The 10 Most Iconic Cartoon Family Vehicles
Not too long ago, we all found out exactly what type of vehicle cartoon patriarch Homer Simpson drives, which then got me thinking, “What types of cars do other cartoon families have?” Instead of simply listing off the make and model of each animated family’s mode of transportation, here’s some info regarding the 10 best cartoon family vehicles, for your enjoyment (or disagreement).
- King of the Hill
- The Magic School Bus
- The Simpsons
- Family Guy
- Bob's Burgers
- The Jetsons
- The Flintstones
- American Dad
1993 Ford Ranger from King of the Hill (1997-2001)
King of the Hill was on the air until 2010 but, unfortunately, Hank Hill’s beloved red 1993 Ford Ranger went to pickup truck heaven in a season 5 episode of the show in 2001. After trading in his old Ford Maverick for it when he was younger, Hank owned his Ranger for almost 20 years. The Texas man had such an emotional attachment to his Ranger that when he finally got his 1999 Ford F-250 Super Duty (also red), he transferred the old shift knob from the Ranger into it.
The Magic School Bus from The Magic School Bus (1994-1997)
Alright, so technically this isn’t a “family car” but it was still a badass vehicle. It was a flying, magical bus that took kids on amazing science adventures, for crying out loud! Driven by the spastic but informative teacher Ms. Frizzle, the kids never knew what their day would be like once they hopped on the magic school bus. Definitely worth mentioning: the classic 90s show is getting a Netflix reboot, The Magic School Bus Rides Again, starring Kate McKinnon as Ms. Frizzle. *nostalgia*
1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Station Wagon from The Simpsons (1989-present)
While most people are still freaking out about Homer’s 1986 Plymouth Junkerolla, we mustn’t forget that the Simpson family also has an orange 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle wagon that Marge often drives. The family tends to use the Chevelle for most family trips (thanks to its large size) and the vehicle has lasted through tons of damage (like falling into a sinkhole, getting covered in sea shells, being crushed by a morbidly-obese Bart, and Homer totaling it in the Mr. Plow episode).
1975 Ford LTD Station Wagon from Family Guy (1999-present)
Another famous station wagon is that of the Griffin family on the FOX show Family Guy. While the family dog Brian drives (yes, the dog can drive) an environmentally friendly Toyota Prius, patriarch Peter is often found behind the wheel of the red 1975 Ford LTD station wagon. This vehicle has survived tons of damage too, including Peter’s daredevil days, as well as the dim-witted father crashing into a tree while reading Archie comics.
1976 Plymouth Volaré from Bob’s Burgers (2011-present)
Another station wagon? You bet! The Belcher family from Bob’s Burgers has had their share of struggles with their red 1976 Plymouth Volaré. In a season 3 episode, Bob and the family compete on the game show Family Fracas to try and win a brand new minivan after the Volaré wouldn’t start. The family didn’t win the minivan but the Belcher’s station wagon is seen running again in later episodes, including “Christmas in the Car” in the fourth season.
The Mystery Machine from various Scooby-Doo shows (1969-present)
To me, the Scooby-Doo gang is basically one big family. They’re always together, solving mysteries, and driving around in the ever-so-groovy Mystery Machine. Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scoob basically lived in that thing and, from time to time, some of the villains even made their way into the spacious cabin. The Mystery Machine is an iconic animated vehicle that’s made appearances at multiple public events and just HAD to be included on this list.
The flying car from The Jetsons (1962-1963)
Talk about compact! The green flying car from The Jetsons is definitely one of the smallest family vehicles on this list, squeezing in George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, and sometimes Astro the dog on trips through the cartoon galaxy. The show aired in the early 60s and during that time, many thought the not too distant future would include flying cars. Since the show was set in the year 2062, we still have a few more decades to figure out the logistics of airborne autos.
The Footmobile from The Flintstones (1960-1966)
It was quite the workout to get around in prehistoric times, but the Flintstones managed to do so in their epic footmobile. The primitive vehicle featured stone wheels, a wooden frame, an animal skin roof, and enough room for eight passengers, oddly enough. During each intro of the show, pet dinosaur Dino managed to poke his head through the top of the vehicle, which had to be a pain for Fred to fix every time they went to the drive-in. As far as vintage cartoons are concerned, this is definitely one of the most iconic cartoon family vehicles.
2002 Ford Explorer from American Dad! (2005-present)
You may not be too familiar with this vehicle unless you’re an avid American Dad! watcher. To the casual viewer, the black 2002 Ford Explorer is just the car that Stan Smith uses to go to and from work each day. But this vehicle is also featured in the opening credits of the show, crashing into the flag pole at the CIA headquarters where Stan works. Even though Stan did go crazy at one point, trying to outsmart a car salesman, the Explorer remains as the family’s main mode of transportation.
Ninja Turtle Party Wagon from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)
The four anthropomorphic turtle brothers of the classic animated series were usually featured fighting crime when they weren’t hanging out in the sewers eating tons of pizza. Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo, and Michelangelo had one of the coolest vehicles to get them around town – the Party Wagon. Its name fits perfectly, as the turtles’ mode of transportation had features like a turtle-launching catapult, giant guns, a Shredder-tracking computer system, and pizza, of course.
Morgan currently resides in Dayton, Ohio, after living across the entire nation (seven different states, to be exact) and even in Germany for a few years. Originally a graphic design major, Morgan floated around and eventually found her calling in writing and editing after working in marketing for a few years. Her hobbies include: board games, knowing way too many song lyrics, playing video games, quoting pop culture, going to concerts, and watching sports. It is advisable to not give her coffee after 3pm. See more articles by Morgan.