In the 1965 (black and white) pilot episode of Get Smart, Max steps out of a black/dark blue Ferrari 250 PF Cabriolet, throwing his hat into the car and running downstairs to what we presume is Control headquarters. Built primarily for the US west coast, the Cabrio was a limited production, hand made work of art with the legendary Colombo V12 of 3 litres. Not the sort of car the average secret agent would have driven.
When the series went into production the Ferrari was replaced by a red 1965 Sunbeam Tiger — the best known of the Get Smart cars. The ultimate Sunbeam, the Tiger was equipped with a Ford 260 cubic inch V8 - the very same engine that appeared in the first Cobra and Mustang (the ooooold V8 in the British sports car trick hey?)
But the Tiger had a stand in for most of the shows, a re-badged four cylinder Sunbeam Alpine, with Tiger script on the side. There wasn't enough space under the bonnet of the Tiger for both a V8 and the James Bond style machine gun (missed it by that much...)
Described as a poor man's Cobra the Sunbeam Tiger was the cheapest way to have a Shelby engineered, small block, Ford-powered, two-seat British convertible in the 60s. The Tiger did 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds with top speed of 120mph, not as fast as the Cobra — but respectable.
For 1967 the V8 was upped to 289cu in. but was still the lowest powered version in Ford's stable. With a 2bbl carburetor the engine used in the Tiger was a long way short of the hottest 289 packing 271 horsepower. The Tiger II had 36bhp more than the 260 V8 series 1, but wasn't much faster as it struggled to get the additional power to the road via puny 13 inch wheels.
Max's Tiger had all the gadgets — rotating licence plate, ramming bumperettes, machine gun trapdoor, smoke screen and, would you believe...passenger ejector seat.
For the third and fourth seasons Max swapped his Sunbeam for a blue VW Karmann Ghia. It was rarely spotted in the shows except for the opening titles. Volkswagen paid ABC to use the car in an attempt to promote their new, sporty Karmann - an early example of product placement.
The Karmman Ghia convertible as driven by Max was a Type 34 (based on the Type 3 platform) equipped with a 1500cc flat four and 4 speed floorshift. Hardly quick even in its day - just as well it was reliable and had low slung good looks like every Karmann Ghia dating back to the first produced in 1955.
In one episode of season four, A Tale of Two Tails, Max is seen driving a blue Mustang Shelby GT500KR convertible. As this beauty was the Chief's, it's debatable as to whether this car should make the list. Being a GT500 as opposed to the lesser GT350, the Chief had a giant 428 cu in. V8 under the bonnet of his wheels.
In the final season, Max drove a gold 1969 Opel GT. The Opel was sold in the US through select Buick dealerships. Buick didn't have a small, sporty type car to entice younger buyers in to showrooms (unlike Chevy and Pontiac with the Camaro/Firebird twins).
The Opel GT was a short lived, relatively unsuccessful attempt by Buick to offer a sports car alongside their established line of more brutal muscle machines - the GS 340, GS 400 and GSX 455. So like the appearance of the Karmann Ghia before it, the Opel GT was another example of product placement.
Don Adams acquired the Sunbeam Tiger from the studio after the show finished and held on to it for the next decade. He used it in the Chief auto parts advertisements before passing it on to his daughters, who both reportedly crashed it.
The Get Smart Tiger is reputed to be on display at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.