More and more of today’s TV shows hinge on the idea of an apocalypse. Nuclear apocalypse, environmental apocalypse, viral apocalypse, alien invasion apocalypse—you name it, Hollywood has tried to market it. Fueled in large part by the runaway success of The Walking Dead, which enters its eighth season in October, the most popular apocalypse seems to be that of the zombie variety. According to Nielsen data, the hit show’s recent season finale was the most-watched episode of the quarter, pulling in more than 16 million viewers. AMC debuted an epic, five-minute trailer for season eight at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con last week and, if public response is any indication, the next season may do even better.
As a car guy, one of my favorite things is to watch these shows just to see what kind of vehicles industry executives think will survive the impending doom and gloom of tomorrow. And I’m not alone: During the 2013 New York Comic Con, I was surprised and fascinated when Hyundai rolled out an expansive Walking Dead tie-in. Admittedly, I was late to the party, since the brands had been collaborating on product placement and marketing synergy for two seasons already. Still, the 2013 reveal was special.
Part of the activation was a mobile app (The Walking Dead Chop Shop) that allowed users to design a custom Zombie Survival Vehicle based on some of the cars in the Hyundai fleet. Choose your base model car, and then add on all the elements you think you might need to survive from a drop down menu. You could even upload your creation so other app users could see and vote on it. Of more than 80,000 uploads, a zombie-mobile based on a fan’s new Hyundai Santa Fe was picked as the winner and recreated as a functional, full-size vehicle.
Robert Kirkland, the creator of The Walking Dead comic book and executive producer of the TV series, chose the remixed Sante Fe primarily because of the vehicle’s ability to stay stealthy. It’s painted matte gray to keep it from gleaming in the sun and the SUVs first line of defense is a crossbow, to take out zombies silently. Plus, it has sharp objects like knives and barbed wire festooned around the circumference of the car. When things get choppy, however, you’re still in good hands. There are multiple machine guns mounted on the vehicle, plus an air raid siren to call for help, or lead the zombies away.
Not to be outdone by the general public, Hyundai got in on the action by hiring Galpin Auto Sports to retrofit a Hyundai Veloster Turbo with zombie killing necessities like a machete, three machine guns, a baseball bat with nails sticking out of it and, my fave, a front bumper flanked by two chainsaws.
Hyundai, of course, isn’t your most obvious choice when it comes to decimating zombies on the move, but their Zombie Survival Machines are inventive and original enough to remember. Plus, the exercise of thinking through what you might need if zombies attack is fun. Admit it, you’re already designing a zombie survival vehicle in your head.
- Non zombie equipped Hyundai Veloster ($18,100) and Sante Fe ($24,900) can be found at HyundaiUSA.com.
- Fun fact: The Walking Dead will start its eighth season with its 100th episode.
- Watch a video of Hyundai Zombie Apocalypse Vehicles here.
The new season of The Walking Dead airs Sunday, October 22 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
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