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Screenstar blue ovals that often outshone the actors — here are the top 10 classic Fords on TV.

Life On Mars Cortina

classic fords on tv

As a modern day take on the classic ’70s cop show, Life on Mars was always destined to have a high classic Ford count. The most prominent example is Gene Hunt’s Mk3 Cortina 2000E (with a GXL front), a car which appears so frequently it’s a main character in its own right! Numerous other Fords also crop up, including a Mk1 Capri, a Mk1 Transit, Mk3 Zephyr, and a Mk1 Granada Estate. They all helped recreate the kind of street scene that would’ve been an everyday sight in 1973.

Z-Cars’ Zephyrs

classic fords on tv

Whereas Dixon Of Dock Green was all about PC Plod drinking cups of tea, Z-Cars featured the boys in blue chasing hardcore criminals (well for the 1950s and 1960s, anyway) in Zephyrs — first Mk2s and then onto Mk3s and Mk4s. If you’ve never heard of it, ask your Dad.

The Professionals’ RS2000

Before he joined Bodie with his own Capri 3.0S, Ray Doyle was frequently behind the wheel of this Diamond White Mk2 RS2000 — a 1976 car dressed up as a later model. The Mk2 appeared in an impressive 17 episodes before it was replaced by the Capri — possibly due to the imminent arrival of the Mk3 Escort. 

The Professionals’ Capri 3.0Ss

We can’t prove it, but the reason Ford continued to build the Capri well into the 1980s was down to this cult TV series, as many a budding boy racer slapped down a deposit on a Mk3 3.0S after watching main characters’ Bodie and Doyle screeching around north London. 

The Sweeney’s Consul GT

The Flying Squad’s Jack Regan needed a car to match his brutish personality and the 3-litre Consul fitted the bill perfectly. Big, fast and with immense body roll, it was the perfect tool for picking up both snouts and crims. And the next time your neighbour calls it a Granada, be sure to correct them.

Spender’s Sapphire Cosworth

It’s the late 1980s and Spender hits our TV screens featuring Jimmy Nail as a Spender, a private investigator moving in amongst the criminal underworld of Newcastle. He needs a suitable set of wheels to look the part and the Cossie (a 2wd followed by two 4x4s) fits the bill — threatening, and ever so slightly illegal.

Minder’s Capri

Whereas Arthur Daley was into his Jags, minder Terry McCann was very much a Capri man, with the Diamond White with black vinyl roof Mk2 2-litre Ghia appearing in all of the early episodes. Who says Mk2s aren’t cool? See page 8 for the restoration on this car.

Only Fools And Horses’ Capri

classic fords on tv

Del Boy Trotter was not only famous for his Reliant three-wheeler van, he also had a Capri — first a Mk2 GL then a Mk3 Ghia (aka the Pratmobile) — complete with leopard skin interior and obligatory fluffy dice. Mange tout, Rodney, mange tout.

The Young Ones’ Anglia 105E

This early 1980s alternative comedy became a cult from the moment it first aired. Best remembered character, the punk Vyvyan had violent tendencies, a hamster called Special Patrol Group (SPG) — and a bright yellow, custom Anglia. The series ended with Vyvyan smashing the Anglia into the living room of their student house. Job done.

George Gently’s Corsair

classic fords on tv

Martin Shaw (Ray Doyle in The Professionals) was back in a Ford for this BBC series as Inspector George Gently, filmed in the north east, with his character frequently sat in the passenger seat of a Corsair driven by sidekick Sergeant John Baccus. Set in the mid 1960s, the Corsair wears a 1965 numberplate, though in fact it’s a later V4!

This feature first appeared in the November 2020 / Classic Fords On TV special issue

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