Cars of the end titles of The FBI

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One of the trademarks of The FBI was its end titles when Lewis Erskine got off work, went to the courtyard of the then-FBI building and drove home in a Ford Motor Co. car while accompanied by Bronislau Kaper’s majestic FBI theme.

Ford supplied cars and trucks for the series and was a sponsor. The end titles were a bit of a production. Efrem Zimbalist Jr. went to Washington. When J. Edgar Hoover was alive, the actor had an annual meeting with the bureau director. Meanwhile, Ford shipped the car(s) it wanted highlighted for the upcoming television season.

Season One (1965-66): The Mustang had been introduced in 1964. It was in the James Bond film Goldfinger and would also be in the then-upcoming Thunderball. So it was natural the Mustang would be the first Ford product for the end titles of The FBI. This initial car would also be in the end titles of the first episode of the second season.

FBI car season 1

Season Two (1966-67): Starting with the second episode, a new version of the end titles. The car was still a Mustang. Erskine, however, is carrying a briefcase and that would be the case with future end titles.

FBI car season 2

Season Three (1967-68): Ford is still supplying a Mustang, this time gold colored. Starting this season, the end titles were also shortened.

FBI car season 3

Season Four (1968-69): Ford supplied one last Mustang for the end titles, this time in blue.

FBI car season 4

 Season Five (1969-70): Ford decides it’s time to promote models other than the Mustang. One problem arises. Now that Erskine isn’t driving a convertible, you can’t see his face very well.

FBI car season 5

Season Six (1970-71): Ford ships two cars to Washington. As a result, two end titles are filmed. They will alternate throughout the season.

Car 1:
FBI car season 6 v1

Car 2. It appears as if a lamp has been installed on the dashboard so the audience can see the face of Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
FBI car season 6 v2

Season Seven (1971-72): Evidently Ford liked how the alternating end titles of Season Six worked. Once again, the automaker ships two cars to Washington. By this time, it’s also obvious that BIG cars matter to Ford. From here onward, Ford will provide big, hulking cars for the end titles.

Car 1:
FBI car season 7 v1

Car 2:
FBI car season 7 v2

As an aside, you tell the two Season Seven end titles must have been filmed the same day. Both cars hit the same puddle in the final shot. Here’s where it happens with the red car.

FBI car season 7 splash

Season Eight (1972-73): Once again, Ford sends two cars for filming the end titles. The models are even bigger than the previous year.

Car 1:
FBI car season 8 v1

Car 2:
FBI car season 8 v2

Season Nine (1973-74): Ford only supplies only one car. And it may not have been street legal but rather a prototype.
FBI car season 9

At one point in the Season Nine titles, Erskine has to swing WAY WIDE to executive a right turn. This same location has been part of the end titles in previous seasons. But the turns were never this wide.

FBI car season 9 wide turn

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