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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... did we just overtake a Lamborghini?

What A Piece Of Junk is what happens when the alleged [[TheAllegedCar Alleged Car]] 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]].

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

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Takumi Fujiwara's 1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S (a.k.a. the Trueno GT-Apex) in ''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 [=AE86=] 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 Top Gear (see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK-hprvTNf8). When he drives Itsuki's Levin, which has the [=AE85=] 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.
* There is a reason that [[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.
* [[PorcoRosso Porco Rosso'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 the sixth and seventh episodes of ''InuYasha'', Inuyasha himself calls Tessaiga AKA Tetsusaiga (In the English Dub) this one SEVERAL occasions.
--> '''Inuyasha''': Huh? What? You mean this? What a piece of junk! Tetsusaiga-what? It wouldn't even cut paper, wet!
** Later in the episode when Sesshomaru is trying to claim in and Myoga tries to get Inuyasha to claim it first.
--> "What ''entrusted''? What ''inheritance''? For all I care, he can keep the rusty piece of junk! *Growls* What I do mind, though, is all the other stuff! Good thing you're in a grave, cause you're gonna die!"
** And finds other ways to insult the sword in a similar manner...
--> "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 the 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!"

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''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 ''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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' is the TropeNamer, from Luke's line about 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.
** What makes this [[FridgeBrilliance brilliant]] is that the audience has ''never really seen'' a CoolStarship before this movie: seriously everything sci-fi (except for ''Franchise/StarTrek'') was all rockets and spinning discs. The characters are mocking a ship that for most viewers looks like the coolest ship ever.
* Jake Blues in ''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.
* ''The World's Fastest Indian''. 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''.
* There are several examples on ''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 equiped 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.]]
** 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.
* In ''TheFastAndTheFurious'', Paul Walker pays back his debts to Vin Diesel with a wrecked sports car. Diesel's crew scoffs, but underneath its damaged exterior turns out to be one amazing interior.
** ''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''. [[spoiler: And then the police [[KickTheDog have the car crushed]] after arresting Sean for the destruction caused during the race.]]
* 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}}' 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 [[HellIsThatNoise 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]]
* 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]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* 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 of 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 Pillar of Autumn from ''{{Halo}}: The Fall of Reach'' looks like nothing more than a large frigate, but actually carries concealed weapons, reinforced armour, and a prototype MAC (Magnetic, Accelerator Cannon).
** To emphasize, she's of the ''Halcyon'' class: long overdue for retirement, and the ''Pillar'' is more beat-up than most, but then again ''Halcyons'' are BuiltToLast. You really couldn't ask for a better platform for your top-class reactors and new weapons. Plus its junky appearance makes it the perfect cover for a squad of SuperSoldiers.
* {{Burke}}, the ex-con PrivateDetective from the novels by Creator/AndrewVachss, has the "ultimate New York taxicab". It's GadgeteerGenius designer committed suicide and left Burke the car in payment of an unpaid debt.
* PrivateEye MikeHammer has his "heap", but at one stage it's mentioned that there's a Cadillac engine under the hood.
* In ''TheOregonFiles'' of the NUMASeries 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 ''StarfleetCorpsOfEngineers'' and ''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]] ''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]]?
* 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* [[{{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.
** Well, justified as the TARDIS is [[TheAllegedCar barely working and requires all manner of jury rigs and hasty repairs to keep going]] ([[PercussiveMaintenance along with the occasional hammer on the control panel]]). However, you can't forget that this little police box can travel ''anywhere and [[TimeTravel anywhen]] in the universe'', is [[BiggerOnTheInside at least the size of an office building inside]], and can ''tow planets''. Compared to the pinnacle of Galifreyan tech, the Doctor's TARDIS may indeed be obsolete, but it is still far beyond the technology of ''any'' non-Timelord race, including the Daleks.
*** 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 ''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.
** ''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 that they'd custom-modified it with a super-charged ''Jaguar'' engine in the back. It's ''[[LoopholeAbuse still]]'' a van!
*** Actually Top Gear hadn't modified it, it was modified by Jaguar back in the nineties to test the engine and running gear for the XJ220, which makes it even cooler if you ask me.
* Christine's unseen [[http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buick_Roadmaster_75_1958.jpg 1958 Buick Roadmaster]] from ''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 NighInvulnerable 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.
* ''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."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* [[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]]"
[[/folder]]

[[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 where things work simply because an Ork thinks it ''[[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve should]]''. Many times non Orks will try to use Ork weaponry only to discover them missing basic parts necessary for it to function. In those cases they are using junk that happens to work because of their innate psychic abilities.
* ''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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The speedster you use in ''VideoGame/HalfLife2: 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.
** The airboat counts as well. 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. And then you have to use the scout car...
** ... which is another dirt-covered diamond. It's just as bony bare, 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 in the front? [[OverlyLongGag Or that it's really fast?]]
* All the cars in the ''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 ''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 Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty]]'' features a discussion between [[SpaceWestern ex-Marshal]] [[TheHero Jim Raynor]] and [[GadgeteerGenius Chief Mechanic Swann]] 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.]]
* 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. It's AwesomeYetPractical on four wheels.
** [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] 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 ''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 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 ''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}}'' series tend toward this trope. In particular the capital ships, which appear to have been put together almost entirely from spare parts. However they tend to be extremely heavy on the defense. A number of Pirate variants of normal ships also fit.
* In ''Franchise/MassEffect'', Shepard has to defend the ''Normandy'' from an inspecting Alliance Admiral who invokes this trope, believing 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 [[TearJerker 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).
* Just about everything sporting the Olive Green drab of the Soviet Army in ''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.
* A quest in ''VideoGame/EtrianOdyssey IV: Legends of the Titan'' has you get some ancient and heavily decayed (a few characters call it a disgusting piece of junk) platemail that can be fixed up for free to become a great piece of armour.
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''{{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 [[AHDotComTheSeries MES]] ''[[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.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' had an RV along these lines, called The Rust Bucket.
* ''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 it's OWN record, made over 100 years ago.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In RealLife these are known as "sleeper cars" or "sleepers" ("Q-cars" if you live in [[{{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]] [[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 [[{{Subculture}} entire subculture]] devoted to them. You can read more about them with [[https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=H5X&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=sleeper+cars&oq=sleeper+cars&gs_l=serp.3..0l10.3459.4667.0.4890.5.5.0.0.0.0.250.940.0j2j3.5.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.k4FRozfkBHo a quick Google search]] and TheOtherWiki has an article about them [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeper_%28car%29 here]]. The sleeper {{Subculture}} is so vast that two distinct [[{{Subculture}} sub-subcultures]] have emerged.
** 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."
** 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 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.
* 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.
* 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]].
* The [=M35A2=] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M35_2%C2%BD_ton_cargo_truck Truck, Cargo, 2 1/2 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]].
* [[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
* 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.
[[/folder]]

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