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Cobra Kai is one of Netflix’s hottest properties. The show originally premiered on YouTube, but it quickly achieved popularity with fans of all ages, and Netflix ultimately acquired the show, offering it up to an even broader audience. Built on a bedrock of classic eighties television, Cobra Kai has plenty to entice younger viewers as well — and these days, it is still going strong. For fans of the original The Karate Kid, there are lots of clever references and in-jokes, and really eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed a particular vehicle that plays a big role in The Karate Kid mythology. 

The original ‘The Karate Kid’ is a classic movie

In 1984, The Karate Kid was released. The film, which told the story of a young boy who comes into his own with the help of a martial arts mentor, spawned a media empire, including The Karate Kid Part II, The Karate Kid Part III, and The Next Karate Kid.

There was even an animated television series that ran in the late ’80s. For decades, fans have related to the stories told in the franchise, and have looked to the exploits of Daniel LaRusso and his friends and cohorts as a way to deal with their own personal traumas.

In 2010, a reboot was released, titled simply The Karate Kid. It starred Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. But while the film retained many of the same themes and story arcs as the original, it was not nearly as popular as the eighties classic. Still, for hardcore fans of the franchise, 2018 proved to be a good year, since it was the year that Cobra Kai was first released to YouTube Red. 

What is ‘Cobra Kai’ about?

Ralph Macchio Cobra Kai
Ralph Macchio| Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Cobra Kai tells the story of Johnny Lawrence, the original film’s problematic villain. Thirty-four years after the events of The Karate Kid, Johnny is down on his luck and decides to open the Cobra Kai karate dojo. In the process of running his own karate school, Johnny crosses paths with his old rival Daniel LaRusso, inadvertently rekindling their old rivalry.

Featuring many of the same actors who rose to fame on The Karate Kid, including Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, Cobra Kai became an instant success, proving that a story that originated decades ago can still resonate with audiences. These days, Cobra Kai remains popular and was recently renewed for a fourth season — just before the third season premiered on Netflix. 

Ralph Macchio’s personal car makes an appearance in ‘Cobra Kai’


‘Cobra Kai’: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Predicted the Show Nearly a Decade Before Its Debut

Macchio’s career has been indelibly linked to the role that he played in the original Karate Kid films. So for fans, it was a pleasant surprise when it was announced that he would reprise his role of Daniel LaRusso in Cobra Kai.

To the role, Macchio brought not only years of experience as an actor, but a few of his own personal trademark items. Most notably, Macchio’s 1947 Ford Super Deluxe makes several appearances in Cobra Kai. Macchio originally acquired the classic vehicle as a gift from Columbia Pictures after Macchio finished filming The Karate Kid III.

Reportedly, Macchio always wanted the 1947 Ford Super Deluxe in the Cobra Kai series, even suggesting it to showrunners. According to Mental Floss, Macchio was firm in his convictions, even in the pre-production phase.

He said: “I said if we’re doing the show, I want the car to be in it. We got to dust it off—it’s been still for about two decades—and then put a new engine in it and get it all cleaned up and looking like new. I love having it in there.”

Macchio has maintained the car well over the years, admitting that he had to redo the engine and electrical work, and added radial tires and disc brakes for safety. These days, the car looks better than ever, a piece of pop culture history that fans can still ogle and appreciate.