The Cars of The Sopranos


Twenty-five years ago, America was introduced to James Gandolfini’s signature New Jersey sanitation man/(alleged) mobster Tony Soprano as he recounted a high-speed “collection” in his nephew’s “$60,000” Lexus to his new shrink, Dr. Jennifer Melfi. Throughout the six-season run of The Sopranos, the vehicles became nearly as big a thread in the show’s tapestry as its locations, its characters, and its human drama, with so many important moments taking place in or around motor vehicles. Over 86 episodes, the on-screen automobiles were as perfectly selected as any cast in television history.

Now, a quarter-century after the show’s debut, the cars of The Sopranos make one of the most enduring and influential shows ever produced feel like a nostalgic period piece to those of us with fond vehicular memories of the late 1990s and early/mid-2000s. So, throw on your bathrobe, grab a handful of Gabagool, and come along as we explore the automotive world of the small-screen turn-of-the-century Jersey mob!

What Tony Drove

The Sopranos 1999 Chevrolet Suburban Tony Driving front three quarter

1999 Chevrolet Suburban (GMT410)

The vehicle most readily associated with Tony Soprano is the 1999 Suburban that served as the character’s daily driver in Seasons 1–4 and ferried Gandolfini over the New Jersey Turnpike in the show’s famed opening sequence.

Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (R129 & R230)

In Season 3, Tony briefly flirts with the idea of buying a Mercedes SL to cover his extramarital pursuit of Gloria Trillo (Annabella Sciorra), a lovely but ultimately volatile car saleswoman he first met in Dr. Melfi’s waiting room. Gloria works at the real-world dealership Globe Motor Car Company, and the scenes shot there are among the series’ most car-centric.

2003 Cadillac Escalade ESV (GMT830)

The maroon eighth-gen ‘Burb will always be known as “Tony’s car,” but that truck’s luxury-oriented sibling actually closed out the show with two seasons as the family patriarch’s ride of choice. He first upgrades to a short-lived black ESV early in Season 5 before taking delivery of the pearl white 2003 that would be with him through the finale. The Escalade was driven by the late, great Super Bowl Champion Tony Siragusa throughout his four-episode cameo, and it went on to sell for $119,777 at auction in 2015.

It Was a Cadillac World

The Sopranos Cadillac

Tony’s Escalade is far from the only Caddy featured in The Sopranos. In fact, the wreath and crest could be called the official marque of the certain subculture the show is concerned with. Cadillac’s fingerprints are all over the show; they appear in flashbacks and dream sequences and are driven by almost every major character in the main arc. The brand is so ever-present that a character owning one seems like more of a rite of passage than mere possession of a luxury good.

The whole thing makes one wonder what guys like Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri would drive today if such a person could still exist in 2024. Showing up at “The Bing” in a Lyriq would likely earn someone the “Fat Vito” pool-cue treatment; a present-day “made guy” could probably make do with a Blackwing-powered CT6 Platinum or Coach Door tenth-gen Continental. (It’s hard to imagine, but could a changing auto industry also push one of the crew to accept something like a Genesis G90?) As interesting as that is to ponder, maybe it’s a topic for a future Hagerty Community According to You discussion. Let’s get into our rapid-fire section of the show’s many Cadillacs:

The Sopranos Cars Carmela

Classics include the 1953 Series 62 from Tony’s lucid food-poisoned and test dreams; 1966 and 1968 DeVille convertibles driven by Tony’s dad, Johnny Boy, in recollections from Tony’s childhood; and the 1958 Series 62 convertible that Tony’s dad and Uncle Junior posed in front of long before our protagonist’s time. After getting out of jail in Season 5, Robert Loggia’s character, Feech LaManna, is seen driving a droptop 1975 Fleetwood Eldorado with Tony’s cousin, Tony (Steve Buscemi), who would keep the car in the show on a regular basis through the season after Feech is incarcerated.

The DeVille and rebranded DTS make up the bulk of the modern Cadillacs in the series, with multiple members of Tony’s crew regularly seen in the biggest Caddy sedan of the show’s era. Most notably, these include the 1996 and 2000 of Salvatore Bompensiero fame, Paulie’s ‘97, and examples from 2000 driven by Vito and Furio. After Paulie’s DeVille inexplicably goes missing in the top-rated episode “Pine Barrens,” he picks up a ’97 Eldorado ETC followed by a first-gen CTS, all in his favored shades of gold and beige, while Tony’s consigliere, Silvio, shows a preference for the Seville/STS.

The Moltisanti Kid


The undisputed car guy of the series—in a new money/rock star sense of the word, where vehicles are an extension of his wardrobe and the ultimate expression of wealth and taste but not necessarily something desired by the driving enthusiast—is Tony’s nephew, Christopher Moltisanti, played to perfection by Michael Imperioli. He starts the series with the previously alluded-to Lexus LS400, before acquiring a 1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK430 Lorinser and a 2000 Range Rover 4.6 HSE in rapid succession.

In Season 5, Chris drives a Hummer H2, the quintessential status vehicle of the early 2000s. Between having his Range Rover stolen and showing up in the H2, Chris is briefly seen in a tenth-generation Pontiac Bonneville GXP; that’s the one with the Northstar V-8, not the tried-and-true supercharged 3.8-liter V-6. At different points in the series, “Chrissie” also takes sports cars off of people either as partial payment for debt or to help them out when they are experiencing the cash flow issues commonly associated with getting incarcerated. The former situation scored him a BMW Z3, which was presumably sold or chopped, as it isn’t seen again, and the latter got him the keys to Johnny Sack’s prize Maserati, which is the only Italian vehicle prominently featured in the series, interestingly.

Chris finishes out the series by joining the Cadillac club with a 2007 Escalade EXT, and adjacent to Moltisanti, we also had the resurrected Ford Thunderbird that he bought his fiancée, Adriana La Cerva (Drea de Matteo), before eventually abandoning it in long-term parking at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Other Star Cars

For the majority of the series, our female lead and Tony’s long-suffering wife, Carmela Soprano, can be seen in an S210 Mercedes-Benz E320 wagon. Just in time for the final season, Tony buys her a Porsche Cayenne—like the pepper. Uncle Junior drives a ’64 Lincoln Continental in flashbacks. When it comes to his kids, Meadow and Anthony Jr., Tony proves to be a bit of a Nissan fan. In season two, he takes an R50 Pathfinder off of Liquid Metal, of Terminator 2 fame. After taking delivery, Tony tries to gift it to Mead, only for the whole thing to blow up in his face—you try to do something nice for people! A couple of seasons later, when A.J. is of driving age and going through the process of becoming one of the series’ most maddening characters, Tony brings home a 2002+ first-generation Xterra to use as a carrot to get A.J. to try harder in school. As the show progresses, A.J.’s ride suddenly morphs into a second-gen—the producers probably thought we wouldn’t notice!

The Sopranos AJ Nissan Xterra

As early as the show’s second episode, we see cars as plot devices. When A.J.’s science teacher, Mr. Miller, has his Saturn SL1 stolen and, unbeknownst to him, torn to pieces at a chop shop, Tony’s guys boost him a new one to earn his underachieving kid some brownie points. When the car is mysteriously “returned” to the school parking lot, Miller’s keys don’t work, and the paint seems a little wet; it’s the weirdest thing! In season three, an early storyline features a character so tied to his ride that he’s literally known as “Mustang Sally.” His Green ’91 Fox-body makes a big impression, but it is unfortunate that it has to associate with Sally, who is a deeply and immediately unlikable sort. 

The Sopranos Mustang Fox Body

It’s a testament to the versatility of the automobile that cars also make for memorable set pieces. A few notable examples of this include the Silver Cloud from Allegra Sack’s wedding, the Willys Jeep in the boosted load of WWII collectibles, the Grand Wagoneer that the newly sympathetic Vito rear-ends to remind us that he isn’t a great guy before his brutal—but mostly offscreen—demise, and the 5/8ths-scale Legends Fords buzzing around in the track scene.

We’ll close with America’s Sports Car, of which three generations appear on screen. After a black facelifted C4 convertible briefly appears on a college visit, its C5 twin is seen out front in a frequently used exterior shot of the show’s premier exotic dancing establishment—a subtle but hilarious jab that hits home with anyone who’s ever been to a Corvette club meeting and can picture the exact member of their club who personifies “that guy.”

If you thought The Sopranos did the Corvette dirty with that C5 joke, the show more than makes up for it by attaching a C6 to the best success/redemption story of its entire run: Angie Bompensiero. After Angie’s husband “disappears,” she’s initially portrayed as a helpless grieving widow who even comes to Tony for help paying her bills. In time, though, she picks herself up and goes into business for herself. Angie’s body shop is a significant player in the show when overly difficult New York higher-up Phil Leotardo’s Continental-kitted Lincoln Town Car needs repair. The business is portrayed as barely scraping by until Carmela shows Angie the Cayenne that Tony bought her, and she responds that she thought about a Boxster, but the Le Mans Blue LS2-powered ‘Vette just felt more “her,” with a light air of self-satisfaction that makes Carm think twice about her own situation. 


The world of The Sopranos revolves around the automobile, and nearly every episode features a car that matches its driver or scene perfectly. The best part is that, outside of a few classics, all four-wheeled former status symbols featured in the show two decades ago can be had on the cheap these days, and almost anyone can roll like Tony, Chris, Paulie, and Sil for a song.


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    Tony’s mother also had like a 1962-63 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 sedan, which I thought was kinda odd, even by the 2000’s she should have had a newer car.

    One of my favorite HBO series. Music and the cars added to the great show that showcased the late 90’s/early 2000’s mobster era in the NY/NJ area.

    I thought Paulie drove a Lincoln Continental? Seem to remember him putting a lawn mower in the trunk

    Wasn’t the first thing Tony did, when he picked up a new Escalade, was rip out the fuses for the GPS systems? Concerned about tracking, he must have driven the dealers crazy at service intervals. Was the OnStar working in the one that Christopher met his demise?

    What about Massive Genius’s Roller or I think it was Bentley outside of the late night eatery when he calls out “Donnie Brasco”. Most expensive car in the series was forgotten! (That whole story line was one of the weakest in the show but Hesh’s line during the confrontation of the two “gangster” groups was hilarious!

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