Welcome to the second Vehicle Patrol report! Woo-hoo! In this second report, we’ll cover Season 1 Episodes 9-15 (original airing order).
Note that much of my research utilised Google Images, Wikipedia, the Internet Movie Car Database (IMCDb), and/or various other specific car sites. When possible, I assigned a model year to cars—when not, a generation, a model, or just a make.
In these episodes, Amanda’s car is still the cream and wood colour Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon (Virginia JR4-502):
A little bit more about this car—it’s a Ford LTD Country Squire seventh generation (1979-1991) station wagon. The Country Squire was produced by Ford from 1950 to 1991 and was, essentially, a (top-of-the-line ) trim option on the model of the moment, with the Country Squire wagon over the years being models such as the Fairlane (third gen.), Galaxie (fourth gen.), and the LTD (seventh/final gen.). Originally a full “Woodie”, the Country Squire down-shifted to just simulated wood trim/decals beginning with the Fairlane model in 1955. This LTD generation was actually the last of Ford’s full-size station wagons, with SUVs becoming more popular.
We even get to see it (parked) with the top down (in I Am Not Now, Nor Have I Ever Been… A Spy):
More on this car in the third Vehicle Patrol report (Episodes 16-22, or thereabouts)…
Special Edition Lotus Turbo Esprit
In The Mole, baddie agent (mole) David Benson drives a snazzy-looking copper/red car to pick up Amanda for their date: a Lotus Turbo Esprit. Specifically, this is (or is a clone of, but I believe it’s genuine) one—number 39—of only 47 “Investor’s Special Edition”/”Silver Anniversary Edition” Turbo Esprits released to US investors in 1983… one of the identifying features being the removable tinted roof hatch, and—of course—the Special Edition 39 lettering on the driver door. (More information about these Special Edition Lotus Turbo Esprits can be found at http://www.thelotusforums.com/latest-news/our-news/back-in-the-us-of-a/.) The base model colour was silver/grey, but 33 of the 47 were produced in other colour combinations—this being one of them.
(Note: left-hand image lightened for clarity.)
This car appears again in Season 3—a couple of episodes from now on JWWM. In that episode we can see the Turbo Esprit logo relatively clearly on the rear panel, and the Special Edition number is more clear:
More trivia: James Bond drove two Lotus Turbo Esprits in For Your Eyes Only (1981)… a white one and a bronze one—both specially commissioned.
Real license plates on set
I didn’t notice any real Washington DC/Virginia/Maryland/etc. plates in these episodes but, again, we have multiple instances of (real) California license plates on nearby vehicles. A couple of the more prominent/interesting instances occur in Lost And Found. In one of the scenes where Amanda and Angelo are being driven around in the blue Agency van, a white Chevrolet coupe can be seen stopping at the traffic light; the car has an old (yellow on black) California plate. Then, while Lee is driving Eva to Liberty Larry’s in his Porsche, a dark blue Chevrolet with white and red trim can be seen passing, with a California license plate visible through Lee’s grubby driver’s side window. Neither of the plates are legible, but are readily identifiable as Californian. (First pic cropped for clarity.)
(Notes: Yellow lettering on black, with the format lllddd [l = letter, d = digit] for passenger vehicles, was used on California license plates starting in 1963, when all plates were reissued. Following this—in 1970—the yellow on blue style was introduced [lllddd, then rolling over to dlllddd], and the current colour scheme of blue on white [dlllddd] was introduced in 1982 [reflectorized in 1987; baseplate designs varied, e.g., font for California, or sun graphic]. However, during the time of SMK, yellow on blue was still the most prevalent plate style. Information from: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/plates/licenseplthistory.htm. BTW – when I came to California, about 18 years ago , black plates were rare but still to be seen [someone I used to know was a car nut and instilled a fondness for old-plated cars in me…]—now, I can’t remember the last time I saw one. [Edited 6/20 to add: I saw one today!!! On a shockingly bright purple VW Bug! Edited again 7/3 to add: OMG I saw another one today! On a very sweet, drool-worthy, ’65 Mustang!!! And again 8/1: Another ’60s Mustang (ID-able trim removed). Seriously—they’re now ganging up on me; 8/6: 1950’s-ish Chevrolet wagon.])
Sample CA passenger plates: 1963-1970 (left); 1970-1982 (middle); 1982-current (right). Images from Wikimedia Commons; author Happoshu.
More prominent/amusing(?) California plate appearances occur in I Am Not Now, Nor Have I Ever Been… A Spy. Funnily enough, both the red Porsche—924 or 944—coupe and the blue/grey Mercury Marquis station wagon that throw out the anchors to avoid hitting Lee in the roadway near Milo’s Daffy Dogs display CA plates. (Crazy Californians… driving around DC, trying to squish Lee. Images cropped for viewing clarity.) Was there maybe a requirement that the stunt-involved cars required valid CA license/registration when filming was done on the streets (off the studio lot)?
(Note: I can’t make out enough of the station wagon to confirm whether it does have faux wood trim [it kinda’ looks like it might]… but, if it does, it’s a Mercury Marquis Colony Park—Colony Park being the Mercury equivalent of the Ford Country Squire. )
Same vehicle—different episodes
Some of the vehicles that appeared in multiple episodes (with the exception of Lee and Amanda’s cars and Agency vehicles)…
Red Porsche – Sudden Death and I Am Not Now, Nor Have I Ever Been… A Spy
We see a red Porsche coupe (924 or 944 model) in the District of Columbia Stadium parking lot in SD when Bela runs away to hide in Amanda’s car… we see the same red Porsche in IANNNHIEBAS when Lee is trying to save Amanda from being kidnapped by the baddies:
Brown Chevrolet – Sudden Death and The Mole
The brown Chevrolet Chevette hatchback randomly parked on the street when the baddies kidnap Bela in SD is overtaken by Amanda—when trying to save Lee—in TM:
Blue Ford – The ACM Kid, Saved By The Bells, and Lost And Found
Remember the blue Ford Econoline van that the baddies stole from the Agency back in the first Vehicle Report (the Agency used it in TACMK, then the baddies used it in SBTB)?
Black Cadillac – Service Above And Beyond and I Am Not Now, Nor Have I Ever Been… A Spy
Maybe some of the baddies share a car service, ‘cos Baddie Delano’s black Cadillac Fleetwood limousine from SAAB (left-hand image) is used by Baddie Polo in IANNNHIEBAS (and the waxing/polishing job looks just as bad in both ):
Note: the four Agency limos used in Dead Ringer are very similar (or, at least, two of them are similar but definitely different, however the other two weren’t seen close enough to confirm)—they’re also Cadillac Fleetwoods, but lack the red striping and the front grille is different (–> different year; Agency limos on left, baddie Polo’s limo on right):
Ambulance – If Thoughts Could Kill and The Mole
Lee uses a fake license plate
Amanda’s license plate goes AWOL
It seems that Amanda’s license plate (Virginia JR4-502) has been behaving itself in these episodes—unlike in the first eight—and staying put. Vehicle Patrol will keep watching to see whether they stray again…
Magical moving license plates—same episode
It seems as though vehicles noticeably shared the same plate within the same episode only once in these eps…
Lost and Found
At Liberty Larry’s used car lot/scrap yard we see Virginia EN6-3K8 on the powder blue (Jet Stream Blue?) 1959 Edsel Ranger 4-door hardtop that Lee shoves Eva into the boot (trunk) of, and also on the pale yellow 1955 Cadillac Series 60 or 62 that Lee/Stunt Lee fights with the KGB goon behind:
I also love the way the license plate is just rested against the boot of the Edsel… not properly attached:
Well, that’s it for this installment of Vehicle Patrol Report 2 – Season 1 Episodes 9-15. Coming up next: Magical moving license plates—different episodes, crashed/wrecked vehicles, Agency vehicles, some amusing vehicle moments/trivia, and the blooper reel.
This is Vehicle Patrol signing off for now…