Cars play a big part in Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai, and here’s which vehicle William Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence drives in the hit show. What kind of car does Cobra Kai protagonist Johnny Lawrence drive in the show? Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai has gone from a sleeper hit to one of Netflix’s most-watched shows since it debuted in 2018. Set some thirty years after the original Karate Kid saga, the series sees Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprise their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence and follows their characters as they rekindle their old rivalry when Johnny reopens the Cobra Kai dojo.
Cobra Kai reveals the pair have undergone a reversal of fortunes in the intervening years, with underdog Daniel now a successful businessman and family man while the once-wealthy Johnny now a down-on-his-luck handyman and semi-functional alcoholic. Daniel and Johnny’s car situations are symbolic of this reversal too. In The Karate Kid, Daniel was stuck borrowing his mom’s old Chevy station wagon while in Cobra Kai he’s running a car dealership chain and driving an expensive Audi S7. Conversely, Johnny drove a brand-new red Avanti convertible in Karate Kid that symbolized his status whereas by Cobra Kai he’s driving a beat-up 1991 model of what’s considered the ultimate mid-life crisis car – a red Pontiac Firebird.
Johnny does upgrade his worn-out wheels, however – or rather he’s forced to. Towards the end of Cobra Kai season 1, his beloved Firebird is torched by Daniel’s cousin Louie LaRusso (Bret Ernst) and his biker pals in retaliation for Johnny vandalizing a billboard advertising Daniel’s dealership. Feeling partly responsible, Daniel offers to compensate Johnny with a replacement car from his dealership’s trade-in lot. Though Daniel tries to steer him towards a more reliable, age-appropriate car (a sensible Subaru Forester) Johnny decides on a red 2009 Dodge Challenger instead.Unlike Johnny’s past two cars, his new ride doesn’t stay red for long. In the second season of Cobra Kai, he has his Dodge Challenger resprayed black and customized with decals advertising his dojo. He also has black rims installed, adds a personalized license plate with the Cobra Kai dojo logo and gets a cool snake-shaped gear shift. However, while Johnny seemed infatuated with his new wheels, the pimped-up Dodge Challenger didn’t last long.
In the season 2 finale of Cobra Kai, the Dodge Challenger is abandoned by Johnny after his star pupil Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) is injured and his dojo is taken over by former mentor-turned-enemy John Kreese (Martin Kove). In Cobra Kai season 3, Johnny starts driving a Dodge Caravan minivan that his estranged son Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan) stole from Daniel’s dealership and later gives it a paint job themed around his new dojo Eagle Fang Karate. The Dodge Caravan has been Johnny’s main mode of transportation since but given his track record with cars, it’s possible he could be driving an entirely different vehicle when Cobra Kai season 5 premieres in late 2022.