It is sometimes the case that vehicles and aircraft that were historically rare, introduced later or prototypes or never passed the drawing board stage are shown as used in a particular setting. This may be in an alternate history, but is invariably motivated by the RuleOfCool. May sometimes be [[SeriousBusiness an accusation]] of JustPlaneWrong or ArtisticLicenseShips. Could also be an ImprobablyCoolCar, but those aren't necessarily ''rare''.

May also be a form of ProductPlacement as well, in which case you'd have to accuse the vehicle producers.

Compare RareGuns, which is the same trope applied to firearms. See ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld for the zeppelin version of this.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* ''Manga/{{Area 88}}'' pulls this off on multiple occasions. The specific instances depend on whether it's the anime, manga, or OVA. In all cases, it's thanks to the base quartermaster [=McCoy=], who has boasted he can get anyone what they want so long as they have the money.
** Shin Kazama in particular has a thing for planes that are hard to come by. His first plane seen in the manga and OVA is an F-8 Crusader -- which, by the 1970s (the time frame in which ''Area 88'' takes place), few nations owned combat-ready examples of.
** Shin's third plane (or fifth if you count the times he flew a Kfir and Eagle) in the manga, the Saab 35 Draken, has [=McCoy=] go into detail about the difficulty of procuring one for Shin. As he explains, the Draken was already out of production. He bought two scrapped Finnish Drakens and salvaged their airframes to build a new plane, then bought an afterburner from a used parts company in Germany, and a new engine from the Netherlands. It was actually ''easier'' for [=McCoy=] to procure Mickey's F-14 than it was the Draken.
** Shin's third plane in the OVA, the F-20 Tigershark, was an advanced variant of the F-5E Tiger II (his second plane, incidentally) that never made it into production, so short of [=McCoy=] procuring one of the three prototypes (or the half-finished fourth), there's no realistic way he should have had one at a mercenary air base in a middle-of-nowhere Middle Eastern country.
** Mickey's iconic F-14 is a borderline example, since it was predominantly used by the United States Navy, and the only country it was exported to was Iran until the Iranian Revolution overthrew the US-friendly government. This actually got used as the justification for [=McCoy=] procuring one; through some underhanded dealing, he managed to procure one of the Iranian F-14s caught in the embargo ("But it's all legal on paper!" as he says in the manga).
* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'': "Wild Horses" involves the Space Shuttle Columbia, which at the time was one of only four. The space shuttles require ridiculous amounts of upkeep, so the idea that one would still be in working order so far in the future is a fair strain on believability. But never underestimate the power of an obsessed geek.[[note]]The person who owned the Columbia is the person who hand built Spike's ship, the Swordfish.[[/note]] (see also: TVTropes).
* Batou in ''Franchise/GhostInTheShell'' drives a Lancia Stratos Stradale. Fewer than five hundred were produced.
* ''Franchise/LupinIII'' drives a Mercedes-Benz SSK throughout the series; less than forty were made, and most found nowadays are replicas using components from the original vehicles. Hilariously, it often becomes a ChronicallyCrashedCar, which might explain why the other car usually associated with Lupin is the far more common Fiat 500.
* From ''Manga/GunsmithCats'', Rally Vincent's 1967 Shelby [=GT500=] qualifies, since it has the 425 horsepower 427 engine, installed in an unknown but very small number of the total production. With a total production of just over 2000 cars, it probably also qualifies just from being a [=GT500=].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* The titular characters of ''ComicBook/SinisterDexter'' drive an Edsel in a futuristic setting (it's handwaved as being a replica).
* Played with in ''ComicBook/SinCity'', almost every car seen is a vintage model that is at least thirty years old. In at least one example, a character mentions how "cherry" a vintage car is, despite them being very popular around town.
** "Cherry" in car-guy terms means a particularly well-preserved or well-customized example. Rarity has nothing to do with it - a late model [[BoringButPractical Civic]] can be "cherry".
** But played straight in ''A Dame to Kill For'', where Damien Lord owns a Tucker, which is stolen by Marv and used as the getaway car (abandoning Dwight's Mustang in the process). So far, this is the only Tucker to appear, though.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/WarGames'' has ''twenty-six'' "Typhoon" submarines seen leaving Severomorsk. In real life, only six were completed, and only two or three of those existed when that film was made.
* The fourth ''Film/DieHard'' film features the F-35 in 2006. Scheduled entry into service is 2012. [[DevelopmentHell Or rather]], it ''was'' 2012.
* Bumblebee's second altmode in the 2007 ''Film/{{Transformers}}'' movie is a concept car. In fact, the one used in the film is a ''reproduction'' of a concept car. The new Camaro based on that concept car wasn't released until the 2010 model year.
* ''Film/BackToTheFuture'': The [=DeLorean=] from the series doesn't entirely count: while it was rare, only one appears in the movie itself, and in reality, about 9,000 of them were produced until two years before the film takes place. Expensive, yes (sticker price was $26.5k in 1981, about $57k today, which interestingly is almost exactly what the original sticker price would be today, adjusted for inflation, and the exact price of the [[http://delorean.com/ reproductions]] made from original and remanufactured stock), but not exactly rare ([[ShownTheirWork about 6,500 still exist]]). On the other hand, George Barris' Supervan (from the movie with the same title) ''is'' one of a kind and appears in ''Back to the Future 2'' as a traffic car.
* The BioPic ''Film/TuckerTheManandHisDream'' has 21 of the 49 (of a total of 51 produced) remaining Tucker automobiles in it. Four reproductions were made from mid-'70s Ford [=LTDs=], and the one crashed during testing was a modified 1951 Studebaker.
* ''Film/AustinPowers'': Austin had his own customized Boeing 747 in 1967 already.
* The titular car in ''The Wraith'' is based on the Dodge [=M4S=] prototype / Turbo Interceptor. No more than four exist today. The film crew actually was allowed to borrow a real one, but that was only used for close-up shots where the car was standing still. The actual driving sequences were done with a different car with a replica of the outer chassis on it.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' features Hydra operatives using jet-propelled helicopters or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focke-Wulf_Triebfl%C3%BCgel Focke-Wulf Triebflügeljäger]] (Powered-wings Interceptors, as they were known) which were an actual Nazi design that was scrapped due to being incredibly difficult to control and land properly.
** In the same movie, Hydra used the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horten_H.XVIII Horten H.XVIII long range bomber]] (designed to attack America and actually used to try and do it), of which were built a few prototypes, and the ginormous [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landkreuzer_P._1000_Ratte Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte]] [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin super-heavy tank]] (a never built tank that should have massed about 1000 metric tons, scrapped due the impraticality of such a monster). It's implied that all of Hydra's special wunderwaffen were powered by the [[AppliedPhlebotinum Tesseract]], and that without it they would have failed as in real life.
* The Queen of England from ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}} 2'' is actually based on a very old and very rare British luxury car, which only nine of which exist (one of them is actually owned by the ''real'' UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen.)
* ''Film/RockabillyZombieWeekend'' features a Mercury Marauder X-100, of which less than 9000 were produced. The car was loaned by the producer/scriptwriter of ''Cassadaga'', Bruce Wood.
* The stealth boat in the JamesBond film ''TomorrowNeverDies'' is modeled after Sea Shadow, a prototype stealth boat made for the U.S. Navy in 1984.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* The canceled X-33 spaceplane features in Creator/DanBrown's ''Literature/AngelsAndDemons''. On which he most emphatically did no research, which is proven when he referred to it as the Boeing X-33. It was never built but it was designed and slated to be built by '''Lockheed''', which is Boeing's arch rival, and was the prototype for the [=VentureStar=]. '''Both''' of these vehicles would have been unmanned to save the excessive weight that a life-support system would have added.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The Batmobile from the 1960s TV series ''Series/{{Batman}}'' was a 1957 Lincoln Futura concept car.
* The new red KITT in ''Series/KnightRider 2000'' was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_rider_2000#Trivia planned to be the Pontiac Banshee IV]], but they couldn't secure it and ended up having to use a custom Mitsubishi 3000GT (Dodge Stealth) instead.
* ''Series/{{Viper}}'' had a large number of Dodge concept cars in it. As the show was basically an hour long Dodge Viper commercial, this isn't entirely unexpected.
* On ''Series/TopGear'', the presenters occasionally get prototypes or limited edition models to test.
** The rarest thus far was a black Ferrari FXX, already one of only 30 in the world, custom-built for [[spoiler: Michael Schumacher]], who is also the only one allowed to drive it.
** Clarkson did a test of the Pagani Zonda Tricolore, which, at the time the review was recorded, was the only one in the world. Even now though, only 3 exist.
** During a retrospect on Ferrari's GTO line of cars, Clarkson introduced the 250 GTO; one of only 39 built and is currently the world's most valuable car. He remarked that the BBC -who have previously footed the bill for letting ''Top Gear'' acquire a quite respectable ''space-lift capability''!- ''couldn't afford the insurance'' for Clarkson to even get in it.
** They also had a prototype diesel Vauxhall/Opel Astra hatchback in their lot during the tractor challenge, which had an encounter with a flatbed:
--->'''Hammond''': How many of these were there?\\
'''May''': None. Since you did that.
** May was allowed to drive the six wheeled 2004 Ford Thunderbird used in the live-action ''Film/{{Thunderbirds}}'' film ([[EverybodyOwnsAFord sponsored by Ford]]) through a small village.
** Technically, every [[TheAllegedCar Morris Marina]]. Out of over 807,000 made, only 745 are still on the road (well, 741; they burned one and dropped pianos on three others). It is officially the most scrapped car in British history over the past thirty years.
*** 807,000 made ''total''; 745 on the road ''in the UK''. However, it wasn't a major export success (it took the US distributor well into summer 1975 to sell the last of the '74 models) so if there's another 750 or so left in the entire rest of the world that'd be a good number.
** In series 21 Hammond drives the Mercedes G63 6x6, a prototype six wheeled civilian model of an Australia military vehicle; at the time of recording only two existed.
* ''Series/TopGearUS'' has Adam being allowed to drive the Ford [=GT40=], a whole six feet. He's not allowed to drive more than that. He ended up taking a near-perfect reproduction to town, though.
* ''Series/LizardLickTowing'' has two Sterling Bullets, badge-engineered Dodge Ram 4500s made for barely a year (2008) before being discontinued due to the Daimler-Chrysler split.
* New Orleans' ''Series/BaitCar'' is a Kia Borrego, another one-year-only model. How effective can a bait car be if it's the only one like it in town?
* ''NashBridges'' 1971 Hemi 'Cuda. One of 11 built and 7 sold to the American public, a car as rare as a Bugatti Royale. [[{{Understatement}} Also a bit expensive for the setting]].
* In Series/{{Best Motoring}}, several rare European cars were driven, including the [=McLaren=] F1 and the RUF CTR "Yellowbird".

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/{{Silent Hunter|Series}} III'' allows you to command the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_XXI_submarine Type XXI U-boat]] ([[WarIsHell if you survive]] [[NintendoHard long enough]]) In reality, only two vessels saw action in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, neither of which sank a single enemy ship.[[note]]Although one did have the British heavy cruiser HMS ''Norfolk'' in her sights, breaking off the attack because Germany surrendered before the U-boat could launch her torpedoes.[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfTanks'' IS this trope. The tanks range from extensively used (M4 Sherman, T-34), to somewhat obscure (KV heavy tank, T-28), to rare (M2 medium, Pzkpfw II Luchs), to tanks that only had a few prototypes made (Maus superheavy-one made, T1 Heavy). Every tank in this game existed in some way shape or form, even if only in blueprints (E-50).
** The tank descriptions in the game do honestly mention that many of them never got off the drawing board. Since the Pershing is classified as a medium tank, there isn't a single American heavy tank that was ever used in combat during World War II.
** ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarplanes'' is following suit, with, for instance, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vought_XF5U XF5U "Flying Flapjack"]] and the [[http://www.luft46.com/mess/mep1102.html Me.P.1102]]
* ''VideoGame/CompanyOfHeroes'' has the Pershing tank available to allied forces in Normandy in June 1944. Historically, it did not see action until February 1945.
** Its {{expansion pack}} "Opposing Fronts" features a Tiger Recovery Vehicle, of which exactly '''ONE''' was ever used in real life, and experts debate if it even had the power required to tow a tank.
** There's also the Henschel Hs-129 B3 attack aircraft, of which only 25 were ever produced; the player can call a bunch of them every ten seconds if there's enough resources stockpiled.
%% Please, no trying to justify this by pointing out that it's just a game or by saying that the commander can pull a lot of strings to get this to happen. Unless there is an actual in-story justification for why there are more of these rare vehicles in the game than there were in real life, just. Don't. Bother.
* ''VideoGame/SecretWeaponsOfTheLuftwaffe'' had the Horten Ho-IX (Also known as the Go-229), of which exactly one glider and one powered prototype was made, as a playable fighter, and added the P-80 Shooting Star (which did not see combat in WWII) in an expansion.
* The ''1946'' expansion of the ''VideoGame/IL2Sturmovik'' series has a number of these, justifying it with alternate history of Germany ending WWII favourably in 1944 and resuming the war against the USSR in 1946.
* The 1996 flight sim ''Advanced Tactical Fighters'' included several aircraft that were not yet operational in the late 1990s setting of the campaigns, like the Rafale, F-22, Eurofighter (got RAF multi-role clearance in 2008) and X-32 (Boeing's loser to the Lockheed F-35 for the JSF), as well as fighter versions of the X-29 and X-31 technology demonstrators, which were never intended to see combat and only saw two built each.
* ''VideoGame/AceCombat'' absolutely ''loves'' this trope. In no particular order, you can fly in the F-15 ACTIVE / [=S/MTD=] (a NASA technology demonstrator, one built), the Grumman X-29A (same, but two built), the YA-10B (only one prototype was ever built), the [=MiG=] 1.44 (same), the Su-35 (only fifteen built), the Su-37 (only two converted from the previous, one of which crashed), the Su-47 (only one built), the S-32 (a different designation of the same aircraft), the YF-22 (two built; the F-22 based on it was still in development when the first game came out), the YF-23 (same), the F-16 XL (same), the [=McDonnell=] Douglas X-36 (the XFA-36A, same), the Eurofighter Typhoon II (under development when ''Electrosphere'' was released), the FB-22 Strike Raptor (a cancelled proposal) and the F-4X Phantom (same). Entire ''squadrons'' of the above aircraft have turned up on numerous occasions. In addition, two games have featured the XB-70 Valkyrie (two prototypes) and three ''Iowa''-class battleships turned up in the space of two games.
* The ''VideoGame/AirForceDelta'' games have fun with this one. In addition to many of the above Ace Combat-featured aircraft, it also features Chinese variants of Russian fighters and plenty of prototypes including the YF-17 (prototype of the F/A-18, two built), the X-32 (prototype competitor to the F-35, one built), the Yak-141 (Russian answer to the F-35C, two built) and others.
* Being based on ''Ace Combat, Creator/TomClancy's VideoGame/{{HAWX}}'' also goes for these - mostly the same sort as in ''Ace Combat'', but one unique case is the [=MiG=]-33 Super Fulcrum, a proposed export variant of the [=MiG=]-29 that was never actually exported.
* ''VideoGame/MafiaTheCityOfLostHeaven'' featured a number of unusual vehicles in freeplay mode, including one futuristic-looking automobile that was based on a 1938 concept car.
* The computer game ''Heatseeker'' features a large number of Yak-141 "Freestyle" supersonic VTOL aircraft. These only got to flight testing stage before the collapse of the USSR led to the project's cancellation.
* The ''VideoGame/GranTurismo'' games feature soooo, soooo many concept cars, including the Cadillac Cien, the Dodge Concept Car, the 2003 Viper prototype (in 2001), the 2004 Pontiac Solstice (released in 2006), and the [[{{Zeerust}} futuristic-looking-for-1935]] [[StupidJetpackHitler Auto Union Streamline]] [[ThoseWackyNazis racing car]]. Then there are all the touring racers, stock cars, and Le Mans prototypes that are one-of-a-kind by definition (including a ''racing minivan''). In fact, the Nike One 2028 ''was specially designed from scratch for the game!''
* ''VideoGame/ProjectGothamRacing'': The fourth installment contains 130 cars and bikes including the F50 GT, [=McLaren=] F1 LM, and especially many old cars from even the 1950s.
* The ''VideoGame/NeedForSpeed'' series features the following:
** ''Need for Speed: Carbon'' was released in 2006 and features the ''2008'' Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro, and what became the Audi R8. All three were listed as concept cars though.
** Half of ''II'''s cars never made it past the prototype/concept stage. The Ford [=GT90=], Indigo and Mustang Mach III, BMW (Italdesign) Nazca C2, Lamborghini (Italdesign) Cala, the list goes on.
** The Jaguar XJR-15 in ''III'', which also includes the Italdesign (Alfa Romeo) Scighera (which was only in the PC version, the PSX version used the afformentioned Nazca C2).
** All over the place in the 2012 Hot Pursuit. Among vehicles available are the [=McLaren F1=] (106 produced), the Aston Martin One-77 (77 produced), the Lamborghini Reventon (21 produced), and the Pagani Zonda Cinque ('''5''' produced). the [=McLaren=], Aston Martin, and Pagani are also available as police cars.
* In ''VideoGame/ForzaMotorsport 2'', it is possible (and, judging from the leaderboards, a regular occurrence) to have an online race where all eight players drive a Ferrari F50 GT. In real life, only three were ever built.
* Microsoft's ''Combat Flight Simulator 3'' has several rare warplanes: the Luftwaffe has the Go-229 and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dornier_Do-335 Do-335]], the RAF receives the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Vampire De Havilland Vampire]] (which historically entered service too late to see action in World War II), and the U.S. gets the P-80 and, most unusually, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XP-55_Ascender Curtiss P-55 Ascender]] (of which only one prototype was made and flown; poor engine performance [the engine the plane was designed to use was unavailable, so a less powerful engine was installed] kept it at the experimental stage). Quite a few [[GameMod third-party add-ons]] exist that add ''even more'' rare planes to that particular game.
* This was the whole point of ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield}} 1942: Secret Weapons of [=WW2=]'', introducing the German Ho IX (Go-229) jet fighter mentioned earlier on this page, the American XF-85 "Goblin" jet fighter that only had a single prototype built, and a German-designed ''[[StupidJetpackHitler jet pack]]''.
* Any number of [=WW2=] strategy games, turn-based and otherwise, feature the Jagdtiger. Only 28 were built, and only about a dozen saw action. A few go even further and feature the Sturmtiger, of which there were under a dozen and none are known conclusively to have seen combat, or the Maus (one prototype, one technology demonstrator with a false turret), abandoned on the road when it ran out of gas 20km before reaching the front. The absolute king of this trope is ''VideoGame/SteelPanthers: World At War'', which includes such obscure vehicles as the German "Dicker Max" panzerjager (two built, one destroyed by the time they were retired in 1943; even the Germans thought it was too advanced for the time) and the American "Super Pershing" (one built, fired its weapons in anger exactly once).
** There are several accuracy problems with the above numbers, with all of these weapons, except the Maus, were used a bit more than this suggests. The point still stands, though.
* During the heyday of [=MicroProse=], the company's line of flight simulators was renowned for this:
** An entire simulator devoted to the [=Northrop/McDonnell=] Douglas YF-23 was released by ''[=MicroProse=]'' presuming it would beat the [=Lockheed/Martin=] YF-22 in the ATF competition circa 1990. It didn't and the F-22 became the Raptor. Still, a stealth plane that did Mach-3 plus was pretty awesome.
** 'Prose also released a sim for the F-19 stealth fighter before its designation was known. Once the plane's existence and use in the Gulf War was...er, "acknowledged" by Quale on CNN, [=MicroProse=] released a sequel featuring both the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk (and its official characteristics) and the F-19's speculated characteristics. The real plane featured only two air-to-ground hardpoints and had no air-to-air capabilities at all, but was almost completely invisible to the enemy's radar net and units, making for a very easy mission. The better armed, less hidden F-19 made for a more exciting game.
* ''Test Drive 4'' had the Corvette ZL-1, only two of which were produced.
* ''VideoGame/RollerCoasterTycoon'' has many types of roller coaster to build that are very rare or even unique in real life. The wooden Reverser Coaster is based on a single ride built in 1914 and long since demolished.
* In ''WorldInConflict'', the Soviet Union of 1989 has access to the Mi-28 Havoc attack helicopter. At the time, there were only two in the whole world, both prototypes. They would not be produced in signifigant numbers until the late 2000's.
* The Sikorsky Cypher surveillance drone, which is still in prototype stage, appears in ''VideoGame/GhostRecon: Advanced Warfighter''.
* The plot of ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonor: Frontline'' revolves around capturing a Horten Ho-IX flying wing fighter/bomber prototype.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* Too many to list in ''ThomasAndFriends''. Actually, given that most of the characters are based on locomotives that are now obsolete, it would literally be quicker to name the vehicles that ''aren't'' rare nowadays.
[[/folder]]
----