The Cars of the Original Charlie’s Angels

Cars from the 1970s were a mixed bag. Early ‘70s cars had big V8s and tires, but by the end, those had shrunk, small enough to fit in compact Japanese cars. One thing is sure, no matter what year the car was, being on TV or in the movies could make it extraordinary. Arguably some of the worst American cars ever made came out of the 1970s, but they still looked great, especially in shows like Charlie’s Angels. All of the main characters, the Angels and Bosley, drove Fords, and the 1970s was all but kind to Ford vehicles. Yet, they managed to make the cars cool enough to sell.

Charlie’s Angels put the 1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II on the map

1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II
1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II | Ford

Farrah Fawcett as Jill on Charlie’s Angels drove what was considered the worst Ford Mustang in all history. The Cobra II came with an inline-four, a V6, and a 302 V8, with only 134 horsepower; hardly representative of its ancestors. However, the car wasn’t all that bad. It had double wishbone suspension upfront. Mustangs and Pintos shared the same platform during this era, so it was a light car with decent handling. Fawcett’s brief time with the car on the show pumped up Cobra II sales enough to keep the Mustang afloat.

Sabrina Duncan’s 1977 Ford Pinto

Ford Pinto rally car
Ford Pinto rally car | Joe Amon, The Denver Post/Getty Images

The Ford Mustang Cobra II might have been the worst Mustang in history, but the Pinto got its title as the worst car period. Tales as old as time describe Ford Pintos exploding from the poor fuel cell design, but it didn’t scare away Kate Jackson, who played Sabrina on Charlie’s Angels. The car could have an inline-four or a V6, which only made 91 horsepower. It wasn’t going to break any records, but its outrageous tangerine color made an impression. Ford later recalled the Pinto and strengthened the fuel cell.

David Doyle’s 1977 Ford Thunderbird

Ford Thunderbird
Ford Thunderbird | Getty Images

David Doyle’s 1977 Ford Thunderbird from Charlie’s Angels didn’t need any help from the show to stay cool. It was a massive personal luxury car that weighed almost 4,000 pounds, even though Ford classified it as a mid-size, according to Hemmings. Ford offered three V8s for the Thunderbird, including a 302, 351, and a 400, along with front disc brakes and an automatic transmission. Despite its colossal size by today’s standards, it was a lighter model from previous generations. 

Other cars that made it onto Charlie’s Angels

1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II
1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II | P. Y. Tang/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

Many fantastic cars that weren’t Fords appeared on the show, driven by either secondary characters or just in the background as a sign of the times. A replica of an Auburn Speedster made its way onto the screen a couple of times. It was a two-door car from the 1920s that started with a straight-eight and eventually earned a 6.4-liter V12. Another character also drove a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, a 4,650-pound luxury car that offered two big V8s, disc brakes, and independent rear suspension. The show is clearly a time capsule not only of Television but of classic cars spanning multiple decades and eras. 

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