Picking a Good Detective Vehicle

“I went out to the Mustang, a 1970 Grabber Blue speed monster that I’d bought to replace the VW I’d driven for years. I’ll admit the car was a mistake. It was too conspicuous and it netted me the sort of attention ill favored by those in my line of work.”

–   Kinsey Millhone in V is for Vengeance

As (fictional) detective Kinsey Millhone points out from her experience, the single most important feature of a good detective vehicle is that it minimizes detection!

As cool as Magnum PI’s cherry red Ferrari was, it doesn’t take a detective to know red and exotic are just asking for attention. So until we develop invisibility car cloaks, the ideal car for detectives should be bland. Exceptionally… ordinary, at least on the outside. Sorry guys (and gals), no Hummers and no Mustangs. Save that for your secondary vehicle! Nothing flashy or suspect. Even tinted windows (although in some ways advantageous) should probably be avoided.

Look at getting a basic four door family car with earth or neutral tones. It should not resemble a police car so no white or black base. The only thing special about your vehicle is it should have some kick under the hood. Detectives will appreciate a vehicle some engine zip – maybe a V8. Small pickup trucks can also make for good PI vehicles if they follow the same guidelines.

What to look for in a detective vehicle:

  • Earth tones like browns, grays, and tans
  • Something comfortable – you may very well spend a lot of time here
  • Cup holders!
  • Four door car gives you room for equipment and clients
  • Good engine with some zip – maybe a V8
  • Can consider a smallish pickup truck
This Toyota Camry is a good example. Notice how well it blends in?

What to avoid in a detective vehicle:

  • Vans. Surveillance vans are sometimes required, but as your every day detective wheels, vans are too suspicious.
  • Black or white – don’t want it looking like a police car.
  • Tinted windows.
  • Wimpy engine (no four cylinders and be sceptical of hybrids)
  • Sports cars.
  • Flashy colors.

See Also

Famous Detectives

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