Created By: ginsengaddict2 on January 12, 2012 Last Edited By: ginsengaddict on March 19, 2015

Good Vehicle Evil Vehicle

The heroes and villains rides both reflect their roles.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Up for Grabs

Like Good Scars, Evil Scars, but with Cool Cars, Cool Planes, Cool Boats, Cool Starships, Cool Bikes, etc.

See also Thememobile, Good Colors, Evil Colors.

Examples:

Comic Books:
  • Batman, which is the Trope Codifier for Thememobile, is also an example of this. Heroic characters tend toward sleek, dark vehicles with a simple paint scheme, while villains' vehicles tend to be either more garish or harmless - looking to allow them to hide in plain sight.

Film:
  • Invoked in the movie, Twister. How can you tell the good guys from the bad ones? Well, besides being a Smug Snake and a Jerk Ass, Jonas and his team drive shiny black vans, whereas our Ragtag Bunch of Misfits used beat up pickup trucks and campers.
  • In the Transformers films, the vehicle forms of the main characters: more heroic characters tend towards bright, primary colors while the Decepticons are less colorful. More neutral characters tend toward sheek, shiny black or silver - grey.
  • In G.I. Joe, the Joes' vehicles were usually sleak and oten had some patriotic colors. Cobra vehicles, on the otherhand, were often dark and had reptilian motiffs to them.
  • Star Trek did this very often, especially in the films.
    • Probably the 2011 movie being the best example. The Nerada looks like it came straight from hell.
  • Duel: David Mann is driving around in a classic Plymouth Valiant. The truck just looks frightening.
  • Death Proof: Both cars are classic American muscle cars, but Stuntman Mike's car is black with a Jolly Roger, while the girls' car is white.
  • The cars of the Wacky Races cast are pretty much reflections of their personalities.
  • Cruella De Vil's car in 101 Dalmatians is red and black, and the headlights and grill echoes her skull-like face.
  • In Star Wars, only the vehicles belonging to the designated good guys - the Rebels, the Jedi, or the Republic - get any sort of colorful paint job.

Live-Action Television:
  • In Star Trek, The Federation uses sleek, pearly - white or blue - grey vessels that resemble a flying saucer bolted to a Retro Rocket. Antagonist vessels' shapes tend to be either angular (Tholians, Borg, Kingons, etc.), or have more organic forms (Species 8472, etc.), and are often orange, green, or dark in color.
  • Babylon 5: Subverted when it's Earth Alliance ships vs Earth Alliance ships. But played extremely straight when it's White Stars vs Shadow vessels.
    • In an less-alignment-focused variation of the trope, the design of ships of each race, including humans, seems to reflect their culture; case in point, the Centauri are a race of hedonists and conniving schemers. Their ships are very garish and opulent-looking. While they don't look "evil" like the Shadow vessels, they still say a lot about the owner.

Tabletop Games
  • Warhammer 40K: The Imperium uses big, boxy tanks with either standard camo coloring for the Imperial Guard, silver iconography for the Sisters of Battle, and Chapter colors for the Space Marines. Chaos tanks are Obviously Evil versions of the Imperial counterparts, what with Spikes of Villainy, banners made from human skin and Nothing but Skulls. Tau and Eldar vehicles are far more sleek and graceful. Ork vehicles are either looted Imperial tanks (also featuring spikes and skulls) or cobbled-together pieces of junk that literally only work because the driver thinks it should.

Video Games
  • The Command & Conquer games use this trope a lot, with each faction having a distinctive theme for its units.
    • The Scrin units in C&C 3 all had an organic appearance.
    • In Generals, American units always had a high tech appearance, GLA units looked like they'd been cobbled together from spare parts, while Chinese units tended towards Gatling Good.

Web Originals

Western Animation
  • Kevin Levin of Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien drives a black and green muscle car. It looks like a bad guy car, but Kevin is mostly firmly on the good guy side these days. Ben's car is completely non-memorable.
  • On one of the Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf Looney Tunes cartoons, Sam drives a sputtering jalopie, while Ralph speeds by in a hot rod.
Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • January 12, 2012
    AP
    • In GI Joe, the Joes' vehicles were usually sleak and oten had some patriotic colors. Cobra vehicles, on the otherhand, were often dark and had reptilian motiffs to them.
  • January 12, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    See also Thememobile, Good Colors Evil Colors.

    Comic Books:
    • Batman, which is the Trope Codifier for Thememobile, is also an example of this. Heroic characters tend toward sleek, dark vehicles with a simple paint scheme, while villains' vehicles tend to be either more garish or harmless - looking to allow them to hide in plain sight.

    Live Action Television:
    • In Star Trek, The Federation uses sleek, pearly - white or blue - grey vessels that resemble a flying saucer bolted to a Retro Rocket. Antagonist vessels' shapes tend to be either angular (Tholians, Borg, Kingons, etc.), or have more organic forms (Species 8472, etc.), and are often orange, green, or dark in color.

    Film:
    • In the Transformers films, the vehicle forms of the main characters: more heroic characters tend towards bright, primary colors while the Decepticons are less colorful. More neutral characters tend toward sheek, shiny black or silver - grey.

    Hmm. Possible subtrope: Seen It A Million Times (Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Macross, Lensman, etc.) where protagonist space vehicles resemble ocean vessels or aircraft, and are painted in light or bright colors, while alien space vessels are dark green, purple, etc., and organic - looking.
  • January 16, 2012
    ginsengaddict
    Bump
  • January 18, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Kevin Levin of Ben 10 Alien Force and Ben 10 Ultimate Alien drives a black and green muscle car. It looks like a bad guy car, but Kevin is mostly firmly on the good guy side these days. Ben's car is completely non-memorable.
    • The cars of the Wacky Races cast are pretty much reflections of their personalities.
  • January 18, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Compare Everybody Owns A Ford, where - at least in some examples - the heroes will all drive Fords and the bad guys will drive Chevys.
  • January 19, 2012
    AP
    • The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and the toys that tied into it had the turtles using vehicles with green and yellow paint jobs, typically with a turtle motiff. The bad guys had grey and black machines that sometimes had a touch of purple in them, matching the Shredder and Foot Clan. The bad guy vehicles often had Spikes Of Villainy as well.
  • January 20, 2012
    ginsengaddict2
    Added all the new examples, haven't sorted them yet.
  • January 25, 2012
    ginsengaddict
    bump
  • January 25, 2012
    TonyG
    • Cruella De Vil's car in One Hundred And One Dalmatians is red and black, and the headlights and grill echoes her skull-like face.
    • On one of the Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf Looney Tunes cartoons, Sam drives a sputtering jalopie, while Ralph speeds by in a hot rod.
  • January 25, 2012
    donald
    The Villainy-Free Villains in Twister drive a black van, to let the audience know they're eviiiil.
  • February 5, 2012
    Ryuuma
    I wonder if we can extend it to animal mounts, or even make a completely different ykttw for Good Mounts Evil Mounts....
  • February 5, 2012
    ginsengaddict2
    A mount would qualify as a vehicle. I see no need for a separate trope to cover a similar concept. Mounts are included.
  • February 5, 2012
    DougSMachina
    @donald: Worse than that, it's a line of identical black SUVs, like they're the Men In Black.

    I remember that MASK seemed to be very much in this trope, but I don't remember the details.

    Would the original Transformers count, seeing as the Autobots were largely civilian cars and trucks, while the Decepticons were fighter jets.
  • February 5, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    "Would the original Transformers count, seeing as the Autobots were largely civilian cars and trucks, while the Decepticons were fighter jets."

    I say so.
  • February 5, 2012
    Nightway
    How about in Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt? Panty and Stocking have their hot pink SUV, and Scanty and Kneesock have their black death limo.
  • February 6, 2012
    GuyIncog
    • In Star Wars, only the vehicles belonging to the designated good guys - the Rebels, the Jedi, or the Republic - get any sort of colorful paint job.
    • The Command And Conquer games use this trope a lot, with each faction having a distinctive theme for its units.
      • The Scrin units in C&C 3 all had an organic appearance.
      • In Generals, American units always had a high tech appearance, GLA units looked like they'd been cobbled together from spare parts, while Chinese units tended towards Gatling Good.
  • February 6, 2012
    deuxhero
    In Valkyria Chronicles the Edelweiss and Shamrock (the two tanks under the player's control) have a consistent bright blue paint job and protected (read:covered) treads [[hottip:*:at least after upgrades for the Edelweiss]] while Imperial tanks have parts that noticeably lack paint in many areas, marking their mass produced stats over the Edelweiss's "too expensive to mass produce" and the Shamrock's Ace Custom, and for the light and heavy Imp tanks, possess exposed treads.
  • February 9, 2012
    Chabal2
    Warhammer 40 K: The Imperium uses big, boxy tanks with either standard camo coloring for the Imperial Guard, silver iconography for the Sisters of Battle, and Chapter colors for the Space Marines. Chaos tanks are Obviously Evil versions of the Imperial counterparts, what with Spikes Of Villainy, banners made from human skin and Nothing But Skulls. Tau and Eldar vehicles are far more sleek and graceful. Ork vehicles are either looted Imperial tanks (also featuring spikes and skulls) or cobbled-together pieces of junk that literally only work because the driver thinks it should.
  • February 11, 2012
    Maxaxle
    The '80s Inspector Gadget cartoon used this for obvious reasons, though it borders on simply having two Cool Car examples.

    Also: Legostar Galactica uses this trope occasionally, though This Troper has only ever seen it used with large-scale ships.
  • February 11, 2012
    DrakeClawfang
    The Legend Of Zelda Spirit Tracks, the Spirit Train's (default) form is a humble wooden train. The Demon Train is a large black and gold locomotive with a large face on the front. There's a reason it was nicknamed "The Ganon Train".
  • February 11, 2012
    Sailor11sedna
    Does this work for giant mecha, too?

    Anyway... In Code Lyoko, William gets the Roarkal. The good guys launch the Navskids and go Star Wars on his butt every now and then.
  • May 25, 2012
    ginsengaddict
    bump
  • May 26, 2012
    nlpnt
    Re the Duel example, the Plymouth Valiant should Pot Hole to Boring But Practical, which it was in its' day. Only time has made a 4-door Valiant a Cool Car.
  • May 26, 2012
    MiinU

    Film

    • Invoked in the movie, Twister. How can you tell the good guys from the bad ones? Well, besides being a Smug Snake and a Jerk Ass, Jonas and his team drive shiny black vans, whereas our Ragtag Bunch Of Misfits used beat up pickup trucks and campers.
  • June 1, 2012
    ginsengaddict2
    Is this a trope or ain't it? It's been a YKTTW for long enough.
  • March 19, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump.
  • March 19, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Fagan and his canine cohorts from Disney's Oliver And Company motor around New York in a makeshift vehicle that's part motor scooter, part wire shopping cart, befitting their scrounger lifestyle. Fagan and crew are pursued by the heartless villain Sykes, a mob boss who drives a black luxury sedan that looks like Satan's Cadillac.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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