Top 50 TV Cars Of All Time: No. 42, Laverne And Shirley’s Hudson

Laverne takes the wheel of a 1952 Hudson Wasp Convertible purchased for $200 by her roommate Shirley, who then proceeds to teach her how to drive. Photos from www.imcdb.org

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.

LaverneShirly-Drivinglesson

Shirley is the teacher and Laverne the student when it comes to learning how to drive. Notice the split front windshield and radio antenna location with both being very recognizable details for late 40s and early 50s Hudsons.

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!

LaverneShirley-Hudson-Wasp

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