‘Cobra Kai’ Inspires Fans’ Crazy Car Ideas

Since it moved to Netflix in 2018, Cobra Kai has given fans of the hit film The Karate Kid an unlikely success story on the Hollywood revival wave. Though the show is about martial arts at its core, it also provides many memorable cars thanks to Danny LaRusso’s day job as an auto dealer. Now vehicles honoring the series are popping up around the country. And the photos, memes, and fan reactions have helped grow the show into a cult phenomenon. 

What is ‘Cobra Kai’?

'Cobra Kai' uses many cars in its episodes, including Dodge Challengers similar to these pictured
‘Cobra Kai’ uses many cars in its episodes, including Dodge Challengers similar to these pictured | FCA

Fans of The Karate Kid can tell you about the adventures of Danny LaRusso as though they experienced his life firsthand. Moving from New Jersey to California after his father’s death, Danny tried desperately to fit in at a new school in a new town where he didn’t know anyone, as IMDb tells it. Unfortunately, he made an enemy right away: Johnny Lawrence. 

While the franchise followed Danny through several hurdles in his life, his relationship with Johnny was mostly relegated to the first film and the sequel’s first act. Since then, Danny became the focus of the franchise, and Johnny fell by the wayside. However, in 2018, actors Ralph Macchio and William Zabka revived their iconic characters for a new series about their adult lives. 

Thanks to Cobra Kai, which premiered on YouTube Premium but recently moved to Netflix, fans now see that Lawrence was a product of a toxic relationship touched on in the original film but never fully fleshed-out afterward. Now we learn that Danny is a car dealer, and Lawrence reopened the Cobra Kai dojo. 

This sets in motion a rekindled feud that is less about heroes and villains and more about the challenges of growing up. However, in the background of the series is an impressive range of cars that have become a sensation among fans. 

Cars and ‘Cobra Kai’

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The cars on Cobra Kai are enough to make gearheads swoon. Danny owns a string of successful car dealerships, and shots of classic cars and luxury vehicles pop up throughout the series. It makes sense. After all, a 1947 Ford Super Deluxe helped Danny bond with his sensei, Mr. Miyagi in the original film, Automobile Magazine reported. The new show takes things a step further. 

And fans have run with this trend. They’ve begun to make custom cars inspired by the show. One fan, Reddit user u/OcularAMVs, spotted one of these out in the wild. 

“As someone who watched the original films only last week and loves Cobra Kai, this was such a treat to see,” u/OcularAMVs wrote. “The man who owned the car actually came by, and we just raved to him how much we loved his character. He thanked us and said it took him quite a while. He waved to us as he drove off. Really cool and passionate guy.”

That passion helps explain why Cobra Kai is such a hit. Yes, it’s a revival of a beloved property, but rather than rehashing the old series, it expands on it and makes it resonate in ways beyond mere fandom. Of course, this also means memes have followed. 

Laughing together

Aside from decking out cars based on the series, others have used the opportunity to hone their comedy skills. From Reddit threads about a Cobra Kia-inspired dealership to tweets about the series, the internet is going crazy over Cobra Kai and its cars. And from jokes about the show as a distraction during a tumultuous year to Easter eggs for eagle-eyed fans, Cobra Kai is the biggest thing to come out of The Karate Kid since the original film. 

Cobra Kai has ridden the nostalgia wave to become an unlikely success. And with a larger audience at Netflix, the series is poised to grow even bigger and inspire more fans’ cars, memes, and other fun.