June 22, 2024

Top 10 TV Cops and Their Classic Cars: A Match Made in Hollywood.

TV detectives and, equally importantly, their fantastic vintage vehicles have been a staple of television entertainment since Jack Warner first patrolled the streets in uniform in Dixon of Dock Green nearly 70 years ago.

Our automotive experts at Adrian Flux have taken a trip down memory lane to share some of their favorite old crime solvers who shared the screen with some truly magnificent machines.

Of course, the question of when a car becomes a classic is always up for debate – check out our blog for more details. 

In our showcase of iconic TV cars, you might need to rewind the clock to recall some of them, and you may be surprised to find that they’re not all shiny red gas-guzzlers like our first entry in the detectives’ car show.

1. Dave Starsky in Starsky & Hutch

Dave Starsky in Starsky & Hutch: In the American cop series turned into a film, actor Paul Michael Glaser cruised around in a 1975 351 Windsor V8-powered 2-door Gran Torino. Its bright red color with white stripes made it instantly recognizable. The show, which launched the career of singer David Soul, aired on Saturday nights from 1975 to 1979.

2. Inspector Morse in Morse

The detective portrayed by John Thaw had a fondness for ale, classical music, and classic cars. He drove a Mark 2 Jaguar 2.4 L with steel wheels and a vinyl roof. While the original novels featured Morse driving a Lancia, Thaw insisted on a British car for the TV series, which aired from 1987 to 2000.

TV cops and their classic cars

3. Lieutenant Columbo in Columbo

The scruffy LAPD detective played by Peter Falk drove a beat-up 1959 Peugeot 403 convertible. Only 504 of these were ever made, so he was fortunate to have one, even though it had definitely seen better days – much like Columbo’s tattered overcoat. The series began in 1968.

TV cops and their classic cars

4. Simon Templar in The Saint

Portrayed by the late Roger Moore from 1962 to 1969, Templar drove a sleek Volvo P1800 coupe. While not technically a cop, The Saint was a modern-day hero who always fought for justice against evil.

TV cops and their classic cars

5. Thomas Magnum in Magnum, PI

This suave investigator enjoyed the good life in Hawaii from 1990 to 1998. Played by Tom Selleck, Magnum indulged in beer, Scotch, and fine wine from his landlord’s cellar. He also borrowed his landlord’s Ferrari 308 GTS when needed. While not a cop, Magnum was a top-notch Private Investigator.

TV cops and their classic cars

6. Ray Doyle in The Professionals

The iconic car associated with CI5 operative Ray Doyle, played by Martin Shaw from 1977 to 1983, was the Ford Capri 3.0 S. Doyle’s partner Bodie also drove a Capri in the series, making it the go-to car for undercover agents.

TV cops and their classic cars

7. John Steed in The Avengers

The stylish John Steed had a collection of fabulous cars to match his charm. His signature vehicle was a vintage green Bentley, but he also drove two yellow Rolls-Royces in the final season. Throughout the series that began in 1961, Steed was accompanied by a lineup of leading ladies, including Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, Linda Thorson, and Joanna Lumley.

TV cops and their classic cars

8. DCI Vera Stanhope in Vera

Launched in May 2011, the show set in Northumbria featured the relentless DCI Vera Stanhope driving a sturdy Land Rover Defender. Despite its worn appearance, the car was built for rugged terrain. Lead actress Brenda Blethyn even performed her own driving scenes, as her stunt double was a man with a distinctive ginger beard.

TV cops and their classic cars

9. Jim Bergerac in Bergerac

No list of TV detectives and their classic cars would be complete without John Nettles’s Bergerac. In this gentle 80s series set in the Channel Islands, Bergerac tackled mysteries while driving a stunning deep red 1949 Triumph Roadster 2000.

TV cops and their classic cars

10. Gene Hunt in Ashes to Ashes

The choice of car for protagonist Gene Hunt, played by Philip Glenister, in this spin-off of Life on Mars in 2008 was a bit unconventional. The Audi Quattro seen on screen was actually a modified 1983 model, not available in right-hand drive in the UK in 1981 when the series was set. However, Glenister’s response to this discrepancy was simply, “Who cares? It’s a cool car.”

TV cops and their classic cars

It’s not just police procedurals that showcase remarkable vehicles. Check out our blog on some of TV’s most famous cars and their insurance costs

Looking for insurance for your classic car? Contact Adrian Flux for assistance

Whether you own a standard, classic, custom, or collector’s car, the team at Adrian Flux can provide competitive classic car insurance tailored to your specific requirements. 

Call 0800 369 8590 for a quick quote – 81.5% of customers who received an online quote in August 2022 could have obtained a cheaper quote by phone. Alternatively, schedule a callback at your convenience. 


Q: What is considered a classic car?

A: The definition of a classic car can vary, but typically it refers to a vehicle that is over 20 years old and holds a certain historical or sentimental value.

Q: Can I insure a classic car for everyday use?

A: Yes, many insurance providers offer policies for classic cars that can be used for regular driving as well as for special occasions.


TV detectives and their classic cars have left a lasting impression on viewers, combining mystery-solving skills with iconic vehicles. These timeless pairings continue to be celebrated by fans of both vintage cars and crime dramas.

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