Thursday, October 28, 2021

Mannix Steers You Right

Several fictional TV detectives became famous in part for the automobiles they drove. Think Lieutenant Columbo with his beat-up 1959 Peugeot 403 Cabriolet, or Jim Rockford with his road-chase-ready Pontiac Firebird Esprit; Harry Orwell with his wheezy, gray 1960s Austin-Healey Sprite, Inspector Morse with his 1960 Jaguar Mk II 2.4, and Thomas Magnum with his Ferrari 308 GTS.

Los Angeles private eye Joe Mannix (Mike Connors), star of the CBS-TV series Mannix (1967-1975), may not have been the most stylish dresser, what with his wool sports coats and knife-edge-creased slacks, but he wheeled about the City of Angels in a heavenly selection of convertibles. The video below collects them all, from a 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado and a George Barris-customized 1968 Dodge Dart GTS 340 to a flashy succession of Plymouth Barracudas, a 1974 Dodge Challenger, a 1974 Chevy Camaro LT, and more. Let’s ride!

READ MORE:Curbside TV—The Cars of Mannix,” by J.P. Cavanaugh (Curbside Classic).


dfordoom said...

Was Mannix the first TV PI to have a car phone?

J. Kingston Pierce said...

No, David Janssen's private eye had a car phone in Richard Diamond, Private Detective (1957–1960), and Craig Stevens had one in Peter Gunn (1958–1961). Gene Barry also boasted a car phone as the star of Burke's Law (1963–1966), though he was playing the wealthy captain of Los Angeles' police homicide division, rather than a gumshoe. Those are the three car-phone-boasting predecessors to Joe Mannix that I recall off the top of my head. There might have been others.