Created By: Queequeg on November 11, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on July 31, 2014

Increasingly Wrecked Wreck

A vehicle gets more and more beat up throughout the movie, but it somehow still runs.

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Trope
A character's car (or other object) gets more and more beat up throughout the work. By the end it's a heap of junk, but it still probably works just fine. Sometimes in a final sequence it will fall apart catastrophically. Will spend about a third of its existence in comic disrepair.


Examples

Film
  • The Big Lebowski. The Dude's car gets stolen by a teenager, crashed by The Dude, used as a toilet, beaten with a crowbar, and finally set on fire.
  • The Other Guys. The car hosts a hobo orgy, is used as a toilet, and is shot about a thousand times, but it still runs.
  • The Blues Brothers' car starts out in good shape, gets slowly more beat up as they accumulate enemies, but continues to work fine until the final chase sequence, where the problems escalate all the way to catastrophic engine damage — and yet it keeps going just long enough to get them to their destination. When they get out of the car, all the body panels fall off at once.
  • Jumanji. Officer Bentley's brand new police car (which was actually four years old by then) gets increasingly damaged throughout the movie until it is finally swallowed by a giant plant.
  • The Hangover. The trio's loaned Mercedes at first is found to be in perfect condition even after their crazy night, but the next day suffers punishment from a tiger, another car, and gangsters.
  • Smokey and the Bandit. Sheriff Buford T. Justice's police car gets damaged throughout the movie until there's not much left but a steering wheel and two seats.
  • A Goofy Movie has a variation. Goofy and Max's car has a giant sack of equipment on top. At the end of the "On the Open Road" music number, some of the equipment at the very top gets knocked away. The same thing happens when they pull into a diner at the end of a montage. Finally, the whole thing gets knocked off clean when the car rolls away at the canyon. As for the car itself, it falls into a river and eventually over the Inevitable Waterfall. We don't see it again until after the Powerline concert scene, when Goofy and Max drive the car up to Roxanne's house, and it looks like a complete mess. When they park, the front bumper falls off. After Max talks to Roxanne, they watch Goofy put the bumper back on, but moments afterward, the car explodes.

Live-Action TV
  • Pretty much every car in Trailer Park Boys. Lahey's police cruiser (for example), flips upside-down off a cliff, yet it still runs. All of Lahey's cars get progressively more destroyed as seasons progress.
  • Top Gear wanted to see what it would take to destroy a Toyota Hilux. They start out by crashing into objects around Bristol, submerging it in the sea, the wrecking ball, and then setting it on fire. After each trial, and a bit of work with WD-40 and a wrench the truck starts up again. So they placed it on top of a building about to be demolished. The truck, which is very visibly worn is then driven into the studio. The presenters decided to give up on destroying the truck.

Literature

Real Life
  • Demolition derbies, a motorsport in which cars are driven around an arena trying to run into each other and damage the other cars enough so that they can't continue driving. The driver of the last car still able to move wins.

Community Feedback Replies: 39
  • November 11, 2012
    Koveras
    This should have a clearer title and laconic. The current ones make me think of unhealable damage in video games.

    Gradually Destroyed Car?
  • November 11, 2012
    m8e
    I think this happens in RV(starring Robin Williams) but i don't remember how gradual it is. There is some malfunctions(parking brake etc) and in the end the RV rolls into a lake.
  • November 11, 2012
    elwoz
    Film: The Blues Brothers' car starts out in good shape, gets slowly more beat up as they accumulate enemies, but continues to work fine until the final chase sequence, where the problems escalate all the way to catastrophic engine damage -- and yet it keeps going just long enough to get them to their destination. When they get out of the car, all the body panels fall off at once.
  • November 11, 2012
    m8e
    why does it have to be the protagonist's car? Isn't the sheriff's car in Smokey And The Bandit an example of this?
  • November 11, 2012
    Queequeg
    You're right. Just any character's car.
  • November 11, 2012
    player2start
    Literature example:

    Good Omens has Crowley's Bentley. Approaching the climax, it is literally being held together by willpower alone.
  • November 12, 2012
    Koveras
    • Played With throughout the The Dresden Files: for the first twelve books, Harry's Blue Beetle takes a lot of punishment but is always repaired, good as new. Come Changes, however, it is completely and irreversibly destroyed.
  • November 12, 2012
    MarqFJA
    I think a few driving games exhibit a similar phenomenon, but I can't think of any.
  • November 12, 2012
    reub2000
    • Top Gear wanted to see what it would take to destroy a Toyota Hilux. They start out by crashing into objects around Bristol, submerging it in the sea, the wrecking ball, and then setting it on fire. After each trial, and a bit of work with WD-40 and a wrench the truck starts up again. So they placed it on top of a building about to be demolished. The truck, which is very visibly worn is then driven into the studio. The presenters decided to give up on destroying the truck.
  • November 12, 2012
    player2start
    Not sure about the current name (Gradually Destroyed Car). Looked up several related words on Merriam-Webster, may be something that sounds better.

    Gradually: Agressively, Chronologically, Increasingly, Incrementally, Progressively, etc.

    Destroyed: Decayed/Decaying, Demolished, Ravaged, Wrecked, etc.

    Car: Vehicle, Wreck, etc.

    Personally, I like "Increasingly Wrecked Wreck" or "Increasingly Ravaged Wreck".
  • November 12, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • The Hangover: The trio's loaned Mercedes at first is found to be in perfect condition even after their crazy night, but the next day suffers punishment from a tiger, another car, and gangsters.
    • Jumanji: Officer Bentley's brand new police car (which was actually four years old by then) gets increasingly damaged throughout the movie until it is finally swallowed by a giant plant.
      Carl Bentley: (after a big vine has swiped Carl's car) Fine! Take it!
  • November 12, 2012
    Queequeg
    Increasingly Wrecked Wreck is good.
  • November 13, 2012
    Chernoskill
    • Smokey And The Bandit might just be the classic example. Sheriff Buford T. Justice's police car gets damaged throughout the movie until there's not much left but a steering wheel and two seats!
  • November 13, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    The cop car in No Deposit No Return might count. Among other things, the car drives under a low bridge and its rotating light is left behind.
  • November 13, 2012
    NESBoy
    A Goofy Movie has a variation. Goofy and Max's car has a giant sack of equipment on top. At the end of the "On the Open Road" music number, some of the equipment at the very top gets knocked away. The same thing happens when they pull into a diner at the end of a montage. Finally, the whole thing gets knocked off clean when the car rolls away at the canyon. As for the car itself, it falls into a river and eventually over the Inevitable Waterfall. We don't see it again until after the Powerline concert scene, when Goofy and Max drive the car up to Roxanne's house, and it looks like a complete mess. When they park, the front bumper falls off. After Max talks to Roxanne, they watch Goofy put the bumper back on, but moments afterward, the car explodes.
  • November 14, 2012
    Chernoskill
    As a real life example, "Destruction Derby" style car "races".
  • November 14, 2012
    jalapeno
    Evil Dead: Starting in 2 Ash's Oldsmobile gets crashed into a tree, sucked through a time vortex, slammed into the ground from around thirty feet, attacked by knights, dragged through dirt roads, utterly rebuilt as a steam-powered monster slaying machine called the Death Coaster,and finally flipped on it's back and exploded. In the original ending it is wheeled into a cave, buried in a rock slide and left to deteriorate for several hundred years.
  • November 14, 2012
    TonyG
    On the Sesame Street movie Follow That Bird, Cookie Monster is with Susan and Gordon in their VW Beetle, and with no food for the trip, Cookie starts eating the car bit by bit. By the time they return, the car has been stripped of its chassis.
  • November 14, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
  • November 14, 2012
    RockTallBull
    Why not "Rasputin On Wheels" or "Undeath Trap"?
  • December 26, 2012
    randomsurfer
    At the climax of the Marx Brothers film Go West Harpo takes an axe to the train they're all on in order to provide fuel to the steam engine's fire. In the end the train is barely a bunch of wheels stuck together.
  • December 26, 2012
    StarSword
    TV:
    • During the Star Trek Voyager two-parter "Year of Hell", Voyager becomes progressively more beat-up.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    Bump for hats. Doesn't really need more description than we already have IMHO.
  • January 19, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    The 2010 Discovery Channel series 'Breaking Point' was about putting vehicles such as an armoured limo, forest firefighting truck and city bus to the test to see what it would take to make them stop working.

    Because of their sturdy design, the vehicles get shot, set on fire, rolled over, blown up, hit with hurricane winds and debris, rammed against other vehicles, walls and trees... and by the end of the episode it's impossible to believe that they are still working.
  • January 19, 2013
    AgProv
    Or the TV series! Sledge Hammer! Inspector Sledge Hammer drives a car that started as a dented, rusting, lopsided, wreck. Over time, it develops bullet holes, broken headlights, cracked windows... in one episode, where a group of reformed juvenile delinquents express thanks to Sledge for keeping them out of prison by rebuilding his car to showroom standards, he looks at it critically, then pulls out his trusty Amigo and replaces the bullet holes...
  • January 22, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    ^

    RV: The titular vehicle starts very well, but just out of the gate it gets into an accident that disables the parking brakes (leading to the running gag of having to use plastic stops to keep it in place for any extended period of time), then it gets some external damage (which tears off an extensible roof it had on the side), then I think it gets some more additional damage from being driven through a rocky slope, and it then ends up rolling into a lake.

    Little Miss Sunshine: the drive to the titular beauty contest involves a very old WW van, which starts with problems to start up (which leads to the running gag of the family having to push it), then it gets its horn damaged (which makes it beep constantly), and then I think it gets some brake malfunction at the very end.

    Planes, Trains And Automobiles: The car the protagonists rent starts very well, but then it gets some damage to the inclination controls of one seat (because of John Candy's character going nuts with them), and then exterior damage from being nearly sandwiched by two trucks while it was going the wrong way on the highway (long story), and then it's set on fire and crashes against a wall. Aside from the engine, the only part of it that is still in full working order is the radio (and the speedometer being melted makes the protagonists unwillingly go over the speed limit, which is when a highway patrolman pulls them over).
  • January 22, 2013
    SharleeD
    • Over the course of The Dresden Files, Harry's VW Bug, the Blue Beetle, starts out intact in the prequel comic, but acquires replacement doors and hood by the first book, and later gets its rear windshield smashed and loses its organic interior components to fungus demons. When last seen in Changes ( in which it's completely destroyed), it's a clown-car mix of blue, white, red, green, and primer gray, because Harry can't afford to have its replacement parts re-painted.
  • January 23, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the original The Love Bug Herbie sustains damage of various degrees throughout the film. At one point a wheel is replaced by one from a wooden wagon, and during The Big Race at the end Herbie actually splits in two, coming in both first and third.
  • January 23, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Ace's car in the first Ace Ventura Pet Detective movie got smashed by a guy with a bat in the opening sequence, then takes steady abuse from then on. Still runs just fine in the end, though Ace can't see out the windshield.
  • July 14, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Bump!
  • July 15, 2014
    DAN004
    Maybe expand the description a bit?
  • July 15, 2014
    hbi2k
    ^ Agreed. The OP hasn't been active since 2012, so this is pretty Up For Grabs if anyone wants to spruce it up.

    Film
    • In Tommy Boy, Richard's (David Spade's) car takes a beating over the course of the movie due to, among other things, running into a deer, which is presumed dead, loaded into the back seat, and wakes up feeling very angry.
  • July 15, 2014
    DAN004
    • In One Piece, the Straw Hats ship Going Merry had been going through wear and tear from some time ago, but only in Water 7 arc does the ship's wellbeing really come into the question. Indeed the ship looked like it would fall apart and only Usopp's rudimentary fixes that kept it in place. By the end of the saga, the ship finally gave in, with its keel (akin to a human spine) broken.
  • July 15, 2014
    ObsidianFire
    Film
    • In The Lovebug, the VW bug gets further and further wrecked throughout the movie until by the end of The Big Race it's split into two parts and wins both 1st and 3rd place.
  • July 20, 2014
    SpiderRider3
    Formatted. Also the single Real Life example is technically a Zero Context Example, although I suppose its obvious enough.
  • July 21, 2014
    Arivne
  • July 21, 2014
    Omeganian
    Starcrossed has it happen to one of the Star Destroyers - after suffering combat damage, it is first subjected to a Reassignment Backfire, and then used as a decoy.
  • July 21, 2014
    DAN004
    Who wanna grab this?
  • July 31, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Grabbing this.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ux5prlh2cifsnvy8o9p256iu