"Married... With Children'"s Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill) had it rough. He was a struggling women's shoe salesman, his wife was a couch potato, his daughter was, well... "fast," and as the song goes, his son tried, but just couldn't do it. However, Al could always (Well, usually) rely on one thing... his trusted car, frequently referred to as "The Dodge."
But it turns out that poor Al's car wasn't a Dodge at all. It was, in fact, a 1972 Plymouth Duster. Why, in at least one scene, you can even see the Gold Duster decal on the "Dodge"'s front fender.
The car uses a screwdriver as the ignition key, and music is piped in via a period-correct 8-Track tape player. And in addition to many memories, some going back to his high school glory days, the "Dodge"'s trunk also held Al's collection of "Big 'Uns," a magazine dedicated to the finest of adult male entertainment.
I love being an ‘80s retro nut. I get a thrill of finding stuff related to the decade. It’s the reason why I found out about the track whose music video was used for a successful Carspotters’ Challenge. The beauty of it all is that while making that post, a recommended video listed on the website’s sidebar had a certain Chevrolet pony-car as its icon. I’ve always had a soft spot for those cars, so of course I clicked. Thank goodness that I did, because it was good. Good enough to do another Carspotters’ Challenge video in the same vein as the one featuring the final chase scene of The Driver.
As we join in hot pursuit, what vehicles are we narrowly missing?
I must also ask: was the TV series good? What other TV series would you compare it to?
Maybe you can find ‘em.
(Sung to the tune that opens "The Andy Griffith Show:")
♫ Well now, take, down, your fishin' pole, and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,
We may, not, get a bite all day, but don't you rush away.
What a great, place, to rest your bones, and mighty fine for skippin' stones,
You'll feel fresh, as, a lemonade, a-settin' in the shade.
Whether it's hot... whether it's cool... oh what a spot... for whistlin' like a fool.
What a fine, day, to take a stroll, and wander by The Fishin' Hole,
I can't think, of, a better way, to pass the time o' day. ♫
The name of that song is "The Fishin' Hole," and those were the words to the whistling theme you heard every time you saw Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son Opie walking toward Myers Lake in Mayberry. Of course Myers Lake didn't exist, so maybe surprisingly, the title openings of the show were shot here.
Just like the music in "The Andy Griffith Show," cars also played an important part. In fact, several of their best episodes were written around them and the people who were driving them. So let's take a gander at a few of these machines... some of them might even surprise you a bit!
There were probably close to fifty vehicles that were in attendance at one point or another over the span of five hours, and it was a pretty eclectic mix.
Here's some of what we saw.
It seems there’s a lot of hybrids on the market that go so far out of their way to "make up for" being a hybrid—mileage-killing power, weight-adding features and girth, endlessly distracting luxury bells and whistles—that by the time you pick yourself up off the floor after taking a look at the financially crippling price tag, you might as well have just gotten a normal car. Because really, what’s the point of a hybrid if it’s got all the same stuff that a gas-guzzler has, costs so much more that you’ll probably die before you earn the difference back in fuel savings, and yet still only gets 35 mpg? Here's a spoiler: the new Honda Accord Hybrid is not that car.
Over the course of a week or so this past month, I had the opportunity to drive three different examples of the current-production "Tennessee Passat," two with VW's unique narrow-angle V-6, and a TDI diesel. Here's what I found.
You know that moment, with a car that's been around for a few years, when the automaker finally works out all the kinks and puts out a car that is perfectly dialed? Like what Dodge did with the 392 Challenger for 2011: suddenly, with the right amount of power and the right amount of handling, everything just falls into place, and you can finally say that they got that car right. That seems to be what's happened with the all-new Mazda 3, the bread-and-butter compact that's been paying Mazda's bills since 2004. Now on the cusp of its third generation, the Mazda 3 is indeed dialed—it hits all the right notes in power, handling, and appearance. Let's take it for a spin...