We are counting down the Top 50 hot rods and street cars of all time that have made an appearance in a television series, or a memorable television episode. Starting from No. 50, and counting down to our No. 1 pick, follow along with our memories, and see where your favorite show lands.
42. Laverne & Shirley: 1952 Hudson Wasp Convertible
One of our favorite, all-time episodes of the sitcom series Laverne & Shirley (1976-1983) is titled “Drive! She Said,” and boy is it a classic! It aired for the first time on Sept. 28, 1976 – and 40 years later, we still remember watching it.
Opening season two, episode one, Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) has the opportunity to buy a 1952 Hudson Wasp Convertible – a car she tells Carmine Ragusa (Eddie Mekka) aka The Big Ragoo, she has longed for since a bus driver closed the doors on her nose in grade school.
For a special deal, Shirley can have the car for $200 bucks. Problem is, she has $119 and some change. A deal is struck, and she drives it home to her roommate, Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall), who is less than enthused, and is hiding a big secret: she never learned to drive.
Comedic timing is at its best when Shirley sits Laverne on the sofa inside their Milwaukee apartment and attempts to teach her to drive using a 33 rpm vinyl record, a banana, and three cans of food. Handing each to Laverne, Shirley tells her the record is the steering wheel; the banana is the thee-on-the-tree shifter; corn is the clutch, beans for brakes, and peaches for gas – to which Laverne quips that the beans should represent the gas pedal.
After practicing to be perfect, and exasperated, Shirley pushes Laverne to take the Hudson for a drive around the block and to practice for her driver’s test. The rest is pure comedic genius, with funny results. And guess what, you’re in luck … the entire episode is on YouTube. Just remember, never mix corn and beans!