This trope describes a situation in a work of fiction, in which a prominent vehicle used by characters in the story is itself endowed with the qualities of being a character in the eyes of the audience. This is especially probable if said vehicle is essential to the advancement of the plot of the work or the actions of the main characters. Such endowment is represented by sorrow or grief in the event of the destruction of said vehicle.
As any Navy verteran will tell you, especially if they had to watch theirs sink, this is often Truth in Television
See Spaceship Girl
for when the ship is literally a character. Do not confuse with Spaceball One
- Back to the Future Franchise - The destruction of the DMC time machine at the end of the third film has been known to cause some viewers to shed a tear or two.
- Star Trek: The Original Series" - The Search for Spock'' - When the original Enterprise burned up over Genesis, Star Trek fans cried the world over.
- Star Trek: Generations - Essentially the same thing with the Enterprise D. That's what happens when you let Troi drive.
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - This instance of the trope is not so much the fault of the audience as it is the fault of the main characters who endow Chitty as a character themselves. One may notice that the characters only take it so far; for example, they never refer to Chitty as 'he,' only as 'it.'
- This has been true of the TARDIS in Doctor Who for years. You can actually see a gradual process of treating it as a simple "capsule" to the Doctor's longest, truest companion over the length of the series. Then, finally, we got to meet her, and it was one of the most tear-jerking, heartwarming episodes ever.
- In MegasXLR Coop seemed to care about his giant robot like it was alive, even saying he loves it.
- Airwolf - The Airwolf Helicopter played such a crucial role in the series that even the main characters routinely endowed it and endeared it as a character all its own.
- Firefly - If Serenity didn't exist, then those space cowboys would have nowhere to go. The characters themselves treat her as part of the crew, as does director Joss Whedon: Serenity is described in director's commentary as the tenth member of the crew, in the context of a comment about the eleventh member being Summer Glau's feet.
- Supernatural - The Winchester's Impala. So much so that the framing story of the season 5 finale was the biography of that car, treating it as the most important thing in all creation.
- Star Trek: Voyager - USS Voyager. In the Year of Hell episode, Captain Janeway even considers Voyager as family, equal to the rest of the crew.
- Mass Effect - The Normandy in all three games. Its destruction at the start of the second game comes as a Player Punch to many, but fortunately it is rebuilt as the bigger and better SR-2 variant.