In the 1984 film The Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) share a strong bond. Miyagi, who lost his wife and son while they were incarcerated in a Japanese-American detention center, becomes a father-figure to his student.
After spending time training with him in preparation for the All Valley Tournament, Miyagi celebrates Daniel’s 18th birthday by giving him a cake and a gi. The teenager then shows his sensei that he got a driver’s license before remembering he has plans with his mother. Daniel apologizes for having to leave abruptly to which his mentor responds, “that’s okay Miyagi once have mother too.” He then instructs the West Valley High School student to follow him outside for another gift.
Mr. Miyagi Gave Daniel a 1947 Ford Super Deluxe Convertible
While Daniel insists that Miyagi has given him enough, the martial arts master tells him to “choose” from his collection of cars. The teenager ends up picking the 1947 Ford Super Deluxe convertible.
He slides into the driver’s seat and places his hands on the wheel, saying “what a gift.” Miyagi proceeds to give him driving tips, and Daniel voices his concerns about the upcoming karate tournament. His sensei then seemingly encourages Daniel to continue pursuing a relationship with Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue).
The teenager tells Miyagi he “understands” and briefly pauses before turning toward him.
“You’re the best friend I’ve ever had,” says Daniel.
“You pretty okay too,” replies Miyagi.
As fans of the acclaimed series Cobra Kai are aware, Daniel has kept the car in his possession for over three decades.
The Car Actually Belongs To Ralph Macchio
In real life, the classic car actually belongs to Ralph Macchio. While speaking to Automobile Magazine in 2019, he explained that he expressed interest in purchasing the Ford Super Deluxe convertible “before [he] started shooting The Karate Kid Part III.” He told the publication:
I sat down with the head of Columbia Pictures at the time and I just floated it out. I said, ‘Maybe at the end of this film, I’d love to buy that car just to have it. It’s just become a piece of pop culture and would be cool to keep in my family,’ and all that stuff. And she just listened to me, her name was Dawn Steel. She’s since passed away. But the day the second sequel was released, that car was on a flatbed in front of my house on Long Island, New York. I never had to purchase it. The title was turned over to me and it was a gift from Columbia Pictures.
During the interview, he also revealed that he considered getting rid of the car and “kept [it] in storage for decades on end.”
“And I always had someone saying, ‘Hang on to it.’ But it was always where was I going to put it? It was more about paying to keep it in storage, because I didn’t have enough garage space. And when I got the call to hear this pitch for Cobra Kai, I said to myself, ‘Well, I don’t know what the show is, but maybe at the end of day I can get this car up and running,’” stated the 59-year-old.
He went on to say that the actual Ford was first seen during Cobra Kai’s second season. The actor disclosed that a similar car was used “at the end of season one.”
“That was another, like, ’48 Ford in the same color, but it had a hardtop. So that’s why it was half covered. And then once we started season two, we shipped my car down from New York to Atlanta where we shoot most of the show and that’s where they did all the work on it,” said Macchio.