Top 50 TV Cars Of All Time: No. 3, My Mother The Car 1928 Porter

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.

The 1927 made-for-television fantasy car was build using pieces from various automobiles by legendary kustomizer George Barris.

The 1928 made-for-television fantasy car was built using pieces from various automobiles by legendary kustomizer George Barris. Photo from IMCDB.

3. My Mother The Car: 1928 Custom Porter

It seemed like a good premise at the time for a television show. After all competitive shows such as “Mr. Ed, “The Flying Nun,” “Bewitched,” “My Favorite Martian,” and “I Dream Of Jeannie” were all hits with audiences. and there was no reason to think a plot centering around the reincarnation of a human into an automobile wouldn’t work.

Well, it didn’t. In the end, “My Mother The Car,” died after one season that lasted from September 1965 to April 1966. All but dead and buried, we resurrected it for the No. 3 spot on our countdown as it is the only TV car to have a series designed around an automobile as an almost human main character, even if from beyond the grave.

Providing the comic genius, and the son of the dearly departed, Jerry Van Dyke as David Crabtree buys a made-for-television 1928 Porter Stanhope touring car, which turns out to be his mother, Gladys (voiced by Ann Southern) reincarnated as an old-time vehicle. Of course, the voice can only be heard by her son, which she projects through the car radio in the dash while the lights sync in flashes.

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The original stunt car from My Mother The Car is on display in the Hollywood Star Cars Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee alongside such famous icons as the General Lee, Batmobile, Eleanor, Herbie the Love Bug, and many others.

The Porter did not exist in real life as a production car, although the make did exist as a steam automobile in the early 1900s. The television model was created specifically for the program, with pieces taken from several different makes and models, including a Ford Model A, Chevrolet, Maxwell and Hudson.

Kustomizer George Barris, famous for fabricating TV cars, was tapped to complete a build for the special effects car, complete with an apparatus so that a stunt driver could operate the vehicle using levers and mirrors from below removed rear floorboards to make it appears Gladys was driving the car from beyond the grave – almost like a parade float.

The Porter was powered by a Chevrolet 283 cubic-inch small-block V8 and paired to a Powerglide automatic transmission. A one-off “Porter” signature badge was mounted on the brass radiator. Leather hood straps, a cane/wicker truck box, side-mounted spare tire, and oversized white tonneau soft droptop complemented the dark burgundy paint, and added to its period-correct dated look.

About the author

Tina Vervoorn

Tina has more than 18 years of experience as an automotive and lifestyle editor, journalist, photographer, and public relations strategist. She lives in Washington state and is an avid fan of motorsports, ice hockey, and the Seattle Seahawks. She enj
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