive around in that thing.”
Batman: The 1955 Lincoln Futura on the original Batman TV show in 1966 is one of the dozens of cars the superhero was collecting since his introduction in 1941. Building the concept car would cost $250,000, according to one collector. If you want the original from the TV show, the value is estimated at more than $2 million. Building a street-legal Batmobile based on the recent movies would cost $214,700.
Mad Men: 1962 Cadillac Series 62. Don Draper drove a hardtop 1962 Cadillac Coup deVille, which sells on average for about $23,000. That’s a lot of ads to sell to drive like one of the most successful ad men in Manhattan. A total of 134,572 of the variations of the car were made, Massie says, and the cars are still popular now and have a strong aftermarket. That’s a good thing, allowing plenty of supply or regular wear items.
The Mentalist: Citroen DS21. Driven by Patrick Jane in the show, this car was produced from 1955 to 1975. It’s a cool looking car that is known for saving France’s then-President Charles De Gaulle from an assassination attempt in 1962. The cars are expensive. The seller of a 1964 Citroen will only consider offers for more than $100,000.
That may be enough to force you to make your own replica. That’s probably what Starsky and Hutch did with their Gran Torino.
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