Today we are going to look at some 1970s TV cop cars. We are cheating a little with the first one. Think of it more as the lawman beating up the wrong guy.
It is the Ford Cortina from Life on Mars which was in many ways a 1970s cop show, just from the late 2000s. The brown Ford was a nod to the past.
Life on Mars was inspired by The Sweeney, which was a genuine 1970s cop show starring John Thaw (best known to American audiences as Inspector Morse) and Dennis Waterman. It was shot in a almost a cinéma vérité style on the streets of London. The action packed opening title sequence is actually a car chase.
Moving to a totally different island location there is this 1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham used by Steve McGarrett in Hawaii Five-O. This car was used for a few seasons when it was replaced by another less iconic Mercury. However it did make some appearances when they used old stock footage in later seasons.
The cars on Hawaii Five-O were typically furnished by Ford, but by coincidence the real Honolulu Police cars in the early seasons were Fords like this 1968 Ford Custom 500.
And now to the American mainland where we hope to stick to just the facts. The late 1960s revival of Dragnet featured a 1967 Ford Fairlane 500 driven by Sergeant Joe Friday and Officer Bill Gannon throughout the run of the series which made it easier for using stock footage.
The show also used 1967 Ford Customs as marked LAPD cars. The use of Fords was a bit odd given Jack Webb’s devotion to accuracy, since the police department did not use either model. Of course when Webb went on to produce Adam-12, the police vehicles mirrored that year’s LAPD fleet purchase with the exception of 1970 when they chose not to use the ill fated Mercury Montego and stayed with the Plymouth Belvedere for an extra year.