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Driving the Detectives: Top Gear reveals nation’s ultimate TV Cop Cars!

The burgundy Jaguar Mark 2 driven by Inspector Morse in the TV show Morse has been voted the most iconic TV cop-car of all time, in a new poll commissioned by the world’s biggest motoring entertainment show, Top Gear.

The classic British-made model was declared top of the cops by over half (53%) of those surveyed, closely followed by Gene Hunt’s Audi Quattro from Ashes to Ashes (43%), and the Ferrari 308 GTS that starred in Magnum, PI.

The survey of 1000 British adults comes ahead of this Sunday’s second episode of the new series, where the presenters put several legendary TV crime-fighting cars through their paces, with hilarious results. 

The episode celebrates an era when telly police cars were as famous and recognisable as the actors who drove them.

The nation’s 10 best loved TV cop and detective cars were as follows:

  1. Jaguar Mark 2 – Inspector Morse, Morse (53%)
  2. Audi Quattro – Gene Hunt, Ashes to Ashes (43%)
  3. Ferrari 308 GTS – Thomas Magnum, Magnum PI (41%)
  4. Ford Capri – Ray Doyle, The Professionals (41%)
  5. Ford Gran Torino – Dave Starsky, Starsky and Hutch (40%)
  6. Ferrari Testarossa – Sonny Crockett, Miami Vice (37%)
  7. Land Rover Defender – Vera Stanhope, Vera (33%)
  8. Ford Consul GT – Inspector Jack Regan, The Sweeney (28%)
  9. Ford Cortina – Gene Hunt, Life on Mars (27%)
  10. Mercedes SL and Ford Escort XR3i cabriolet – Harriet and Jim, Dempsey and Makepeace      (27%)

The Ford Sierra Cosworth driven by Freddie Spender (24%), Jim Bergerac’s Triumph Roadster 2000 (24%) and the Ford Zephyr from Z Cars (21%) just missed out on a placing in the poll coming in at 11, 12 and 13th positions respectively.

70% of respondents stated that the design and iconic look of a car are the most desirable features.

Image Shows, Episode 2, cop cars, credit Lee Brimble/BBC STUDIOS

The Mark 2 epitomised Jaguar’s motto of ‘grace, pace and space’, with almost a third of respondents identifying Morse’s chosen crime-fighting vehicle as the ultimate TV cop car in terms of classic style and design.

Seven in ten of those polled declared the 1960s as the greatest era of iconic car designs. Though the Mark 2 actually launched in 1959, it was sold throughout the Sixties, with over 80,000 built in Coventry.

Alex Renton, Executive Producer of Top Gear comments: “It’s fantastic to see the Jaguar Mark 2 claim top spot in the poll for the nation’s favourite TV cop car. A true British classic that was a genius bit of casting which told you so much about Morse as a character. We were delighted to have the actual Jaguar Mark 2 from the show out on the track and to see the joy it brought to Chris Harris behind the wheel who is a Morse fanatic.”   

Chris Harris comments about his love for Morse’s Jaguar in this week’s episode: “The Mark 2 originally had a reputation for grace and sophistication but by the 1980’s when Morse was on the TV, it had a different image, it was a bit more bank robber than stately home.  But it all fitted with Morse’s character, the curmudgeon and intellect who loved real ale and crosswords and disliked pleasantries.

If a great TV police car can say something about the character or driver that almost no lines could, then this is the best of the lot”

As well as taking a drive down memory lane in some of their old TV cop car favourites, this week’s show sees Freddie on a mission to give the Sinclair C5 one more eccentric adventure, as he puts his neck on the line, literally, by attempting to break the national speed limit in a C5 bobsleigh – christened the ‘Ski5’, naturally – down Lillehammer’s Olympic luge run in Norway.

Freddie Flintoff, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness are back for their sixth series at the wheel – Top Gear airs this Sunday at 8pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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