Hooniverse Asks- What Was The Best Cartoon Car?

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones, they're your modern stone-age fam-i-ly. . .

You know, when I was a kid, it never occurred to me that Fred’s steamroller-esque car would be impossible to steer, making the crude wooden tiller mostly decorative. Additionally, back ten, it didn’t seem all that odd that Pebbles might be hanging over one deadly rolling stone, and Bam Bam would ride on the roof. All I knew was it looked uncomfortable as hell, and boy could that surrey top hold a lot of weight!
Cartoon cars- they’ve been a staple of animated fare for decades, and some have stood out as particularly cool and distinctive. Whether it was the baling wire and bubble gum patchwork of Tom Slick’s Thunderbolt Grease-Slapper, or the jaw-dropping prowess of Speed’s Mach V, they always seemed to get the job done.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Some animated cars are really animated, and become anthropomorphized characters in their own. Speed Buggy, and, most notably, the entire cast of Cars embody this. Others, such as the Mystery Machine, the Wacky Racers or the Jetson’s bubble-topped flying car, serve only as transport for their owners, despite being boldly emblematic of the series.
Sponge Bob’s boat-car, the Homermobile, Roger Rabbit’s friend Benny the Cab- there’s a lot from which to choose. And one of my favorites isn’t even a car, but the trailer from the short Mickey’s Trailer, which at a pull of a lever (why don’t we have levers anymore? Stupid digital age) would transform from tiny tow-behind to commodious  home away from home. Of course with both Donald and Goofy along, things soon get off the hook.
What’s interesting is that many of these vehicles, whether crudely drawn, or the steely output of a rendering farm, were likely one of our first introduction to cars and driving, making them aspirational objects for the pre-pubescent yearning for the day when we could take a turn behind the wheel. And after leaping cars, talking cars, and transforming cars, the real thing could have been a letdown, had it not been so freeing and fabulously fun in its own right.
So which cartoon car draws your greatest admiration?
Image sources: [feministatsea, edrants]

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  1. P161911 Avatar


  2. engineerd Avatar

    Probably the definitive cartoon car for me, growing up in the '80s, was the Jetson's flying bubble. However, one of my favorite cartoon vehicles was Launchpad McQuack's plane in Duck Tales.

  3. superbadd75 Avatar

    Speed Buggy!! How the hell can you not love a talking Meyers Manx?

    1. lilwillie Avatar

      X2. I loved Speed Buggy. What a great cartoon.

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Speedbuggy totally creeped me out! I mean, was he a car, or some sort of living being? I found the combination bizarre, confusing, inconsistant and ultimately disturbing.

  4. Dr_Dangerously Avatar

    M.A.S.K. Thunderhawk & Wildcat
    or AE86 Trueno!

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      M.A.S.K.: creating future engineers obsessed with modular systems.
      …at least for me.
      I was quite a dorky little kid.
      "was…" heh…

  5. John S. Avatar
    John S.

    My vote is for the "Jack Rabbit Special" from the short-lived ABC cartoon "Hot Wheels." I couldn't find an image online of the car as it appeared in the cartoon.
    But here is a photo of the Hot Wheels model of the car : http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080312162
    [youtube yE_90nMBKXM&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE_90nMBKXM&feature=related youtube]

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Wow, I remember that show. Using cartoon shows to market toy cars? As the late publisher of Road & Track, John R. Bond, used to say, "There's nothing new under the sun gear."

    2. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      That was pure awesome! I remember that for some strange reason, tho I wold have been a toddler and in a foreign country at the time. I had a couple of those cereal toy racers too!

  6. tonyola Avatar

    As a small child, I was fascinated by this….[youtube KQnO2h-ATaQ&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQnO2h-ATaQ&feature=related youtube]

    1. dukeisduke Avatar


    2. jjd241 Avatar

      Eventually all cars will have fins like that!

      1. tonyola Avatar

        And everyone will have eyebrows like that!

  7. rikadyn Avatar

    >.> Anything from Initial D

    1. M44Power Avatar

      Especially that black Skyline that the Dracula-looking dude drives.

  8. M44Power Avatar

    Inspector Gadget's car had louvered rear glass and could turn into a minivan…. nevermind. That isn't cool at all.

    1. Tomsk Avatar

      I always wanted to see it stop mid-transformation; that way it would have looked like a Lotus Esprit breadvan!

  9. Josh Avatar

    Initial D I discovered later in my life and cannot wait for stage 5 to come out next spring. So I have to go with the Mach 5 from speed racer.

  10. Feds_II Avatar

    I could not agree more. Very little tom slick info on the ol' intertubes.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Here ya go….
      [youtube yDfKKQ4WSqA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDfKKQ4WSqA youtube]

  11. dmilligan Avatar

    Yep, the Thunderbolt Grease-Slapper and all of its variations is the best. The villains had some cool rides too.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      There's no such word as "fail" to Tom Slick!

  12. dukeisduke Avatar

    Excellent book.

  13. tiberiuswise Avatar

    The Convert-A-Car from Wacky Races.

  14. tiberiuswise Avatar

    Go Dog Go!

  15. PFG Avatar

    Nice M Coupe.

  16. BGW Avatar

    Rota Ree from "Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch"- just because of the name. And Wheelie himself could kick Herbie's ass all over the fictional Vee-Dub parking lot.

  17. dragon951 Avatar

    My dear lord, that picture is so awesome…

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      It's actually a shirt. Google "misery machine shirt"
      Velma was always the hot one.

      1. coupeZ600 Avatar

        On my way down here to the Bar after work I saw an old VW van that had big wall-sized maps of the world wall-papered/glued all over the outside in a cool mosaic-type pattern. I thought it was the coolest van ever.
        But then I had never seen this.

  18. Lotte Avatar

    One word: Thundercougarfalconbird.

    1. Blaster_Bob Avatar

      Don't forget the were-car.
      (I give up, can someone show me how images are embedded on this system?)

    2. dragon951 Avatar

      While we are at it, reminisce about the Beta Romeo. No car contains more eagle. Also there are several eagles under the floorboards.

  19. Atomo Avatar

    The Gadgetmobile, what else can be a van when you need to haul beer or a couch and then a sports car when you have to knock someone off at the stoplight.

  20. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Mach five had a big impact on my childhood, but I think the Jetson’s car was more profound. And IIRC, Mighty Mouse had a pretty cool car too.

  21. Blaster_Bob Avatar

    Thank you sir.

  22. joshuman Avatar

    I do! By the time I read them in the 1980s they were more charming than futuristic but I still really enjoyed them.

  23. joshuman Avatar

    Compete with F-duct intake.

  24. Moe Avatar

    Thunderbolt Grease Slapper was the name of my dads Triumph when I was a kid so Tom Slick has lots of memories for me.

  25. Texlenin Avatar

    Does Japanese Manga count?
    If so, Kanda's bike from Akira…

  26. Barbara Boxer Avatar

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