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[[caption-width-right:350:[[Film/TheLoveBug Herbie]]'s seen better days, but he can ''still'' make you [[EatMyDust eat his dust!]]]]

->''"She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid."''
-->-- '''Han Solo''', ''Film/ANewHope'', on the ''Millennium Falcon''.

This is your car? [[TheAllegedCar This is a pathetic rusted-out bucket of bolts]]! I'm sorry, what exactly makes you think this thing will get us three blocks before collapsing in a big puff of blue smoke? I've seen cars crushed into cubes that were still more impressive-looking than yours... [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=854x39CqT8U did we just overtake a Lamborghini]]?

What A Piece of Junk is a {{Subver|tedTrope}}sion of TheAllegedCar, where it ''looks'' like a clunker, but ''performs'' like a CoolCar. This is a vehicle that looks like it will fall apart if you go faster than twenty miles an hour. Your friends won't ride in it for fear of it spontaneously combusting. Well, your eyes are deceiving you: get into it and watch it blast past the competition. It is much, much better than it looks.

It is not limited to cars, or even vehicles -- sometimes what looks like TheAllegedSteed may actually be a CoolHorse in disguise.

Of course, as many of the examples will demonstrate, the vehicle will probably still be prone to [[PlotDrivenBreakdown breakdowns at inopportune moments]]. It can also be a result of TechnologyMarchesOn.

This Trope, like TheAllegedCar, ''seriously'' depends on how benevolent traffic laws are in the show's universe (to say nothing about RealLife): if the car looks too battered to be street-legal, then chances are you may get pulled over and have the car impounded or even ordered to be destroyed -- to not mention that some modifications may give you legal trouble, from being fined up to an automatic prison sentence (if it's something like concealed weapons or classified tech).

If TheHero has a vehicle that stands out for its dated design (and possibly for its performance) it is the HerosClassicCar.

Polar opposite of this trope is the RiceBurner. Compare LethalJokeCharacter, ExcaliburInTheRust and OlderIsBetter. See also TheAllegedCar for when it is just as bad as it looks. [[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant Not related to]] ItsAllJunk. An example of ArtisticLicenseCars.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]

* Takumi Fujiwara's 1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S (a.k.a. the Trueno GT-Apex) in ''Manga/InitialD.'' None of the other racers in the series take his car seriously, because "it's just a silly little Trueno." What they don't know is that A) The car is owned, maintained, and tuned by Bunta Fujiwara [[spoiler: ''who used to be one of the top street racers in Gunma Prefecture'']] and B) Takumi's a lot more skilled than his opponents give him credit for. [[spoiler: In fact, when his buddy Itsuki gets a Levin SR, he and Takumi take it for a spin up Mount Akina, where they run into some second string racers from a rival racing team known as the Night Kids -- and though Itsuki's Levin SR is a lot less powerful than the Trueno GT-Apex, ''the Night Kids wind up sucking the Levin's exhaust!'']]
** It was in fact the ''Initial D'' franchise that pushed the RWD 80-series Corolla coupes from "cheap old beater" to "sought-after classic" status.
** To be perfectly fair, the [=AE=]86 chassis is indeed impressive -- for a commuter's car; allied with the car's light weight and the high-revving fuel-injected twin cam engine, Takumi's specific version of the Trueno is a little marvel to drive on mountain roads -- and is not the only "el cheapo" car to win the favors of drivers: The Peugeot 106 GTI, the "sporty" version of your typical French women car, was voted second best handling car in the world (because they couldn't justify a cheap FW hatchback beating the Ferrari 355) by the crazy dudes at ''Series/TopGear''. When he drives Itsuki's Levin, which has the [=AE=]85 variant of the chassis (it lacks reinforced triangles, anti-roll bars, and a limited slip differential) powered by a single-cam carburated engine, Takumi remarks how dull and unreliable the car is. Later on, when he gets to drive a Subaru WRX STI Impreza, he is forced to acknowledge the difference between his souped up Trueno and a real race car.
* ''Initial D's'' sequel, ''Manga/MFGhost'' continues this tradition, but this time with [=AE86's=] successor car, Toyota 86. Despite being considered antiquated compared to the tech filled, sequential transmisson, >500 horsepower supercars it's going up against, Kanata is able to make most of his 180 horsepower thanks to 86's lightweight and his unique driving style.
* There is a reason that [[Anime/IrresponsibleCaptainTylor Justy Ueki Tylor]] was sent to the ''Soyokaze''... even if it does [[BornLucky for]] [[GeniusDitz some]] [[GuileHero reason]] rack up an enormous kill count after he arrives.
* In ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', everyone scoffs at the idea of [[BigBad Shishio]] trying to invade Tokyo Harbor in a wooden boat, until he [[IAmNotLeftHanded reveals it's really an ironclad battleship covered with wood as a disguise]].
* ''Franchise/LupinIII'' has a Fiat 500 in shows like ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro''. It ''seems'' to be a wimpy little subcompact car, but it's actually a heavily modified vehicle that can go seriously fast, run up near-vertical cliff faces and survive grenade blasts.
* Anime/PorcoRosso's CoolPlane is showing signs of severely deferred maintenance at the beginning of the film, which ultimately causes him to lose his first dogfight with Curtis. The trope is doubly true after Curtis literally shoots his plane to pieces, then ultimately averted after it's rebuilt by Piccolo aviation.
* In a non-car example, in the sixth and seventh episodes of ''Manga/InuYasha'', Inuyasha himself calls [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Tessaiga/Tetsusaiga/...that sword he inherited from his father]] this several times, because it looks like an incredibly rusty old katana in its default form.
--> "Huh? What? You mean this? What a piece of junk! Tetsusaiga-what? It wouldn't even cut paper, wet!"
--> "Where have you been? This thing's about as useful as a walking stick!"
--> "In the meantime, what am I gonna do with this thing?"
--> "You are nuts! This sword is good for nothing!"
** After Tessaiga transforms for the first time, Inuyasha is glad considering the battle that's taking place.
--> *chuckles* "I take it back. So the sword's not such a piece of junk."
** Later...
--> "Hmmm... *CLANG!* I spoke too soon. Now it's back to being a piece of junk!"
** Eventually though it turns out that even in its inactive form, Tessaiga is not useless: it might not be able to cut anything, but that dull, beat-up looking blade is [[NighInvulnerability nearly indestructible]] and works fine as a club. Hence, if attacked while in human form, Inuyasha can use it to hold out until sunrise and the return of his half-demon powers (which are required for the sword to turn into a much-more-useful {{BFS}}).
* Another non car example is the Ryusei-Go from ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamIronBloodedOrphans'', in short, an [[UpToEleven Ace Custom]] of AceCustom attached with Alaya-Vijnana system and painted in [[RealMenWearPink salmon-pink]], the only way you can tell it used to be a mass-produced [[MookMobile Graze]] is from the Ahab reactor signal.
* ''Manga/GunsmithCats Burst'' has an interesting double subversion: after Rally's beloved Shelby Cobra GT-500KR is blown up by some thugs she goes looking for a replacement car, finding a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustang_II Ford Mustang II]], which even if a CoolCar in its own way, ''she'' still thinks it's TheAllegedCar. It takes the saleswoman mentioning that it's been modified with a top-of-the-line Mustang engine under the hood, adding light bulletproofing to the extras package deal ''and a car chase'' for Rally to change her mind.
* Miyuki Kobayakawa's mini-patrol car from ''Manga/YoureUnderArrest'' Looks like a stock Honda Today with a police paint job, but under the hood it's got a turbocharged 660 cc DOHC engine (in Japan ''kei'' cars are legally limited to 500 cc engine displacement), nitrous oxide boost system, race brakes and four-point restraints. This leads to ''lots'' of very nasty surprises for would-be traffic violators.
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BT-42 BT-42 Finnish Assault Gun]] used by Continuation High School in ''Anime/GirlsUndPanzerDerFilm'' qualifies for this trope as well. Historically one of the most underwhelming tanks ever fielded in [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the second World War]], [[spoiler:it ran circles around the University Team's three [=M26 Pershings=] and took them all out with little effort]].
* In the first episode of the ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'' OVA, Tenchi finds the sword his ancestor Yosho used to seal away the demon Ryoko and is disappointed at how rusted and unkempt it was. It still had power when Tenchi broke the blade over a rock and split it in half. [[spoiler:The blade was also a disguised as the weapon was actually a LaserBlade. Which ''also'' still worked after 700 years.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/TheQuestion'', Vic Sage used to drive a beat-up VW Bug. With a Porsche engine. It would effortlessly outrun police cars. It is worth noting that Ferdinand Porsche ''himself'' was the founding engineer of VW - combinations of parts from both companies are frequent in RealLife.
* In ''Comicbook/IronMan Noir'', Pepper is surprised to find that the infamous Captain Namor's legendary ship, the ''Lady Dorma'', is a real beater. Stark assures her it's got more kick than you'd think. As it turns out, [[spoiler:the rust-bucket is actually a cover for the real ''Lady Dorma'', a small submarine stored in the cargo hold]].
* The [[ComicBook/SpirouAndFantasio Count of Champignac's]] dilapidated 1934 Duesenberg runs on mushrooms and can outrun anything on the road.
* In [[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Paperinik stories]], Paperinik's car: it's the same [[TheAllegedCar Alleged Car]] he uses as WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck, only Gyro tricked her out, and now it not only works but is faster, tougher, has multiple gadgets, can change licence plate by pressing a button and colour by pointing the right item to it, and ''fly''.
* ''[[ComicBook/RobinSeries Robin]]'': The first Redbird looked like an old boxy poorly maintained beater until a button was pushed on the dash and it shifted panels and glass around to resemble an angular sports car, and in both modes it was bulletproof and plenty fast with great handling and many of the same gadgets as the Batmobile. The second one looks like a commercially available sports car in "civilian" mode, and strongly resembles a Porsche.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* The Monster XL in ''FanFic/MisfiledDreams''. Unlike in ''Webcomic/{{Misfile}}'', where every racer knows that how the car looks is immaterial to how it performs, Josh is openly disdainful of the car built to rule the road.
-->'''Josh:''' "This? You think ''this'' bucket can take my baby? Merkur? Who the hell are they, anyway?"
* The [[VideoGame/KerbalSpaceProgram Kerbal]] ships in ''FanFic/TheNextFrontier'' certainly qualify. ''Starfarer 1'' is an old [[AsteroidMiners Asteroid Mining]] ship years obsolete, has a single [[CentrifugalGravity gravity wheel]] instead of the two contra-rotating ones common on newer ships (meaning it has to de-spin to change course), has a frighteningly small crumple zone between the main airlock and the pilot's knees... But that single gravity wheel is simpler and more reliable, and once the ore processing equipment is stripped out there's a huge amount of internal volume for the FTL drive and enough food and other consumables to support a multi-year mission in another star system. The power trunking and structural reinforcement are also already in place to swap the cargo mass-driver out for a heavy cruiser-grade railgun.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* There are several examples in ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'':
** All the other pit crews laugh at little Guido, but the laughing stops when he changes all of [=McQueen's=] tires in under five seconds.
** Mater, a rusted-up tow truck with a missing hood, fluid build-up, not much in the brains department... and the world's best backwards driver.
*** In the sequel, Mater is [[MistakenForSpies mistaken for a spy]] and equipped with holographic disguises, rocket boosters and hidden weapons. He also shows remarkable knowledge of [[AllegedCar lemons]], which comes in handy as the bad guys are Gremlins, Pacers and the like. [[spoiler:He even figures out the identity of the BigBad all by himself, and pulls a BatmanGambit on him. And even after he gets most of the gear removed at the end of the film, he is allowed to keep the rocket boosters... which are fast enough for him to keep pace with ''[=McQueen=]''.]]
** Doc Hudson is sort of an example. In real life, the Hudson Hornet was specifically built as a racing car, but to modern eyes it just looks like an "old grandpa car", as [=McQueen=] puts it in the movie.
* From ''Disney/WreckItRalph'', we got Vanellope's second race car. It has some very sloppy decorations and an overall odd-look thanks to Ralph [[DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength accidentally breaking]] the car-baking minigame. Doesn't stop it from being as capable of a race car as the rest of the roster.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' is the {{Trope Namer|s}}, from Luke's line about Han Solo's starship, the ''[[CoolStarship Millennium Falcon]]''.
** Leia's line when she first sets eyes on it also qualifies: "You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought."
** The Falcon's original owner Lando Calrissian is also well aware that it looks like garbage. He lovingly (and accurately) refers to it as ''"the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy!"'' According to the ExpandedUniverse he did this on purpose.
** By ''Film/TheForceAwakens'', the Falcon's been dumped on a scavenger world, viewed as "garbage" even by Rey. However she doesn't know what it is. When she ''does'' learn it's the ship of the legendary Han Solo, she practically {{squee}}s.
** In ''Film/TheLastJedi'', [[spoiler:the Falcon gets called "piece of junk" once again, by Kylo Ren this time around, during the battle of Crait as it shows up and wreaks havoc on the First Order's TIE fighters.]]
** ''Film/{{Solo}}'' reveals the ''Millennium Falcon'' did look like a top-of-the-line starship at first, until Han Solo's misadventures caused it to become the hunk of junk it is today.
* In ''Film/StarTrekBeyond'' we get introduced to the ''USS Franklin,'' an old Federation starship that's been perched on the top of a mountain for well over a hundred years (the ''Franklin'' is actually older than [[Series/StarTrekEnterprise Jonathan Archer]]'s ''Enterprise''). Sulu compares it to a "horse and buggy" in contrast to the swarm of alien ships controlled by the villain of the film. [[spoiler: Which makes it all the more impressive when it manages to wipe out said swarm with ThePowerOfRock. This is well after we see the [[EverythingIsAnIPodInTheFuture iPod sleek Enterprise]] get trounced by the swarm at the beginning of the film.]]
* Jake Blues in ''Film/TheBluesBrothers'' is not initially impressed with the beat-up used police car Elwood arrives in, but... well, let's say that the car proves its worth throughout the rest of the film.
--> "It's got a little pick-up."
* The Crown Victoria LTD, a/k/a the "Ford POS," from ''Film/MenInBlack''. Just don't press the [[BigRedButton little red button]].
* Herbie, Film/TheLoveBug! A VW Beetle with an ugly paint job and the saddest horn you've ever heard, but fitted with a sports car engine for the racing scenes.
** In ''Film/HerbieFullyLoaded'', someone notes that the speedometer goes past 200 mph, and comments that someone was very optimistic.
** In ''Film/HerbieGoesBananas'', he spends most of the movie very rusty and covered in child-made graffiti. He doesn't get restored until the epilogue.
* ''Film/TheWorldsFastestIndian''. Equally applied to the rebuilt motorcycle and it's elderly, unathletic rider. Both perform (almost) flawlessly on race day.
* The Herkimer Battle Jitney from ''Film/MysteryMen''.
* In ''Film/TheFastAndTheFurious'', Brian O'Conner pays back his debts to Dominic Toretto with a [[CoolCar Toyota Supra]] that was probably impressive at one time, but now looks like it was dropped off a building. Toretto and crew scoff, but underneath its damaged exterior turns out to be one amazing interior.
-->'''Dominic:''' I said a ten ''second''' car, not a ten ''minute'' car.
** ''Tokyo Drift'' has Sean Boswell putting his primer-only, "all go and no show" Monte Carlo against a flashy, spankin' new Viper. The Monte Carlo ''wins so hard'', losing only because his opponent unfairly had a friend help him block. [[spoiler: And then the police [[KickTheDog have the car crushed]] after arresting Sean for the destruction caused during the race.]]
--->'''Clay:''' My grandma's Buick could smoke that piece of shit!
--->'''Sean:''' What about your daddy's Viper?
* In the 2007 ''Film/{{Transformers}}'' film, Bumblebee at first transforms into a seen-better-days '76 Camaro that belches clouds of smoke when started and breaks down at convenient make out spots. 'Bee is actually a giant robot from outer space and considerably tougher than he looks. He later turns into a much snazzier ''2008'' [[ProductPlacement Camaro]] when Megan Fox comments on his shabby appearance.
* ''Film/{{Grease}}'': The T-Birds' car, before they turn it into "Greased Lightning" is a "hunk o' junk".
* ''Film/FortyEightHours'' has Jack Cate's 1964 Cadillac Coupe deVille ragtop, in contrast to Reggie Hammond's Porsche 356 (replica) ragtop CoolCar.
* ''Film/{{Hidalgo}}'''s pinto coat and feral mustang bloodline invites derision from competitors, who assume only pure-bred Arabian horses can possibly survive the endurance race. Having been "bred" for hardiness by the unforgiving conditions of America's own arid wilderness, the wild-born Hidalgo beats both the desert and his rivals.
* The used car that Ray parks in front of the Film/{{Ghostbusters|1984}}' headquarters... complete with a list of repairs that it needed: "suspension work and shocks, brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear end... new rings, mufflers, a little wiring..." Eventually, it gets pimped out into [[CoolCar Ecto-1]].
* The Creeper's BEATNGU in ''Film/JeepersCreepers.'' It's probably 50 years old [[note]]Which is most likely not an exaggeration since he rises every 23rd spring for 23 days.[[/note]] yet it can go up to 100 mph, has one creepy horn and can swerve back and forth [[note]]In an attempt to drive other people off the road.[[/note]] without rolling over. The Creeper obviously has impressive mechanical knowledge! [[note]]Which doesn't make much sense if you think about it...[[/note]]
* In ''Film/BackToTheFuture'', Marty [=McFly=] [[ComicallyMissingThePoint seemed to be more surprised by Doc Brown's choice of car]] when he asked "Are you telling me you built a ''time machine''... out of a [=DeLorean=]?
-->'''Doc:''' The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, [[RuleOfCool why not do it]] [[CoolCar with some style]]!
* In ''Film/MenInBlack'' J calls K's car a Ford P.O.S. Then he hits the red button.
* In ''Film/DownPeriscope'', the USS ''Stingray'' is a barely-functional WorldWarTwo-era diesel sub, taken out of retirement to be pitted against the modern US nuclear navy in a war game. Ironically, it's the rust bucket's old design that ends up helping the protagonists trick the USS ''Orlando'' (a nuclear sub) into thinking that the ''Stingray'' is just a fishing boat (the crew of the ''Orlando'' weren't told that their enemy is a diesel sub, and the bad weather at night makes the ''Stingray''[='s=] profile seem like a surface vessel). During the climax, [[spoiler:Dodge surfaces the ''Stingray'' to allow her to move faster, while the ''Orlando''[='s=] temporary commander stupidly does the same, even though such an action would actually ''slow down'' a modern sub]].

* A Russian joke: Two men are in hospital. Both have suffered an automobile accident. The younger asks the older: "Why are you here"? The older, an elderly war veteran answers: "I have had a Messerschmitt fighter engine as war booty. I decided to install it on my Lada. Everything went fine, and then I went to motorway to test it. Unfortunately I lost the control at 300 kph speed, and crashed. Why are you here?" The younger answers: "I was driving the motorway on my Ferrari, when I saw a Lada passing me at high speed. I thought my car had stalled, and I opened the door and stepped out. Turns out I was doing steady 100 kph".

* Literature/TheMagicSchoolBus has, on multiple occasions, been described as old and ragged, and has failed to start or broken down multiple times. However, this is the same bus that can reach ''the edge of our solar system'' within a span of a few hours.
* A series of Polish novels from the 1980s features ''Pan Samochodzik'' ("Mr Buggy"), a museum expert chasing after hidden treasures, nicknamed so for his car, which is shaped like a metal boat on wheels and seems to have been shaped using mostly a hammer. The reason it looks so is that it has been actually scratch-built by the man's wacky inventor uncle, using the engine from a crashed Ferrari among other things. Also, it is shaped like a boat because it is actually amphibious.
* The UNSC ''Pillar of Autumn'' from ''Literature/HaloTheFallOfReach'' looks like nothing more than a slightly large cruiser in a war in which it takes more than 3:1 odds in their favor for the UNSC to win a space battle. She's actually a reactivated derelict that the UNSC [[SuperPrototype tricked out]], with concealed weapons, reinforced armor, a prototype heavy magnetic cannon, quarters for ''all active [[SuperSoldier SPARTANS]]'', experimental reactors, and multiple combat AI. The ''Autumn'', like all ''Halcyon''-class cruisers, was retired before the Human-Covenant war because they were too over-engineered to be worth their operating costs. If this was the premise of a science fiction show prop, it would have been almost too formulaic to run, but because the ''[[HaloCombatEvolved Autumn]]'' is [[DoomedByCanon doomed by canon]], it's more a case of [[WhatCouldHaveBeen what could have been]].
* Literaure/{{Burke}}, the ex-con PrivateDetective from the novels by Creator/AndrewVachss, has the "ultimate New York taxicab". Its GadgeteerGenius designer committed suicide and left Burke the car in payment of an unpaid debt.
* PrivateEye Literature/MikeHammer has his "heap", but at one stage it's mentioned that there's a Cadillac engine under the hood.
* In ''Literature/TheOregonFiles'' of the Literature/DirkPittAdventures the titular freighter looks like a giant piece of junk. However it is outfitted with some of the best boating equipment you can imagine. For example that rust you see is really a special paint that keeps the ship off of radar. It has enough firepower to go toe to toe with a Libyan warship. The only thing that stopped the Oregon from sinking said warship was because it would have caused an international incident.
* In Creator/BanjoPaterson's poem ''The Man From Snowy River'', the title character rides an apparent [[TheAllegedSteed Alleged Steed]] described as "a small and weedy beast", but it turns out to be the only non-feral horse in the area that doesn't balk at mountains and keeps its footing in the scrubland.
** Parodied with "Snowy", the pony in ''Discworld/TheLastContinent'', who is actually a TricksterGod in disguise, and at one point climbs up a vertical cliff, and then ''upside down'' across the overhang.
* In William Gibson's ''Literature/BridgeTrilogy'' (and primarily ''Literature/VirtualLight'') Chevette's bicycle is this: a cutting-edge paper-wrapped carbon-fiber frame with a rather serious security system, but carefully painted to look like a beat-up old junker.
* The ''Nostalgia For Infinity'' in Creator/AlastairReynolds' ''Literature/RevelationSpaceSeries''. It's a slower-than-light 4 kilometer ship, with huge swathes of the interior exposed to the vacuum and radiation of space, parts of the ship corrupted by viruses, and a [[TheVirus corrupted]] cyborg for a captain. The ''Infinity'' carries "Hell-class" weapons which it found in a booby trapped asteroid; the weapons bend physics, and could presumably easily [[ApocalypseHow raze the surface of a planet]] - when the ''Infinity'' threatens a colony, they are terrified of the ship's firepower even ''without'' [[ColonyDrop knowing]] [[WeaponizedExhaust about]] the hell-class weapons.
* The ''U.S.S. Lovell'' from the ''Literature/StarfleetCorpsOfEngineers'' and ''Literature/StarTrekVanguard'' series. It's an old ''Daedalus''-class starship that had been decommissioned for a half-century or so before the S.C.E. claimed it for their own. It has mismatched hull plates, welds and patches all over, and rattles like it's about to explode when it first accelerates to warp speed. But because it's a ship full of engineers who have nothing better to do than tinker, repair, or rebuild things it can keep up with (or outrun) any ship in the fleet.
* In ''Blade of the Poisoner'' and ''Master of Fiends'', Scythe's horse Hob is [[TheAllegedSteed scruffy, rawboned, and generally described in a manner reminiscent of Gunpowder from]] ''Literature/TheLegendOfSleepyHollow''. He's a CoolHorse.
* The Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse has the ''Errant Venture'', the only ''Imperial II''-class Star Destroyer in private hands, owned by the smuggler Booster Terrik. ''Errant Venture'' dances around the trope: she's a [[CoolStarship seriously awesome]] ship for a single man to own, were it not horribly expensive and impractical (and illegal!) to keep her completely armed and operational. There are times when, with fully half of her systems on the fritz, she comes close to being [[TheAllegedCar the Alleged Starship]]- Booster puts out the rumor that he not only restored her weapons to full running condition, but also installed a small-scale superlaser capable of vaporizing other starships in a single hit. Really it got commandeered and refit with standard weaponry, but before that it was kind of falling apart. Did we also mention that ''Venture'' is painted [[http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb57524/starwars/images/0/08/Errant_Venture.jpg bright red]]?
** The ''Millennium Falcon's'' status as a POJ has been lampshaded a number of times within the Star Wars EU. In the ''Corellian Trilogy'', Lando points out that the ''Falcon'' is actually 110% safe because Han isn't going to let his wife and children travel in anything less than that, and that some of the apparent damage is faked like painted-on rust. The real reason Han has been dodging the ship's yearly inspections, is that he doesn't want the authorities to find out that he never removed the ship's illegal weaponry. Or various other illegal smuggling gear, like fake ID transponders.
** This was common among smuggling vessels in general. The last thing you want out of your ultra-high-performance blockade runner is for it to ''look'' like an ultra-high-performance blockade runner and draw immediate attention from every Imperial ship who sees it. Though some smugglers went in the opposition direction by flying fancy luxury yachts in order to give the impression that they're too rich to be hauling cargo at all, let alone illegal cargo.
** Successful Ugly builds can easily fall into this. "Uglies" are mix-and-match starfighters, usually kludged together by poor and desperate pirates. (Usually ''very'' poor and desperate, as in most cases it's not that hard to acquire secondhand TIE Fighters.) Most of them are slow, underpowered and fall apart when someone stares at them too hard (often combining the worst traits of their parts donors rather than the best), but occasionally one of them manages to rise above its origin. The most successful Ugly build is probably the Twi'lek ''Chir'daki'', which marries a TIE Fighter cockpit and fuselage to the wing assembly of an X-wing. It's weaponry and shields are on par with the X-wing and it has a slight edge in both speed and maneuverability, at the price of not having a cockpit atmosphere (in the event of having to eject, wearing a TIE pilot's full spacesuit actually adds several hours of survival time, so it's a trade-off), being slightly more fragile hull-wise and being a logistics nightmare (since it needs spares from two different manufacturers in two warring states).
* In ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear: City of the Dead'', our heroes have to buy a ship from an HonestJohnsDealership. The dealer wants them to get a shiny new-looking one, but Zak is enamored by the ''Shroud'', a battered-looking starship which has top of the line modifications.
* Pops up in the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' books from time to time, in the form of "Q-ships" - slow, unarmored cargo-ships modified into stealth warships, designed either to surprise enemy commerce-raiders, or to trick pirates. They'll still LOOK big, heavy, clumsy and harmless - but their abundant cargo-space means that they can carry enough missiles and heavy energy-weapons to match a Heavy Cruiser, not to mention fitting them with military-grade engines and shielding. (They still, however, tend to be MUCH more delicate than a dedicated warship of their size, and thus have to rely on deception to get in a jaw-shattering sucker-punch.) The finest example, however, show up in ''War of Honor'' - a pair of smallish merchantmen named 'Pirate's Bane' and 'Ambushcade', often mocked for how little they resemble their names due to being old and beat-up, covered in flaky paint, and just generally sad-looking even compared to ORDINARY cargo-ships. But in truth, they more than live up to their names - seeing as they are the only two privately-owned Q-ships in the lawless reaches of Silesia, commanded by a Manticoran admiral-in-exile, and crewed by a dangerously disciplined RagtagBandOfMisfits who consider the money they make on high-priority shipping secondary to the opportunity to blast a few overconfident pirates out of the sky. Even their flaky paint is part of a deliberate deception - it's actually military-grade nanite paint, enabling them to change the appearance of their ship regularly in order to keep the pirates from getting wise. In an offscreen CrowningMomentOfAwesome, [[spoiler: Pirate's Bane manages to destroy a Havenite Destroyer - FAR above the weight-class of the undisciplined, lightly-armed pirates they usually tangle with - though not without serious damage and loss of life]].
* In ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'', when Kimball Kinnison goes undercover as an [[AsteroidMiners Asteroid Miner]], his equipment (especially his space armor]] is carefully made this way; looking old and used but carefully-maintained and highly functional. It's mentioned that this is exactly what one would expect from a real miner's gear.
* The ponies in ''Literature/{{Chalice}}'' are pretty alleged by Damarian standards (the Master's older brother certainly seemed to think so), until you realize that while they may be slow and fat, Ponty is very calm around dangerous things (read: bees and fire), and Gallant and Ironfoot have impressive amounts of endurance, and that this is ''exactly'' what the protagonists need them to be.
* In the Creator/AlanDeanFoster short story "Banzai Runner", the title character drives one. Banzai runners are people who have extremely high speed street races in 'stock' Ferraris and Porsches. The Wisp, as the titular Runner is known, drives a four-door sedan...with the engine from a racing plane built into the trunk.
* In the first Literature/AlbertCampion novel, ''The Crime at Black Dudley'', a professional criminal posing as a harmless eccentric has what appears to be an ancient early-1900s car, but actually has a modern sports car engine and chassis.
* Bella's truck in the ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' series could count as this. At first she's apprehensive when her dad says he bought her a truck, since it was old (fifties or sixties) and she was afraid it would always be needing repairs. But she ends up loving it at first sight, it never gives her trouble, and it's strongly implied that it only died in the end due to her control-freak fiancé's sabotage. Having a "Bella truck" [[ProudToBeAGeek became somewhat of a geeky status symbol]] with fans of the series.
* In ''Addie Pray,'' the novel on which ''Film/PaperMoon'' was based, Long Boy Pray had to swap his fancy ride for a beat-up old truck to escape pursuers who were looking for his car. He then had that truck modified and souped-up enough to outrun anything on the road, all the while keeping its decrepit outward appearance.
* In ''[[Literature/{{Parker}} The Outfit]]'', Parker visits a mechanic who specialises in supplying cars to the underworld. One of the vehicles he shows Parker is a Volkswagen Bug that he has been modifying into a getaway car, with a souped-up engine, reinforced chassis, ballast to allow it to corner properly, etc. The one problem he is having is that he cannot make it sound like a VW. Later in the novel, the reader gets to see the car in action, and he has solved the sound problem, at least at low speed.
* In ''Literature/ChittyChittyBangBang'', book and film, Chitty started out as a literal piece of junk, a former race car that had gotten involved in a terrible crash. All the members of the Potts family saw potential in it, and Caractacus took it and turned it into [[CoolCar something truly unique]]. And let's not even get started on the special modifications which the car performed ''on itself'' in the book...
* In the ''Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures'' novel ''Father Time'', part of the Amnesia Arc, the Doctor, who by the 1980s has become a peculiarly Doctorish version of a yuppie, drives a Trabant, which looks very out of place parked next to conventional yupmobiles. Then, in an emergency, he floors the accelerator and easily overtakes a very surprised man in an Audi.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': Gunn's pickup truck. "Don't you be dissin' my girl!"
--> '''Fred:''' Oh, Charles. Your soul wasn't worth air conditioning?
* [[{{Series/Firefly}} Serenity]]! Oh, Serenity from ''Firefly'' is very much this. It's outdated, but it'll run forever with maintenance.
-->'''Kaylee:''' You're gonna come with us.
-->'''Book:''' Excuse me?
-->'''Kaylee:''' You like ships. You don't seem to be lookin' at the destinations. What you care about is the ships, and mine's the nicest.
-->'''Book:''' She don't look like much.
-->'''Kaylee:''' Oh, she'll fool ya'.
** Also pointed out by some pirate salvagers when the Serenity comes their way. One is disappointed because its parts are nothing special and "its got no flash", but the boss thinks its still a good catch because it's very easy to maintain and extremely resilient, which more than a few spacers would no doubt find attractive.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Sometimes, the TARDIS gets called this too, especially by the Time Lords, since the Doctor's TARDIS is an outdated Type 40 model, a model that was obsolete even when ''he'' was young.
** Eleven's incarnation of the TARDIS is an extreme example, having apparently repaired itself from the damage of his last regeneration with bits from old alarm clocks, car parts, and a vintage Victrola. Some of the controls are actually taps from a sink!
** The Third Doctor's "Bessie" is an Edwardian roadster. Very nice to drive, but not exactly ''powerful''. The Doctor has made some improvements, though: not only does Bessie have an inertialess hyperdrive, but also a remote control and anti-theft force fields.
*** Ace has this very reaction to her first sight of "Bessie" ... and then Seven hits the accelerator.
* Every now and again on ''Series/TopGear''. Two examples are the trophy Toyota Hilux pickup truck, which looks like a tragic wreck because the presenters tried to kill it ''and failed'', and "Oliver," Richard Hammond's tiny but plucky 1963 Opel Kadett. Oliver managed to complete the African challenge without any modifications, while Clarkson and May had to strip off the doors, seats, etc. from their cars to cross the salt flats. The only problems Oliver had were when Hammond tried to ford a river and sank him.
** To expand briefly on the trophy Hilux, the presenters drove it like yobs (slamming it into random bits of Bristol), left it on a boat launch while the tide was coming in (and then having it accidentally wash out to sea when the straps broke), dropped a caravan on it, hit it with a wrecking ball, ''lit it on fire'', and eventually ''dropped a building on it'', via parking it on top of a condemned tower block. Even after the 23-storey drop, with a significant chunk of building landing on top of it, it '''still ran'''. And if that wasn't impressive enough, it should be noted that said Hilux was an ex-farm vehicle with a half rusted-through body and enough miles on the clock to have gone to the moon before they even started trying to kill it.
** ''Top Gear'' also took some bloke's Lada and had it [[http://paultan.org/2005/07/21/a-lotus-lada/ tuned by Lotus]]
** During the Ashes challenge, the Australians had a major jaw-drop moment when the van driven by Hammond shot passed like a rocket. Turned out that they'd got hold of a prototype made by Jaguar back in the 90s that was outfitted with a super-charged engine in the back. It's ''[[LoopholeAbuse still]]'' a van!
** James May's Austin Princess from the British Leyland challenge was mocked by the other two presenters claiming it was a poor choice for proving that BL actually made some good cars. The Princess excelled in most of the challenges while the other two cars had numerous problems and won the challenge.
* Christine's unseen [[http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buick_Roadmaster_75_1958.jpg 1958 Buick Roadmaster]] from ''Series/NightCourt.'' Stuck with it after her father sold her beloved compact to buy this one (because it was supposedly safer), the thing turns out to be a {{Nigh Invulnerab|ility}}le pinball that survived a crash that would've destroyed her old car (and her along with it) without a scratch (On the car: Christine broke a nail.)
-->'''Christine:''' It's better! When I hit the bus the clock started working.
* ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' had a fake commercial for the "Chameleon LX", a high-end luxury car with a powerful engine and fine leather interiors disguised to look like a piece of crap junker from two decades prior. Features to pull off this illusion included three mismatched hubcaps and a schoolbus-yellow painted rim, driver-side door that seemed to have been recycled from a different model car and a false transmission fluid leak to tell thieves "Hey, not worth the trouble."
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'':
** To thwart a coup d'état against her government, Kira has to rely on a decade-old raider in "The Siege". Navigation is out, the targeting system doesn't work, the plasma conduit is held together with duct tape and prayer, and when a fire breaks out in the cabin, Dax grabs a nearby extinguisher... which fizzles out after a few squirts.
-->'''Kira:''' You Starfleet types are too dependent on gadgets and gizmos! You lose your natural instincts for survival!
-->'''Dax:''' My "natural instincts for survival" told me not to climb aboard this thing. I'd say they were functioning pretty well.
** Sisko's own starship is the ''USS Defiant'', an experimental prototype warship. It never went into full production because its designers overloaded its small, maneuverable hull [[note]]the SFX team were really bad at keeping her on-screen size consistent, but canonically she's only about as long as one of the Enterprise-D's warp nacelles[[/note]] with too much weaponry and overpowered engines, meaning the ship would lose integrity at full throttle. This was because the ''Defiant'' was designed to fight [[TheDreaded the Borg]], and had no idea how much firepower would actually be needed to take down a Borg Cube. So they crammed everything that could physically fit into the ship, with the intention of building them by the dozens for swarm attacks...but then the project was cancelled before its very severe design flaws could be dealt with. The [=DS9=] crew is skeptical about flying a defective model, but its firepower is what they need at this point in the war. (It helps that Sisko and [[MrFixit Chief O'Brien]] manage to fix most of its egregious defects, resulting in Starfleet putting the ''Defiant'' class back into production for use in the Dominion War.)
** The titular station itself becomes this after a major overhaul of defenses was conducted in the beginning of Season 4.
* In the ''Series/FamilyMatters'' episode "Hot Wheels," the car that Carl picked up at a police auction for Eddie ends up being this. When he first drags it home, it's a stereotypical boxy police car (either a '77 or '78 Plymouth Fury, not exactly the chick magnet Eddie was looking for) with peeling paint and shot-out windows. By the time it's done being restored and painted, it's a CoolCar.
* On ''Series/TheRedGreenShow'', Red calls this type of car a "Sleeper" in one "North of 40" segment.

* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRRWPdEtS3s "Sleeper" by The Trashmen]] (yes, [[OneHitWonder they do have more songs than just 'Surfin' Bird']])
-->"There's [[TheAllegedCar an old grey coupe]] been comin' around
-->And [[InformedAttribute it looks like nothin' but sad]]
-->All [[ScarsAreForever scratched]] and dirty with a cracked windshield
-->And the paint job's really bad
-->Well her fenders shake and [[OnlyAFleshWound a taillight's gone]]
-->And [[ExcaliburInTheRust the rust is showin' through]]
-->She's [[JiveTurkey a dog on top but a devil underneath]]
-->[[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass And she'll make a fool of you]]

-->Sleeper, Sleeper,
-->Watch you kinda close
-->Don't laugh too loud or smile
-->She may look funny,
-->But don't you know,
-->[[TotallyRadical That bone yard devil can really go]]
-->[[SurferDude Nine flat in a quarter mile]]"
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enqNl7tdLR4 "Beep Beep" by The Playmates]] is about a Nash Rambler (never an impressive car) racing a Cadillac. The former eventually overtakes the latter and the driver of the Rambler asks the narrator (who drives the Cadillac) how to get his car out of second gear. The song was released the same year (1958) AMC happened to reintroduce the Rambler, which had been discontinued since 1955, as the Rambler American; it enjoyed record sales [[TheRedStapler thanks to the song]]. [[note]]An alternate recording was made for the UK market where the Rambler became a "bubble car" and the Cadillac became a "limousine" to avoid problems with Creator/TheBBC's rule [[ProductDisplacement prohibiting mention of trademarks]] in songs.[[/note]]
* Music/TheBeachBoys' "No-Go Showboat" inverts this trope. It may be "a wild custom that wins every show", but "everybody takes [it], even old Ford woodies" and it's "even shut down by the ice cream truck".

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/DickTracy'' villain Joe Period drove a beat-up junker with a fuel-injected engine that could go over 110 mph and burn off any police car on the road.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''
** Orks embrace this trope as their take on TheAestheticsOfTechnology. This also works because they project a psychic field around them that improves the efficiency far beyond ''[[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve what should reasonably be expected of it]]''.
** A lot of Imperial stuff behaves like this as well. The workhorse of the Imperial Guard, the boxy, primitive-looking Leman Russ, doesn't look like much, but one of them probably could take out an entire column of real life MBTs, despite the implication that it's even implied that it's actually based off of an ancient agricultural tractor design. Space Marine tanks tend to be more sophisticated, as they are used in far fewer numbers by elite forces.
* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' has the ''Chameleon'', a training 'Mech which can be easily modified to resemble other 'Mechs. It is explicitly stated to be able to look like almost any other 'Mech, from a light 'Mech all the way up to an assault model, and its weapons are of the kind that is quite common on lighter 'Mechs. Cue pilots (in the canon) making their 50-ton ''Chameleons'' look like dinky and often heavily weathered 20-ton ''Wasps'', rudely surprising their enemies with far more firepower than should be available to lightweight 'Mechs.
* [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] in ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' by some enterprising players, who will take that beat-up old van and turn it into a mobile fortress, usually without bothering to give it a paint job. The rules specifically encourage getting a rigger to add enough equipment to make [[Series/GetSmart Maxwell Smart]] jealous, from spike strips to a shock security system.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'' isn't lacking in these:
** The airboat. Beneath the exposed frame and rusty appearance lies a monster that maneuvers in water like nobody's business (not so much on land, but that's not where it was intended to run on anyway), can bowl over anything that isn't made of metal, and is light enough to ''glide'' during [[RampJump leaps]]. It also supports the eventual installation of [[{{BFG}} a devastatingly powerful helicopter-based machinegun]]. Unfortunately, later on, the only option is to ditch it on the following chapter.
** And then you have to use the scout car, another rust-painted diamond. It's just as barebones and shabby-looking as the airboat, but it's a reliable and fast little vehicle that is more than enough to get past the coastal highways. It can make roadkill out of any enemy you find while you have it, [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment it's fast]], responsive, and has a ''crazy'' turbo function. Plus, if you somehow knock it off its wheels, it's light enough to be turned back up by the gravity gun. Oh, and did I mention it has a Tau cannon that doesn't overheat or require ammo mounted in the front? [[OverlyLongGag Or that it's really fast?]] Or that it has a bottomless ammo crate allowing you to be very liberal with the SMG when you have to make an on-foot excursion? The downside is that it takes is a bit of self-control on the driver's part, because if you're too liberal with the accelerator and the turbo, the already fast scout car can indeed be TooFastToStop. And just like the airboat, you don't spend too much time with it before you have to leave it behind.
** The speedster you use in ''Episode 2'', known affectionately as "The Muscle Car". Alyx is impressed with it from the start, presumably because pre-apocalypse cars that work at all are rare and this one does sort of look like it was a classic car once. It's fast without being ''too'' fast, and it's very stable easy to control even when the turbo boost is activated, and unlike the base game's two vehicles, you keep it for practically the whole game. Its only problem is that unlike the airboat and the scout car, it doesn't have any weapons [[CarFu outside of its ramming potential]].
* All the cars in the ''VideoGame/TwistedMetal'' series look fairly beat up, although there is a [[VehicularCombat good reason...]]
* The hovercraft from ''VideoGame/BeyondGoodAndEvil''. It's a homemade, custom contraption that's old-fashioned in a futuristic age (most "hovercrafts" actually hover several feet above the ground), beat-up, and likely to break down within about a minute of the first time you get into it. It's also capable of going faster than the ''futuristic'' hovercrafts in races, it's resilient, and you can fit it with all manner of military hardware.
* Most of the Minmatar ships in ''VideoGame/EveOnline'' could qualify for this. Only a tiny minority look as good as they fly, whether [[TheAllegedCar for bad]] or [[CoolStarship for good]].
* ''VideoGame/StarCraftIIWingsOfLiberty''
** [[SpaceWestern ex-Marshal]] [[TheHero Jim Raynor]] and [[GadgeteerGenius Chief Mechanic Swann]] have a discussion over the virtues and drawbacks of [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything Vulture]] [[RecycledInSpace hover-bikes]]. Swann thinks the model is a deathtrap. Raynor, having iconically [[VideoGame/StarcraftI owned one himself]], is not amused.
** Their battlecruiser flagship, the Hyperion, has been in service since the first game and it shows. Some of the Raiders make jabs at the Hyperion's shabby appearance occasionally. Nonetheless, the Hyperion performs even ''better'' than the latest fancy Battlecruisers [[spoiler:because the Protoss Crystal growing in the ship's lab is borderline sentient and helps the ship by providing it with extra power]]. It was also an AceCustom to begin with back in the original game.
* Sweet's Greenwood in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas''. At first glance, it appears to be an unremarkable, boxy, and dated sedan (even by 1992 standards), but turns out to be dependable enough that it's the definitive car driven during specific drive-by shootings and car chases in missions. Even after the car survives a HelicopterBlender, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P0HkRCCplI#t=9m09s ends up in a spectacular crash with a tanker trailer]], and Sweet's stint in prison, Sweet remained insistent reacquiring the same car, having the player driving it in late in the storyline and the final mission.
--> '''Carl:''' "Can't believe you bought that same bucket ass car, man!"
--> '''Sweet:''' "Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
** A better in-game example (as the Greenwood is average at best in all areas) is the Clover. It looks like your typical redneck ride, corroded paint and parts of different colors included. However, it has a very nice acceleration rate, brakes nicely and turns like a dream. It's not on par with the [[CoolCar sportscars]] you can find in richer areas, but it's a dependable ride that's very common everywhere.
* Trevor's Bodhi in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' is an old rusty truck that looks like it's well past its prime. However, it's pretty speedy for its size, accelerates to maximum velocity very quickly, can take a lot of punishment, and breaks through police barriers with the best of them. Furthermore, it can be tuned up at the chop shops, and it'll always respawn with every change made to it intact. {{Justified|Trope}} by the fact that it's largely based on the real-life [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser_Jeep_M715 Kaiser Jeep M175]], meaning Trevor's riding around in a ''decommissioned military vehicle.''
* The Toyota [=AE86=] (aforementioned in Anime) in any racing game.
** Most egregious in its home ground ''Manga/InitialD Arcade Stage'', where it is consistently the best car of them all, beating sport models like the Mazda RX-series, and the Honda [=S2000=] and NSX. The consistently second-best (the first generation Mazda MX-5) is also not much of a looker even though it ''is'' a proper sports car.
* Can be invoked in any ''VideoGame/ChoroQ'' game if you use a garbage truck, noodle car, or any non racing car body, since your car can be tuned up for the fastest, and the body barely effects anything.
* In ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' Rumble's MiniMecha looks like it was made by digging through a scrap yard ( which it was), but it's the mecha that makes the anthropomorphic hamster one of the fiercest bullies in the game. The fact that it's composed of junk is actually a part of his gameplay mechanics, as using abilities generates heat and getting too much heat results in him being unable to use his abilities until the mecha cools down. In addition his idle animations and joke show the mecha seizing up in some way or another, but it's certainly up to snuff in battle.
* Teladi ships in the ''VideoGame/{{X}}-Universe'' series tend toward this trope; in particular, their capital ships, which appear to have been put together almost entirely from spare parts. However, [[NighInvulnerability they tend to be extremely heavy on the defense]]. A number of Pirate variants of normal ships also fit.
* The ''Albion Skunk'' of ''Videogame/XRebirth'' has seen better days, with it being salvaged from a junkyard with numerous important bits missing. The ship is actually a SuperPrototype and shows it once refurbished - the only reason it never entered production by the time of ''[[Videogame/{{X}} X3: Albion Prelude]]'' was due to the outrageous per-unit cost. No ship can keep up with the ''Skunk'' once it engages its [[NitroBoost afterburners]] and it carries shielding and firepower far in excess of normal {{Space Fighter}}s.
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'', Shepard has to defend the ''Normandy'' from an inspecting Alliance Admiral who believes it to be an overdesigned, overfunded, waste of Alliance resources that could have been used to build a ''proper'' ship. Shepard has to point out that the ''Normandy's'' stealth-drive allows them to drop infiltration teams, perform reconnaissance and it can run faster than any other ship in the fleet. Basically... every reason ''why'' it's a CoolStarship! This is actually justified in the conversation; the Admiral is thinking in terms of a stand-up fight, and the Normandy cost as much as a Heavy Cruiser (complete with fighter escort) while having only a tiny fraction of the firepower and survivability.
** The Admiral is proven tragically right in the DownerBeginning of ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''…but the Normandy's Cerberus-built successor, despite being only 50% larger than the original, [[CurbStompBattle eats cruisers for breakfast]] (''especially'' if she's given all the required modifications to survive the assault on the Collector base).
*** [[spoiler:It should also be noted that the ''Normandy's'' destruction was not exactly something that could have been prevented in the first place; the enemy that had destroyed it was a ''Collector Cruiser'' that no one, not even Commander Shepard, had ever even ''heard'' about. It also [[NoSneakAttacks got the]] [[AvertedTrope drop on them]], had super-advanced sensors that [[NoSell rendered the stealth drive useless]], and it outclassed practically every modern ship in the Alliance Navy at the time. For all it mattered, Shepard could have been at the helm of a ''dreadnought'' and the outcome would likely have been the same.]]
* Everything in ''VideoGame/MadMax'' revolves around turning [[CoolCar Magnun Opus]] from an [[TheAllegedCar alleged car]] into this trope. You may place an arsenal of weapons, gadgets, menacing decals and ornaments, even give it a paint job... it will never be a [[AceCustom Gigahorse]]. It's always small, rusty, lacking glasses or a back hatch. The last one being vital to host your humble [[SideKick Chumbucket.]]
* Just about everything sporting the Olive Green drab of the Soviet Army in ''VideoGame/WorldOfTanks'' is this, with fully visible rivets, welding seams and paint chipping on most vehicles. It makes sense with some vehicles, particularly ones that made it into production (in particular, the T-34 and its kin, as well as the KV-1 and IS-2), but with the ones that ''[[UpToEleven never left the drawing board]]'', not so much. It belies the fact that the Soviet tanks are generally excellent brawlers, compared to the clean German, almost fashionable French, and freakishly huge American tanks.
** German Grey doesn't fare any better. Taking more than a casual look at a number of the Wehrmacht's armor reveals an amount of rust that makes you question the judgement of the Commander in Question. It doesn't help that the lack of paint makes grime and decay all the more obvious.
* ''Videogame/ForzaMotorsport 4'' includes many historical {{Joke Character}}s such as the [[EveryCarIsAPinto Ford Pinto]], VW Beetle, AMC Gremlin, all of which are slow, clumsy cars often maligned for their styling (exploding Pinto, "cutesy" Beetle, "where's the other half of your car" Gremlin). The first two are slow as molasses when stock, but [[PintSizedPowerHouse the Gremlin comes with a low-revving, torquey V8 allowing it to laugh off hills and out-accelerate most other cars]] [[CharacterTiers in its class]]. The game's [[DesignItYourselfEquipment extensive customization system]] can turn even the slowest, most horrible car (i.e. [[GreenAesop Toyota Prius]]) into a 400+ horsepower monster; in fact, a well-tuned Ford Pinto is a [[TierInducedScrappy Leaderboard Car]] that [[GameBreaker dominates almost any track]].
* In a ShoutOut to the Millennium Falcon, the ''Ebon Hawk'' from ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' has this--nothing to look at, but it was the only ship able to break the Sith blockade on Taris. [[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicII The sequel]] magnifies it by starting the game with the ''Hawk'' just barely spaceworthy, scraped all to hell, and under repair by two of your party members throughout the game. In both games, the PlayerCharacter has the option of getting defensive about their ship, a la Han Solo.
* In ''VideoGame/FTLFasterThanLight'', Engi ships resemble, in the game's own words, piles of junk loosely held together, but are actually well-designed and finely-constructed machines whose creators simply prioritize efficiency over aesthetics.
* Depending on player choices (and how lucky they get on the procedurally-generated roads of the game) this trope is possible to achieve on the game ''Jalopy'' with the Laika (an {{Expy}} of the Trabant) that gives the game its name. Sure, it ''still'' will be a [[TheAllegedCar pre-Fall-Of-Berlin-Wall Eastern Europe car with a two-stroke engine that will see its fair share of maintenance]], but items like additional trunk space, tougher suspension, bigger fuel tank and upgraded carburetors will make it a much better car to ride around in, regardless of external looks.
* ''Videogame/SunlessSea'': Invoked by the Wreckships in the ''Zubmariner'' expansion; they are ''supposed'' to look like actual shipwrecks, because [[ChestMonster that way they lure unsuspecting captains who loot regular shipwrecks]]. That, and they're made from sunken ships, so not much you can do there to make them look like anything other than the product of a half-assed salvage effort. But they are definitely powerful ships, with a frontal cannon stronger than even those carried by the dreadnoughts of the Iron Republic and excellent maneuverability that ensures you will always be in their sights.
* In ''VideoGame/NeedForSpeed'' games where [[RiceBurner ricing up your ride]] doesn't confer bonuses and only serves to decrease police heat by disguising the vehicle, like in ''[[VideoGame/NeedForSpeedMostWanted Most Wanted]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/NeedForSpeedCarbon Carbon]]'', nothing stops you from driving a sleeper (and even if you do have to change the car's appearance due to the heat, a simple and boring paint job does the trick). It's even more pronounced in ''Most Wanted'', where car tiers don't exist and you can just customize your initial Punto, Lexus or Cobalt's performance parts until it can compete with (and win against) heavily-customized sportscars like Lamborghinis, [=McLarens=] and [[spoiler:the BMW M3 GTR you lost to Razor]].
* In ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'', when the Romulan Republic character and their friend Tovan Kiev board and take over an old T'Liss Warbird, a later Reman ally mentions just how old and fallen apart the ship is, with her wanting to keep the Singularity Core from falling apart. However, the ship battles some of the toughest modern day Romulan ships captained by the Tal Shiar and ships manned by their Elachi allies and defeats them with gusto.
* ''VideoGame/NoMansSky'': Can be deliberately invoked by the player by upgrading a Shuttle, which have very rusty, geometric and hap-hazard designs but can be upgraded with serious firepower and long-distance Hyperdrives.
* The [[BrandX Chrysalis Highwayman]] of ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}}'' starts out as a {{Zeerust}} (emphasis on "rust") [[TheAllegedCar alleged car]] that sits on 4 cinderblocks in a junkyard in [[WretchedHive the Den]] and won't go anywhere until you find the necessary spare parts and cough up the money to repair it. When you do, you get an amazing machine that can take on [[AfterTheEnd New]] [[TheWasteland California]] and carry your party around the map much faster. It's powered by EnergyWeapons ammo and you can find upgrades for fuel consumption, speed and [[{{Hammerspace}} trunk space]]. No matter what, it still looks like a bucket of rust. Its [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jxn1sqAQ-c theme]] is impossibly [[AwesomeMusic/{{Fallout}} cool]] too.


[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/GhostsAmongTheWildFlowers'', when Julia shows Victoria the airship she just purchased, Victoria initially lambasts it as an old junkheap.
-->'''Julia:''' Haunted? Ha-ha very funny...
-->'''Victoria:''' I'm serious, dang ol' rickety run-down boat must be chock full of ghosts... and I can't imagine it being worth more than the dirt it stands on.
--> ''[[BeatPanel {beat}]]''
-->'''Victoria:''' When do you suppose we set off?
-->'''Julia:''' Once you're done insulting it...

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Project 0}}'' Aatu prides himself on his [[http://centralcitytower.blogspot.com/2010/03/machine-introduction-buggy.html buggy]], even though Owen is quick to make fun of it.
** Still it manages to keep up with a magical flying boy so it probably applies.
* The [[Script/AHDotComTheSeries MES]] ''[[Script/AHDotComTheSeries AH.com]]''. It looks pretty broken down thanks to years of ramshackle repairs by a skeleton crew, but with an AI to even up the balance, it can still kick arse.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/Ben10'' has Grandpa Max's beat-up old clunker of an RV, "affectionately" known as the Rustbucket. Of course, Grandpa is actually a retired member of the setting's [[TheMenInBlack MIB]]-equivalent, so the Rustbucket is secretly tricked out with all kinds of alien weaponry and gadgets.
* ''WesternAnimation/StormHawks'' has The Condor, their airship, which is constantly breaking down and yet still holds the record for fastest air speed in the Atmos. What's more, it broke its OWN record, made over 100 years ago.
* At the end of ''One Cab's Family'' by Creator/TexAvery, the cab father lets his son choose whether he wants to be a cab or a hot rod. To his astonishment and joy, his son chooses to be a cab...[[spoiler:but he kept the hot rod engine.]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In RealLife these are known as "sleeper cars" or "sleepers" ("Q-cars" if you live in [[UsefulNotes/{{Britain}} the UK]]). Some owners go [[UpToEleven all-out]] in making their high-powered, tuned street racer or drag car look like TheAllegedCar. Old, American [[TheSixties Muscle]] [[TheSeventies cars]] are popular due to their [[BadassNormal base performance]], ready availability of performance parts, and tendency to be stereotyped as [[MightyGlacier slow]], [[MadeOfIron heavy]], [[TheAllegedCar rusted-out]] [[Series/TheDukesOfHazzard redneck rockets]] only driven by [[DeepSouth hillbillies]] and [[WhenIWasYourAge old]] [[GrumpyOldMan geezers]] trying [[NostalgiaFilter to emulate]] the GoodOldWays, though [[ThePreciousPreciousCar cars]] [[MidlifeCrisisCar from]] [[ImprobablyCoolCar all]] [[RiceBurner nations]] [[CoolCar and]] [[TheAllegedCar all]] [[LowerClassLout walks]] [[EverybodyOwnsAFord of]] [[PimpedOutCar life]] have been given the sleeper treatment. There's even an [[UsefulNotes/{{Subcultures}} entire subculture]] devoted to them. You can read more about them with [[https://www.google.com/search?q=sleeper+cars a quick Google search]] and [[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]] has an article about them [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeper_%28car%29 here]]. The sleeper UsefulNotes/{{Subculture|s}} is so vast that two distinct [[UsefulNotes/{{Subcultures}} sub-subcultures]] have emerged.
** A "Q-car" is itself a reference to the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q-ship "Q-ship"]] concept of World War I, by which a seemingly harmless merchant ship was itself a heavily armed warship, with the intention of luring unsuspecting German warships.
** The "rat rod" subculture mainly deals with cars from the [[TheFifties 50s]] [[TheRoaringTwenties or older]] which have been turned into hot rods, but externally left unrestored in the condition they were found (no [[HotPaintJob Hot Paint Jobs]] or [[RiceBurner car-spoiling spoilers]] here). This is the larger, more popular, and more well-known of the two sleeper "sub-subcultures."
*** To clarify, though, the term "rat rod" originally referred to a "blue-collar hot rod" concept, though has morphed somewhat from the idea of a hot rod built by the common man rather than the mainstream hot rod scene which costs far more money, apparently through misunderstandings over their frequent appearance as primer-and-rust-covered project cars, and associations with the term "rat bike" (a bike that looks rusty and is never washed, covered in bits of refuse found on the road, and known as the kind of bike least likely to be stolen) into the idea of a hot rod made out of bits the builders find, said builders believing rust to be a finish. Some have been known to create the look deliberately for no really good reason, even resorting to painting battery acid on the body to encourage rust. A tell-tale sign is the owner/builders' use of the word "patina" in a sentence.
** On the opposite end of the scale, there's the "rat look" subculture. This is the more obscure of the two (most likely because it lacks the connections to the hot rod scene that helped the rat rod subculture grow). The rat look subculture takes [[SlidingScaleOfShinyVersusGritty more modern, better maintained cars]] (generally from [[TheEighties 80s]] [[TheNineties or]] [[TurnOfTheMillennium newer]]) and makes them look [[ExcaliburInTheRust as though they've been abused and neglected for several decades]]. Flaking NoseArt, ironic [[HotPaintJob hot rod flames]], and [[PointlessBandAid pointless]] [[DuctTapeForEverything duct tape]] are popular additions.
*** Some in the rat look scene even [[LampshadeHanging lampshade]] the fact that their [[{{Retraux}} faux rust buckets]] look like they were found [[DownInTheDumps in a junkyard]] from a UsedFuture by [[BambooTechnology giving]] [[ScavengedPunk them]] [[{{Retraux}} a]] [[ScavengerWorld post]]-[[TheApunkalypse apocalyptic]] [[PostApunkalypticArmor theme]].
* The original (pre-BMW) Mini might have qualified. It looked and felt cheap -- it ''was'' cheap, under £500 in 1959 for a basic model, half the price of a 2001 BMW Mini after inflation -- but it was so light and sharp that it could corner with the sports cars of the day. As a result, it got fitted with more powerful motors and entered in races, most famously winning the Monte Carlo Rally 4 years in a row (1964-1967, although they were unfairly disqualified in 1966).
* Secondhand reports indicate that no less a vehicle than ''the'' AllegedCar, the infamous Trabant, could be upgraded to take a modern lightweight engine. Because the Trabbi's [[MadeOfPlasticine duraplast]] bodywork and steel frame chassis behind it are so lightweight, its cornering and power-to-weight ratios would thus be good enough to take on some modern sports cars--''and win''. From Wiki/TheOtherWiki:
--> "Some say that the perplexing effect caused by a postmodern Trabi that can overtake modern cars as described above 150 km/h (93 mph) is worth all the effort."
* This trope, as applied to gaming [=PCs=] circa 2011: Imagine a quad-core processor, many gigs of RAM, solid-state hard drive, powerful graphics card, power supply, and cooling system...housed inside a mid-90s boxy beige Compaq Presario case with "Pentium II" and "Designed for Windows 95" case badges.
** Thanks to size standardizations in computers, there are some people who enjoy taking an old looking beige box from the mid-late 90s and putting modern, high-end components just to mess with people when they show up at a gathering. Some PC gamers also build sleeper [=PCs=] to deter thieves.
** Taken UpToEleven in some cases; there are stories of PC gamers using practically ''anything'' they can fit the components into as a PC case. Rumors abound of gamers who build up their high-performance [=PCs=] in cases made out of random household junk such as [=VCRs=], cardboard boxes, and even ''milk crates.''
* There are stories circulating in the automotive industry about some Volkswagen engineers in Germany who took a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Type_2_(T1)#T2 Volkswagen Bus]] (a minivan with an anemic 48hp engine), outfitted it with the best Porsche engine on the market, and went blasting down the Autobahn at speeds upwards of 150 miles per hour. Gearbox mountings on the VW Beetle / Bus / Karmann-Ghia are identical to those on the 1964-1969 Porsche 911 and the engine bay can easily take the air-cooled Porsche engine.
** Years ago, the German police souped upo Volkswagen beetles with Porsche motors. Quite a nasty surprise for 'stoplight racers'.
** The VW Bus T3 (1979-1991) got [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Type_2_%28T3%29#Petrol.2Fgasoline a similar high-performance version from Oettinger]], with a purposely-built 3.7 liter / 180hp engine and an automatic gearbox. From the outside it is not distinguishable from a stock T3.
** Similarly, [[http://www.greatbritishsportscars.net/xj220-transit-van/ this manky-looking old Ford Transit]] has a 542bhp Jaguar [=XJ220=] engine and goes like stink. It was used by Jaguar as a development testbed for the [=XJ220=] running gear.
* Aside from the badging, and maybe special colors or performance bodykits, BMW's M-series cars, Mercedes-Benz' AMG and Black Series cars, Cadillac's V-series, and Lexus' F-series look just like their normal luxury sedan counterparts.
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_FJ40 Toyota FJ40]], also sold as [[http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Bandeirante Toyota Bandeirante]] in Brazil, manufactured until 2001. Rather plain on the outside, but still beats [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfbFJ__UkIQ many newer pick-up trucks]].
** Toyota pickups are this in general. The exterior takes a beating, [[TonkaTough but the innards will run until Doomsday with a little maintenance]]. See the above mention of ''Series/TopGear'''s epic attempts - and failure - to destroy a Toyota Hilux truck. Unfortunately, that durability makes them very popular with third-world insurgencies.
* The [=M35A2=] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M35_2%C2%BD_ton_cargo_truck Truck, Cargo, 2½ ton]]. A K A the Deuce-and-a-Half, or Deuce. No power steering, wimpy brakes, underpowered engine, [[DrivingStick iffy choice of gears]] (Big step between 3rd and 4th), and less than half of them actually had heaters that could keep the windshield clear on really cold days. The US Army got rid of them at the turn of the century after almost 40 years of continuous use, but thousands bought on the surplus market still survive in private hands because they're the ultimate un-killable work/farm truck. There's nothing you could subject one to as a private citizen that would ever stop them for very long.
** Interstingly, Kia still produces them under license for the South Korean government, as well as the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser_Jeep_M715 Kaiser-Jeep M715]].
** Tens of thousands of American trucks (mostly Studebaker US6 models) were provided for the Soviet Union during UsefulNotes/{{W|orldWarII}}W2. These were far better than home-produced vehicles and enabled the Soviets to focus their industry on making tanks and things. While the supply ended after August 1945, it is a known fact that the supply and transport train behind any Russian invasion of western Europe, even well into the 1970's, would have largely been running on American largesse. One can even occasionally find a working Studebaker now in many parts of the former USSR.
* [[http://jalopnik.com/5497042/how-a-500-craigslist-car-beat-400k-rally-racers This]] $500 BMW held its own against state-of-the-art cars at a World Rally Championship race.
* [[http://jalopnik.com/5297014/oklahoma-home-of-the-sleepiest-sleeper-truck-ever The Farm Truck]] Looks like a beat up old Chevy, but runs 12.3s quarter miles
* The UAZ 452, also known as the "Loaf", is a Soviet/Russian 4x4 van that is used as a mini bus, sports/utility vehicle, ambulance, military medevac, small cargo hauler and a dozen of other roles. Its design changed little since its inception in 1965, and it is still in production. The reliability of Russian motors is notoriously cantankerous even when they are new, and the Loaf is often encountered 20+ years old, rusty and battered. However, it has excellent off-road capability, none of its many malfunctions requires expensive parts to fix, it runs on the cheapest gas available and it's really spacious inside (also, warm in winter). Hence, a used Loaf, usually bought for $1000 from some farmer, is a very desirable purchase for many Russians.
* Applies to real-life spacecraft too. In some cases literally. In on case, the generator from a failed NASA launch (the Nimbus B-1 weather satellite in 1968) was hauled out of the ocean and used on a later spacecraft. In other cases more metaphorically. The Shuttle orbiters may look relatively sleek, but consider the Apollo Lunar Modules. During construction and mission planning, it was variously nicknamed 'the bug' and 'the bat'. And yet one flew the Apollo 13 crew around the Moon and back, when it was designed just for the landing.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcjpXbMiCtg This thing's a piece of crap, but it's a fast piece of crap.]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seznec_Affair Guillaume Seznec]]'s WWI-era [[http://a406.idata.over-blog.com/249x170/0/44/42/51/xx-jusquen-1945/Seznec-Cadillac.jpg Cadillac]] zigzags between being this and TheAllegedCar. While it was a true piece of junk, having spent almost fifteen years in a garage with little to no maintenance, it held up during a whole Morlaix-Paris two-way trip (about 900 km, or 560 miles). True, it was irritatingly slow, but the fact that it held during the whole distance is a feat in itself considering the less-than optimal state of certain regional roads at the time.
* The term 'sleeper' used in reference to this type of equipment has also gained popularity among astronomers and bird-watchers for telescopes that are [[http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5013710/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/all/vc/1 cheap]] and (in their stock condition) sometimes [[http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/6254136/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/vc/1 mediocre]] performers at best, but which, after investing a few more dollars in materials and some sweat, skill and patience in improving them, turns them into a [[http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Board/refractors/Number/3558394/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/o/fpart/all scope]] that gives performance close to similarly sized telescopes that cost a '''dozen''' times as much. With recent technological improvements and economies of scale, such finds have grown increasingly frequent in the consumer telescope market.
* In the supercar fandom, the older supercars, especially anything before TurnOfTheMillennium, have become this example of this. Most newer supercars (like Bugatti Veyron) blew them into the dust in terms of performance or technology, but older supercars can have sort of UnkemptBeauty of potential that most people didn't see through. These are downplayed or a double subversion, though, most people see them as {{Cool Car}}s, older supercars have [[TechnologyMarchesOn flawed technology and power compared to newer ones]], but they can have comparable performance if you examine through.
** UrExample of this: [[http://www.stanceworks.com/2013/09/one-of-five-the-ferrari-288-gto-evoluzione-at-the-quail/ Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione]]. [[ImprobablyCoolCar Only six were built]], and it looks like a [[FlawedPrototype painfully-ugly racing car]] for today's standards, but its acceleration? [[SuperPrototype Your butt hurts.]]
* The '''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu-95 Tupolev Tu-95]]''' "[[ReportingNames Bear]]" strategic bomber was introduced in 1956. Because it was a propeller plane, it was considered to be outdated and slow by the west. However, it turned out to be incredibly fast for a propeller plane, as well as ludicrous endurance and a very large bomb load. As such it remains in frontline service ''sixty years later''. [[CoolPlane More information here.]]
** Similarly, the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-52_Stratofortress B-52 Stratofortress]] has been in service for well over [[LongRunners 60 years]], with plans to continue fielding the bombers until '''2040''', almost a hundred years after it's first introduction. It's still the U.S' primary heavy bomber because it is far less mechanically sophisticated than the [=B1 Lancer=], while at the same time far, ''far'' cheaper than the [=B2=] Spirit.
* While we're on the subject of aircraft, the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairey_Swordfish Fairey Swordfish]] looks like something out of UsefulNotes/{{W|orldWarI}}W1, but actually served with the [[UsefulNotes/BritsWithBattleships Royal Navy]] throughout UsefulNotes/{{W|orldWarII}}W2. During that time, it managed to score some major successes, the most famous of which was crippling the German battleship ''Bismarck.''
** The Italian [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_CR.42 Fiat CR.42]] also got a glowing reputation for maneuverability and toughness, despite being slower and armed with weaker weapons than most other front line fighters. Italian pilots used these advantages whenever they could, outmaneuvering their faster, better armed enemies and were able to defeat Hurricane and even Spitfires this way. Most impressively, the Hungarian airforce managed to gather a kill ratio of [[CurbstompBattle 12-to-1]] in air combat over the Eastern Front in their slow, under-equipped Italian biplanes.
* French car maker Renault famously took a Renault Espace Minivan (a rather pedestrian-looking family car) and [[http://www.carbuildindex.com/25979/1995-renault-espace-f1-minivan-with-800-hp-formula-one-engine/ installed a 800 bhp Formula One engine in it]]. They also got four-time former Formula One World Champion Alan Prost to drive it around a track at speeds rather higher than you'd normally achieve while dropping the kids off to the soccer practice. Why? Because they could. You know the Espace racing machine that appeared in ''VideoGame/GranTurismo 2''? Yes, that one clearly was derived from the aforementioned Formula One-engine installed version in Real Life. [[SuperPrototype Unfortunately, this van is not meant to be for sale because it is a concept car.]]
-->You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought.