This post first appeared in CarLustBlog.com on April 27, 2015, and was the author’s first ‘The Cars of____’ post. Resized pics, fresh video embedding, removal of dead hyperlinks and slightly expanded descriptions aside, it’s all the same.
The art style evened out as the series progressed.
How many of you were aware that there was new Looney Tunes series? Well, you do now. The half-hour series focuses mostly on Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, as well as those around them. It’s made in a sitcom-y sort of way but it’s rife with little details that eagle-eyed fans of the franchise can appreciate. Taking place in contemporary times, we see that the show’s animators went the extra mile to make it feel as familiar as one can without infringing copyright laws or unashamed product-placement. That includes cars. While many do look generic, there are many more that, as a car person, grabs your attention. The kicker here is how well some of the vehicles are paired with their owners.
Let’s start with Bugs Bunny. I was a bit surprised that he was driving a Toyota Prius. But it sort of makes sense. He doesn’t strike me as a sporty-car type of rabbit, a sedan, minivan, SUV or truck are too big for just Daffy and himself; a regular compact would’ve been either too generic or, um, cutesy? Meh, whatever. Oh, the things that car went through…
Bugs went through a phase in which he ended up getting a V-twin motorcycle. While his bike looks too generic, I was surprised that the dealership he bought it from had very familiar-looking designs.
Only someone with Daffy’s ego would daily drive this, apparently a Volkswagen Type2/T1 pickup “parade float”. The parade float piece is what he cares for the most, for obvious reasons. He learned the hard way that parade floats don’t take well to automated car washes. As you can see by the clip, it even managed to have its own “Merrie Melodies” song on the show, which shows and tells us more about Daffy’s unique choice of wheels: It’s a mechanical mess. The transmission is shot. It won’t go over 25mph. It’s stated to have a diesel engine rather than an air-cooled one. It gets 1mpg and tends to catch on fire. The only way to start it is with a pair of pliers, since it’s even stated that the key broke inside the ignition barrel. If he doesn’t do anything about it, he’ll get his buried-in-a-Corvette death wish he once told Bugs about (in another “Merrie Melodies” clip) sooner rather than later.
Yosemite Sam is one of Bugs’ neighbors, the type who lowers the property value of the entire block. A Chevrolet El Camino probably enforces a tragic stereotype.
What’s not stereotypical is that they gave Yosemite a job at the DMV, and the driver’s test car is this:
A two-door Dodge Aries K. With a Landau roof. Nice. The entire DMV scene was a riot to watch.
Speedy Gonzalez isn’t the type to own a car, given his well-known reputation of being the fastest mouse in all of Mexico and all that. But as a business-mouse, he knows the need to advertise his restaurant, Pizzarriba. He drives a C5 Chevrolet Corvette convertible with the logo.
Another one of Bugs’ neighbors is Granny. Yes, Sylvester and Tweety are with her. Words fail me to describe how appropriate it is seeing Granny driving a Cadillac Seville of this vintage (circa 1980). Look! An actual trunk-mounted spare tire!
The last of Bugs’ neighbors is Witch Hazel Lezah (I have no idea why they changed the name. Aside from the voice, it’s the same character!) and her son Gossamer (big, orange-haired monster with sneakers). She drives what appears to be a 4th-gen Dodge Caravan. The grille’s the giveaway. What, you think because she’s a witch she’d travel by broom?
Of course, the show isn’t only limited to Bugs’ neighborhood. Porky Pig drops by frequently. While a nice guy, he’s portrayed as a bit of a bummer. He also used to work as an accountant. He’s also not one for extravagance, which is probably reflected on the type of car he drives, a US-spec W123 Mercedes-Benz (I wouldn’t be surprised if the intent was for it to be a diesel). Depending on the episode, you’ll find that the animators got all the details right. Look! It even has the correct headrests! It’s once portrayed in black, but it’s that yellowy color that’s the appropriate one.
He tries to take care of it, but just as much stuff happens to this car as Bugs’, like Porky almost getting killed by it. Porky also learned the hard way of what happens when you don’t get the insurance for a rental car (a J-spec Honda Freed minivan, interesting choice in part of the animators), crashing it in the exact same spot that Daffy crashed his Mercedes.
We also have Lola Bunny constantly dropping in. She drives the wheels off a Mk IV Volkswagen Golf, which is fitting, since a New Beetle would’ve been too much, IMO. The license plate reads BUGS (heart)R. Yes, she drives it as crazily as she’s portrayed, and she’s all the better for it, being a far more interesting rendition of the character than her first appearance in the Space Jam movie, where she’s just anthropic eye candy (BTW, I’ve never seen Baby Looney Tunes, so I don’t know how that version of this character holds up).
New to the show, we have Tina Russo, who puts up with Daffy. A no-nonsense type of gal, she drives a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro (notice the turn signals). She bought Bugs’ motorcycle, and looks great on it. She’s a great character, capable of disarming Daffy’s ego in a few short sentences. It’s a shame we’ll probably never see her again outside this series, barring the occasional fanart. But one can hope, right?
In the case with Elmer Fudd, his appearances are few. Only on his own “Merrie Melodies” clip do we have a clue of what he drives: a Porsche Cayman (with some Audi TT styling cues). It makes sense because he’s shown to have become a TV news-anchor as well as having his own successful talk show.
There are plenty of other vehicles shown that aren’t necessarily related to their characters. For example, Foghorn Leghorn, portrayed as an eccentric billionaire, moves around in a Cadillac CTS limousine, but on a “Merrie Melodies” clip, he’s driving a black-and-gold 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Special Edition, and no less detailed. Guess the movie they’re parodying.
Another example would be Walter Bunny, Lola’s father, who’s briefly shown driving a 1963 Cadillac Series 62 convertible. While almost as crazy as Lola, he’s a classy guy IMO.
Even unrelated background vehicles are detailed from time to time, like that Mini Cooper S. You can even make out the license plate!
The show goes as far as getting the details of 1970s iron right (well, most of them, there are some stylistic tweaks) for small segments of Daffy’s favorite TV show, Off Duty Cop, a 1970’s crime-show. Still, the feel of it is so well-made, it makes that Starsky & Hutch movie that much more atrocious.
That’s a Cadillac Fleetwood 75 -a limousine, used by the main characters of the show within the show. That means it’s the hero car. The headlights and turn signals deviate from stock regarding that bodystyle, but it’s a Cadillac all the way.
But the piece de résistance from an automotive point of view to the series has got to be the Wagon Queen Family Truckster making a cameo in one episode, with that family of bears. Look at the roofrack. They even pay tribute to Aunt Edna! It takes part of a scene that you’d ask yourself why it wasn’t part or the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movie to begin with. [Sidenote: As great as it is, I have a confession to make: this isn’t the best or first time a Warner Bros. Animation cartoon series: that honor goes to Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. But that’s a post for another day.]
Like all good series, it didn’t last too long, only 52 episodes. You can catch re-runs if you have Cartoon Network 2 Boomerang. They’re good at that.
The Looney Tunes Show character roster pic: looneytunesshow.wikia.com
Bugs’ Prius, Granny’s Caddy, Witch Lezah’s Caravan, Porky’s Mercedes, Elmer Fudd’s Cayman: Video printscreen.
Mini Cooper, K-Car, Yosemite’s El Camino, Speedy’s Corvette, Gina’s Camaro, Walter’s Cadillac, Leghorn’s Trans Am, flying ‘70s Cadillac, Wagon Queen Family Truckster: http://www.imcdb.org