► Top 10 Gerry Anderson vehicles
► Celebrating Thunderbirds 50th
► Cars, submarines, spaceships…
As Thunderbirds celebrates the 50th anniversary of its first broadcast, what better excuse for a look back at the wacky and wonderful vehicles from the imagination of its creator Gerry Anderson and his designers? From Tracy Island and beyond, here’s 10 of the best.
1) The supercar
CAR magazine’s LJK Setright may have popularised the term, but Anderson gave it an entire TV show. More Man of Steel than Miura, Supercar was equal parts sports car, submarine and aircraft. Now that’s a real crossover!
2) Lady Penelope’s Rolls-Royce
Endless bonnet, three axles and a retractable glass canopy to boot, FAB1 is surely as ostentatious as a Rolls can get. Until the Cullinan SUV project enters production, at any rate...
3) Captain Scarlet’s Spectrum Patrol Car
Mysteron-fighting, bodywarmer-wearing hero Captain Scarlet’s company wheels looked like a cross between a Plymouth Superbird and a hearse, topped by a D-type-shaming tailfin. Forward vision presumably awful through the split front screens. Good job he was indestructible.
4) Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle
All-round visibility clearly not a priority of Captain Scarlet’s employers, Spectrum’s fleet also included this armoured behemoth, seating its occupants backwards to help avoid injury during inevitable bouts of crashing into things. Despite a 25ft overall length, five axles and an eight-tonne kerbweight, quoted top speed was (a non-independently verified) 200mph.
5) The Mole
One of the various vehicles transported in Thunderbird 2’s pods, The Mole was a caterpillar-tracked vehicle designed to cut through rock to rescue folk trapped underground, using a drill bit that probably wasn’t sourced from a Black & Decker kit.
6) The Thunderiser
Another tracked vehicle carried in Thunderbird 2’s pods, this time with a front-mounted mortar cannon to fire rescue packs through the windows of tall buildings to help people trapped inside. What could possibly go wrong?
7) Joe 90 jet car
Nine-year old schoolboy Joe McClaine becomes a superspy in his spare time when his scientist father takes the unusual parenting decision of transferring knowledge from the world’s leading military field operatives to his son’s brain. Fulfilling the mad scientist character brief to the full, this jet-powered open-wheeler was dad’s daily driver.
Piloted by the excellently named Troy Tempest, Stingray patrolled the world’s oceans stamping out aquatic crime on the nation’s screens from 1964 to 1965, and probably handled a fair degree better than Corvette Stingrays of the same era.
9) Space Precinct flying squad car
Forgotten mid-’90s sci-fi cops ‘n’ robbers show featured these flying squad cars, complete with hood scoop and bull bars. Naturally.
10) Fireball XL5
Technically a spaceship, but XL5 sounds like a great name for a supercar, don’t you think? The Fireball bit, perhaps not so much.
Be sure to let us know of any great Anderson creations we’ve missed in the comments below.