You are making a movie set a few dozen years in the future. You need cars to populate your future backstreets and highways, but actually designing new cars that look like they rolled off a factory line in 2066 is difficult without GM sponsorship
. So why not just buy a couple of cheap cars (preferably foreign cars which no one recognises
), throw on some matte black paint, a bit of camouflage or mechanical kibble and hope the audience will not notice that every vehicle on the road is 50 years out of date.
This trope does not apply if an apocalypse happened
that would put an end to car production.
- Children of Men is set in 2027 and has a number of rare European MP Vs (Fiat Multipla, Renault Avantime) in matte grey camouflage paint and a banana yellow Citroen CX with vinyl prototype stickers. The effect is very convincing if you don't live in Europe.
- Looper takes place in 2044 but the protagonist drives an obvious Miata. The background cars are 2012 daily drivers in drab colours with pipes and solar panels mounted on them.
- Total Recall (2012) has a lot of Fiat 500s for a world set at the end of the 21st century, sometimes with CGI chrome to give them a slightly different shape.
- Robocop had first generation Ford Tauruses (1986-1991) as police cruisers while being set around the year 2043.
- Alien Nation was set in the near future with a cop teamed up with an alien. One episode had a criminal steal a AMC Pacer wagon (1975-1980) which was discontinued eight years before the series even started in 1988.
- The Blade Runner PC game used this for the ground cars seen in several locations, most of which were recognizable as late-80s/early-90s production models. This appeared to be a stylistic use of Zeerust to help with the Earth That Used to Be Better aesthetic.