The original ‘Star Trek’ conjures up images of Warp Drive and the Starship Enterprise—not vintage cars and trucks.

That makes sense because the series was set in the 23rd Century—long after Road Runners and Mustangs were obsolete, so in theory, the ‘Star Trek’ crew would never get anywhere near an old vehicle from the 20th Century.

The first example came from the episode ‘City on the Edge of Forever’. Just to recap, Kirk and Spock travel to 20th Century Earth through a time portal to rescue drug-deranged Dr. McCoy. McCoy somehow altered the timeline on World War Two–so Germany won.

Here’s the condensed version of the ending. Joan Collins has to get creamed by a massive 1939 GMC AC-series truck to make history intact again. Talk about a significant bit role for an old truck.

Kirk and Spock show up 200 years out of synch again in another ‘Star Trek’ episode called ‘A Piece of the Action’.  This time they land on a planet where Roaring Twenties culture and gangsters are the key to their society. 

‘A Piece of the Action’ was a lighthearted episode, so one of the comic bits came when Kirk tried to drive a 1931 Cadillac V-12—he was a menace. Spock called it a flivver, but one of these cars sold for 192,500 dollars back in 2021. Spock’s concept of a flivver exposed how little he knew about 20th Century classic iron.     

Star Trek‘ moved up a few decades to 1968 in the episode ‘Assignment Earth’. This was a failed attempt to launch a new series with a character called Gary Seven and another character played by Teri Garr.

This was another situation where Earth’s future was on the line, and it centered around a Cape Kennedy space launch.

There was a 1965 Plymouth Savoy 4-door sedan in one of the scenes.

The Savoy was a perfect example of a stripped-down federal government car from the 60s. There was nothing flashy about the Plymouth—just function over form. That’s how governments used to roll 56 years ago—it was a golden era.

The U.S. government also owned another base-model 1967 Dodge Coronet 4-door in this episode.

The ’67 Dodge four-door sedan was perfect because it was just the kind of car a no-nonsense security guard would have driven at Cape Kennedy (now called Cape Canaveral again in 2024). A ’67 Camaro would have been poor casting in this episode.

The final car star in this Star Trek episode was a 1968 Plymouth Satellite four-door sedan.

Adam 12 viewers would recognize a humble, barebones ‘68 Plymouth like that one because that’s what Malloy and Reed drove in the first season–this Satellite was a step up on a Belvey. The B-body Plymouth was perfect casting once again because these Mopar workhorses were often part of many big fleets back in the 1960s. I’m not sure if Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek) was a Mopar guy or Chrysler cut a deal with NBC, but the selection of these cars made sense.

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.