Kojak’s Buick

Cars People Culture

the Buick and the seventies US cop show...

Who loves ya baby?!

Anyone bought up with long, boring Sunday afternoons in the 1970s will recognise those four little words instantly.

TV cop Kojak’s catchphrase wasn’t the only reason for the shows enduring appeal. Hollywood tough guy Telly Savalas’s lollypop sucking Greek detective was the sort of hard man who had a sensitive side – employing his family and looking after the ladies with aplomb.

But of course, as a kid obsessed with matchbox toys and shoot outs, you couldn’t miss the car chases and lethargic handbrake turns, the magnetic flashing lights attached to the roof and the burbling boat-like grumbling of those heavy American lumps.


Kojak couldn’t have been the first show to have threaded through its structure a series of almost-slo-mo car chases, and it certainly wasn’t the last, but in retrospect it seems mystifying that the tv franchise was able to trade off the brown Buick that was Kojak’s crime-fighting chariot.

I’m pretty sure I got this toy car for Christmas in around 1978.

Underlying the narrative in this show, set in NYPD in the seventies and therefore riddled with corruption, philandering and criminal negligence – was that Kojak was just hanging on to his moral high-ground despite the nefariousness all around him.

It was perhaps fitting then that this unglamorous brown Buick was an unexpected star of the show – emblematic of a dour reality of a skint New York city trundling around chasing the villains without while ignoring the criminals within.

Enough with the cultural criticism you say.

But I’d still love to find that Corgi Buick in my stocking this year.