It’s funny how kids will fixate on the smallest details: like a Starsky car stripe!

This actually kind of happened. But then, it probably happened to you too! My dad won’t remember, having attached less significance to it than I did!


Starsky Grand Torino replica

Phwoarrr… a replica of Starsky’s car. more photos ^


It was one of our shopping trips up to the city from the countryside. We always went to the grubby, slightly scary North-side of the river. My dad would have dreaded these trips. He hates shopping. Me? I would’ve been thinking about Eason and Woolworths’ department stores and their comic and toy sections. I’d have my 10 pence per week pocket-money saved up since the previous trip – and would go home penniless, but with some new Star Wars item or two to go dreamy-eyed over.

On one of the many waste-ground car-park sites in some of the dodgiest areas of Dublin, I spotted a car – some ordinary, boring 70s thing – but it was painted like Starsky’s one and looked amazing. Transformed! I didn’t pester my dad, but I definitely thought it’d be a cool thing to do to our red Ford Capri. Incidentally, I was going to go with a Ford Anglia or something, but Gabby my wife suggested the 3-wheeler Reliant Robin. An inspired choice. Kids love little details like those stripes though. Remember how Adam Ant’s face-stripe caught on? In fact I was only thinking about the Starsky Stripe and the Nike Swoosh logo today. Similar don’t you think?


Lock Hard!

The Starsky Stri… Sorry, the NIKE Swoosh

Parking-wise, the other option was on the street. It was less congested in Dublin then. Even if you paid the meter, there’d often be a ‘Lock-hard’ to offer unwanted assistance. ‘Lock-hards’ were greasy-haired old alcoholics (usually) who would guide you into your space, whilst making frantic and confusing turning gestures and calling out “Lock hard – lock hard!” in a bronchitisy voice. They’d wear a black cap – that looked semi official – but which they’d have found someplace. I asked my dad, “Do you have to give them money?” He replied, “Not really, but I’d like the car to be in one piece when we get back.”


Eastern Bloc Dublin

Dublin was a real dump back then. Lots of the buildings along the river Liffey in the city centre were like country and western movie sets. Facades, propped up with girders with rubble behind them. There were referred to as 2 rows of broken teeth. You’d think there had been a Blitz. On reflection, one of the reasons why I liked the 70s so much was probably because we lived in the countryside! Urban Ireland had a touch of the grey, depressing Soviet Bloc about it back then.


Crime Fightin’ Horticulturists


starsky and hutch end credits

What have they got on top of the car?


I asked my dad once – when I was about 7 or 8,
“How does Hutch get the light to stay on the car when they’re driving fast?”
“It must have a magnet on it, John.”
“Hmmm. I see. Dad, why do they have plants on top of the car?”


starsky and hutch poster

I think my sister had a huge poster of this!


Links and Videos: Starsky & Hutch

My favourite episode was definitely the one with the Vampire in it. A Halloween Special I think. See? These producers know exactly what the kids want. Check out this YouTube video and enjoy the theme tune of Season 2. My favourite!



** Stay Groovy, all you 1970s kids! **

– John White

↓ Transcript

Jack, carrying his Space 1999 Eagle, and his dad are in the depressing Dublin city of the 1970s. In the background there are derelict shells of old buildings and clouds of grey pollution and smoke.

"I won't be sorry when this decade is over." says dad.

"Why, Dad?" asks jack.

Dad replies, "Dreary derelict buildings - begging - strikes - power-cuts..." Jack looks over at the picket line of striking workers, with their long hair and mutton-chops and droopy 1970s moustaches, holding their placards, demanding fair wages and threatening to 'work to rule' - whatever that meant.

"It's all I know." says Jack, "I suppose I'm used to it." Suddenly between the smoke and picket lines he spots the car of his dreams. "Rubbish cars though. I'll grant you th..." He stops in his tracks, mesmerised. "Oh - dear - God - in - heaven." His face appears to be bathed in a warm sunny glow. He absently hands his Eagle spaceship to dad, unable to avert his eyes form this holy vision.

"What is it son? Are you OK?" dad asks.

Then we see it - with a wah-wah guitar, CHICKA - WOCKA - WOW - WOWww... The Starsky Car's white Stripe on red!

Later, after sun-down, on the drive home back to the country, dad is being pestered. "No, Jack."

"Just a bit of white poster paint?" pleaded Jack.

"No." says dad.

"But, it would really impress your boss." Jack argued on.

"Absolutely: NO" Dad gave his final word.

Jack looked grumpily out of the window, hood of his snorkel jacket up, in a huff. Dreaming about the car that he'd seen in the city. He sighed. "It would have been so fab."

Picturing in his mind, the customised red car, with it's custom Starsky stripe, seemingly in a sunny Californian oasis of golden American warmth. A customised, crappy, Reliant Robin, 3-wheeler car.