There’s a phrase we often throw around here, “There’s no accounting for taste.” I hate to turn it into a cliché, but it was hard not to think of it when looking at these pictures, shot in Williamsburg by triborough.
These cars are props in the ABC show Life On Mars, which ran for one season in 2009. In the show, a police detective is hit by a car and finds himself in 1973 after regaining consciousness. Even though I have never seen it, with its talented cast, I am sure it is much better than that other show filmed in Williamsburg, Girls (which will be mocked for its tackiness in ten years).
As we can see, the selection of cars–like this Skylark–make for more enduring cultural objects than those featured in the HBO show, now in its third season.
Note the mix of additional cars in the background.
Cars like this not-so-pristine Chevy II show Williamsburg as it was before being overrun by wannabe bohemians, and the variety of models parked around it–as opposed to only featuring famous nameplates in pristine condition–make for a realistic setting. For the cars alone, Life On Mars will be joining The Americans on my list of shows to watch. Hopefully, viewers will have enough taste to keep the latter on the air for a couple more seasons.
That is a mighty sweet Falcon up top. I am also jonesing after that Coronet in the last shot. My, I have been out of Lynn Townsend-era Mopars for too long if I am lusting after a 73 B body sedan. 🙁
Except for the vinyl top, that Coronet was my mom’s car until 1986. I’m pretty sure hers didn’t have the chrome trim around the door window frames either, but it was a ’73 in that dark metallic brown colour.
I believe that’s a ’72 – note the small bumper guards and the kink in the finer-textured grille. We had a ’72 Cornet Crestwood wagon when I was a kid, in Sherwood Green, of course…
I watched the show, pretty sure that was one of the detective units.
I was down almost to Arkansas earlier this week and saw an immaculate Mopar B-body wagon in pristine condition. Sadly, circumstances did not allow for pictures.
You wouldn’t like that Falcon if you drove it.
I loved that show. The main character drove a pretty sweet Chevelle. Wish they hadn’t cancelled it.
Here is the Chevelle.
Man, I forgot about that!! They filmed this show not only in the ‘Burg, but exteriors on e. 4th and Avenue A, as well as other locations in the LES, including Orchard Street and Ludlow Street…I was working at D.B.A. Bar right around the corner and living in Wmsburg, and remember walking up and down the various streets to check out the amazing vintage rides.
It was such a good show in theory – they really did a great job of reproducing the city in the 70s, and it also genuinely and unintentionally captured quite a bit of the “old” NYC that was still extant in 2009, before the last four years of ultra-gentrification…stores that still existed at the time from the 70s which have now since closed, old buildings that are now gone. But the writing had holes, and it didn’t catch on…it was a shame it was cancelled, though. I really loved it.
IIRC the brown Coronet was precinct commander Gene Hunt’s car.
That Falcon is just right.I saw a few episodes of the British version
I liked Life on Mars, although the final episode was a bit disappointing.
They did make a few errors – the main character was supposed to be stuck in 1973, but on one episode a commercial for the AMC Pacer (introduced in February 1975) came on during a show he was watching.
Life on Mars is like the original Prisoner series with Patrick McGoohan. It was a one-season show with a well-defined beginning and end. Personally, I hate it when producers try to stretch a series like this beyond its original concept.
Having said that, I love the cars used. They have patina, and back then, up north, we all drove rustbuckets — to one degree or another. It was a grittier time, and the show presented that quite well.
That’s a good point. Some shows end up being about nothing after a while, like the last couple seasons of Mad Men where the highlights have been: Betty’s a bit chubby and that Don takes acid (how original) and has kinky sex (how edgy).
I don’t know what they’re filming, but today, West 15th Street between 7th and 8th here in New York was filled with early- to mid-60s cars, mostly unrestored – including a ’62 Dodge Dart cab. And, sadly, I was not in a position to take pictures. But I can tell you there were ’62 and ’64 Impala 4 door hardtops, a ’67 Bel AIr or Impala 2 door hardtop, a ’63 Rambler Classic sedan, a ’62 Electra 2 door hardtop, and a ’64 Electra 4 door hardtop. Pretty bizarre end to my morning commute!
I saw some of the British series where they were hooning around in a GT MK3 cortina, not sure if the US version aired here or not.
I haven’t seen the UK version, but I want to. The US version is on Netflix, which is mostly what I watch since I don’t have cable…
But The Prisoner is currently nowhere to be found. Best TV series. Ever.
But The Prisoner is currently nowhere to be found. Best TV series. Ever.
The Prisoner is on DVD. Price for a new set on Amazon is out of sight tho. Blockbuster had it on it’s DVD by mail program, so I watched it last year. But Blockbuster is gone now.
Watched an ep of Magnum PI today where they rolled an early 1st Gen Rabbit. Just an old car in the mid 80s, and probably loaded with rust from the sea air.
You can find some more photos here.
They were on your personal Flickr and not on the Cohort, so I refrained.
I watched and enjoyed the show, too. I’m surprised I don’t remember the Coronet, I’ve always thought these fuselage body intermediates in the early ’70s were lookers. Such a clean shape to them. I loved my ’77 Plymouth Fury Salon, but used to wish it had an earlier front clip like on this Coronet.
I’m old enough to remember when the ’62 Falcon came out, and I never thought much about them, but now this one is a handsome car in my eyes. 50+ years can do that to you.
I’ve watched The Americans, it’s kind of fun for car spotters, lots of B-body action in The Americans, the main characters have a 77-78 Delta 88 sedan, the show is set around 1981. They miss a good number of details on the era, but again its a weekly cable show, there is only so much they can do.
That’s my ’72 Torino, right down to the green paint and lovely vinyl roof, I had in the 80s as a work, commute car. It had an injection system with a bottle of Marvel Mystery Oil that went into the carburetor and it must of worked as it had over 200,000 miles on it and still ran like new. With the 302 and auto it got 18 to 20 mpg, still miss that car.
I loved the original UK series. It’s one of my favorites actually. Come on! Who doesn’t love them some Austin Allegro?! haha. I watched the US version when it came out, but I couldn’t stand it. Inferior in every way.
If you liked the US version, seek out the British original. Very well done, but it has the typical British TV series quirks, a slow start, crackling middle episodes, and a bit of a contrived ending. British Grenadas and Capris, and lots of British Leyland home market stuff on the car side of things.
That ’62 Falcon is a beauty. I grew up with Falcons. The woman who baby sat for me and my brother had a dark blue ’62 Falcon 2 door and my Dad had a ’63 Falcon Squire in black with a red interior with the rare bucket seat/console option.
It seems everyone on CC watched that show, so it is surprising they cancelled it! I, too, watched it and thought it was a very entertaining show. They did a good job of creating the feel of the 70’s. Unlike some other period-type shows, they made very few noticeable errors in the years of cars and even had some of the cars that were older in 1973 look older. Too bad it only lasted a year, though the concept was self limiting and would have gotten less plausible after 2 or 3 seasons.
Only saw the first episode of the U.S version and all of the original British one. However the U.S beginning sequence knocked the British one into the weeds- watch them both and you will know what I mean!
I enjoyed “Life On Mars” but I was disappointed that I didn’t see any Colonnades in the series. I thought those were pretty hot in the 70’s
Never saw the American version; the British version was intermittently entertaining (and full of quasi-classic early ’70s cars, of course), but left a bad taste in my mouth. As for mocking the tackiness of Girls in 10 years, as the ad slogans say, why wait?
That Falcon looked identical to the one a teacher of mine drove in the late 60’s to early 70’s. He always drove very aggressively. He was kind of a weirdo, but it was a shock when he totally went off the deep end. Apparently, he was acting very strangely, even for him, and his wife began calling the school principal, trying to get him some kind of help. As this was happening, the teacher began to suspect his wife was having an affair, so he bought one of those boxes that recorded the numbers dialed on the phone onto a calculator tape. When he found out it was the principal’s direct number she was calling, he went ballistic, beat her up, and then took off with his shotgun to take care of the principal. His wife called the school to warn him and then the police, who intercepted him as he pulled into the school parking lot. My mom, sister, and I all listened to the whole thing on the “Little Tiger” police radio converter rubber banded to my radio as it happened. They put him in the ‘bin for a while, but by the Fall of my freshman year of high school, I started seeing him in the black Falcon again when he was visiting his kid at his former house. His wife remarried and left town. He drove the Falcon for a long time, until it rusted to almost nothing. I saw him in a ’79 Mustang a few times in the early ’80s, and then I didn’t see him until I went into one of those online mug shot sites a couple of years ago and put his name in. There he was, at 65, with white hair, in a mugshot for domestic violence against his present wife. Nothing’s changed much, apparently, but the cars.
I guess we CC readers are prone to time traveling. Just last night in a pang of ‘Heimweh’ I watched a 1976 “Tatort: Transit ins Jenseits” on Youtube. If you are capable of the German tongue and long for a dose of BMW, VW, Opel, Peugeot, Simca, MB, Skoda and Wartburg in action in the epicenter of the cold war go for it.
The Benz in front of the Chevy II prompted me to this comment.
I spotted a trailer of the first pilot draft of the American version Life on Mars who was set in Los Angeles before they re-do for the regular series.
Wow, that looks a lot different from the actual show. The actor who plays his boss is that same one that played that character on the British version. I think it was awesome they got Harvey Keitel in that role. He really took the show to a higher level.
LOM was too intelligent to be a hit. I hate to sound elitist, but the best way to get a sizable audience seems to be lowest common denominator writ large. Perhaps my advancing age has me at bit cynical and cranky, but there are very few things that get my attention other than The Americans, Justified, Archer, sports and some PBS. Am I the only one sick to death of Antiques Roadshow and its false tension on their wildly exaggerated valuations? While I occasionally have seen genuine pathos, like when the man with the “national treasure” Indian blanket realized his retirement of frugality was about to change, most know exactly what their turn of the last century brooch is worth. Rant over – sorry.
The real trailer (not the pilot) for the U.S. LOM is below . It was a good show , but as such I didn’t expect it to last long . Unforgettable characters – Keitel’s Gene Hunt , Mol’s Annie ‘No Nuts’ Norris ,some huge cop known only as Sizable Ted , and Imperioli with his long hair/porn stache look . They really got 1973 down to a T in that series .
Right on target. 🙂
Now let’s imagine an American remake of LOM spin-off series “Ashes to Ashes”, where Alexandra Drake, awaken in 1981, drive an Audi Quattro, what she could had driven if there was an American remake?
I stumbled upon this show at the second or third episode, and from then on my folks and I watched it to the end. The last episode was pretty bizarre but it did wrap up things. Great show, great cast and great cars! This post reminds me, I need to look for it on DVD. I should see if I can find the British version as well.