We are counting down the Top 50 hot rods and street cars of all time that have made an appearance in a television series, or a memorable television episode. Starting from #50, and counting down to our #1 pick, follow along with our memories, and see where your favorite show lands.
14. Peter Gunn: 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury Convertible
The private detective show, “Peter Gunn,” aired on television from 1958 to 1961. It is considered, even today, one of the best drama series to have ever been produced. Fashioned after a style of films popular in the 1940s and ‘50s known as film noir, the dark drama carried the same theme, and featured actor Craig Stevens as Peter Gunn.
Playing a well-dressed private detective, our character is almost as popular as the modern jazz music that was prominently featured through the seasons to help set the scene, and follow every move Gunn made. In fact, its theme song, the “Peter Gunn Theme,” was written by the great Henry Mancini. It won an Emmy and two Grammys, and has been re-recorded and performed in several genres of music, including blues, rock, and jazz.
What else was popular on the show? The cars. Although the episodes were mostly filmed and night (and in black and white) to take advantage of the stark contrasting nature and suspenseful aura, there was no denying that Plymouth was a major show sponsor. Take note that a 1958 hardtop DeSoto appeared the first few episodes in season one, followed by a 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury convertible with a car phone. The third season had a reprise of the Fury for Gunn with a white 1961 convertible, also equipped with a telephone in the car.
The 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury was available in two body styles: a two-door hardtop, and a two-door convertible. In addition, three engine choices were provided from the factory, all eight-cylinders: two were 318 cubic inches producing 230 or 260 horsepower, and a 361 cubic inch that output 305 horses. Transmission options included a three-speed with or without overdrive, PowerFlite, or TorquFlite. A car phone was not standard equipment offered from the factory at the time, although we are betting many buyers wanted to add this option in!