The internet’s been awash with speculation about who met the business end of Lucille on this season’s finale of The Walking Dead. Songs by Kenny Rogers stuck on replay in my head not-withstanding, the final couple of episodes in season six featured a good broadening of The Walking Dead world, with the main protagonists heading out beyond the walls of Alexandria.
Naturally, this gearhead took notice of the different vehicles being driven both by Our Heroes and the Bad Guys. The Walking Dead has traditionally done a decent job of situationally appropriate vehicle selection, so let’s have a look at the metal seen at the end of season six.
Let’s reasonably assume that, in a zombie-sodden post-apocalyptic America, factories devoted to churning out new cars have disappeared faster than a snowball in Hades. Likewise, replacement parts have become scarce, unless one has found an unlooted Canadian Tire or AutoZone. Point of order: in a zombie wasteland, Matthew the Car Guy would definitely secure Many Car Parts right after finding fool & water. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll stock up now.
Here’s one of the first roving bands Rick & Co. encountered on their way out of Alexandria, headed to the Hilltop – and it was here I decided to write this post. The selection of vehicles makes perfect sense in a post-apocalyptic setting, as each vehicle in this picture is a poster-child for longevity and can generally be fixed with a hammer. No fancy electronics to worry about here. Also, let’s not forget this show is set in America’s deep south, so rust is probably not an issue.
See what I mean? I love this shot. From the late 70’s Dodge D-Series on the far left to the lantern-jawed late 80’s Bronco and the excellent late-70s Chevy truck, each of these was a perfect choice by the show’s writers. Even the little Rodeo is agricultural enough to be plausible. In post-apocalyptic America, the lack of Isuzu dealers is a non-issue.
This trio works too, with a couple of Chevy trucks about 10 years apart (mid 80s, centre; mid-90s, left) and a land yacht from the Malaise Era. Say what you will about vehicles from that time frame – replete with horrifying panel gaps and depressing horsepower numbers – most of us know that, in a post-apocalyptic world, they’ll run bad longer than most new cars will run at all.
The Caprice shown here is another great example. To set the scene, Merle – a generally antagonizing character who had a change of heart – hot wires the late-80s/early-90s Chevy and leads a group of Walkers to a trap ensnaring the show’s main villain. This has more than a modicum of plausibility. Devoid of chipped-keys and push button starts, it is logical to think Merle successfully broke the steering column, crossed a couple of wires, and was on his way. If they’d used a newer vehicle with the myriad of anti-theft systems seen today, the scene wouldn’t be nearly as credible.
In season one, Glenn used a new Challenger to lure Walkers away from downtown Atlanta so Rick & Co. could mount an escape, leading to a comical scene of Glenn enjoying the big V8 on an empty highway. I think this was plausible enough at that juncture, given the zombie outbreak hadn’t happened that long ago. The chance of a few cars still being on dealer lots with keys hung on a board in the manager’s office was not a stretch. Now, though, I’m not so sure. That’s why I’m glad the writers have refrained from using these types of cars recently, doubling down on the more authentic machinery likely to be seen as the years progress.
Of course, Daryl’s motorcycle is as unkillable as it is iconic; a logical choice for both the character and the wasteland itself. Below, we see Abraham about to lay waste to a horde of Walkers, with a mid-90s F-350 and another work truck in the background. Makes sense to me.
Leaving us on edge with a Who Shot J.R. style cliffhanger might have us wondering all summer about who got up close and personal with Lucille. One thing we won’t wonder, though: that motorhome parked behind Neegan? It’ll still be running when the series returns in October.