The TV show where a fake Ferrari gets blown to smithereens and many other things in between

Do you remember Miami Vice? It’s that show which epitomized an entire decade, acted as a trendsetter for those watching it and which dictated who mattered and who did not.

If you were on the show, you were someone in the ’80s and this also trickled down to the cars that appeared in the show: Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, they all starred, driven down Miami’s palm-tree-lined boulevards and we loved it.

Miami Vice is a showcase of ’80s excess

This Miami Vice Tribute Will Remind You How Awesome Cars Were in the 1980s
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Looking back at it over 30 years later, Miami Vice seems dated and cheesy. At its core a crime/drama series focusing on the activities of two Metro-Dade Police Department detectives working undercover in Miami, the show delves into the criminal underworld of what was at the time one of the main ports of entry for the favorite white powder of the ’80s. As such, drug usage is the norm as are gunfights and gratuitous sex scenes but that’s not what made Miami Vice memorable.

It was its outlandish New Wave feel with people wearing pink or white blazers everywhere in almost every scene and Phil Collins tunes blaring out of every stereo that made us watch the reruns (the original show’s spell ended in 1990, naturally). It was included in many a list about the best TV series of all time and People magazine even said about it that it was the "first show to look really new and different since color TV was invented".

While that may be a bit much, you can be sure that Michael Mann did his part as executive producer to include as many visual effects as possible, Don Johnson’s wild golden locks in Miami’s wind notwithstanding. The video pays tribute to the show by binding together some of the more famous scenes and, while the music is appropriate, we can’t help but feel that something by Jan Hammer, composer of much of the OST scores across the first four seasons, would’ve been a better fit.

This Miami Vice Tribute Will Remind You How Awesome Cars Were in the 1980s
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We won’t go down the route of discussing the dubious choice of having Tubbs and Crockett motor around town in a Corvette C4 dressed to look like a Ferrari 365 GTB Daytona as you all know the story of that car and how it angered Maranello to the point that Enzo allowed Mann to use two genuine monospecchio Testarossas in the show, cars that were originally black but were painted white to stand out during the plethora of night-time scenes.

Instead, we’ll talk about our favorite episode from Miami Vice. Naturally, it has to be one where cars take center stage and since we’re all about speed here at TopSpeed (what a surprise, right?), we could only ever pick ’Florence Italy’.

It's episode 16 of season 2 and it's cool because it centers around a murderous race car driver. The said driver is bound to take part in the Miami Grand Prix and this is where things get awesome.
This Miami Vice Tribute Will Remind You How Awesome Cars Were in the 1980s
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To make this episode, filming crew was sent to tape the actual IMSA-sanctioned Miami Grand Prix in 1985 and that’s how we wound up with a fair bit of high-quality footage from that year’s race complete with onboard shots from the Lowenbrau Porsche of Al Holbert and the Spirit of Miami March that was driven on the track by Emerson Fittipaldi and down Miami’s streets in the show by the villain. A Porsche 906 bathing in the neon lights also makes a fleeting appearance as does Michael Jackson’s brother. In short, what’s not to love?!

Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read More
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