[[quoteright:300:[[Comicbook/BatmanTheCult http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/batman_the_cult_-_car_bomb_2183.jpg]]]]
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->'''Homer: '''Bart, would you go start daddy's car?\\
'''Marge:''' Homer!\\
'''Homer: '''What? There's nothing to worry about.\\
'''Bart: '''Well then ''you'' start it!\\
'''Homer:''' Alright, fine! I'll take a cab!
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS10E9MayoredToTheMob Mayored to the Mob]]"

A favourite assassination method of [[TheMafia mobsters]] and [[SpyFi spies]] alike is to hook up a bomb to the ignition switch of a car, so that it will lie dormant until some poor soul starts it.

While the intended target is, naturally, the car's owner, this trope is the number one killer of [[DisposablePilot chauffeurs]] and valets -- which occasionally raises the FridgeLogic of why you would put an ignition-triggered explosive in a chauffeured car in the first place -- and has claimed its fair share of helpful {{Dead Sidekick}}s and DisposableWomen as well.

There is an interesting case of TheLawOfConservationOfDetail attached to this trope. In normal circumstances, little to no screentime is devoted to a character walking to their car or starting it. Hence, whenever this ''does'' happen -- especially if you see a close-up of the key -- the viewer probably has a [[OhCrap distinctly uneasy feeling in his stomach]]. Wait for it... three... two... one... [[IncrediblyLamePun ignition!]] Another dead giveaway is if the car is a gift from someone the recipient [[BigBadFriend really shouldn't trust]].

Variations include remote-detonation and bombs hooked up to other parts of the car, but the idea is to kill the occupant. Cars [[MolotovTruck turned into]] [[SuicideAttack suicide bombs]] don't count.

A subtrope of VehicularSabotage. See EveryCarIsAPinto for cars blowing up [[RuleOfCool that have no reason to]].

Unrelated to steam engines and Stirling engines, which really do work by "external combustion".



[[folder: Advertising ]]
* Parodied and inverted in this banned [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRhdjPIa4J0 Volkswagen advert]].

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* One of the manga adaptations of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'', ''Manga/MobileSuitGundamTheOrigin'', covers a lot of backstory from prior to the start of the anime. One scene has a car bomb used against the sons of Degwin Sodo Zabi, who many suspected of having [[KlingonPromotion assassinated his predecessor, political rival, and fellow revolutionary Zeon Zum Daikun in order to take his job]]. [[spoiler:Although the Zabi's eagerly blame Zeon's remaining followers, it's very strongly implied that Degwin's daughter set the bomb to take revenge on one of her brothers.]]
* In ''VisualNovel/GrisaiaNoKajitsu'', [[spoiler:Makina's sister]] is seriously injured by a bomb placed under her car.
* ''{{Series/Golgo 13}}''. A criminal gang attacks a hijacker who's parachuted into the Amazon with his three million ransom. Actually they've been LuredIntoATrap, as the hijacker is Duke Togo who has a contract on them. As Duke masscares the attackers with machine guns and rocket launchers he's prestashed in the area, their leader decides ScrewThisImOuttaHere and runs for the vehicles. One of his mooks starts a vehicle a moment before he does and blows up. The leader looks at his own ignition key, throws it away and decides to go on foot. [[ImplacableMan He doesn't get far]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the Franchise/{{Batman}} ''Comicbook/{{Knightfall}}'' saga, a villain has stolen the Batmobile. Batman gets in the car, starts it, and kaboom! Cut to Robin ([[ComicBook/RobinSeries Tim Drake]]) screaming, when Batman walks by and says he got out just in time, realizing it was booby-trapped, "because that's what I would have done."
** The Batmobile gets targeted with a car bomb again in ''Comicbook/RedHoodTheLostDays'' after Jason Todd's dip in a Lazarus Pit. The bomb is never set off since Jason wants to look Bruce in the face when he kills him and Bruce finds and disables it without learning who had planted it until his broken resurrected son returns years later as the Red Hood and tells him while trying to kill him.
* ''ThePunisher'' once ran into villains who took to modifying taxis with booby-traps that would horribly kill the driver. When he realized this, he switched cars with the bad guys pursuing him, who forgot whose car the remote activated...

[[folder: Film ]]
* In ''Film/TheGodfather'', Michael's [[HopeSpot blissful]] [[KarmaHoudini escape from mob life]] in Sicily comes to an end when his [[DisposableWoman new wife]], Apollonia, decides to bring the car around for him. He gets FiveSecondForeshadowing when one of his compatriots, Fabrizio, panics and runs off when he realizes Michael isn't driving himself.
** A cut scene from the sequel has Fabrizio dying this way on Michael's orders.
* Yuri's uncle in ''Film/LordOfWar'', after Yuri gifts his car to him.
* {{Subverted|Trope}} in the film version of ''Film/TheSumOfAllFears''. Dressler has his bodyguard start the car first, as he's savvy enough to know people like him get offed this way. After a tense moment, the car starts just fine. When Dressler (who was established early in the film to be a chain smoker) pushes in the car's cigarette lighter, it explodes as soon as the lighter pops back up. The bodyguard who started the car survives.
* ''Film/TheXFilesFightTheFuture'', where the Well Manicured Man is eliminated in this fashion.
* This is of course the whole set-up to ''Film/{{Speed}}'' - the bomb is rigged to activate at the bus hitting 50 mph, and detonate upon it going ''under'' that speed.
* In ''Film/JohnnyDangerously'', Roman Maroni does this to you [[DisproportionateRetribution if you park in his space]].
* Parodied in ''Film/{{Mafia}}'' (the Jay Mohr comedy), where Mohr's character is in the car when this happens. He survives, but loses most of his skin in the accident (leading to a major {{Squick}} moment when he eats a tangerine, leading to a multiple VomitIndiscretionShot). By the time [[spoiler:he meets up with his wife again]], he only has a small bandage on his cheek. When he is asked what happened, he replies, [[UnexplainedRecovery "Car exploded."]]
* In ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly'', the Lotus Esprit from ''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe'' self-destructs when one of the bad guys tries to use the butt of his gun to break into the car.
* Famously done [[HowWeGotHere in the opening scene]] of ''Film/{{Casino}}''. Sam is narrating to himself as he walks out of a restaurant into his car, and it explodes when he turns the key. [[spoiler:Subverted, however, as we see later on that he survived, as a metal plate under the seat(factory installed due to a balancing issue), delayed the explosion enough for Sam to notice it and jump out with only minor injuries.]]
-->'''Sam:''' When you love someone you've got to trust them, there's no other way. You've got to give them the key to everything that's yours. Otherwise, what's the point? And for a while, I thought that was the kind of love I had.
* ''Film/AngelsAndDemons'' (TheMovie): TheDragon is [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness killed]] this way.
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', a judge is shown out to her car by secret service types with sealed instructions as to her destination. When she opens the envelope, the note contains only a single word: "UP". '''BOOM.'''
* As with the book, so with the film: in [[Film/ThePelicanBrief The Pelican Brief]], attempting to kill the protagonist.
* A mob boss in ''Film/TheGangThatCouldntShootStraight'' is terrified of being killed by a car bomb and always has one of his underlings start his car for him. At the end of the film, he is killed by a bomb that is triggered when the driver's door slams after the engine has been started.
* In ''Film/{{Scarface 1983}}'', Tony is supposed to help a hitman kill a government official with the remote-detonated variant. [[EvenEvilHasStandards He refuses to do so]] [[spoiler:when he sees the official's kids get in the target car]].
* One of Darkman's allies is killed this way in ''Film/DarkmanIITheReturnOfDurant''.
* ''Film/WiseGuys'' has testing a car for this as Creator/DannyDeVito's chore, as the low man in the Family. Wincing, he turns the engine over, and doesn't blow up. He makes it back to the other happy laughing mobsters, including his boss, and they chat. [[spoiler:THEN it blows up.]]
* ''Transporter''
** TheDragon in ''Film/TheTransporter'' attempts to get rid of Frank Martin with a bomb in a suitcase, resulting in his car going kaboom (he wasn't in it, but [[PunkInTheTrunk two policeman were]]).
** In ''Film/{{Transporter 2}}'', the villains have attached a remote-controlled bomb to the bottom of Frank's car, which he sees reflected in a puddle of water. As the villains are pointing guns at him he has to get in anyway, and detaches it by launching the car into the air so the magnetically-attached bomb is knocked off by a crane hook. It would have been a lot simpler [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim for the villains to have just shot him]], or for Frank to have parked the car and ran away as soon as he was out of sight, [[RuleOfCool but well...]]
* In the original version of ''Film/TheMechanic1972'', [[spoiler:[=McKenna=] gets into his car at the end of the film, realising too late it was rigged to explode by Bishop, who knew that [=McKenna=] would eventually kill him]].
* ''Film/MichaelCollins'' features one of the assassinations of British agents as being accomplished via this. The use of such a method in the time period (as well as the Northern Irish agents featured) is entirely fictitious, and an obvious reference to UsefulNotes/TheTroubles.
* Alex Murphy becomes the eponymous character in ''Film/RoboCop2014'' when this is done to him.
* ''Film/LawAbidingCitizen''. The WellIntentionedExtremist put remote-controlled bombs inside the gas tanks, where a prior search didn't find them. The protagonist is ForcedToWatch as the woman he mentored struggles to escape from a vehicle with sabotaged locks as the other cars explode one by one, before her car also blows up.
* In ''Film/OrdinaryDecentCriminal'', a judge is intimidated by planting a bomb in his daughter's car, triggered by the remote unlocker. The fact that it blew up right in front of the judge, and only injured his son-in-law instead of killing his daughter or himself, makes it a GambitRoulette as far as intimidation tactics go.
* In ''Film/GodzillaVsMechagodzilla'', the evil aliens put a bomb in the heroes' car. Nanbara saw it coming and starts the car at a distance by turning the key with a long string. After seeing the explosion at a distance, the aliens relax and think they have been taken care of.
* The baddies in ''Film/TheBigHeat'' try to kill the hero this way but the plan gets thwarted when the wife gets into the car and gets killed instead.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* Creator/StephenKing short story ''[[Literature/NightmaresAndDreamscapes Dolan's Cadillac]]'' involves a guy whose wife was killed with a car bomb (she had information on a local mob boss). The rest of the story details how he gets his revenge.
* In ''Literature/ThePelicanBrief'', the author of the titular brief [[RevealingCoverup realizes that she's onto something when "they" try to silence her]] by blowing up her car. She isn't inside the car; her lover is.
* Happens in the Literature/StephaniePlum book ''One for the Money'', with the car she appropriated from Morelli (in this book, he's the skip she's chasing). Another of Vinnie's bounty hunters is the ill-fated person who starts the car.
** This is actually one of the least common ways Stephanie's [[RunningGag cars get blown up]].
* ''[[Literature/TheDresdenFiles White Night]]'' has Murphy's car wired with a pipe bomb by one of the villains, who doesn't want her and Harry looking into a series of serial killings. Fortunately, Harry was just a little bit pissed off from a meeting the scene before, so he lets off a hex to blow off some steam... which just happens to activate the car bomb's detonator while he and Murphy are across the street.
* The non-fiction ''Prince of the City''. Corrupt NYPD detective Robert Leuci, who was testifying against his former colleagues, would have his police bodyguards check his car for explosives every day. Showing typical cop humor, the bodyguards would then stand on the street with their fingers in their ears while he turned the ignition.
* British agent Literature/{{Quiller}} was the target of one of these in Tunisia. Fortunately, the bombers didn't have the chance to wire the bomb to the ignition, so they set it to go off when the car experienced a sharp vibration, such as the door closing. And then a heavy bus rumbled by and triggered it while Quiller was still halfway across the street. In Adam Hall's typical narrative style, it's stated:
-->So at 19.15 I checked out of the Hotel Africa and went across to where the Chrysler was parked and they said later at the hospital that the glass had been the worst trouble because some very small fragments had got stuck in my face....
** In the first Literature/{{Quiller}} novel, the carbomb is placed in the suspension, rigged to go off when it falls and hits the ground as the car starts moving. As Quiller needs to fake his death to escape surveillance, he starts the car's engine and leaves the bomb on the hood, hoping the vibrations will cause it to slide down the hood, fall off and detonate. After a while nothing happens, and Quiller thinks the bomb has got stuck and he'd better go back and dislodge it, when the garage blows up in his face.
** Happens again by accident in ''Quiller's Run''. Quiller has been boxed in by an extensive surveillance team. As night falls, another agent of similar build plans to drive away in his car in the hope of leading off the enemy so Quiller can escape. It works better than expected [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone because a bomb had been placed in his car]]. The surveillance team quickly vanish before the police show up, thinking Quiller has been killed.
** And in "North Light". Quiller is tipped off by his SpiderSense on that occasion.
* Happened to one of Literature/{{Dirk Pitt|Adventures}}'s many vintage automobiles. He wasn't in it, and he had it restored at the end of the book.
* In the first book of the ''Literature/LeftBehind'' series (and its film adaptation), Alan Tompkins was killed by a bomb planted inside his car.
* The second high-profile assassination in the first chapter of ''Literature/NeverSendFlowers'' is a politician whose car was rigged with a bomb. The thing wasn't set to explode immediately, it took eight startings of the vehicle before the inevitable.
* ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'' manages to calmly deduce Holly's presence from the fact that Butler, the world's best bodyguard, ''didn't'' do his usual bomb check, and just about the only thing that would interfere with his reflexes is fairy mesmer.
* The first updated ''Literature/TheHardyBoys'' novel killed off Joe's girlfriend Iola this way when the bad guys planted a bomb in Joe's car.
* ''Literature/JoePickett'': In ''Stone Cold'', Templeton's lackeys plant a bomb underneath Joe's pickup, to be detonated by a mobile phone. Fortunately, Joe discovers it before it can be detonated.
* Protagonist Rafaella in Creator/JackieCollins's ''RockStar'' loses her father at a young age to this trope.
* ''The Specialist'' by Gayle Rivers. Rivers is hired to kill a Basque terrorist and [[FalseFlagOperation make it look like the work of Spanish extremists]]. He decides a car bomb is best, but the terrorist has a bodyguard who always inspects the car and starts the engine beforehand. So Rivers studies the model and makes a shaped-charge designed to [[UndersideRide fit underneath the car without being seen]], set off by radio detonation. After sliding underneath a long line of cars to get to the target vehicle without being observed, he plants the device and leaves, only to have the Spanish extremists he's trying to frame show up and blatantly stuff explosives inside the vehicle where the bodyguard is bound to notice. Fortunately the bomb goes off prematurely, removing the evidence of River's more professional attempt.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* ''Series/CriminalMinds'' deals with the [[TheLawOfConservationOfDetail problem mentioned above]] in an interesting fashion in the Season 3 finale. We see all the team getting into their respective cars, in a way that practically screams "car bomb". But because they're official FBI vehicles, they all are driving the same car. The episode ends with ''one'' of them blowing up, but without showing which one. [[spoiler:It was the one that Hotch and his [[RememberTheNewGuy old friend]] who [[ReplacementGoldfish happens to look just like his (ex?)wife]] and had been introduced in the same episode. He lives, but she dies at the hospital.]]
* ''Series/{{CSI}}'':
** In "Cat's in the Cradle", the B-plot involves a bomb planted in a woman's car that explodes when she stops at a garage to investigate a strange noise the car is making.
** A simple time bomb left in the boot of [[DisproportionateRetribution a cheating husband]]. Unfortunately an unexpected detour means the bomb takes several bystanders with it.
** In "Hog Heaven", an undercover cop is killed by a bomb planted in her car. Nick and Greg are standing in the car park when it happens.
* In ''Series/TheXFiles'' episode "Fire," Mulder and Scully get into their car to find a strange cassette tape on the dashboard. They pop it in, and a voice informs them that by doing so they have armed a bomb hooked up to the car, and opening the door will trigger the explosion. Someone then opens the door from the outside, and Scully jumps--turns out the voice on the tape was just Mulder's NewOldFlame, trying to mess with their heads.
* ''Series/BurnNotice''
** The second episode Sam and Fiona do this ''accidentally'' - they were meant to hook up a small explosive charge to the electrical system to enable them to remotely disable the car, but it turns out Fiona attached it to the petrol tank... fortunately the target uses his remote starter, blowing the car up before getting anywhere near it.
--->'''Michael:''' Fiona, you were supposed to ''stop'' the car, not ''blow it into the Everglades!''\\
'''Fiona:''' [[MadBomber You said 'disable'. It's not going anywhere.]]\\
'''Michael:''' You know what I meant.
** A later example has someone try to ambush Michael with one, only to discover Mike had removed the detonator when the guy went to the toilet.
** The season 1 finale two-parter has multiple examples:
*** Michael {{discusses}} this trope in his InternalMonologue while trying to prevent the initial bad guys from blowing up their client.
--->"There are two basic ways to blow up a car: use the gasoline in the tank, or provide your own explosive. They are two techniques that use opposite ends of the car and are disarmed differently. Some people prefer the gas tank. It tends to look more like an accident, but it's less reliable. Others prefer plastic explosive on the battery wired to the ignition."
*** A group of mercenaries take a more direct approach in another episode, the crooks that the gang was following get into their car only for it to be hit by a missile fired from the other side of the canal.
** Several times Michael has {{Exploited|Trope}} this trope for {{Gaslighting}} purposes by simply disabling the ignition on the car of someone who's already paranoid (either thanks to Mike or because they're in a dangerous line of work to begin with).
* Series/{{Monk}}'s wife's DeathByOriginStory is a textbook case. More show up over the course of the series, sometimes hitting their intended target and sometimes not.
* A clip of one of these going off is part of the Opening Montage to the "[=MacGruber=]" recurring filmed sketch on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive''.
* Used in Fox News' [[MemeticMutation infamous]] "Hackers On Steroids" 4chan expose.
* In an episode of ''Series/FXTheSeries'', a main character is saved from this by her habit of remote-starting the car with one of Rollie's gadgets: The car explodes in front of her and she's hospitalized.
* In an episode of the LiveActionAdaptation ''Series/TheFlash1990'', the main villain [[DeathBySecretIdentity knows Barry's identity but dies]] this way after threatening Barry that [[TheyWouldCutYouUp They'd Cut Him Up]].
* ''Series/DueSouth'': The fate of Ray's second ([[RunningGag or third]]) [[CoolCar '71 Buick Riviera]]. Rigged to the driver's side door handle in this case. [[spoiler:However, Ray, the intended target, wasn't the one who opened the door. [[TearJerker Poor Louis]].]]
* ''Series/MagnumPI''
** In "Did You See The Sunrise?" one of these, intended for Magnum, kills recurring character Lt. [=MacReynolds=] instead. Magnum is ''not'' happy.
** Magnum's wife and daughter were killed when a bomb set in their car went off. [[spoiler: Later, he finds out that his daughter actually got out moments before, leading him on a quest to find out if she survived and where she is.]]
* ''Series/{{Hunter}}''. A journalist writing a story on the mob is apparently blown up in his car. Later his wife is shocked to find him [[NotQuiteDead turn up at their home]] in the middle of the night; when she asks who was in the car he replies: "The unluckiest car thief who never lived."
** ''Series/AllMyChildren'' did something similar when investigative journalist Edmund Grey was tailing a corrupt politician, shocking his wife and his other loved ones when he walked into his own funeral and revealed that the politician himself must have died in the explosion. Apparently the man didn't trust his own lackeys to do the job right and decided to plant the bomb himself.
** Another ''Hunter'' episode had the bomber using the "someone else starts the car" to his advantage. He was a police chief who wanted to kill his wife, so he left his car in the driveway so that his wife would have to move his car to get hers out, activating the carbomb that was supposedly left for him.
* ''Series/TheProfessionals'' ("The Purging of [=CI5=]"). Bodie and Doyle have just escaped a bomb in their phone, and Doyle worries there might be another in the car they've just gotten into. He suggests Bodie wait across the street while he starts the ignition. Bodie just gives him a contemptuous look and says "Oh just [[HoYay stick it in!]]" (There's no bomb).
* Spoofed in the ''Series/{{Community}}'' episode "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design", when a car belonging to Annie is rigged to blow to scare her and Jeff off investigating the college's night school and the mysterious Professor Professorson... except the car in question is a small model car on a diorama she's constructed, and the 'explosion' is a handful of small, insignificant sparks.
-->'''Jeff''': Looks like someone sent us a message... a tiny, thoroughly underwhelming message.
* In the ''Series/MiamiVice'' pilot, this is what happened to Crockett's first partner.
* This occurred once or twice on ''Series/TheRockfordFiles''. However, the interesting part was not the explosion, but rather Jim's attempt to explain what happened to his insurance agent.
* An episode of ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'' in which Earl was studying for a GED ended up with this trope as a downtrodden teacher was convinced to play a trick on an unruly student but got some wires crossed. The car was supposed to lock the teenager in and play an annoying tune, but the results were a bit more dramatic.
* Referenced in the finale of ''Series/{{Angel}}''. Izzy and his minions get into their car and there's a closeup of a hand turning the ignition key -- but instead of an explosion we get [[HumanoidAbomination Illyria]] revealed in the headlights, and [[BattleDiscretionShot after a cutaway]] the vehicle looks like it's been carbombed.
* On ''Series/GeneralHospital'', Sonny's wife Lily was killed this way, when her father planted a bomb meant to kill ''Sonny'', enraged that he had not stopped carrying on with his ex-girlfriend. The sad irony is, Sonny and Lily had just reconciled and resolved to start over. She was driving the car because Sonny had drunk too much champagne celebrating her pregnancy. The scenes played out very much like in the play description--a joyful Lily walking towards the car, turning to smile back at Sonny, getting into the car, starting the ignition. . .cue the sound of the explosion and a BigNo from the now widowed Sonny.
** One year later, on the eve of his wedding to Brenda, Sonny had a nightmare about Lily's death. But when he got to the moment that haunted him the most--when she reached the car and turned back to smile at him--it was ''Brenda'' he saw. The fear that Brenda might end up like Lily prompted him to leave Brenda at the altar [[BreakHisHeartToSaveHim for her own safety]].
** And a year after that, Robin nearly met Lily's fate after an evening out with boyfriend Jason, who had taken over Sonny's position. The scene played out almost identically, with Robin even dressed the way Lily had been. However, when she reached the car, Jason, who had witnessed Lily's death, suddenly had a premonition of what was going to happen and managed to save her.
* ''Series/HawaiiFiveO'', the original version, does this with [=McGarret's=] car. He was [[TemporaryBlindness temporarily blinded]], but they eventually caught the guys, and HollywoodHealing meant he was back to relatively normal by the end of the episode.
* ''Series/{{Tracker}}'' This was attempted in "A Made Guy", but Cole used his abilities to hyperspeed and manipulate electronic devices to disable it before it could go off.
* Used on a number of occasions by the ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' team and their opponents.
* This is the backstory of Detective Levon Lundy of ''Series/HoustonKnights''; the criminals he was investigating decided to get him off their case permanently, but unfortunately his wife took the car out that morning.
* Played with in an episode of ''Series/{{Castle}}''. We see a character get into a car and die when the car explodes, leading to the usual expectation that someone planted a car bomb. As it turns out, the car was hit by a guided missile.
* One of these is left in Simon Elder's car in ''Series/DirtySexyMoney'', instead taking out one of his nameless LivingProp henchmen.
* ''Series/RizzoliAndIsles'': In "Bulit for Speed", the VictimOfTheWeek is a street racer who is killed when his nitrous tank is replaced with propane and detonated with a remote detonator.
* ''Series/FoylesWar'': A grenade wired to the steering wheel and rigged to explode when the door is opened is used to kill a former Nazi in "Sunflower". [[spoiler:Or so it seems. Actually, the explosion was used to fake his death]].
* ''Series/MajorCrimes'': The BodyOfTheWeek in "Year-End Blowout" is a used car dealer killed by a bomb placed in one of his vehicles. A second bomb later turns up in the car of the company's comptroller.
* The pilot episode of ''Series/ThePinkertons'' gives this trope a 19th century twist: the villains try to sabotage a passenger train by disguising explosives as lumps of coal.
* [[spoiler: Theo]] is killed by a bomb strapped to his car (courtesy of Vogel) in the French crime drama ''Series/{{Braquo}}''.
* ''Series/TheGlades'': In "Family Matters", someone attempts to murder Jim by planting a bomb in his car linked to his remote locking system. The plan fails because they lock the car door and Jim never locks his car at work. He backs off and beeps the car, which blows up.
* In the ''Jingle Bell Glock'' episode of ''Series/LethalWeapon2016'', Hannah the meddling journalist gets outed in a carsplosion, courtesy of Eddy Flores from the town's drug ring. The show's detectives pose it could have been remote controlled.
* ''Series/NewTricks'': At the end of "Last Man Standing - Part Two", [[spoiler:Gerry]] is seemingly killed by a car bomb. [[spoiler:The explosion was actually used to fake his death to allow him to disappear into witness protection.]]
* In ''Series/AshesToAshes'', Alex's parents were killed by a car bomb that she believed was a political murder. [[spoiler:It was actually a murder-suicide by her father.]]
* A variation in the second season of ''Series/{{Forbrydelsen}}'', in which one of the victims is killed by an ignition-activated bomb in a motor boat.
* ''Series/{{Sisters}}''. Teddy's husband met his death this way, courtesy of a drug lord he was preparing to testify against (he was a cop).
* ''Series/BeverlyHills90210''. Dylan's father was killed this way, kicking off his downward spiral. Years later, it was revealed that he had actually been spirited away into witness protection.
* The ''Series/AllInTheFamily'' episode "Archie Gets Branded" ends with a member of the Jewish Defense League getting blown up in his car in front of the Bunkers' house.
* In the 1990's Australian series ''Embassy'', a terrorist tries to kill the Australian ambassador by putting a grenade (minus pin, with the lever held down with tape) in the fuel tank of his official car. When the petrol dissolves the glue on the tape, the safety lever flies free and sets off the grenade. It's effective for random terrorism but not assassination, as shown when the car explodes while it's parked on the embassy grounds, not while the ambassador is in it.
* ''Series/LawAndOrderCriminalIntent'': A variation happens in "Contract". The VictimOfTheWeek is killed by an explosive charge hidden in the headrest of his car seat; detonated when he activates the cigarette lighter.

[[folder: Music Videos]]
* A car explodes on ignition in the video to the Music/BeastieBoys' "Sabotage".

[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]
* ''ComicStrip/DickTracy'' had this as the way they killed off the CreatorsPet, Moon Maid. The twist is that instead of being under the hood, the bomber, Little Lettel, preferred to place his bombs under the dashboard in the interior of the car.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto2'': While car bombs can still be found in later ''GTA'' games, they aren't as relevant as in this game. Every garage (as opposed to later games, which require a travel to a special garage found on a hidden location) has, as one of its services, the ability to put a bomb in the chosen car. Many missions have objectives that are completely invulnerable to your weapons -- whenever you find one of these, those easily available car bombs will be your only option, as nothing is immune to them.
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'': An early mission has you booby-trapping a guy's car. For added irony, he just came out of a resturant called Ernie's Eat Till You Explode.
** And later [[spoiler: you can end up on the receiving end of this trick if you're not careful]].
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity'' has a garage which outfits any car you drive in with a remote-detonated car bomb.
** Same for most of the games.
* In ''VideoGame/HitmanCodename47'' one of the missions in Hong Kong requires Agent 47 to use this method. Same goes for one mission in St. Petersburg in ''[[VideoGame/Hitman2SilentAssassin Silent Assassin]]''.
* During the make-your-own''WebAnimation/TeenGirlSquad'' segment of the first episode of ''VideoGame/StrongBadsCoolGameForAttractivePeople'', using the car on Whats-Her-Face at the right time will reveal that her dad bought her a car "at a government auction", which turns out to be rigged with a bomb. "''[[UnsoundEffect A SPLODE]]!''"
-->'''First Gangster:''' Mr. Pagliogaglioleri will be very pleased.\\
'''Second Gangster:''' Nuts!
* If you return their brains, Maloof (who is implied to be from a mafia family) and Mikhail of ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'' can be found rigging [[spoiler:Coach Oleander]]'s car to explode. Since he's last seen leaving the camp in a jet, we don't know if it ever worked.
* ''VideoGame/DejaVu'' has a booby-trapped car that will explode if you start the ignition or pop the hood.
-->[[HaveANiceDeath You just fell for the oldest trick in the book!! You've been blown into little bits.]]
* ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' has the [[MemeticMutation infamous]] aerial version. Say it with me: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG1qKzIsisU a bomb!]]

[[folder: Webcomics ]]
* Parodied in the ''Webcomic/PvP'' "[[Series/StarskyAndHutch Bulldog and Cooch]]" strips. It started as a car, then the StuffBlowingUp got more and more unlikely as time went on.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', when Lois is wanted by the mob, the valet retrieves their car shortly after a hit is called off. It ends rather poorly for the boy.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS10E9MayoredToTheMob Mayored to the Mob]], when Homer was the Mayor's bodyguard, and the mob had threatened to kill him, he tries to get Bart to "start daddy's car for him". When Marge protests, he decides to get a cab.
* One of Bill Plympthon's early shorts had a vignette titled "The Mafia, the Early Years", which showed a cowboy's horse blowing up after he spurred it.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' has Roger plant bombs in the cars of three teachers at Steve's school after they gang up on him. Only the first two bombs actually go off; the third teacher suddenly becomes MadeOfExplodium and his torso explodes, leaving behind his legs.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Late Mr. Kent", Clark discovers evidence that supports the alibi of a falsely convicted murderer who's scheduled for execution. The real killer plants a bomb in his car, which of course doesn't hurt him one bit but leaves him unable to show his face as Clark until he can find a way to explain away his survival without revealing his {{secret identity}}.

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* Commonly used by terrorists and guerrillas in real life. Although popularly associated with Middle Eastern hot spots, the basic structure of the car bomb was [[OlderThanTelevision invented in the 1920s]].
* The Mike Davis essay, '[[http://www.alternet.org/story/34862/ The Poor Man's Air Force]]', explores the psychology behind car bombs. In his view, the car bomb is difficult to trace and [[NoKillLikeOverkill deadly effective at destroying their targets]] and [[ParanoiaFuel spreading fear and panic]], but also points out that it is an "[[MoralEventHorizon inherently fascist weapon]]" that is [[GoneHorriblyRight just as effective at making the car bombers morally bankrupt extremists]].
* Organized crime often uses this method to eliminate the inconvenient. During the 1950s and 1960s, car bombs were used so frequently by Ohio racketeers they were nicknamed '[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youngstown,_Ohio Youngstown]] tune-ups.'
** Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal, who was [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed the basis for the character]] in ''Film/{{Casino}}'', was targeted by a car bomb as shown in the movie.
*** He survived because a GoodBadBug in the car's balancing system necessitated a heavy steel plate be installed under the driver's seat to compensate.
** The [[TheIrishMob Irish Gang War]] of Boston in the early 60s escalated when one gang tried to wire a bomb in the car of the wife of the Winter Hill Gang leader.
*** The Winter Hill gang would later bomb the car of the lawyer of Joe "The Animal" Barboza, who at that time was a government witness. The man who helped arrange the bombing, Frank Salemme, would later become a notorious informant for the FBI.
* ''Very'' External Combustion: [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operación_Ogro Operación Ogro]], the plot to assassinate Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, the confidant, prime minister, and presumed successor to [[UsefulNotes/TheFrancoRegime General Francisco Franco]]. Four ETA members posing as student sculptors rented a room on the street Blanco used to go to church, dug a tunnel under the road, and packed it with 80 kilograms of explosives. When a second set of "electricians" detonated the bomb as Blanco's car passed over it, [[ExplosionPropulsion the vehicle sailed over 60 feet into the air]] before landing on a second-floor balcony of a building the next street over. Blanco's successor was a relative liberal who openly called for reform, and King Juan Carlos I (who Franco named as his new successor before dying) ended up supporting democratic change as well, ultimately leading to the end of the fascist regime.