Everyone knows that Dean Winchester loves driving his Chevy Impala in Supernatural, but Jensen Ackles’ character finds himself behind the wheel of many other vehicles over his 15 season hunting career. When Supernatural begins, Sam and Dean set off in Baby, a black Impala inherited from their missing father. A few extensive repair jobs aside, the Impala faithfully carries the Winchester family throughout their hunting missions, and the car passes on to Sam after Dean is killed in action, becoming somewhat of a family heirloom.
Like the Mystery Machine to Scooby Doo or the Ectomobile to Ghostbusters, Dean’s Impala will always be the signature vehicle of Supernatural. Unfortunately, the Impala is sometimes out of action, or stolen by some particularly brave villain. Occasionally, the Winchesters need to approach a mission with more subtlety, rather than rocking up in their instantly recognizable Chevy, and in these situations, the only option is to leave Baby safely parked and jump in a different ride.
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Although Dean might feel unfaithful sitting in the driver’s seat of another car, Supernatural featured many different vehicles during its 15 season run. Here are all of them, as well as the episode they feature in, and why they were used.
Needless to say, Dean isn’t overly impressed with many of his Baby replacements, and his dissatisfaction begins with style (or a total lack of it) in Supernatural season 2’s “Everybody Loves A Clown.” One of Sam Winchester’s favorite hunts, the episode comes shortly after a road accident that almost claimed Dean’s life, meaning the Impala is still out of commission. Unfortunately, the only working replacement in Bobby’s yard is a minivan, which the brothers use for the entire episode.
After Dean Winchester is resurrected by Castiel in Supernatural season 4, his Impala isn’t waiting by the graveside ready for its former owner to hop in. With Bobby refusing to take his calls (believing Dean is dead), the revived Winchester brother is forced to hot-wire a 1962 Mercury Monterey near a gas station, which he then takes back to Bobby’s place for a reunion with his beloved Baby… and Sam too, obviously.
If there is a fifth horseman of the apocalypse, it’s surely Dean Winchester driving a Prius. Toyota’s hybrid is popular with environmentally-minded folk who aren’t willing to risk the perils of public transport, and is diametrically opposed to Supernatural‘s Impala. Dean’s love for the Prius comes about after his memories are given an angelic overwrite in “It’s A Terrible Life,” and he becomes a health-conscious office worker.
When Supernatural season 6 begins, Dean Winchester is desperately trying to ditch the hunting lifestyle for something resembling normality. Settled with Lisa and Ben after his brother was consigned to The Cage, Dean is enjoying BBQs with the neighbors and has the Impala safely tucked away in his garage. To run about town, Dean has introduced an every-man’s Ford Pickup truck into his suburban existence. The 1988 F250 lasts about as long as Dean’s promise to stop hunting monsters, and the Impala soon roars back into life.
Similar to “It’s A Terrible Life,” Supernatural season 6’s “My Heart Will Go On” depicts an alternate reality for Dean Winchester, complete with an alternate mode of transport. The episode takes place in a world where Balthazar has saved the Titanic from sinking, which triggers a butterfly effect whereby Dean Winchester ends up driving a 1960s Mustang instead of a Chevy Impala. It’s a more suitable choice for Dean than a Toyota Prius, that’s for sure, but the Mustang is gone once normality is restored and the Titanic meets its fate as intended.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer
If the Winchesters ever need to split up, Dean traditionally takes the Impala while Sam arranges alternative transport, but in Supernatural season 7’s “The Girl Next Door,” Sam Winchester picks up a case with personal connections to his childhood and heads off in Baby alone. Dean gives chase, naturally, but deprived of his signature motor, he opts instead for a Jeep Grand Wagoneer. It’s a one-off ride that features only while Sam and Dean are temporarily estranged.
For most of Supernatural season 7, the Winchester brothers have no choice but to leave their trademark Impala gathering dust. The villainous Leviathans use their shape-shifting abilities to turn Sam and Dean into wanted men, forcing the hunter siblings to operate in secrecy. Since their Impala is now marked by the authorities, most of season 7’s adventures utilize different vehicles in each installment, beginning with the 1983 Pontiac Acadian in “Slash Fiction.”
Next up comes a 1970 Dodge Challenger in “The Mentalists.” The Winchesters commandeer this retro runaround to serve them throughout the season 7 episode, and while the Challenger suits Dean’s love of the great American muscle car, he’s not overly impressed with how the model was treated by its former owner before being “liberated.”
Supernatural season 7’s “Adventures In Babysitting” finds the Winchester brothers grieving the recent death of Bobby Singer, but a ready-made (if short-lived) replacement is found in Frank Devereaux. While Sam works a case, Dean heads to Frank’s place in a 1969 Buick Special Edition. How he acquired the vehicle is never shown, but since the Impala is still a no-go, it probably wasn’t via legitimate means.
In “Time After Time,” Dean Winchester goes on another timeline-bending adventure, landing in 1944 where he meets legendary investigator (and secret hunter) Eliot Ness. Living out his greatest film noir fantasies, Dean even gets to drive Ness’ 1940 Plymouth Roadking.
The Winchester brothers remain banned from the Impala in Supernatural season 7’s “The Slice Girls” and since they can’t run on girl power alone, Sam and Dean find themselves in a 1971 Buick Riviera. The car is mostly inconsequential as Dean hooks up with an Amazonian and conceives a daughter called Emma who grows rapidly into a teenager.
Dean Winchester has been known to dabble with a few cougars in his time, but most likely his favorite comes in “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie.” This 1973 model is another temporary replacement for the absent Impala, and serves the brothers well as they investigate yet another clown case.
Pontiac Trans Am
It was only a matter of time until the Winchester brothers ended up riding a Trans Am, and the moment finally comes in Supernatural season 7’s “Repo Man.” This 1977 Pontiac is seen when Sam and Dean visit their old friend Jeffrey, who is being targeted by a demon the siblings believed they already exorcised years prior. During the mission to protect Jeffrey, the Trans Am becomes a valuable ally and even carries a dog to (relative) safety.
Another pickup truck to add to Dean’s collection after his season 6 Ford, Supernatural at least reverts to the show’s manufacturer of choice for “Out With The Old.” Investigating a ballerina’s curse in Portland, Sam and Dean’s new Chevy might not be a patch on the old one, but it serves them well enough for this episode alone.
“The Born-Again Identity” brings Sam’s inner devil to the fore, as Dean seeks help for his brother’s satanic impulses. Still unable to use the Impala due to the Winchesters’ status as wanted men, Dean rides in a 1970 Dodge Charger, the same shadowy color as his beloved Baby. This season 7 episode reintroduces Castiel after one of many deaths for Misha Collins’ angel, at which point Dean reveals that he kept his friend’s signature coat to hand all along.
A step away from Dean Winchester’s usual style, the 1978 AMC Pacer is used in Supernatural season 7’s “Party On, Garth.” The episode revolves around Dean and fellow hunter Garth battling a Japanese spirit that can only been seen while intoxicated, but while most of Supernatural‘s Impala replacements have no obvious significance, the Pacer serves as a glorious Easter egg for fans of Wayne’s World. In the 1990s rock comedy, Dana Carvey’s Garth Algar is famous for driving an AMC Pacer dubbed the “Mirthmobile,” and Supernatural alludes to this when Dean’s partner takes a liking to the new wheels. No “Bohemian Rhapsody” singalongs, sadly.
As well as the Pacer, Dean Winchester also drives a 1970s AMC Matador in Supernatural season 7. “The Girl With The Dungeons & Dragons Tattoo” marks the final time Dean would be deprived of his beloved Baby before the Leviathans were defeated and normal automobile service could be resumed. Alas, the Matador is understandably outshone by the debut of Felicia Day as Charlie.
Sam is possessed by the angel Gadreel in Supernatural season 9, and while their symbiotic relationship heals the younger Winchester from a deadly wound, things quickly go sideways. Gadreel murders Kevin Tran and takes off to meet the evil Metatron in Dean’s precious Impala – one of several times the car got stolen. Fortunately, Castiel had recently procured a vehicle of his own, affectionately known as “Castiel’s Pimpmobile,” allowing Dean to pursue his enemy in this 1978 Mark V Lincoln Continental. The gaudy little number makes several appearances in later seasons.
The Impala is stolen again in Supernatural season 12, and once more, it’s Castiel who stumps up a replacement. In “The Future,” Kelly Kline is determined to give birth to her son, Jack, without the Winchesters’ interference. Since Castiel’s truck is broken (and google has failed to turn the angel into an expert mechanic), she escapes in the Impala. Dean has better luck fixing the 1980s Ford than his divine best pal, and the brothers soon catch up to Kelly and the Impala.
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