Before your kid was babysat by a touchscreen, you were babysat by a small screen, passing the hours wishing your dad drove as cool a car as the dads on TV (or maybe just wishing they were your dad). While you were tacitly being taught sitcom family values, you were also being sold some pretty great cars … and some, well, not so great. Here’s a small sampling of iconic TV dad cars, and the modern alternatives most likely to feature in the inevitable series reboot.
Darrin Stephens: Bewitched (1964-1972)
His Ride: 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Super Sport Convertible
One guy named Darrin played by 2 guys named Dick drove a whole bunch of Chevys, which was really ahead of its time. Chevy was an original sponsor of the show, and Darrin’s job as an ad man was to sell people the blue-painted, white-walled, chromed-out dream he was driving (when not under a spell and sprouting donkey ears, or something). Pretty meta for 1964.
Modern Alternative: Corvette Stingray Convertible
An ad man’s got to stay loyal to his clients, and a happy suburban couple with a talented kid would look perfect in this sporty, powerful convertible with a 6.2-liter V8 good for up to 650 horsepower. Plus, the drop top goes open air in just 19 seconds — faster if Samantha’s nose gets twitching. Still wouldn’t win Darrin any respect from his mother-in-law.
Mike Brady: The Brady Bunch (1969-1974)His Ride: 1969 Plymouth Fury III
Architects have a certain style, and the blue Fury convertible Mr. Brady drove was one handsome ride. It’s functional, too, with a long fuselage body and big V8 engine generating up to 375 horsepower, every bit of which is needed when you’re pushing 6 kids … and Alice!
Modern Alternative: Audi A5 Cabriolet
What better convertible for an architect than one that combines function and form like the A5? Quattro all-wheel drive for safety with one of the slickest convertible silhouettes on the market today. And it gets 28 miles per gallon highway, perfect for trips to see the herd of grandkids Mike and Carol (and Alice!) must have amassed by now.
Fred Sanford — Sanford & Son (1972-1977)His Ride: 1951 Ford F1 4×2
The only thing more worn and crabby looking than Redd Foxx was his painfully rusty F1 pickup truck, a hunk of junk for hauling junk. Though it was technically Fred’s, his “Dummy” son, Demond Wilson, did most of the driving, which, given its condition (and straight axle suspension) might’ve been more punishment than privilege.
Modern Alternative: Ford F-150 Lariat Supercab
Had the F-150 been around in Fred’s day, with available 5.0-liter V8 engine and a 3,020 pound payload capacity, hauling junk would’ve been a breeze. It’s so gorgeous inside and out that Fred might have given himself a proper shave and switched to antiquing. Or at least smiled.
Howard Cunningham: Happy Days (1974-1984)His Ride: 1948 Desoto Deluxe Suburban
Richie’s dad drove exactly what a middle-aged, 1950s hardware store owner should drive: a big ol’ family sedan with a massive roof rack. Perfect for hauling the family or a crapload of tools, but an even more sensible choice to loan to your son. With a ride like this, Howard never had to worry about Richie landing on the earliest known episode of Teen Mom.
Modern Alternative: Dodge Durango R/T
It has size, cargo space and a bigass 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that can haul the family to every outing from Monday to Friday. If Howard had this three-row beast, he might’ve ditched the cardigan sweaters altogether and given Marion the ride of her life.
Homer Simpson: The Simpsons (1989-Present)His Ride: Generic 1970s American Sedan
The make and model of Homer’s pink family sedan is a mystery. Homer once noted it was made in Guatemala, his mechanic claimed it was built in Croatia from Soviet tanks, and diligent fanboys peg it as a 1964 Plymouth valiant. While its true identity may never be revealed, its resilience can never be questioned. The car has been endlessly (and hilariously) punished, yet its only visible signs of damage are a bent antenna and dented rear fender.
Modern Alternative: Pontiac Aztec
Homer would probably prefer an American car, though if The Homer is any indication, his sense of “the next big thing” has been clouded by 20+ years worth of blows to the head. It would be fitting for Homer to scrape together enough cash to upgrade his ride only to choose one of the worst automobiles ever produced. Then again, another legendary TV dad proved this car is also remarkably resilient.