If you grew up in the 1980s and you think exotic cars on TV, there's only one series that really comes to mind; Miami Vice. The TV series that ran from 1984 to 1989 with Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as Crocket and Tubbs was filled with things that were flashy; clothes, good 80s music and cars that were poster material.


A lot of the cars featured in the series were stock exotics, from the series real star, that white Testarossa, to a huge assortment of Lamborghinis, Porsches, Ferraris and what not. However a great many cars used in the series are not standard and are very well within the realm of this website. From AMG, Brabus and Lorinser 500SELs to stretched Aston Martins and modified Porsche 911s... Let's have a look and see if we can find the real tuner cars that were featured in Miami Vice!



This is the illustrious 10000SEL (yes, ten-thousend-S-E-L), a Mercedes-Benz 500SEL stretch limousine built by ABC-Exclusive from Bonn, Germany. The name is obviously bogus; as if 1000SEL wasn't enough, but still it's quite catching for a crazy limo like this one. Allthough built in Germany (by a subcontracter to ABC-Exclusive) the car has a typical USA-style to it with the lighting on the B-pilars. The big rear wing is something one would rarely see on a limousine and is of the type also used by Koenig-Specials.




Two photos showing the interior of the 10000SEL; black leather with white piping, falcon's head shifter, TV in the front, TV in the rear, Vis-à-Vis setup of the rear seats, partition window



In the workshop in Germany almost finished, the 10000SEL still had it's "original" 1000SEL badge.



The 10000SEL being offered for sale in Florida in 1986.




The finished product in Miami Vice episode "Hooker by Crook".






This very special Mercedes-Benz 560SEL limousine was featured in a 4th season Miami Vice episode; built by Germany's Schulz Tuning is this 1987 560SEL stretched by 200cm and custom fitted with a nose of a Mercedes R107 SL and front bumper of an W126 SEC. Sideskirts and Lorinser wheels make it quite a looker.



The interior of this roomy stretch limousine was like a hotel suite with every inch covered in grey leather, a compartment to stash the glasswork and an interesting table which alows drinking glasses to be placed safely whilst in a chase through Miami.







A 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC convertible built by Styling-Garage (SGS) from Germany. The car is completely white-on-white with  leather upholstery and 16" BBS RS rims. The car is seen here being offered for sale at Unique Cars South, which was a regular suplier for Miami Vice's more exclusive car needs. Fascinatingly the car even sports a "Unique" license plate, simply to show where it was for sale....



The same car in years prior; it was offered as a ASG-AutoStyling Germany converted car (SGS moniker?) by a company from New York named Rolls-Xotic. Only the wheels are different from it's Florida days, Ronal wheels were later swapped for BBS RS.









Another interesting convertible; this Mercedes 560SEC convertible built by CARO Hamburg. This car was featured in episode 21 of season 3. The original car was offered for sale by Miami exotic car dealer AutoSalon 2000.







This W116 S-class based stretched limousine was featured in second season episode "Bought and paid for". This limousine, probably based on a Mercedes 450SEL, was built in the USA; something that was the case with most W116 based limousines since the USA was the first country where the factory stretch limo, the W100 600 Pullman was nolonger allowed to be imported due to emmissions regulations, thus creating a space for companies to make their own interpretation of the Pullman based on more modern chassis.

This particular conversion was built in Texas by Allen Coachworks, although branded under the Phaeton Coachworks name which was a different coach building company also from Texas. The conversion was introduced in the 1980.


The conversion done by Allen / Phaeton is a typical "double-cut-stretch"  with stretching between front- and rear doors with additional stretching behind the rear doors. The roof has been partially covered with Everflex.







A Mercedes 500SEL Stretch limousine built by AHA from Toronto, Canada. This particular conversion was named the AHA "St. Moritz" and was a W126 stretched by 44 inches. Typical of the AHA conversion were the partially closed windows of the rear doors.



Since the car in Miami Vice is featured in scenes in New York City this could be the very car; it was for sale in the late 80s in New Jersey. Hard to tell the color of the car in the ad, looks blue, might as well be grey.







A Mercedes 500SEC Koenig-Specials widebody that was featured in the Miami Vice episode "Trust Fund Pirates".



The same 1986 500SEC Koenig-Specials as being offered by Miami based exotic car dealer "AutoSalon 2000".







Rico Tubs' car in a Season 3 episode of Miami Vice; this 1979 Mercedes 450SL (R107) fitted with Koenig-Specials bodykit. The car is however slightly non-standard compared to other Koenig-Specials R107s; it has US-bumpers, with extra fog lights and the most notable difference are the fibreglass mouldings behind the headrests, something that wasn't in the Koenig catalog.









A second Koenig-Specials R107 SL widebody that has only a minor role in Miami Vice; a Koenig conversion based on a 1973 Mercedes-Benz 450SL with full Koenig-Specials bodykit including hoodscoop and rear wing and a particularly notable white leather interior with white Recaros.







One of the more rare conversions seen in Miami Vice; this Aston-Martin Lagonda stretch limousine built by Grand Coach Limousine Builders from Miami. It is said somewhere it was actually built by Ultra Limousines.





Featured in a exciting car chase, this Mercedes 500SEL "1000SEL"-type conversion by Belgian coachbuilder Ronny Coachbuilding / L'Etoile.








An AMG 500SEL Mercedes from the first season of Miami Vice; an interesting car that has a gold pinstripe and matching gold BBS wheels. In the TV-Series the car was fitted with different wheels.






Verrrrry 1980s; a white AMG 500SEL with white wheels.





Other Mercedes were also present in Miami Vice like this Mercedes-Benz 300CE (W124) with full AMG kit and color matching Aero 1 wheels. The car was featured as a prop in a scene of the very last episode of 1988. In the real world car was for sale at Florida based dealer Sanfer Sportcars Inc.





This 1978 Kremer 935 Street Turbo, a Porsche 911 Turbo (930) based street-racer, was featured in a Season 1 and 2 episode of Miami Vice. It has the full Kremer/DP-Motorsport bodykit with slanted nose (without headlights), new front bumper with the lights integrated, streamlined wing mirrors, sideskirts and flared rear wheel arches. The Fuchs wheels are matching the car's colour and according to the 1985 for sale ad the car had a motor tuned to produce 350bhp.






Another interesting Porsche 911 Turbo; this Gemballa Version III modification of the Porsche 930 featured in a drive-by shot in a Season 3 episode (Se3 Ep22).



The same Gemballa Version III Porsche 930 at Gemballa USA. The car is fitted with regular Fuchs rims but does come with the complete Version III bodykit and a Gemballa interior.






A modified Porsche 911 Turbo convertible in a 5th season Miami Vice episode. The car is a US-modification by American Internation Racing (AIR) using their 930S kit. The AIR 930S kit consisted of all fibreglass parts including the slant-nose, new front- and rear bumpers, rear fenders with louvers and new sills.


From an American Internation Racing ad, a 911 Targa with the same kit.






Text: copyright Bram Corts


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