One legacy of The Andy Griffith Show has got to be all of the early-60s Ford sedans that have survived as replicas of the police cars Andy and Barney drove. This one is particularly well known in central Indiana. It is parked every day on US 36 across from the courthouse in Danville, a small town 10 miles west of Indianapolis.
It fronts the Mayberry Cafe, an Andy Griffith Show-themed restaurant. The homestyle food is good and the décor is country cute. Big TVs all over the restaurant endlessly loop episodes of the show.
I’m no scholar of the show, but this replica looks really good to me. Check out this still from the show, which I sourced from imcdb.com. The replica car even got the front license plate right.
This stark, Spartan interior was jarring to see. I’m old enough to have ridden in any number of basic sedans with plain vinyl seats and rubber floor mats. I don’t miss it.
I do miss styling touches like the jet-pod tail lights on these early-60s Fords, though. Let me be clear: this is no dig at modern styling. I think the Ford Fusion is lovely and I wouldn’t mind having one in my driveway. But modern cars seem to apply styling directly onto to a form largely created and constrained by safety regulations and aerodynamics. Even if Ford were to go back to big, round tail lights, they’d curve and morph them to fit the car, rather than fit the car to them.
This car looks really good – far better than you’d expect for one that’s always here, even in the snowy months. And I gather that it’s regularly driven. That’s the way we like them.