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The Alleged Car
Look on the bright side: it's convenient for boiling eggs.

Crazy Vaclav: She'll do 300 hectares on a single tank of kerosene.
Homer: (fiddling with Cyrilic gear display) What country is this car from?
Vaclav: It no longer exists, but take her for a test drive and you'll agree: Zagreverbdnem zlotig dief. (push-starts the car) Put it in "H!"

It was cheap. It was easy to buy (or the only thing you could afford, if you're a high schooler who just got his or her driver's license, a college kid, or are poor). Charitably, it can be called a car. Unfortunately, it tops out at about 40 miles per hour (45 if you're going downhill), it breaks down a lot, you get parking tickets for it while it's in drive, and you probably have to special-order replacement parts from overseas, since you're the only one in your time zone who was enough of a sucker to buy one (and cars like this are inevitably foreign, often from countries that no longer exist due to civil wars, economic collapsenote  and political turmoil). The only reason it hasn't fallen apart yet is because the rust holds everything in place. Often it has some kind of cute or derogatory nickname. Sometimes, a car like this is referred to as a Rolls-Canardley: rolls down one hill, can 'ardly get up the next.

New drivers' first cars tend to be like this, due to not knowing any better, or ó since most newbie drivers are in their teens or early twenties ó they don't have enough money to buy a Cool Car. But even then, logic kicks them in the rear when they realize that the money spent on repairs could have been saved up for a nicer car in the first placenote 

The polar opposite of the Cool Car. Often found in Injun Country and Ruritanias, or in the parking lot of Honest John's Dealership. Expect My Car Hates Me to happen a lot.

The extent to which this is Truth in Television, like many car-related tropes, is largely the ghost of tropes past: it plays off old pre-1980's notions of notoriously unreliable used cars and low-quality imports which tend not to be true today. Before then, a car being built in a foreign country was a joke in and of itself and anyone buying a used car was understood to either be barely above poverty or a major cheapskate. (See the Real Life section below for details)

Also of note, alleged cars that degrade to the state of disrepair often depicted on television would simply not be street-legal in any modern industrial country with an established vehicle safety code. Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't people who still drive them anyway, and, as anyone who has owned one can tell you, there are plenty of shady garages that will either slap an inspection sticker on any old piece of shit or outright sell the stickers with accompanying instructions on how to make them appear legitimate to law enforcement.

Paradoxically, in both fiction and sometimes in real life, a person who operates any such alleged vehicle for any length of time can often become quite emotionally attached to it. Sometimes a person gets in touch with all the car's little quirks, such that only s/he can keep the heap running. Other times, it's just Stockholm Syndrome.

Ironically, this trope was codified by none other than the Ford Model T. Yes, the very car that put the world on wheels was considered obsolete and faintly ridiculous by the height of the silent film era and quickly became the Alleged Car in the hands of comedians like the Keystone Kops, Harold Lloyd, and Laurel and Hardy. They were cheap, disposable, intrinsically funny, and ironically enough the quirky brake, throttle, and transmission controls that made them seem so obsolete just happened to make them excellent stunt cars.

If it's a horse or a computer that gets this treatment, then you're respectively dealing with either The Alleged Steed or The Alleged Computer. If the car looks like this but is secretly a Cool Car, see What a Piece of Junk. A Chronically Crashed Car may become one of these if it gets repaired one too many times. Either this or a bicycle will be part of a Real Vehicle Reveal.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The infamous "Yukarimobile" from Azumanga Daioh, which is actually owned by her parents and presumably owes the shape it's in to her driving. Hell, it's a miracle Yukari can drive the damn thing in the shape it's in. The way that thing gets camera treatment, it is the closest thing the series has to an outright villain. Not even Kimura-sensei is quite as traumatizing.
  • Coach Yamazakura's car in Slow Step. Bikes are faster and factories produce less exhaust.
  • In the manga of You're Under Arrest!, Natsumi ends up with one of these after getting her auto license - the car had been assembled out of discarded parts from numerous stolen vehicles. Then it gets customized by Miyuki...
  • Of all things, a historical armored vehicle in Girls und Panzer. One of the viewpoint team's tanks is a Type 89 I-Go, an interwar Japanese tank intended to fight in China against infantry that was underarmed even by the standards of infantry at the time. It's regularly pitted against vehicles ten or more years younger and several orders of magnitude more capable. It's usually the first tank knocked out, and the go-to option when it encounters an enemy vehicle is trying (and often failing) to run.

    Comics 
  • Archie Andrews' jalopy in Archie Comics. Witness what happens when Archie tries to get it insured:
    Insurer: What model is your car?
    Archie: Uh, let's see...It's a Ford, Chevy, Plymouth, Pierce Arrow, Packard, De Soto, Hudson-
    Insurer: Hold it! How many cars do you want to insure?
    Archie: Oh, it's only one car, but it's a collection of replacement parts from several junkyards.
    Insurer: Well, what year is it?
    Archie: Some of it dates back to 1926!
    • Originally, Archie's car was a 1916 Ford Model-T (which, when the Archie first appeared in 1941, would have made it believable 25 years old), but by 1983 the idea of a teenager having such a museum piece of a car was judged too hard to believe, so it was destroyed and replaced with a newer hot-rod. Today, Archie drives more of an aged Ford Mustang.
  • Donald Duck's famous 313. In one comic Donald manages to get the car to do 40 mph downhill, gets a ticket, and the cop remarks it's the first time he's ever given a speeding ticket to someone in a Belchfire Runabout (the make of car). In the story Recalled Wreck, Donald tells that he actually built the car himself from parts that by now are all out of production and can't be replaced. It's not hard to guess what happens to the parts next...
  • In Sin City, Gail has an unfortunate tendency to saddle Dwight with crappy cars when he's helping her. Once, during The Big Fat Kill she gave him a clapped out, abused and neglected 1957 Thunderbird on its last legs (Dwight mentions it was once a Cool Car, but had been abused so much it was now a junkyard wreck) which didn't even have enough gas to get him to the tar pits. She gives him a Beetle in similar condition (but with a full tank of gas).
  • Gaston Lagaffe's car (the picture for this page) is an old jalopy, a Fiat 509 from 1923 or '25 that goes so slow, pedestrians can outrace it. It leaks so much oil that one strip shows someone water-skiing in the car's oily wake.
  • The title character of Achille Talon drives a car that rolled off the assembly line in 1903 (the British-made Achilles, obviously chosen for its name). And it looks every year of its age.
  • Gabe's beater in The Maze Agency, which is used to contrast Jen's 1958 Corvette, the Cool Car.
  • Brad's perpetually worked-on Chevy Nova in Luann.
  • The 1962 VW Microbus Jeremy and Hector are "restoring" in Zits. It has wildlife living in the engine compartment and creates its own smokescreen as it drives.
  • The Spider-Mobile. Unlike most examples on this page, it was actually pretty pimped out...just really uncool in being pointless (Spider-Man neither needs nor — as the arc in which the thing appeared showed — has the ability to drive a car) and corny looking. The butt of many jokes in hindsight.
  • Harold Harold's car in The Tomb of Dracula.
  • In the German comic Werner: Andi's Ford Taunus 17m in "Besser is das!" (Normal ja!) and Gekotzt wird spšter!
  • The car belonging to Teacher in The Bash Street Kids in The Beano fits this trope. Whenever it is shown it always has smoke coming out of it and it often falls apart.
  • The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers went through a succession of old clunkers - Franklin needs a car and borrows Fat Freddy's '58 Ford, asking "Is your car working all right?" He replies "Hunh? Oh yeah, except the turn signals don't turn off by themselves. ...and there's no spare tire...and the speedometer's way off...and the windshield wipers don't work...(continues talking out the window)...and it pops out of gear, and you have to pump on the brakes two or three times before they start to work, and..."
  • One episode of the Dutch comic Roel Dijkstra is about a voodoo curse on the eponymous character. Roel, who first doesn't believe in voodoo, is forced by the events in the story to take it seriously. In the end, when being taken back to the airport in a rattling, run-down cab, he asks the driver (a recurring character in the story) if it is also voodoo power that is holding his car together.

    Fan Works 
  • The Transbelvian Belv in Eyrie Productions Unlimited's Street Fighter/whole bunch of other stuff fic Warrior's Legacy. The author/narrator describes it quite well:
    I insist, though, that when in Transbelvia, the truly discriminating tourist is obligated to drive the national automobile, the one and only Belv. The Belv is the quintessential East European car, a tiny tin box with a two-stroke motor that sounds like a mimeograph machine on Self-Destruct and smells like a burning blackwall tire. This particular one had a four-speed manual gearbox that liked to crunch and jitter on shifts, brakes operated by cables, and no gauges that worked.
  • Non-car example: Midnight Green's dilapidated cart that he quite happily smashes into a tree.
  • In Futari Wa Pretty Cure Blue Moon, Mia's mother, Kirei, owns a dilapidated old van that barely works. Yoko, the resident car fanatic, can barely stand to look at it, and she's enlisted to fix it in its first appearance when it breaks down at an inconvenient time. Near the end of the story, though, this is turned around, as the team uses their finale powerup to turn it into a complete replica of the DaiVan, DaiFighter's Cool Car.
  • Another non-car example: in A Kingdom Divided Vinyl Scratch becomes the member of the crew of an old, steam-powered airship. Its stoke is placed next to the balloon filled with hydrogen.

    Films — Animated 
  • The last song heard in The Brave Little Toaster brutally Deconstructs the attitudes of materialism and abandonment behind this trope, and is actually sung by thousands of personified Alleged Cars, all of them are constantly waiting for them to be picked up one by one by the junkyard magnet and be crushed to death by the car crusher at the end of a Conveyor Belt-O-Doom.
  • Cars:
    • The Rusteze Bumper Ointment (Lightning McQueen's sponsor) tent from is full of rusty, beaten-up cars, much to McQueen's dismay. Ironically, his best friend is Mater, a similarly rusty, beaten-up tow truck.
    • The villains of the sequel are all notorious "lemons", such as Gremlins or Pacers. In fact, two baddies from this film are even known as Grem and Acer! The Dragon is based on a German microcar in which passengers always face the back.
  • Both vehicles in The Fox and the Hound probably qualify for this. The widow's is a really old truck, and Slade's is temperamental after the engine gets shot full of holes by the widow.
  • In Madagascar 2 the state of the plane the Penguin Commandos and the Zoo animals attempt to fly back to New York in is so bad that one of the signs it is not working is that its engine is no longer on fire. It also comes with several skeletons on board.
    Kowalski: We've lost engine one... and engine two is no longer on fire...
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Vanellope's initial car "The Lickety-Split" is a pedal-powered piece of crap made out of graham crackers that pales in comparison to other vehicles in her game. Later on, she and Ralph build another car that while functionally better is still pretty hideous. Nonetheless, Vanellope's still overjoyed at having a kart of her own.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Star Wars
    • The Millennium Falcon manages to be both this and a Cool Ship; it's reputed to be the fastest ship in the galaxy, but there's always something wrong with it.
    Leia: They're getting closer.
    Han: Oh yeah? Watch this!
    (hyperdrive groans, stutters, and fails to engage)
    Leia: Watch what?
    Han: I think we're in trouble.
    (later)
    Lando: They told me they fixed it! It's not my fault!
    • Podracing seems to be made up of almost nothing but these. While no pod is slow, since each basically is two JET ENGINES, none of them meet even the most basic level of safety, since the only thing holding the engines is a magnet grid and rubber tubes. In the The Phantom Menace, many crash , break apart, or explode after even small hits, or if any of the numerous exposed parts are broken/knocked off. One pod explodes on the starting line. It seems the galaxy loves podracing mostly because of how recklessly dangerous the sport it.
  • Nick's Yugo Jessie in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.
    Nick: This is not a cab, my friend, I promise.
  • Inspector Clouseau's car in Revenge of The Pink Panther. It looks like a pimped-up Batmobile, but falls apart in the driveway.
  • Smoke Signals has one that's permanently stuck in reverse and thus driven backwards everywhere. According to the makers, this is actually Truth in Television on some Indian reservations.
  • Pow Wow Highway has a car stuck permanently in reverse, too.
  • "The Loaner" from The Mask, given to Stanley as a replacement for his Honda Civic by some unscrupulous mechanics while the latter is being repaired.
  • The "Wagon Queen Family Truckster" from National Lampoon's Vacation. "You think you hate it now — but wait til you drive it!"
  • The villains in Dead Mans Shoes drive an ancient CitroŽn that one of them had apparently inherited from his grandmother, complete with a My Car Hates Me moment when the Anti-Hero is advancing on them with an axe.
  • The car that the title character drives in Mr. Hulot's Holiday is so underpowered and rickety, duct-tape and bailing wire could be considered luxury extras.
  • The James Bond movies have a few examples.
  • The CitroŽn 2CV driven by Sister Clotilde in Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez is broken apart by the ride's end, losing its doors, wings, windscreen and the rear axle. Though it's mostly because the nun Drives Like Crazy.
  • Dragnet (1987). "After losing the two previous vehicles we had been issued, the only car the department would release to us at this point was an unmarked 1987 Yugo; a Yugoslavian import donated as a test vehicle by the government of that country and reflecting the cutting edge of Serbo-Croatian technology."
  • The Mario Bros' craptastic van in the Super Mario Bros. movie.
  • The VW bus in Little Miss Sunshine has to be push started because it needed a new clutch, but the family would have missed Olive's contest if they had waited for it to be fixed. Also, the horn had a loose connection and beeped intermittently.
  • Subverted in Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. Sean's car is a rusty Monte Carlo that seems to be falling apart... until you realize it's a "sleeper car", that is, a car that looks bland at best, beaten-up at worst, but tricked out under the hood so much it can beat a brand-new Dodge Viper.
  • The second Enterprise is like this in Star Trek V, allegedly because it was a quick refit of another ship still under construction.
  • Andrew Steyn's car in The Gods Must Be Crazy! is nicknamed "The Antichrist" (for multiple reasons) or "Son Of A Mlakka" depending on who you ask.
  • As much a Cool Car as the DeLorean of Back to the Future is, it would always break down at the worst time. Apparently this is Truth in Television; real-life DeLoreans tended to be unreliable even before you attached massive amounts of barely-tested mad-science doodads to them. It's implied that Doc Brown installed some sort of override on the ignition; he fiddles under the dash and she starts right up, or the ignition wires are just that loose.
  • Mrs. Larusso's car in The Karate Kid.
  • The car in Dude, Where's My Car?, which makes its appearance in the last minute of the movie. It's a Renault that's about half the size of any other car on the road and ugly as all get out.
  • Frank's "piss yellow" junker in The Frighteners.
  • The title ship in Serenity. In both of the Book Ends, a piece of the ship simply falls off.
  • DJ Drake's AMC Gremlin in Looney Tunes: Back in Action gave revered Looney Tunes voicebox Mel Blanc an extra posthumous acting credit by looping the effects he did for Jack Benny's Maxwell (see below) as it pulled into frame. Apropos of nothing, the car was also a Shout-Out, as its arrival was marked with a snippet of the "Gremlins Rag" (Joe Dante apparently couldn't resist a bit of self-reference).
  • Troy's truck in High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
  • Inverted in Wanted. The Lada driven by Fox in the train hunt scene is the quintessencial crappy car in (ex-)Soviet culture. Only she does some really crazy shit with this alleged vehicle: unbelievable stunts, ridiculous speed, aerobatics, you name it.
  • Denzel Washington's introductory movie, Carbon Copy, has one of these. Denzel's character purchased it for 14 dollars and a record player, leading his (white) father to reply, "you were overcharged." It has no horn, no brakes, a nonexistent paint job, coughs black smoke everywhere it goes, and becomes a permanently-converted convertible by the end of the film.
  • In Friday, Smokey's car barely runs, but he still installs an alarm.
  • Buford T. Justice's police cruiser in Smokey and the Bandit usually becomes one of these by the end of every movie, in one case being reduced to nothing but a chassis, engine, and wheels, but it still keeps going. The emergency lightbar also survives, but with no roof to put it on, he just has his son hold it over their heads from the passengers seat while he drives.
  • Watts' Mini in Some Kind of Wonderful.
  • The Dude's Torino in The Big Lebowski was a pile of crap, even before the events of the movie which has the poor vehicle suffering several different kinds of abuse, before it is finally set on fire by the Nihilists.
    Well, they finally did it... They killed my fucking car.
  • The bobsled in Cool Runnings.
  • Ms. Norbury's car in a deleted scene from Mean Girls.
  • Axel Foley's "beat up old Chevy Nova" in Beverly Hills Cop. In one scene, he parks it on an incline and it starts to roll away. His ex-girlfriend Jeanette is apparently quite familiar with the car, as she asks him if he's still driving it.
  • In the Hallmark movie Ice Dreams the main character has one of these.
    Amy: What's wrong with my car?
    Amy's Mom: It's not a car, dear, it's a casualty.
  • Ralphie's Old Man's 1937 Oldsmobile in A Christmas Story.
    "That son of a bitch would freeze up in the middle of summer on the equator!"
  • Turned completely on its head in Woody Allen's Sleeper. While on the run from (future dystopian) authorities, Woody's and Diane Keaton's characters discover what appears to be a dust covered, 200 year old, mid-Sixties vintage Volkswagon Beetle. When Woody turns the key in the ignition the car starts without a millisecond's hesitation and purrs happily. Woody observes, "Wow, they just don't make 'em like they used to."
  • Polish Communist film Mis (Teddy Bear), which generally sent up life in the Polish People's Republic, had a sequence in the opening credits where the hero sneezed and his Polish Fiat car fell apart in the middle of traffic.
  • Gary King, the protagonist of The World's End, drives a car nicknamed "The Beast", which he bought off his friend about twenty years before the start of the movie. While it may have been a Cool Car back then, years of use have turned it into this trope instead.
  • The title character's car from Uncle Buck. It lets out a boom like a high powered rifle after being turned off for several seconds and leaves a smokescreen the size of Kansas in its trail. Its name is also "The Beast".
  • Judge Dredd. At the beginning, when Dredd is demonstrating the Lawmaster bike to a class of cadets, the performance of that particular bike is a bit less than reliable.
  • Subverted with the "Bluesmobile" in The Blues Brothers - a decommissioned police car Elwood bought while Jake was in prison. Even though it looks rundown and the cigarette lighter doesn't work, it stands up to multiple high-speed chases and even keeps going after it throws a rod. The car finally falls to pieces once the brothers reach their destination in Chicago.
  • Sin City, Nancy Callahan says she is the only person who can keep her car running. The villain tries to kidnap her in it, it doesn't work out well for him. As in the books, it is a 1957 Chevy Nomad, which started life a Cool Car right from the factory.
  • Drowning Mona begins with a title card stating that the town where the movie takes place was a testbed for Yugo's American rollout ages ago. Once the film begins, every car in the film is a Yugo. The film climaxes in a low-speed Yugo car chase - with one Yugo requiring a push-start.
  • The minivan at the end of Project X, which is missing two doors and has had most of its paint scorched off. Thomas' parents force him to drive it to school as punishment, though his friends think it looks badass.
  • In Ghostbusters, the Ecto-1 is an ancient ambulance/hearse that we're introduced to with Ray listing off the numerous things they'll have to fix. Remarkably, they do.
    Ray: Everybody can relax, I found the car. Needs some suspension work and shocks and brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear-end...
    Peter: How much?
    Ray: Only $4800.
    *Venkman looks shocked*
    Ray: Maybe new rings, also mufflers, a little wiring...
  • Dean Higgins' car from the 1975 Disney film The Strongest Man In The World, to the point that in the climax that Dexter powers it up with his strength formula in order to return to the weight-lifting competition.
  • The 1983 Nissan Shitbox (yes, that's its real name) from Superhero Movie. It does not make an actual appearance, but it is briefly listed on a site when Rick tries to see what kind of car he can get with only $300. Its description explains it all:
    This is a salvage title for a previously very nice ride, call about the car. Salvageable parts, and many square inches of un-bent sheet metal. Use for your own sculpture projects, landscaping or restore to like-new condition. Wheels extra, 3 included in trunk.

    Jokes 
  • A common Texan joke involves a Texan bragging about the size of his ranch by explaining that it takes him all day to drive from his house to the end of his property, getting the reply "Yeah, I've had a car like that too..."
  • "Once you start driving a Toyota, you won't be able to stop." It certainly doesn't help that their motto is "moving forward".
  • "At least my Toyota has a manual transmission so if it runs away I can hit the brake and clutch, leaving both hands free for the wheel. Or the Rosary."
  • "How do you get a Yugo up to 60 mph? Push it off a cliff."
    • "Why do Yugos come with rear window defrosters? So the people pushing it can keep their hands warm."
    • How do you double the value of a Yugo? Fill the gas tank.
    • Overheard at a crime scene:
    Policeman: What car were the suspects driving?
    Witness: They were in a Yugo 45.
    Policeman: So that makes it a push-by shooting.
  • Trabi jokes. See the Real Life section.
    • Customer: "Can I have a spare wheel for my Trabi?"
      Shop owner: "Yeah, that's a fair swap"
  • What's the difference between an Austin Allegro and a Jehovah's Witness? You can shut the door on a Jehovah's Witness.
  • Why do they call them Buick Centurys? Because only people over 100 years old drive them.
  • What do you call a Lada doing 30? A miracle.
    • What do you call a Lada doing 60? A mirage.

    Literature 
  • The Junk Bucket and The Pink Clinker in The Baby-Sitters Club. (The Pink Clinker actually works well ó Nannie just likes to call it that.)
  • In The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams, Kate's CitroŽn 2CV is like this, and is the Trope Namer — at one point she's in court for a traffic mishap (her car threw a wheel and nearly caused an accident) and a police officer refers to it as "the alleged car", and the name sticks. This is Truth in Television at least to some extent for the 2CV — see the Real Life section below.
    • Dirk's car is not much better, especially after he rear-ends another car and busts the right-side indicator. The main concession he makes to repairing it is to conclude that it's fine since he rarely turns right anyway, and at one point, in order to get it running, he has to steal a tow truck just to force the repairman to get it running.
  • Good Omens loves this trope.
    • Newton Pulsifer has a Wasabi. He praises its incredible gas mileage, but tends to gloss over the amount of time it spends being repaired; he also calls it Dick Turpin (after the British highwayman), because "wherever I go, I hold up traffic." At one point it's described as having been designed on that fateful day when Japan stopped copying Western designs and began coming up with their own, during the brief period of paradigm shift, and ended up with not only all the flaws of Western cars, but also some entirely new ones. Aside from the repair time, it also has a voice that recites, in a particularly bad Japanese accent, "Prease to frasten sleat-bert" regardless of whether the seat-belt is fastened, and an airbag system that deploys on dangerous occasions like when you're traveling slowly on a dry straight road but are about to crash because an airbag just deployed into your face. Newton's attempts to convince others to buy one are motivated by the idea that misery loves company.
    • Crowley drives a 1926 Bentley, which qualifies as a Cool Car. But near the end of the book, he drives it like mad to get from London to Tadfield during a huge traffic jam (including leaping through a wall of fire caused by a cursed motorway Crowley designed), and what's left of it afterwards definitely qualifies as an Alleged Car, assuming it qualifies as a car at all.
    • A third main character, Anathema Device, has an Alleged Bicycle possibly made of drainpipes. All three vehicles get better over the course of the book. Anathema's bicycle and Newton's Wasabi get better than new, with the Wasabi gaining ridiculous gas mileage and its warning system changing to pleasant-voiced haikus.
  • American Gods has a ton of bad (and bad-smelling) cars.
    • Shadow buys a "Pee-Oh-Ess" '83 Chevy Nova for $450 which "had almost a quarter of a million miles on the clock, and smelled faintly of bourbon, tobacco, and more strongly of something that reminded Shadow of bananas." It goes, and that's about all you can say for it.
    • There's also "a lumbering and ancient Winnebago, which smelled non-specifically but pervasively and unmistakably of male cat".
    • An a 1970 VW bus that "smelled of patchouli, of old incense and of rolling tobacco."
    • The Winnebago later gets traded for another car that is in absolutely horrible condition, but will continue to run as long as they keep filling it with oil.
    • Shadow also ends up buying another vehicle that is painted (poorly) a very ugly shade of purple. It's described as a color that a person would only choose while under the influence of many drugs.
  • Jasper Fforde:
    • Played with in The Big Over-Easy, where the protagonist drives a 1970s Austin Allegro that should fit this trope. He replaces it with another one, in showroom condition, in The Fourth Bear — it turns out it's only still running because he bought it from Dorian Gray and there's a picture of the car that suffers all the damage and breakdowns the car would otherwise be subject to. Over the course of the book, the damage sustained reaches such an extent that the picture collapses into an inter-dimensional portal, dragging the car and anyone in it to hell.
    • Thursday Next - Thursday's car is old, makes funny noises, came very cheap from a questionable second-hand car lot, and caught her attention because of a time loop in which she saw herself driving it. But she falls in love with it anyway because it's loudly colored and goes fast.
  • The Dresden Files has Harry Dresden's Beetle, complete with a cute nickname: The Blue Beetle. He can't drive anything else because magic screws up modern technology. Although this is never explicitly stated, it's possible that one of the reasons he's driving a Volkswagen instead of any other random older car is that the engine is farther away from him. Plus, Harry has stated that his mechanic can keep the Beetle running eight or nine days out of ten, which, as far as Harry's Walking Techbane status goes, makes the mechanic a miracle worker. Unfortunately, miracles have limits, and being compacted into a small ball is the Beetle's limit...
  • Discworld: Granny Weatherwax has the Alleged Flying Broomstick.
    Its lifting spells had worn so thin that it wouldn't even begin to operate until it was already moving at a fair lick. It was, in fact, the only broomstick ever to need bump-starting.
  • Dave Barry covers this a few times:
    • In the column "Lemon Harangue", he talks about his father's unerringly awful car buying instincts:
      For example, my father was one of the very few Americans who bought the Hillman Minx, a wart-shaped British car with the same rakish, sporty appeal as a municipal parking garage but not as much pickup. Our Minx also had a Surprise Option Feature whereby the steering mechanism would disconnect itself at random moments, so you'd suddenly discover that you could spin the wheel all the way around in a playful circle without having any effect whatsoever on the front wheels... You don't see many Minxes around anymore, probably because the factory was bombed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    • In ''Dave Barry Does Japan", he mentions that his own first new car was a Chevrolet Vega, which was "made of compressed rust".
    • He once owned a Fiat, which "rusted on the assembly line." It was easy to find in a crowded parking lot, as all he had to do was follow the sound of parts falling off.
  • In Markus Zusak's The Messenger, one of the narrator's friends owns a "shitbox blue Ford" of which he is intensely proud and protective - he goes berserk if anyone brings up its shortcomings within his earshot, even at a police officer who told him it wasn't roadworthy. He claims it's an antique, it appears to made from rust, it has a 0.5 percent chance of starting the first time you turn the key, it's often propped by bricks because the handbrake is broken, any replacement part would be worth more than the rest of the car itself put together, and it foils a bank robbery in the opening chapter because the robber chose it as his getaway vehicle and couldn't get it to start before the police arrived.
  • Stephen King's Cujo has a woman and her son trapped in one of these by a rabid Saint Bernard dog.
  • The evil, sentient title car in Christine, also by King, is a sort of twisted horror version of this trope. It completely takes over a geeky young car-lover's life with its constant demand for repairs and replacement parts, all while making him love it beyond reason. Futurama does a Shout-Out: "And then... Honk honk! The car honked its own horn!"
    • In The Movie, it's very much an Alleged Car when the protagonist first sees it, but gets much better (to the point of being a Cool Car) by around the middle of the show.
  • In 11/22/63, every car Jake touches becomes this on the day of JFK's assassination, thanks to the past trying its damnedest to fight being changed.
  • In Ilya Ilf and Eugene Petrov's The Little Golden Calf, the Antelope Gnu was essentially what was considered The Alleged Car in the early 1930s Soviet Union. Unknown origins (allegedly Loren-Dietrich), but obviously heavily modified and jury-rigged, working unstably and finally exploding into small pieces of debris (and being rebuilt).
  • One set of Beachcomber columns describes the saga of the Alleged Ship Saucy Mrs Flobster, flagship of the Lots Road Power Station, and an attempt by the Government to sell her to Afghanistan. The ship is too waterlogged to burn, is missing vital components such as masts, sails, rudders and most of the hull, and the previous purchasers (Lichtenstein) offered sevenpence but pulled out when they saw what they'd be buying. It's only at the very end that anyone wonders why the Lots Road Power Station ever needed a navy in the first place.
  • Stephanie Plum frequently has one of these, due to her financial constraints and how frequently her cars get destroyed. Though this is also somewhat subverted by her Uncle Sandor's powder blue '53 Buick Roadmaster (aka Big Blue). This is the car she drives when her usual one is inevitably destroyed. The Buick is indestructible, though Stephanie absolutely hates it (mostly cause it's ugly and large). Women, especially Lula, share her disdain, while men unanimously love Big Blue.
  • In the short story "Tobermory" by Saki, one of the secrets that the eponymous talking cat elects to share is that one of the guests was only invited to the party because the hosts think that she is stupid enough to buy their alleged car, dubbed "The Envy of Sisyphus" because it goes quite nicely uphill, if you push it...
  • In Shoefly Pie, the Alleged car is a Dodge Dart, with the most valued component being the half pizza in the back. t didn't have problems driving (until they took it into a field and the driveshaft fell out), the floor was flintstones style, and the original color might possibly have been blue.
  • In William Gaddis's A Frolic of His Own, the protagonist's troublesome Japanese car, which runs over him, engendering a lawsuit, is called the Sosumi.
  • A subplot in the The Darkest Hours, a Spider-Man novel written by Jim Butcher, involves Mary Jane Watson-Parker having to take her driving test so she can play Lady Macbeth for a theater company in Atlantic City. She surprises Peter by announcing that she had purchased a rusty, lime-green Gremlin. The Gremlin also turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun; when Spider-Man is almost killed by Mortia the Ancient, MJ ends up ramming into her with the Gremlin while quoting Lady Macbeth!
  • The protagonist of Laurie Halse Anderson's Catalyst has a Yugo named Bert, which she describes as "a tissue box on wheels with a bulimic hunger for motor oil."
  • The Doctor from Doctor Who apparently has a particular affection for this trope. In the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, he has a Trabant, as featured in the Real Life section of this trope page. Even better: he drives it during his stint as a single father and wealthy business consultant, working with the kind of people who drive "Porsches and BMWs", next to which the Trabant looks like "an old drunk uncle at a wedding". He keeps a ton of books in it and it often stalls (in one scene, his would-be-love interest is foiled by his generally oblivious personality and the fact he's preoccupied by trying to get the car to start), but at the end it comes through when the Doctor needs to go rescue his daughter from being whisked off the planet:
    The Doctor smiled, and slammed his foot on the Trabantís accelerator, astonishing the owners of the Audi he cruised past.
  • Genevive Robles from Bystander by Luke Green has her Termite, which is a discontinued model from 2011 in a story set in 2035. No parts are made for it so it consumes a lot of cash and paperwork to keep operational, especially given that over the course of the book it's in an earthquake and a blizzard, and narrowly misses being crushed by a flying hydraulic arm from a garbage truck. It is also stated to have an air conditioner that smells like ozone; at least once, Lucretia took a ride in it after being drunk and stuck in garbage truck, which couldn't have helped the smell.
  • In the early Spenser detective novels, Spenser drives several of these. The first was a 1968 Chevy convertible in such awful condition that everyone he meets remarks on it. He justifies keeping it by saying that if it gets damaged in the line of duty, he doesn't care all that much. He later wrecks a Subaru somewhere near the Charles River locks. By the 1990s, he's switched to something better, but he still loses cars with some frequency after that, and implies he's never too attached to them.
    • Carried over to the TV series; in one instance, Spenser complains that his car was nearly totaled, and Hawke quips, "that would be redundant."
  • In Wise Blood, Hazel Motes buys an old car for $200note . He's quite proud of it, but no one else is impressed, and it's missing several seats.
  • Ephraim Kishon had one, from France BTW. He called it "Madeleine".
  • In Daniel Pinkwater's Yobgorgle: Mystery Monster of Lake Ontario, one character purchases one during the course of the book. He gets it dirt cheap(less than a hundred dollars), on the condition that he has to wear a chicken suit whenever he drives it.
  • Jen from Extraordinary* has a car that stalls all the time, usually at the worst moments.
  • The March 1980 edition of Australian car magazine Wheels controversially declared "No Car of the Year" for 1979, with the front cover featuring a giant lemon on four wheels. This prompted Ford Australia to hit back with an advertisement for its then-latest model Falcon, depicting a page full of literal lemons with popular car brands printed on them and declaring, "There are times when being a lemon is not a bitter experience at all". Wheels also declared "No Car of the Year" in 1972 and 1986.
  • The Jetlag parody travel guide for Molvania makes mention of the national car, the Skumpta. The car is described as having a single headlight, a three cylinder engine, and a candlelit interior. The car is also said to have performed best out of four leading European car models in a crash test involving being driven into a wall at 60 kph, but that's because the car broke down repeatedly and never reached the wall.
  • Farley Mowat's book The Boat Who Wouldn't Float. (Exactly What It Says on the Tin.)
  • The Joads' truck in The Grapes of Wrath, a boxy one-ton flatbed from the 1920s. Typical for the 1930's Dust Bowl migrations; vehicles of that era required a total engine rebuild every 20,000 miles or so and a new paint job every other year; and by the mid '30s it would've been operating on five or more years of deferred maintenance.
  • Bert and Cec's original cab in the first Phryne Fisher novel Cocaine Blues. In the second novel, Phryne buys them a new cab as thanks for their services, and because the first cab was a death trap.
  • In More Information Than You Require, John Hodgman recounts a (made-up) story about his wife owning a Volkswagen Jetta that actually worked fine; the only problem was that whenever she drove it, people would point at the car and scream, and she could never figure out why. They tried to let it get stolen by leaving the doors unlocked in the middle of New York City, but all that happened was that a lot of people used the car as a place to have sex. Eventually, to get rid of the car, they sold it under false pretenses to one of the writers for Sesame Street; they were that desperate.
  • In Kevin J. Anderson's Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. novels, Chambeaux & Dyer uses a barely-functional Ford Maverick that's held together mostly by rust as a company car. Sheyenne nicknames it "the Pro Bono Mobile" because they'd be able to afford something better if not for Robin Dyer's continual willingness to offer free legal aid to those who can't pay.
  • Paul's first car in The Unexpected Witness - described at one point as a 1978 Classic Rusty.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe introduced the concept of "Uglies" to the franchise. In short, these are starfighters cobbled together from the salvaged pieces of other starfighters. Things like X-wings with TIE Interceptor panels replacing its wings or a B-wing with a Millenium Falcon-style cockpit glued on are not unheard of. They are little more than flying junkheaps and barely airworthy let alone spaceworthy, and usually used by desperate bandits who can't find or steal anything better. The most ignominious of the lot is probably the TIE fighter cockpit with Y-wing engines which was slow, unshielded, weak-hulled, lightly armed, and essentially a flying death trap with a reputation even worse than the basic TIE fighter—crew survival rates for this particular make of Ugly ship fell even below the Empire's TIE fighter pilots, doubly damning considering that when it came to fighter pilots, the Empire fully believed that We Have Reserves. That last one was often referred to as a "Die-Wing". On the other hand, some Ugly builds proved surprisingly effective, and the sheer unpredictability of their builds was by far the biggest threat they posed.

    Live Action TV 
  • In The Middleman, Wendy has a Hruck Bugbear, which is made in the Balkans and described as "a poor man's Yugo". Her soon-to-be boyfriend Tyler likes it, but he seems to be the only one who does.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Giles' first car, a potentially very cool but dreadfully run-down CitroŽn DS, is one of these until it gets crashed by Spike in the Season 4 episode "A New Man." He replaces it with a Midlife Crisis Car, a BMW 3-series convertible (still used, but much more contemporary). The CitroŽn is also mocked in the Buffy tie-in novels. Oddly, it's actually totaled in one of them.
    • The entire series seems to revel in this trope. Xander and Oz have both confessed their own personal off-screen road-trip-gone-wrong stories that begin with their vehicles breaking down.
  • Zap Rowsdower's truck in the MST 3 K episode The Final Sacrifice does this. Mike and the bots waste no time in bashing the Rowsdower-mobile.
  • The Reliant Regal three-wheeled van owned by the main characters of Only Fools And Horses is a famous example, the So Bad, It's Good of the car world. It's popular enough that more than one Real Life Reliant Regal owner has painted his vehicle to look like it, and it came second only to the General Lee in a poll of the best-ever TV cars. Also the Ford Capri driven by Del in later seasons, known to Rodney as "the Pratmobile". The vast majority of cars that Boycie sells also qualify.
  • Mr. Bean's 1977 Mini, complete with latch and padlock door system and non-working handbrake, is constantly "The Alleged Car" in its repeated collisions with a certain Reliant Supervan.
  • Columbo drives a beat-up Peugot 403 convertible. He seems pleased to own a foreign car. In one episode, he drives it to a junkyard where a body has been found. A policeman tells him he'll have to dump his car there another day. Columbo is shocked at the idea that anyone could think his car was junk. Peter Falk allegedly picked it out himself one day after having been picked as Columbo. He saw the car in a mechanic's shop where they were apparently using it as a test-bed/oversized paperweight, and thought that given Columbo's otherwise disheveled appearance, the car would be perfect. He bought it from the mechanics and drove it to the lot that day.
  • The title character of Harry O drives a rust-bucket roadster that's always either prominently featured in at least one scene, or conspicuous by its absence, with Harry riding the bus because it was in the shop.
  • Federal Marshall Mary Shannon drives a beat-up purple Ford Probe on In Plain Sight that is an ongoing topic of conversation.
  • Green Acres:
    • Not a car per se, but Oliver's Hoyt-Clagwell tractor should count.
    • Oliver's car breaking down was the subject of at least one episode, in which Mrs. Douglas used her pancake batter to fix a blown head gasket, something of a great feat, considering her knowledge of cars was limited to referring to the gear shifter as a "pernundel" (because of the order of gears: P R N D L).
  • Steve Urkel's Isetta "microcar" on Family Matters
    Steve: Boy, I'm glad I paid the extra four dollars for that sunroof!
  • One episode of Michael Palin's New Europe had him take a tour of Nowa Huta (a Communist-built industrial suburb of Krakow) in an East German Trabant, a Real Life embodiment of this trope.
  • Pimp My Ride is entirely about turning an Alleged Car into a Cool Car.
    • The crowning example of this had to be a Ford Escort which was actually the result of the owner welding two Ford Escorts together. Xzibit promptly declared the car "unpimpable" and tuned up a new one for the guy.
  • Top Gear naturally has a ton of these:
    • One episode features Jeremy Clarkson driving an FSO Polonez, a Polish-built Fiat 125 derivative that he was so unimpressed with that he decreed it be used to play conkers with the aid of an electromagnetic crane. It remains one of his least favourite cars, but later models (produced after The Great Politics Mess-Up) are significantly improved.
    • Another episode has a segment revolving around the question "Did the Communists ever produce a good car?", with said vehicles being tested, for maximum Cold War irony, around the former site of US nuclear missiles, the now closed RAF Greenham Common. The first two cars tested, a Lada Riva and a Moscvitch 408, lose a quarter-mile drag race to a dog. Other highlights included a car in which the door couldn't be closed (forcing Clarkson to drive with the front door open) and a tri-wheeled car covered in canvas. When all was said and done, they found the answer to the original question to be resounding no.
      • Later expanded upon with May and Clarkson trying out Chinese cars. The early attempts played the trope straight, the latest models were much better and thus averted the trope.
    • The presenters built their own alleged car in one episode: Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust, an electric vehicle that, despite being a death trap, is fully street legal. It had a top speed of ten miles an hour, the aluminum body could blind the driver, the seats were plastic lawn chairs, it couldn't go in reverse, it was insanely noisy, and it took 7 hours to recharge the ONE battery used to power the thing. Even then the range was so bad they converted it to a 'hybrid' by putting a portable generator in the back, which filled the cabin with fumes. It even got a proper review in Autocar; which noted that there were two ways it could take a corner: sliding out of control, or sliding out of control backwards, and that it could get in horrible accidents when going in a straight line. Hilariously, the Autocar review actually rated it half a star higher than the real-life electric car the presenters were trying to beat, the Reva G-Wiz (which gets its own listing in the Real Life section). Presumably they did this because the Top Gear car made no pretense that it was actually any good.
    • Many of the show's legendary challenges center around the three hosts being given a very small amount of money to buy a car. They then have to to drive somewhere, completing challenges on the way:
      • The Toyota Land Cruiser aka "Donkey" from the Bolivia special. The engine hardly ever started, its prop shaft fell out, its differential exploded, and the list goes on.
      • One episode features the creations of the British Leyland company. James May's actually does fairly well, but Clarkson's loses a door. Twice. And not even the same door.
      • All three vehicles in the Budget Supercar special. Clarkson's Maserati Merak lost when its engine disintegrated into a fine cloud of metal bits. Richard Hammond's Ferrarinote  from the same episode had all the engine electronics fail; May's Lamborghini kept running out of electricity, though it was the only car that actually ran out of fuel rather than fail. However, following the episode, the Lamborghini was bought by a supercar enthusiast who restored it to working condition, and Hammond restored the Ferrari himself; meanwhile, Clarkson's Maserati was so far gone that it had to be broken up for scrap, so it definitely wins the Alleged Car crown for the episode.
    • Played with in the Albania episode, where the trio were asked to see which of three premium luxury cars (a Rolls-Royce, a Mercedes, and a Bentley) was best for a Leading Light in the Albanian Mafia. Bentley pulled-out due to not wanting to be associated with organized crime and a suffering a sudden sense-of-humor deficiency. Undeterred by this, Clarkson purchased a none-too-gently-used Yugo and for the rest of the episode they pretended this car was the example of the Bentley Mulsanne they were originally scheduled to test as a Take That for chickening-out.
    • And in a complete subversion of this (and the jokes against Toyota above in the Jokes folder) we have the Toyota Hilux. The first one certainly looked like this trope when Jeremy got it. However it was proven that it can't die no matter what you put it through. The little Determinator was driven down stairs, against rock walls, into a tree, lost to the tide, dropped from a crane, had a caravan dropped on it from a crane, hit by a wrecking ball, driven through a shed, set on fire, and dropped from a controlled demolition site. It still drives. Sure it has seawater in a headlight, the dash was destroyed, and there are dents and scrapes everywhere... but it runs. Later they used (new, fresh, and modified) Hilux to drive to the North Pole, and to an active volcano (...after that one also drove to the north pole).
    • Also subverted by the car Hammond bought in the Botswana episode, a 1963 Opel Kadett A. Dubbed "Oliver", he became attached to it and eventually took it with him back home to England. While dirt cheap, it survived unmodified, unlike the other two cards, and only had one major brake down because Hammond accidentally sank it in a river.
  • The American version of Top Gear has had its fair share of alleged cars.
    • In the Alaska Special, Tanner's Chevy allegedly had a diesel engine. The fuel gauge even said it "diesel fuel only". It turned out to be a Chevy Small Block. He still won, and it was the only truck to finish.
    • The show has had some variation on "get a car for cheap/really cheap/obscenely cheap" as the central premise of an episode several times.
      • Rutledge got a Fiero/Ferrari mash-up kitcar for a "$5000 luxury car" challenge that had a leaking problem and struggled to reach 55 mph in the speed test.
      • The "obscenely cheap" version saw the hosts buying cars for just $500. Adam's puke-and-blood stained taxi cab (Tanner and Rutledge's cars had their fair shares of bodily fluids as well) had what he described as "a several minute delay between steering input and actual turning."
    • Episodes have been devoted to both "Worst Cars"note  and "Dangerous Drives"note . In the former, the presenters bought the cars for each other and culminated in them trying to sell them at auction. In the latter, the flaws of each were played for maximum effect (and laughs) in a test drive, then each presenter was challenged to modify the car to eliminate the deficiency. Naturally, Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Sid & Marty Korfft Saturday morning show, Wonderbug, had Schlep-Car, a dune buggy that regularly left a trail of parts behind as it went.
  • The short-lived Channel 4 sitcom Hippies featured the "Ginkle", an exaggerated parody of the Trabant, which was incapable of driving more than thirty miles before breaking in half.
  • Jon Stewart says this about the Gremlin he had as a kid: "The car that existed only so that Pinto owners could have something to shit on." In his tribute to Bruce Springsteen during the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors, he expanded a little on this: "The Gremlin was a car that was invented for two reasons; one, birth control for young males; and two, it was invented so that the Pinto wouldn't feel so bad about itself."
  • The Chevy that SClub got in Miami 7 and later sold in LA 7 was one of these. It had travelled nearly a million miles in its time, and when it reached that number, it unexpectedly transported itself and its occupants 40 years back in time.
  • In one episode of Chuck, Morgan buys a DeLorean with a stuck passenger door that cannot go over 22 miles per hour. Sort of a subversion in that Morgan considers it to be a Cool Car, and gets a Vanity License Plate for it.
  • The Dodge in Married... with Children. According to various antecdotes, it was brought to a stop by an anthill, it wouldn't hit 60 MPH if you threw it out of a plane, the ignition key is a bottle opener, it's a literal one-of-a-kind car as the other models have exploded, been recalled, or dissolved in the rain, it has bullet holes on it from when Kelly tried to outrun the cops, and at one point a car wash "lost" it because the brown color is actually years of dirt accumulated on it.
    • In the episode "Take My Wife, Please":
      Cowboy: (from the Village People) Hey, sorry about the Dodge out front.
      Kelly: Why, did you hit it?
      Cowboy: No. I'm just sorry about.
    • In truth, the car was actually a Plymouth Duster, an pretty desirable car.
  • Most cars on The Red Green Show. Many of these were repurposed on the "Handyman's Corner" segment. For instance, in this clip two alleged cars were combined to make a luxury mid-engine car. Red's own Possum Van was a prime example. Numerous references were made to the crappy cars driven by many of the other Lodge members, to the point where one of the books written by the show's creators noted that having an "old car that barely runs" confirms its driver as a member of Possum Lodge.
    • Another episode, on the Handyman's Corner, showed Red cutting two cars in half and interconnecting the steering to make a car with front and rear steering. It actually moved several feet.
  • Satan gives Ezekiel Stone one of these in one episode of Brimstone. At the end of the episode Ezekiel realises that it's the second damned soul Satan told him to reclaim that week, and shoots its "eyes" (headlights) out to send it back to Hell.
    • Gives us this lovely exchange:
    Detective: Nice wheels, Stone.
    Zeke Stone: The wheels are great. The car on top of 'em's crap.
  • Trailer Park Boys:
    • The "Shitmobile".(1975 Chrysler New Yorker 4 door hardtop) It's missing the passenger side front door entirely, and requires a specific method of key turning to start it. It breaks down periodically, but is also shown to be nigh indestructible. The boys have knocked down parking meters and walls with it, and still been able to drive away.
    • Most of the cars in the show start out in good condition, but usually end up this way by the end of the season. Mr. Lahey's car ended up providing parts for the Shitmobile, and later his cop car ended up without a roof of any sort, which didn't stop any of the characters from driving it.
  • The Mythbusters seek out Alleged Cars for their explosions experiments. Those that are perfectly fine (such as Earl The Caddy, the Corvette from "Stinky Car", and the Fiat X1/9 from "Compact Compact") are soon rendered Alleged Cars. (Earl at least managed to last a season before it was finally destroyed by being dropped from a crane.)
    • Also fitting in this categories have been alleged snow plows, cranes, cement trucks, motorcycles, airplanes, war machines and every other kind of moving contraption.
  • The famous scene in the Fawlty Towers episode "Gourmet Night" where Basil Fawlty's car breaks down in the middle of the road. He then starts shouting at the car, kicks it and runs offscreen... Only to return a few seconds later with a tree branch to start hitting the car out of frustration.
  • In Doctor Who, Time Lords other than the Doctor see the TARDIS as one of these.
    The Master: Overweight, underpowered museum piece... Might as well try to fly a second hand gas stove.
    • In "The Time Meddler", the First Doctor and fellow rogue Time Lord the Monk gush over the special custom features on the Monk's TARDIS in a petrolhead-like manner, and the Monk brags about its make and model, referring to it as a "Mark IV". He then asks the Doctor which Mark number his TARDIS is, and he visibly bristles, saying "none of your business".
  • The Ghostmobile MK-I as seen in The Ghost Busters. It's a 1929 Willys Whippet that always has something wrong with it (usually the brakes).
  • Cedric's Hyundai on The Steve Harvey Show. It and Steve's El Dorado are never seen in the show. With Cedric's car, it has multiple bumper stickers on it to hold the body up and cover up its many dents, it frequently breaks down because Cedric tries to listen to the radio while he drives, and once it would not start simply because Cedric rolled the windows down. When he and Lovita are expecting their baby, she implors him to sell it but in the end, he keeps it and Lovita buys a used minivan.
  • The whorehouse-on-wheels in Tin Man that Cain "borrows" from DeMilo to get DG, Glitch, Raw and himself to the North from "Central City." It breaks down in the middle of a snowstorm, then probably suffered a permanent breakdown after getting Glitch and Cain back to the Witch's Tower, since it is never seen again.
  • One of the "contestants" on the fifth season of Canada's Worst Driver was nominated for owning several Alleged Cars. He proudly declared having never paid more than $400 for a car.
    • And even worse, the show itself frequently turns vehicles into Alleged Cars. Case in point, the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger respectively from seasons 6 and 7, which became progressively worse looking every episode.
  • In I Love Lucy, Fred is put in charge with buying a blue Cadillac convertible. The first tip-off is that he bought it for $300.
  • The Bluth Company's stair-car from Arrested Development. While it runs perfectly well, it's slow, very large (wrecking banners and signs suspended high up), guzzles gas like the 1970s full-size truck it is, hitchhikers hop onto the back of the car whenever it stops, and the driver has to start braking several minutes before they need to get to a full stop.
  • The car Tony bought for Sam on Who's the Boss? would qualify.
  • Greg's first car in The Brady Bunch.
  • On Red Dwarf:
    • Starbug, the transport craft, may qualify as an alleged ship; it frequently breaks down or malfunctions and the interiors are as cramped and dingy as you'd expect from something built by the lowest bidder. Granted, much of the former two may be down to the number of crashes it's survived, but there can't be too many ships where going from Blue Alert to Red Alert involves changing the light bulb.
    • The original, pre-Chicken Walker Blue Midget also counts. It resembled a shabby cross between a chinook, a tank and the space shuttle, was cramped, slow and had a dodgy gearbox. Somehow. When it sprouted legs for Season VIII (and the remastered versions of I-III) it shed most of these qualities.
      • Although it's entirely possible that the man who designed the bits that make it fly and the guy who designed the legs never met, and only one of them was good at his job.
  • In Adam-12's "The Beast," Malloy and Reed are assigned the eponymous patrol car that's just a few hundred miles away from mandatory retirement. It's such a piece of junk that Malloy doesn't even want to be behind the wheel, one of the very few instances in the series where Reed drives the car.
  • Mr. Roper's car on Three's Company, which he briefly sells to the trio, gets worse every time it's described. One episode says the car must always have a passenger or it will tip over on the driver's side. A mechanic recommends against changing the oil because it's the only thing holding the car together.
  • The Now Show talked about how they're saving money with the high-speed rail connection from London to Scotland by running it from London to Birmingham and having Toyota supply the brakes.
  • From Keeping Up Appearances, Onslow's beat-up '78 Ford Cortina (the one that runs. Barely.)
  • Barney Fife buys an alleged car (with a transmission full of sawdust) from an alleged sweet little old lady on The Andy Griffith Show. The seller claimed she only drove it on Sundays and was hoping someone could take care of it after her husband died. Everything seemed alright, until the thing literally started to fall apart as he drove...
    • A very similar plot happened on Matlock when Matlock's(played by Andy Griffith) neighbor Les Calhoun(played by Don Knotts) with the twist that Les is accused of murdered the guy who sold it to him.
  • Saturday Night Live gave us the parody ad featuring The Adobe. "The sassy new Mexican import that's made out of clay!"
    • Another parody ad featured "the Chameleon", a luxury car disguised as a piece of crap as a theft prevention measure.
    • While reporting on the Toyota acceleration controversy, Seth Meyers quipped: "A highway safety spokesman said that if you have a Toyota, you should just stop driving it. Toyota owners said 'We're trying!'"
  • One episode of My Name Is Earl reveals that Earl and Joy once sold an alleged car to someone. When Earl goes to right this wrong, he discovers that the experience left the man bitter and pessimistic about mankind.
  • Simon's Fiat Cinquecento Hawaii in The Inbetweeners. Small, slow, yellow, missing one of its original doors (later replaced with a red one) and has a tape deck. It winds up in a lake in the finale. Still, it fares better than Neil's Vauxhall Nova which doesn't even have an engine.
  • There's a running gag in the 1980s cop show Hunter about the title character's horrible clunkers. Da Chief loathes him and so sticks him with awful cars, and sometimes it's even had more influence on the plot than just a gag - hard to have a Car Chase when your ride won't start (or the door won't even open, or piles of parts fall out of the bottom.) This was Justified by his tendency to completely demolish cars in chase scenes: you give this guy a car, it lasts two episodes tops, so you give him the worst you've got.
  • On The Amazing Race, some of the cars the teams are given turn out to be this, and it's obviously quite deliberate. That is, when they're not doing Product Placement cars instead
  • In the earlier seasons of Boy Meets World it's mentioned a few times that Eric has one of these, but it is never actually seen onscreen.
  • On The Roy Rogers Show, there was Nellybelle, who was run down to the point she often refused to start. Hence Pat Brady's Catchphrase "Aw, NELLYBELLE!"
  • In the Dirk Gently TV series, Dirk drives an Austin Princess which he's had for at least sixteen years (and, given when the Princess was made, was presumably not new then). It rarely starts, when it does it's always in reverse, and Richard compares changing gears to Russian Roulette.
  • The Ropers' car in Man About The House, which was always having something go wrong with it.
    • The gag continued on the spin-off George and Mildred with the Ropers's motorcycle and sidecar which was nicknamed 'Charles Bronson'. It alternately either wouldn't start or wouldn't stop.
  • In the Drake & Josh episode: "The Wedding", the titular duo borrows a friend's old 1970s Chevy El Camino that is in very poor condition. The car stalls in the middle of an isolated highway and they spend most of the episode's plot trying to find help or repair the car. The car catches fire while they try to repair it and the episode ends with them walking away from it in defeat.
  • In the Bones episode "The Woman in the Tunnel", Booth rents a car for his trip to London with Bones and is given an Austin Healy "the size of [his] thumb". Booth is very disappointed, as he has been expecting to drive an Aston Martin.
  • Cliff Huxtable from The Cosby Show describes a terrible test-drive here.
  • John Cleese's series How To Irritate People included a forerunner of the Monty Python Parrot Sketch — a salesman (Michael Palin) insists that the car he sold is perfectly fine, while the buyer (Graham Chapman) demonstrates first that the gear lever is loose, the brakes don't work, and finally that the doors fall off at the slightest touch.
  • A running gag on Whose Lineisit Anyway, particularly during the Sound Effect game tended to go one of two ways. If the car starting sound effect wasn't given, the guys would go and push it, while if it was given to early, it would drive off without anyone in it.
  • Marshall's Pontiac Fiero ('the Giving Tree of cars') on How I Met Your Mother falls into this category, nearly managing to hit 200,000 miles and having a tape deck that ate Marshall's Proclaimers tape, resulting in "500 Miles" being the only music that is played in the car. The season 2 episode "Arrivederci, Fiero" revolves around the car's demise and the gang recalling some of the incidents that made it an Alleged Car.
  • In Breaking Bad, we have Walt's beige 2004 Pontiac Aztek (see below), which he eventually ends up selling for 50 dollars.
  • Axl's '75 Ford Gran Torino in The Middle met its end when a county fair official took a guess about the rusty, faded old land yacht and waved Axl into the demolition derby.
  • Starsky & Hutch: Hutch's vomit-colored, dented, rusting, crumbling Ford LTD (with a missing rear-view mirror, window cranks that don't stay in, and a horn that randomly blasts at top volume whenever he opens the door), in contrast to Starsky's signature Cool Car, the famous red-and-white striped Gran Torino. Hutch despises the Torino and repeatedly insists his piece-of-shit car has more "character" than Starsky's. An overly prideful car repairman is so offended by the car's very existence that when Hutch tries to bring it in for repairs, he buries it in his trash heap just so he can yell at Hutch that "Garbage belongs WITH garbage!" (Interestingly, when the LTD was totaled in an assassination attempt, Starsky bought Hutch another one exactly as crappy as the first one, though not before writing "condemned in 1827" on the windshield.)

    Music 
  • Adam Sandler's "Ode To My Car" is a profanity-laced Reggae-esque ballad with a chorus of "Piece of shit car, I gotta piece of shit car".
  • The Morris Minor in Madness' "Driving In My Car". One line sums it up: I'm satisfied I got this far. We are also frequently informed that it is "not quite a Jag-u-ar".
  • Sir Mix-a-Lot (he who cannot lie about liking big butts) has a track called "My Hooptie."
  • The Coup recorded a fantastic inversion of the Cruising In My Caddy type of song with Cars And Shoes, which lists off a series of increasingly terrible cars that they have owned, making the point that they're crap, but still better than walking.
  • "Two Ton Paperweight" by Psychostick.
    My. Car. Is a PIECE OF SHIT!!
    Wan to drive you off a cliff,
    Watch you crash into a ravine,
    For the things you did to me,
    You, STUPID CAR!!
  • "My Chevette" by Audio Adrenaline.
    Zero-to-60: sometimes.
  • Bottle Rockets' 1000 Dollar Car suggests you buy a good guitar instead, it'll take you farther.
  • Then there's the parody Christmas Carol based on "Jingle Bells", "Rusty Chevrolet" by Da Yoopers. The chorus, for a sample:
    ''Oh, rust and smoke, the heater's broke,
    The door just flew away.
    I light a match, to see the dash,
    And then I start to pray.
    Frame is bent, the muffler went,
    The radio it's okay,
    Oh what fun it is to drive
    This rusty Chevrolet.
    • They also have "Yooper Snow Rocket", which is about The Alleged Snowmobile.
  • "500 (Shake baby shake)" by Lush, on the venerable Fiat Topolino:
    When things are looking good there's always complications,
    I can't be with you so I'm at the railway station
  • And then there's Jonathan Richman's Dodge Veg-O-Matic:
    I'm gonna tell you 'bout a car you'd best not buy.
    The brakes'll fall off and you will sigh.
    I'm gonna tell you 'bout a car that you won't like.
    You had best stay home, sir, better take your bike.
  • Arrogant Worms's song "Car Full of Pain" — complete with a verse describing how it is possessed by the Legions of Hell.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic Yankovic's car in "Stop Dragging My Car Around".
  • The guys at Car Talk have been collecting these for some time now. Have a look.
  • The tour bus in Eric Bogle's "Eric and the Informers":
    We drove ourselves round in a Kombi van,
    A rusty German coffin.
    We cursed Adolf Hitler every time it broke down,
    Which was everywhere and often.
  • Clare & The Reasons' "Can Your Car Do That? I Don't Think So"
  • "There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with the Radio" by Aaron Tippin. The car's a wreck, but the radio works perfectly.
    She needs a carburetor, a set of plug wires
    She's ridin' me around on four bald tires
    The wipers don't work and the horn don't blow
    But there ain't nothin' wrong with the radio
  • "Teardrops on My Old Car", a parody of Taylor Swift's "Teardrops on My Guitar. [1]
  • One Piece At A Time by Johnny Cash is a variation: He's put together a Cadillac by collecting parts over more than a decade. The car looks very strange by the time he's done due to interim design changes, though he apparently got it to work okay somehow.
    The headlights was another sight
    We had two on the left and only one on the right
    But when I pulled out the switch, all three of 'em came on.
  • The 1957 Chevy pickup truck from the C.W. McCall song (which is really more of recitation set to music) "Classified":
    Well, I kicked the tires and I got in the seat and set on a petrified apple core and found a bunch of field mice livin' in the glove compartment. He says, "Her shaft is bent and her rear end leaks, you can fix her quick with an oily rag. Use a nail as a starter; I lost the key. Don't pay no mind to that whirrin' sound. She use a little oil, but outside a' that, she's cherry."
  • The second verse of Billy Falcon's "Power Windows" is dedicated to one of these. The song goes on to say the car's owner doesn't need a Cool Car because he's found the Power of Love.
  • Jim White's "Corvair" is something of a deconstruction.
    I got a Corvair in my yard
    It hasn't run in 15 years
    It's a home for the birds now
    It's no longer a car.
  • Roberto Carlos' "Calhambeque" is about a man that gets an Alleged Car as a replacement after he sends his car to the repairshop, but ends up keeping the Alleged Car in lieu of the "normal" car.
  • The second line in "Beverly Hills" by Weezer.
    "My automobile is a piece of crap."
  • The popular Tex-Mex singer, Selena had a song named 'Carcacha' (mexican word to refer to a run-down car, is somewhat offensive), the lyrics are entirely about a girl's boyfriend's car, which is the quintessence of the trope.
    • The chorus thranslates roughly to:
    Carcacha, go step by step, don't stop "limping" forward.
    carcacha, bit by bit. Please don't leave us!
  • Alla Pugacheva's song "Daddy bought a car"... very cheaply.
  • Two of Red Fang's videos feature a 1979 Impala Station Wagon. They buy it for only a few hundred dollars in "Wires" and modify it with a plow to run over all sorts of stuff on an empty runway. In "Hank Is Dead" they outfit it with a loudspeaker and play while sending out flyers for an Air Guitar competition. It's one of the rare occasions where they take a beat up, tired old clunker and actively turn it into a CoolCar by force of will.
  • Josephine's car in Bo Diddley's "Ride on Josephine". Of course, he may not be talking about a car...
  • Hillbilly Drummer Girl by Mono Puff
    ''Black behemoth Caddy, sleeping bag in back
    Holes right through the floorboards, a rolling chicken shack''
  • Sausalito Summernight by Diesel, about a roadtrip from hell, Los Angeles to San Francisco in a craptacular Rambler
    The engine's thumpin' like a disco
    We oughtta dump 'er in the bay
  • Then of course, there's "Music To Drive-By," an album credited to one such car. Lucas Abela gunned the engine on his aging Kombi and recorded the myriad sounds it made.
  • The second verse of "Slip Away" by The Presidents Of The United States Of America is about one, but probably not the Cool Car that's the subject of "Mach 5".
    I had a car.
    The color was blue.
    It kept breaking down.
    So, what could I do?

    I put an ad in the paper.
    Yeah, I called it a steal.
    This guy came to see it.
    And we struck a deal.

    Radio 
  • Jack Benny's Maxwell.
  • The Goon Show featured Henery Crun and Minnie Bannister at one point driving a vehicle that makes The Alleged Car look positively Bondworthy. Suffice to say, it's seen going at three miles an hour, and the wick in the engine goes out. Though given that, at various times, characters in the Goons drove pianos, brick walls, barrel organs and steam-driven rockets, an actual car, no matter what its condition, would have been fairly mundane.
  • Click and Clack deal with these a lot, including infamously Tom's Dodge Dart, which he appeared as in the Pixar movie Cars.
  • On his radio show, Jim Rome often tells the story of his Merkur XR4TI, which he calls "the worst car ever". (As an inside joke, Jim calls his production crew "the XR4TI Crew").
  • Amos And Andy's taxicab, forming the fleet for the Fresh Air Taxicab Company of America, Inc.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Jeremy Hotz's routine about his diesel-powered Chevette with a trailer hitch.
  • Bill Hicks also had a few words about the Chevette in Sane Man:
    "Piece of shit car. Turn the air conditioner on in a Chevette while you're driving, it's like hitting the car in the balls. It goes down to 5 all of a sudden. I feel like the Flintstones in that thing. You push the lighter in, the battery light comes on. No wonder I'm fuckin' drunk. I hit a moth one time, it did $400 damage to this piece of shit. The moth was all right; he rolled with it. He took off, I'm waitin' for a tow truck. 'What happened to your car buddy?' Shit, I hit a bug. 'You're lucky to be alive. A man in Tennessee hit a ladybug in one of them things sheered his head clean off.'"
  • Comedian Lewis Black had his rental Plymouth Horizon stolen. When he filed a police report, they suggested the thief took it for a joyride.
    "I said, 'You know, I don't think you're listening, asshole. The car is a Plymouth Horizon. It is not a joy to RIDE!' This is a car that goes 45 miles per hour with the wind; if you turn the air conditioning off you can supercharge the little fucker to 48."
He also mentioned "never [having] driven a car that's aqua."
  • Bill Cosby's bit from his 'Why is There Air' album about his first car, a 1942 Dodge he bought for $75, which wouldn't go over 50 mph.
    • On another occasion, he talked about how his father's '52 Chevy was the uncoolest car ever because it didn't make any noise when you revved the engine. Doesn't help that he was comparing it to Fat Albert's car, a '41 Mercury modified to use a Cessna airplane engine.
  • Scott Faulconbridge had a routine where he talked about his car. It was worth about twenty bucks. After he filled it with gas.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Adeptus Evangelion, this can be the Player's Evangelion if the player rolls poorly. It can be made by the lowest bidder or held together by duct tape (they're on the same table so it can't be both), have pressurized blood that squirts everywhere, lose bolts in battle that destroy nearby buildings, have a fractured mind, and be colored Neon Green.
  • BattleTech players may be familiar with the Hetzer Wheeled Assault Gun, an alleged tank. Among its "virtues" are a fairly slow wheeled chassis that prevents it from traversing many types of terrain compounded by lack of a turret for its only weapon, a battery weak enough that its engine needs to keep running nonstop to keep it charged, and a tendency to reach the customer not quite fully assembled at times. (If you're lucky, somebody thought to include the bolts to fix the last components in place.) Thank you, Quickcell Armories. It arguably is one of the cheapest ways available to field an AC/20, but between its flaws and the fact that its big gun makes it an obvious fire magnet it's no surprise that many of its crews consider it a rolling coffin in-universe. All that said, it is not unreasonable when you consider that it is a real-life World War II era design.
    • There exists the occasional Alleged Humongous Mecha as well. Some Battlemechs are just not ready for prime time and have developed a reputation for being trouble and perhaps a punchline as well. Most out-and-out losers quickly go extinct on their own, but then there's strangely long-lived problem children like the Assassin, a 40-ton 'Mech with a reputation for both lousy armor and missile launchers that tended to break down at the worst possible time...which was doubly bad because the bulk of its fighting weight was its missile launchers. Or perhaps you could think of the Daboku, precursor to the production-grade Mauler, which averts the Super Prototype trope in every way. It was slow. It was absurdly lightly armored. Its weapons were low-powered for its weight. It overheated at the slightest provocation. Finally, it had an annoying tendency to eject its pilot when struck even by the mildest of torso hits (though this was probably for the best).
  • Chez Geek from Steve Jackson Games includes, as one of the things you can spend your money on, a card representing "Harold the Hoopty Car". It's worth a lot of Slack (points), but it's very expensive, reduces your effective Income for each turn by 1, and every turn it has a one-in-six chance of breaking down beyond repair.
  • In the unlikely event that a vehicle from Paranoia (especially one from R&D) isn't one of these to begin with, then carrying around a handful of mildly unhinged T-shooters with secret society missions to waste each other will probably seriously damage the systems before long. The second edition sample adventure, for example, featured a six-legged Spider Tank submarine built by taking a van and bolting on legs; the bot brain is going senile, and there's a bewildering array of unlabeled and/or mixed-up controls and gauges (pushing down the gas pedal fires a torpedo, for example, and some of the levers snap off as soon as you try to pull them, and as usual the operating manual is above your security clearance).
  • Subverted in Warhammer 40,000: anything the Orks build or salvage will be the alleged buggy, but thanks to the crude-but-effective nature of Ork tech combined with the fact that red wunz go fasta means that they're surprisingly serviceable.
    • Even among the Orks, however, the Looted Wagon is notoriously unreliable.

    Video Games 
  • The Sims:
    • The Smoogo Minima, from The Sims 2, is the cheapest car in the game, and a parody of this trope. Sims even have trouble closing the (apparently poorly fitted) door! Notably, it merely looks the part; other than the door and the way it impacts Sims' stats, it runs just the same as any other Sim-car.
    • The Sims 3 continues the tradition of having various cars of various expense available for purchase. Notably, the less expensive cars are indeed more likely to breakdown, meaning you might be late for work or school or whatever you're trying to get to, and you will get a negative moodlet.
  • Some of the cars in Grand Theft Auto qualify. They look ugly, and are painfully slow.
  • In The Simpsons Hit & Run, most vehicles which get destroyed are reduced to their frames, Buford T. Justice-style. They are still drivable, but have horrible acceleration, very low top speed, and terrible handling.
  • Gran Turismo 4 has many useless (from the game's viewpoint, that is) historic cars, including the Daimler Motor Carriage (1 HP!), Ford Model T, Daihatsu Midget I, Fiat 500F/R, Subaru 360, 1948 VW Beetle, 1954 Corvette, etc.
  • Forza Motorsport 4 has a couple famous Alleged Cars, like the Ford Pinto, the Chevrolet Corvair - famous for wrapping itself around trees due to massive oversteer tendencies, the Datsun 510, the Saab 99 Turbo, and the Mustang King Cobra. They all function fine, though they are painfully slow when stock - though some are absurdly fast once upgraded with more modern parts.
    • The third game also had a number of alleged cars, including the Fiat 131 Abarth, the aforementioned Datsun 510, the 1969 Toyota 2000GT, the Porsche 914/6, the Lotus Elan Sprint, and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint.
  • In The Secret World, all three Transylvania zones feature two brands of cars: FSO Polonez and Trabant. Both remnants of bygone years that the region spent behind the Iron Curtain. They frequently appear rusted and cannibalised from parts of other cars of their brand. A sighting of a car different than these two is so rare, it only happens once or twice per zone.
  • Call of Duty has a rail shooter sequence where you ride in an alleged car through the French countryside while Germans in similarly shoddy cars chase after you.
  • The entire point of Bad Piggies is to build vehicular contraptions that will transport your pig across the screen. Even if you survive the trip, your vehicle often will not.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Bounty Hunter's personal starship is a D-5 Mantis, which they were required to steal during the Great Hunt. Despite supposedly being a rare and top-of-the-line vessel, their one has definitely seen a lot of better days and it's status as something of a rustbucket is lampshaded on several occasions.
    • When Torian joins and comments on the Mantis' poor condition, a sentiment that Mako agrees with, the Bounty Hunter has the option to appear mildly insulted, revealing this was after they'd spent considerable time and money fixing the ship up off-screen.
  • The T'liss Romulan Light Warbird of Star Trek Online is this in spades. The thing was the mayor's personal Warbird during his younger days (younger days meaning Star Trek: The Original Series young) and when you're rescued during combat, the rescuer is shocked that the ship hasn't fallen apart around your ears and personally calls your Singularity Drive an antique!

    Visual Novels 
  • The Murakami family's van in Kira-Kira. The main characters have a lot of trouble with it, and predictably, it breaks down completely when they're already in the middle of their Darkest Hour.

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied with Strong Bad's car, the Gremlin, in Homestar Runner, which doesn't even seem to have an engine but is treated as a working car by its owner anyway.
    Strong Bad: And that was our road trip. Or, more accurately our car trip, since we didn't go on any roads. Or, even more accurately, our car, since we didn't go on any trips either.

    Web Comics 
  • In Drive, the Machito is one of these, until the Emperor has it upgraded.
  • In Freefall, the Savage Chicken starts out as an Alleged Spaceship. Florence actually manages to make it spaceworthy. How terrible is it? Well, let's let the spaceport air traffic controllers explain:
    "Why aren't we shooting at them?"
    "Budget interlock. The computer recognizes Sam and won't let us shoot a missile that's worth more than the predicted value of his ship."
    "So what are we supposed to do? Take him down with rubber bands and paper clips?"
    "Still too expensive. The computer will only authorize up to spitwads."
Sam and Helix did manage to get it off the ground by themselves, an act they're very proud of. Unfortunately, the parade committee forced them to return the balloons shortly thereafter.

    Web Original 
  • In The Saga of Tuck, Mike's car, the Beast, runs. Most of the time. Beyond that, there's not much one can say for it.
  • In Night Hunters, the Chevrolet Impala starts off this way, until it's crushed and repaired
  • The DeLorean lives up (down?) to its reputation on Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. It becomes the first car in the series to break down after picking up the guest. (The guest was Patton Oswalt if you're wondering.)

    Web Video 
  • While not technically a car, the homemade plane built in Endless Saturdays certainly fits. It's constructed from a red wagon, has cardboard wings, and uses an exploding propane tank as a source of propulsion.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Crazy Vaclav, whose cars are prone to breaking down. (And for those of you playing at home, a hectare is a unit of area, not length)
      • Makes sense if that is the amount of farmland the car can plow or seed on a given amount of fuel.
      • Bilingual Bonus for those who noticed when Homer was instructed to put it in "H" to start it, H is the Cyrillic equivalent of the Roman N, for Neutral.
    • Comic Book Guy's car, a "Kremlin", isn't much better. As he brags in the game The Simpsons Hit & Run: "I cannot drive 55 because my car only goes to 38!" If you have the speedometer turned on while driving as him that's clearly not the case... but still.
    • Elderly Butt Monkey Hans Moleman has an AMC Gremlin that blew up when he stopped the car mere inches from being smashed into a tree.
    • Bart stole the engine from Skinner's car by tying it up to helium balloons. To which Skinner replies "That's a rebuilt Yugoslavian engine; there isn't even a Yugoslavia anymore! Bring it back at once!"
    • Homer's regular car (which Homer once says it was made in Guatemala and other times a GM, but his mechanic states it was manufactured in Croatia from recycled Soviet tanks) does its job, but breaks up quite often (mostly because of who drives it).
    • Ned Flanders' Geo.
      Maude: "Come on, Ned, Move this thing!"
  • Futurama:
    • There's this jewel:
      Fry: "I've never seen a supernova blow up, but if it's anything like my old Chevy Nova, it'll light up the night sky!"
    • Also in "Bendin' In The Wind" Fry finds an old VW dug up van with corpses in it.
    Fry: Hey, Mister? Mind if I take this old van?
    Surly Man: Sure. You wanna dump the corpses out of theres, it's yourses.
    Fry: Yeah yeah, I've gotten used cars before.
    • Another episode features a "1991 La Toura", some vague French car, as a running gag (oddly enough, modeled on a 1975 AMC Pacer) which barely works (justifiable in being a thousand years old).
  • Kim Possible - The Roth SL Coupe (a.k.a. 'the Sloth') Kim's father gives her in the episode "Car Alarm"... before the tweebs soup it up. Ron's scooter definitely qualifies as The Alleged Motorcycle.
  • In Daria, almost every car that doesn't belong to Daria's family is one of these.
    • Tom's Pinto. Tom also drives two different cars in the series that Daria both describes as something you'd want to get a tetanus shot before handling.
    • Also from from Daria: Mystik Spiral's affectionately named "Tank". It "was a van at one point", and breaks down so frequently that Jane has memorized the exact number of seconds you need to hit its dashboard to make it go again. Trent never worries about leaving it unlocked in streets for days at a time because no one ever wants to steal it.
    • Trent's Plymouth Satellite.
  • In Mission Hill, Jim knows Andy hates the Bilgemobile.
  • In an episode of Garfield and Friends, "Lemon Aid," Jon wins one of these in a contest and foolishly sold away his own car before seeing it.
  • The Rambler on Life With Louie.
  • Wacky Races has a Cool Car or two but mostly ridiculous cars, including one made of scrap wood, one of discarded tank parts, and another that's apparently a mobile moonshine sill...
    • The Cape drives a car that looks cool, but has a tendency to fall apart every episode.
    • Mumbly, a clone of Wacky Races's Muttley, is a parody of Columbo right down to the car which fell apart into a pile whenever he parked it.
  • The Venture Bros. has Henchman #24's powder blue Nissan Stanza.
  • The five-part DuckTales that introduces Gizmoduck sees Scrooge and Launchpad acquire an alleged spaceship.
  • In Dan Vs., nine times out of ten, the reason for Dan seeking revenge is due to something happening to his car, which is probably how it got to be in the condition it's in. People tend to assume it's been abandoned, and when it was accidentally donated to the Salvation Armed Forces, the volunteer responsible told him, "In my defense, no one would want to keep a vehicle like that."
    Salvation Armed Forces Employee: We only received one car donation today, and it was not in drivable condition.
    Dan: Yes! That's the one!
  • Stanley Ipkiss's indiscriminate-model clunker, complete with a portable driver's side door, from The Mask.
  • On ReBoot, Bob's car never works properly. He describes it as a classic, but it's a recurring gag that the thing never runs — not even when a virus is about to infect Bob and company and turn them to stone (they have to resort to Percussive Maintenance to get it going again).
  • The Total Drama series feature several alleged vehicles, though only one of them is a car:
    • The Lame-o-sine, complete with an obnoxious set of bull horns on the front.
    • The Boat of Losers, though it was probably in the best of shape compared to the other alleged vehicles.
    • The single prop plane in Island and the Total Drama Jumbo Jet are certainly less than airworthy, with the former's wings falling off after one flight & the latter's front-end falling off in the Action special.
    • The contestant-built bikes in "That's Off the Chain" were built from scrap materials. Some held together while others fell apart or blew up.
  • Wait Till Your Father Gets Home has Harry buy a real lemon from an Honest John's Dealership - in this instance a new car dealship - with faults ranging from defective ignition, bad original tires to malfunctioning fuel pump (though it's more the dealership and shady salesman that's the problem in the episode).
  • Victor and Hugo's van was prone to back-firing, rumbling and crashing, though that was mainly due to the brothers' inability to drive correctly, or even remember who was behind the wheel. Given this treatment, it was surprisingly resiliant and had a lot of Hammer Space in the rear.
  • Subverted in the Popeye short "The Spinach Roadster" with Popeye's car. While it's rather dingy and shabby, and is also hard to start up, it's remarkably durable, able to squeeze through a rocky path with little trouble. The only reason it actually breaks down is due to deliberate sabotage by Bluto. Popeye simply rebuilds it to be powered by spinach, whereupon it gets Super Speed and the ability to survive being hit by a train.

    Real Life 
  • Many of the above are based on the Yugo, also known as the Zastava Koral, or one several other Eastern European Cold War era cars that were exported to the West to raise foreign currency; the Yugo was merely the one that was actually sold the most, and the first since The Sixties to make it to the United States, and was thus the best known. Ironically, quite a few of these cars were licenced copies of Western European cars, most notably Fiats. Original Eastern Bloc exports were the Trabbi, the Skoda or possibly the Wartburg, though these seldom appeared outside Europe.
    • The Yugo, based on its reputation, was voted Worst Car Of The Millennium by Car Talk. (Truthfully, there have been worse cars. Not many, but they exist. While hardly a stellar machine, the Yugo wasn't a genuine disaster. Its poor reputation is often explained by it being uncaringly treated as a disposable car and never given even the most basic maintenance, like, say, an oil change.)
    • Jason Vuic, who wrote a book chronicling the history of the Yugo, noted that the Yugo at least passed U.S. safety and emissions tests, meaning it's at least better than the cars that don't get to be imported to the US because they can't meet basic standards. He also points out that the Yugo may have been a victim of bad timing more than anything else, arriving in the US just as other major car manufacturers were beginning to see the market demand for economy cars and that it did just well enough to survive for a few years and thus be remembered for failing, as car makes/models that fail from the get-go just vanish into consumer history without a trace. Vuic puts down the next entry as being worse...
  • The Subaru 360. When it was imported, it had to lose weight to under 1,000 pounds. Why? Because then it could be exempt from the safety regulations and be considered a motorcycle! Consumer Reports labeled it "Not Acceptable"; with its laughably feeble 16 hp engine, it's more likely than not to stall while trying to climb a mildly-steep hill. Both the 360 and the Yugo were imported largely through the financing of Malcom Bricklin (You'll see him again later on the list) who apparently never found a car he didn't think he could sell....
  • The Citroen 2CV, the vehicle which inspired this trope, fits this trope very well in some aspects, though others were averted; mainly, the 2CV was easy and cheap to repair and somewhat more reliable than its competitors, and with all the broken-down and abandoned ones, combined with minimal changes to its design over its production life, made it a good purchase for anyone with a low budget. Still, it did have extreme flaws: early models used a small engine and had doors without locks, so anyone could steal the car simply by opening the door and pulling the ignition cord, which might be indicative of just how confident the manufacturers were that thieves wouldn't find it to be a car worth stealing. It's also remembered for inspiring the term "lemon" ("citron" being the French word for it and obviously resembling the brand's name), though said term apparently dates back to at least 1906.
    • There was a parody of the famous Citroen "Dancing Transformer" ad that featured a 2CV. It held up surprisingly well until the end...
  • The Lamborghini Espada. Don't let the maker fool you out that it's a Cool Car, because this bull sucked; the glass in the door panels can shatter if bumped in a car park, the engine starved itself of oil, body corrosion set in quickly causing electrical faults to all the switches, which had a goofy placement layout as well. Proof that anyone who isn't careful can build an Alleged Car.
    • For added fun, the name "Espada" comes from Spanish and refers to the sword used to kill bulls. Guess what the Lamborghini logo is?
  • The Maserati Biturbo series almost buried the brand by the end of The Eighties, being a complex of assorted mistakes:
    • Timing belt had to be changed each 30,000 miles - for this, the entire front section of the car, bumper, grill, radiator, intercoolers, fuel system, fuel and air ducts and plenty of small parts had to come off. Once a year.
    • Coolant regularly leaked into oil, until they got it fixed in 1984.
    • It leaked oil everywhere like a sieve.
    • Front wheel bearings were so poorly made they had to be changed once a year.
    • Rear section of the bodywork rusted quickly.
    • Valves had to be adjusted each 30,000 miles. The engine had to be removed from the car for this.
    • It was rear wheel driven, yet too light in the rear, and it snapped accordingly in tight turns.
    • Printed circuit board fusebox melted itself often for no reason whatsoever leaving the car with no electrics running.
    • It got such honors as "Crap Car" from BBC and "Worst Car of The Year" from Time Magazine.
    • The Biturbo, expensive as it was, was a huge reach downmarket for Maserati, who up to that point had built exotic two-seaters of the sort that were driven a few thousand miles a year as toys. They had no idea how to engineer and build a car to the standards of reliability expected of a daily driver, and wouldn't have had the resources to test it before launch even if they did.
  • The Trabant, vehicle of "choice" for East Germans before the country collapsed. The only good thing it had in its defense was that it could dodge a sudden obstacle quite well, and that car dealerships would (allegedly) trade it for a pair of new Western-made blue jeans. Production capacity at the factories was so poor that used cars sold more than new by dint of actually existing. The body was made of low-quality polymer due to a shortage of metal. It was a two-stroke, 15-20 horsepower, half-liter in-line 2 cylinder with a fuel efficiency of 34 mpg and a top speed of around 70 mph, and it took a minute to go zero-to-sixty. The gas tank was mounted in the cowl above the engine (and the driver's legs), guaranteeing any major frontal accident would be catastrophic. To fill it, you had to open the hood, pour gasoline in the 24-liter fuel tank, pour two-stroke oil, and mix. The gas "gauge" was a sightglass in the dashboard. Worse, by the time production ended, the molds used had expired their expected lifetimes twice over, meaning late model Trabants had severely flawed and unreliable fit and finish.
    After the German Reunification, The Trabant's value dropped to as little as 50 cents American, and thousands were either junked or abandoned on the spot when they broke down. The rest were kept, either as nostalgia pieces or with the engine replaced—Suzuki Hayabusa engines were a popular substitute.
    • Allegedly, the user's manual stated that "if you should hear a THUNK while driving, please stop and collect the lighting dynamo from the street".
    • The "Trabbi" got something of an amusing reprieve some years later, when a couple of German motoring journalists took one through the notorious "moose test" - where a car is swerved very sharply to avoid an obstacle - and passed with flying coloursnote . Even funnier was that the 1997 Mercedes A-Class, with engineering among the world's best, didn't.
  • While äkoda actually did build good and reliable cars, it gained this reputation to some degree due to the dated looks of its 1970s and 1980s models. In practice, the rear-engined, rear-wheel-driven äkodas of the time had the snappy handling of the old Porsche 356s and might have been sportier than other Eastern Bloc brands. It has now lost it with better cars since becoming part of the Volkswagen-Audi Group. However, it hasn't lost its sense of humour, and it shows in many of its adverts: a popular one in the UK went "it's a äkoda, honest".
    • Recently, it seems äkoda vehicles are becoming too good, with parent company Volkswagen forcing äkoda to limit the quality of new models for fear of them competing with Volkswagen!
    • Rather amusing, since these days, most äkodas are built on last generation VWs. The Fabia, for example, is a Mark IV Golf underneath the skin.
  • The Edsel's gotten a Shout-Out in everything from Garfield to Destroy All Humans! as one of the worst cars ever made. Ironically, it wasn't that bad a car from a mechanical standpoint (it is said to have roughly the same level of reliability as other American cars of its day), it just was marketed wrong, priced wrong, named wrong and, most of all, just plain ugly. Said ugliness? In an effort to create a distinct look for the car, the designers incorporated a huge, bulbous, vertically-oriented chromed grille in the front fascia. The designers called this an "impact ring", the public just called it "hideous". Some said it looked like a "Pontiac sucking a lemon", others less-charitably compared it to a toilet seatnote . To make it even worse, Ford didn't have any dedicated factories for producing Edsels, so they were crammed onto existing production lines intended for Mercury and Lincoln vehicles. This led to a high number of manufacturing defects: doors that wouldn't open, trunks that wouldn't stay shut, push-buttons that wouldn't do anything, etc. This combination of building inexperience and confusion in the supply chains also meant some Edsels arrived at car lots incomplete, missing things like exhaust or bits of trim that had to be installed by the dealers themselves before they could even sell them. The Edsel line lasted only 2 and a half years and cost Ford a fortune. The Book of Heroic Failures quotes Time magazine as calling it "a classic case of the wrong car for the wrong market at the wrong time".
    • Probably the only good thing was how the Edsel was promoted ó a TV special featuring a plethora of the era's biggest stars, including Bing Crosby. The Edsel Show did well in the ratings; the car itself didn't.
    • Much of the Edsel's misfortune was its introduction just as America was souring on huge over-the-top land yachts. Ford introduced the sensible compact Falcon for the 1960 model year and it was an immediate success - the fancier sibling Comet became a Mercury, but had been considered for the Edsel lineup, an interesting case of What Might Have Been.
    • The Edisons of Maniac Mansion also had an Edsel, although it wasn't bad (it just kept with the whole "Ed" theme) and even has rocket thrusters! It's a feature you need to use for one of the endings.
    • Ironically, surviving Edsels are much sought after amongst automobile enthusiasts.
  • In the early 1970s, when the oil crisis forced American manufacturers to crank out small cars or die, the Chevy Vega, AMC Gremlin and Ford Pinto were, in truth, no worse than any other compact of the era. The Pinto coupes and sedans, though, had a defect that caused the gas tank to be ruptured by a differential bolt in a rear end collision, coupled with a lack of a proper bumper, causing the fuel to ignite from the friction in a severe rear end collision (just fire, no explosion). The wagons and related Mustang II and Mercury Bobcat never had the fault, since the gas tanks were in a different location and the use of heavier heavier bumpers.

    There were exactly 27 deaths from such accidents between 1971 and 1977 (out of over 2 million units sold), and overall, the Pinto was no less safe than any other compact of the era (the NHTSA deemed it to have no recallable faults in 1974), and the damages Ford was made to pay were $2.5 million in compensatory and $3.5 million in punitive in the Grimshaw v. Ford case, and compared that to recalling two million Pintos for barely justified repairs costing $11 per vehicle alone, plus the costs of a recall and all other associated costs, as detailed in the so-called Pinto Memo, which wasn't about the Pinto specifically, and addressed improving vehicle safety in rollovers, and was submitted to the NHTSA.
  • The 1980 Chevy Citation and its Pontiac (Phoenix), Oldsmobile (Omega), and Buick (Skylark) derivatives, intended as GM's answer to how Lee Iacocca's Chrysler corporation had managed to reduce its entire product lineup to just one car, the K-car, which they just put different bodies onto and marketed as entirely different vehicles. Chrysler managed to disguise the fact that all their '80s cars were in fact the exact same model under the hood, but General Motors, under Roger Smith, tried to really slack off, by just changing the brand-badges, headlamps and taillights, and pass it off as a completely different product. The result, was no Honda Accord, and ultimately was instead a world-beating mashup of poor engineering and atrocious build quality. Among its many flaws were over-enthusiastic rear brakes that would lock up and cause an "atomic death-skid" at the slightest provocation. If that weren't enough, they were also known to rust out quickly and have mechanical issues, particularly failing head gaskets. Having the same name as a term for a parking ticket probably didn't help, either. The hosts of Car Talk described the Chevy Citation and its brethren as all being built around the layout of "a front-wheel drive, rear-brake lockup".
  • The Cadillac Cimarron was derided by many critics because all GM did to make it was slap the Cadillac badges onto a Chevrolet Cavalier, barely modify the headlamps-and-taillights, and put a Cadillac price-tag on it. The idea was to pitch an entry-level luxury car to younger buyers and to answer introduction of smaller-sized luxury cars from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. However, many buyers were turned off by the car's unrefinedness and lack of truly being able to compete with the aforementioned rivals, plus the car clearly sharing its underlying commonality with the Cavalier, plus other J-car siblings (the Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Firenza and Pontiac Sunbird). While the Cimarron was a mechanically competent car (despite having a rather anemic for its class 4-cylinder engine) and well-appointed, its failure came in its humble brothers — the Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Firenza and Pontiac Sunbird were also identical, for what it's worth — the use of a 4-cylinder engine and manual transmission (which no Cadillac had since 1953, and no buyer expected or wanted) and very little to offer for its high-for-1982 price tag of $13,000 over what a fully loaded Chevrolet Cavalier could offer for more than $3,000 less. To that end, Car Talk has noted that General Motors was unable to do the same as what Chrysler Corporation managed by at disguising the identical "skeleton" under a more varied gamut of body-stylings and decorative flourishes. (For instance, the basic Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant was also streteched and molded to create upmarket variations such as the Dodge 600 and Plymouth Caravelle, the Chrysler LeBaron and even the Chrysler New Yorker. (Although Chrysler never did create an entry-level Imperial sedan using the Aries-Reliant underpinnings as a starting point.)
  • Ford (Jokingly referred to as an acronym for "Found On Road Dead" or "Fix Or Repair Daily") seems to have had a problem with quality control, at least at its British assembly plant, well into the 1980s; the phrase 'Friday afternoon car' is alleged to have originated with their products.
    • With Honda motorcycles you can occasionally encounter the 'Friday Afternoon Design': a part from one model that almost fits earlier or later models, but is subtly different for no apparent reason.
    • This typifies the whole post-war British car industry, resulting in Morgan being the only remaining wholly national car company, the rest either having gone under or being bought out.
    • The problems weren't exclusive to the British-produced Fords, either. Ford automobiles were well-known for electrical system defects well into the early '90s. The otherwise passable Aerostar minivan line was plagued with these up until it was discontinued in favour of the Windstar.
  • A contributor to Reader's Digest had her alleged car publicly displayed. She had driven to Florida to visit a friend just before a hurricane struck. When a news crew was speaking afterward of the devastation, they used a close-up image of her car. The car was completely untouched by the actual hurricane.
  • During the 1960s and 1970s, Chrysler foolishly took control of the Rootes Group in Britain which supplied them with cars smaller than what Chrysler Corporation proper wanted to build, with generally poor results. The nadir was the 1971-73 Plymouth Cricket (aka Hillman Avenger) which had poor workmanship and tended to rust like crazy. To add insult to injury to the Chrysler-Plymouth dealers, the Dodge sales channel got the far better Mitsubishi-sourced Colt.
  • Conan O'Brien started a contest for people to send in videos of their alleged cars called "Conan, Please Blow Up My Car!" where the winner received a new Lexus HS 250h in its place (replacing a 1980 Toyota Corolla two-door with the roof hacked off to make a "convertible"). He also frequently mentions his own alleged car, a 1992 Ford Taurus SHO.
    • A similar contest was held in Canada by Auto Trader, called "Cliff your Ride".
  • Some cars that are genuinely good manage to earn this reputation over time nonetheless.
    • The Dodge Neon earned large amounts of critical acclaim upon its launch in 1994 and was a huge success in both the showroom and on the track, as well as being a very influential design and concept that all of today's compact cars are modeled after to some extent. However, the quality/reliability problems that plagued early models (Its tendency for head gasket failure being the most notable), its "cute" design and the fact that many were turned into "rice burners" during the street racing fad of the mid-2000s led to the Neon being a common Alleged Car today.
    • The redesigned, front wheel drive 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was praised by critics upon launch and is considered to be a good car in its own right, but the disastrous "This Is Not Your Father's Oldsmobile" marketing campaign used to launch it was a massive failure that caused sales of the Oldsmobile brand as a whole to crater, leading to the brand's eventual demise in 2004. The 1989 Cutlass is thus considered to be the car that killed Oldsmobile. As a result, today they are undesired and valueless.
    • Lada Classic was actually a state-of-the-art European car when introduced in 1970 as VAZ-2101/Lada 1200, being an updated, sturdier version of the award-winning Fiat-124. It was not only an instant hit on a Soviet market, with the manufacturing not able to meet the demand, but was also a notable export success (even if was a bit downrange on most foreign markets). The problem was that a quality control was often lacking (need to meet a production quota, comrade!), and that it remained on the assembly line with minor facelifts and redesigns until 2012, a production run second only to the Beetle, and became a living fossil by the end of its life.
  • The Goggomobil Dart. "If you needed a sudden burst of acceleration, it was best to jump out and run".
    • A certified lunatic in Germany has fitted one with a 9-cylinder, 10-liter radial aircraft engine. It out-accelerates Porsches.
  • The Fiat Ritmo/Strada, which, due to using Soviet steel, was infamous for quickly rusting away, due to the metal being heavily recycled and not zinc-plated. Dunno if any exist anymore, much less working ones. By the way, FIAT was often backronymed as "Fix it Again, Tony/Tomorrow", or "Failure in Automotive Technology".
    • The Alfasud had similar rust issues despite some decent engineering and design.
  • This North Korean car, given the pathetic state of their automotive industry compared to the one south of the DMZ, is a good candidate for The Alleged Car. It's a rebadged version of the Fiat Siena by Pyeonghwa Motors as the Hwiparam. Despite Fiat's reputation at the time the Siena was in production the car itself wasn't an Alleged Car, being merely sub-par. Now take that sub-par design and build it using worn out tools, outdated manufacturing processes, cheap materials, poorly trained workers and almost no quality control. Yeah.
  • The Hindustan Ambassador is sometimes accused of this by Indian urbanites (the car is a licensed reproduction of the Morris Oxford and has been in continuous production since 1956), but consistently tends to outperform western imports or more modern Indian models (apart from SUVs), due to its spaciousness (8 people can sit in one more comfortably than four people can in a Maruti), easy repairability (Percussive Maintenance works here), and general hardiness on rural roads. Also, because the model is so old school, it remains a favorite for retro car enthusiasts.
  • Devrim, the first Turkish-produced car, had this reputation although it was the result of a botched public display rather than a genuine fault with the car. Four prototypes were built and two were brought to the capital for display. The engineers left the fuel tanks mostly empty for safety while the cars were transported. So, when the then-President Cemal GŁrsoy got in one of the cars to drive around the Parliament, the car only went for a hundred meters before stopping. The other car, now fully fueled, was brought and driven around with no trouble but the damage was already done and the newspapers had a field day mocking the car's performance. Its successor, Anadol, had better luck and became fairly popular in the following years until being discontinued in 1991.
  • Thanks to some incidents involving malfunctioning gas pedals, Toyota's cars have started to take on this reputation, putting a huge black mark on their once world-class record for reliability. The nature of the problems has also caused their slogan, "Moving Forward," to become a bit uncomfortable. Though Only In America.
  • It would be unfair to call such a classic vehicle as the Volkswagen Beetle an Alleged Car — except that the earliest models had a crashbox transmission, hand-operated windshield wipers, no cabin heater, semaphore flags for turn signals, no fuel gauge (when the engine started to cough, you switched to the two-litre backup tank and looked for a gas station), and a starter crank hole. (On the other hand, those very same early models would climb a 1:1 grade in first gear. That's a forty-five degree slant.)

    Even a VW with all the above faults was just the most basic model imaginable - a normally equipped Bug had exhaust-(or engine-block-)heater, pneumatic windscreen washer (running off the pressure in the spare wheel) and electric wipers. There was a worse moment in its history yet: the cars assembled hastily from leftover parts in the bombed Wolfsburg factory between 1946-1949 had engines which barely lasted 30,000 km, upholstery glued with horribly stinking fish glue, matte paint mostly in maroon, black or grey...
  • The DAF was a Dutch car which, due to its terrible styling and being available with automatic transmission only, was soon deemed unsuitable for anybody under 65. But as the transmission is a CVT (Continuously Variable) (nicknamed the Jarretelle Drive) they can drive backwards just as fast as forwards. And despite its rather modest engine power, due to that CVT it could out-accelerate most contemporary cars from a standing start. Today, DAF just focuses on transport trucks.
    • As a result, they provided for a lot of entertainment, races driving them backwards were popular for some time. Today, most DAF's are gone for rather obvious reasons.
  • In Russia, Alleged Cars are still commonly called "Antilopa Gnus" What does it take to stand out as an Alleged Car in Russia? Those, for all their shortcomings, at least were the popular production models, with parts widely available, and their simple and sturdy construction meant that everybody and their dog could fix them anywhere.
    • Lada 1200 / 1500 (a bit modified Fiat 124) were actually good cars when designed in The Seventies: thicker and stronger bodyshell compared to the original Fiat, elegant faux-leather interior, chrome, large interior and luggage space, strong suspension. Continuous service for 20-30 years (it was pretty hard to acquire a new car in the Eastern Bloc), daily driven in an unforgiving climate with no maintenance to speak of turned them progressively into (still-)running trashcans. It also managed (with minor updates) to stay on the assembly line for the whopping 42 years, becoming steadily more archaic and a target for the jokes.
    • Although for the Russians themselves, there's a single model whose Alleged Car fame far surpasses all other Soviet/Russian cars combined. That's the infamous ZAZ-965, an ultracompact inspired by FIAT-600. Its brand name Zaporozhets is usually shortened to Zapor (Russian for constipation). While not that bad a car per se, it still was "no frills" even for a Soviet vehicle, while its size and cheapness made it a prime target for ridicule (Russians love big cars no less than Americans, it's just that they usually couldn't afford them).
  • The Hispanias in the 2011 season Formula One, compared to the rest of the cars in the series, definately count as this.
    • At least the Hispanias can qualify for the race. The Andrea Moda and the 'Life' cars from the 1990s rarely made it beyond the end of the pitlane. One of the Andrea Moda's unfortunate pilots was Perry McCarthy (aka 'The First Stig') who posed for photographers in a faux-triumphal pose next to its silent form when it ground to a halt after a few hundred metres. The Life car was a repurposed Formula 3000 chassis with a W12 engine instead of the conventional V8/10/12, and was usually about twenty seconds off the pace.
  • In China, the worst are the Xiali (based on a Toyota design) and Suzuki Alto, two of the first to enter market. The latter is often joked to have been designed to drive on sidewalks. The former is joked for its design's 2-decade production without major change.
  • The Lancia Beta, which rusted to point of scrap, ruined the reputation of Lancia (a manufacturer of otherwise decent cars) in the United Kingdom, forcing the company to pull out of the UK entirely, much to the chagrin of Top Gear's presenters years later.
    • The Lancia Gamma wasn't a hell of a lot better. Its engine overheated very easily, wore out its cams fairly quickly, and if you turned the wheel to full lock on a cold day, it could lunch the engine, because the power steering was driven by the left timing belt.
  • Time Magazine's "50 Worst Cars of All Time": In addition to some of the autos listed elsewhere here (like the Trabant and various Leyland Yard products), we also have such gems as:
    • The 1920 Briggs and Strattonnote  Flyer: "...A motorized park bench on bicycle wheels."
    • The 1956 Renault Dauphine: an ultra-cheap rust magnet that went from 0-60 in 32 seconds.
    • The 1975 Bricklin SV1: A concept for a safer sports car, all the safety features weighed down the car to the point that it couldn't outrun a school bus.
      • One of the alleged safety features was the lack of a cigarette lighter or ashtray (as the car's creator, Malcom Bricklin, wanted to discourage smoking and driving).
      • Despite the claims of safety, there was one glaring problem that made the car downright dangerous. The doors were electrically operated and too heavy to open by hand if the motors failed, so a dead battery meant the only way to get out of the car was to climb out through the rear hatch.
      • The company's production process was so inefficient that the cost of building a Bricklin was over three times the price it sold for (They probably expected to make it up on volume).
    • The 1976 Aston Martin Lagonda: A beautiful supercar filled with cutting edge electronics and gadgets that refused to work.
    • The 1982 Cadillac Cimarron: An alleged luxury car — a rebadged, 4-speed manual transmission Chevy Cavalier sold at Cadillac prices. Nearly killed the Cadillac brand and remains an Old Shame.
    • Unfortunately, the majority of the list is little more than a rant about cars the writer doesn't like and a socio-political rant, with some misinformation thrown in. There are maybe 15 geneuinely bad cars on that list. Most are even admitted to have nothing wrong with them, and several are concepts that never even saw production.
  • The Czechoslovak Velorex company is quite a name in motorcycle sidecars. They also built something that might be described as a car, but which is basically a motorcycle sidecar without the motorcycle. If you've looked at the pic and are unsure about what the bodywork is made of: yes, that's actually vinyl-coated canvas over steel tubing. The frame is attached to what is effectively the rear end of a motorcycle with a 125cc or 250cc two-stroke single-cylinder engine (later models had a 250cc twin) driving the single rear wheel. Tiff Needell took one for a spin once, and reported, yelling over the din of the engine that "braking is accomplished by writing a letter politely asking to reduce your speed, oh, sometime next week".
  • An Alleged Motorcycle is the Chang Jiang CJ750: a Chinese copy of a Russian copy of a pre-WWII BMW. Using tooling the Russians considered worn, having by then been in production use for 20 years already. Chang Jiang also builds a copy of the Jawa 353, again using the original tooling.
  • The Chrysler TC by Maserati.
  • The DeLorean DMC-12. Despite the Lotus Esprit inspired design and gullwing doors, the car's production run seemed to be cursed from the word go. The factory was located in Dunmurry (a suburb in Belfast), Northern Ireland (this was in 1978, and it was placed right on a religious fault line; word is the factory had one entrance for Catholics and one for Protestants). Making matters worse alongside budget overruns, engineering hassles and production delays was the fact that almost all the workers had never had a job in their lives, much less one producing cars. the inevitable quality control problems that resulted from this were so bad that despite each car having a 12-month/20,000km warranty, many dealerships refused to carry out any work on them because they weren't being reimbursed.

    To add insult to injury, far from being the thinking man's supercar its creator envisioned it to be, the DMC-12's performance was quite lacklustre, due to it being the victim of a watering down campaign. It was originally meant to have a rear-mounted rotary engine but this was changed to a mid-mounted 2.8 litre V6 due to fuel consumption concerns, however, the change in powerplant reduced performance (it was initialy figured to have 200 HP, but the changes resulted in the car only making 145 HP in 'dirty' euro trim, the US version was an even sorrier 125 HP due to requirements for catalytic converters and other emissions controls) and had a knock-on effect on the cars' already less than perfect 35:65 front/rear weight distribution. In the end the DMC-12 was too slow and sluggish to convince anybody it was the real deal, and allegations that John DeLorean had taken to drug smuggling in order to pay the bills were the final nail in the DMC-12's coffin.

    Probably the only thing preventing the DMC-12 from becoming completely forgotten was its role in the Back to the Future films. Many people may not know that using a DeLorean as the basis for a flying time machine wasn't because it was a Cool Car, but because it was proof its inventor was a bit of a Mad Scientist.
    • However, as of 2013, DMC (not the original company) is back with new DeLorean DMC-12s. They sell three versions: the classic engine, the stage two engine that is a higer performing V-6, and the DMCEV that is all electric, has over twice the horsepower of the original, and a modernised interior that allows for GPS and Smart phone compatablity.
  • Despite its sleek Italian design, early versions of the Isuzu Piazza had handling that left much to be desired as it rode on a chassis that was copied from an economy car and it showed. Later models had Lotus tuning, but not until near the end of its short production run.
  • The AMC Gremlin and Pacer. Underpowered, rust-prone, and homely-looking. Rightly or wrongly, they're blamed for killing off AMC as a car maker for good in the early 80's, as they were eventually bought up by Chrysler.
    • In actuality, it was just the opposite. The Pacers and Gremlins were no better or worse than any compact car of the era, and even developed a cult following. AMC's switch to even smaller, front wheel drive cars and discontinuing the Gremlins and Pacers in The Eighties is what clinched it for them.
    • Interestingly, no one ever complains about the Hornet, despite the Gremlin literally being a hatchback version of the Hornet.
    • The car that actually did kill AMC was the AMC/Renault Alliance, AKA "The Appliance". Yes, the company that built the ugliest cars in America teamed up with the company that built the ugliest cars in the world to build a car that combined the attractiveness of an AMC with the Gallic eccentricity of a Renault that could be outrun by a loaded Isuzu diesel pickup truck. As a result AMC went under and Renault promptly pulled out of the American market, never to return.
  • The Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid is quickly gaining this reputation. Owners are reporting a litany of problems, and Consumer Reports had their Karma die on them with only 200 miles on the odometer. Compounding matters is that the car isn't even all that efficient note , fast note , or spacious note  The problems were enough to send Fisker into bankruptcy, and its subsequent buyout by the Chinese.
  • As mentioned in the video game entry, the Datsun B-210, made by Nissan in the 1970s. It sold well given it always started and fitting the oil crisis used less fuel, but was ugly, fragile, and slow. Dave Grohl told on how he and Kurt Cobain tried to drive from Seattle to Los Angeles (where they'd record Nirvana's Nevermind) in Kurt's B-210. Throughout the entire journey, they had to take 10 minute-breaks because the car engine overheated, making them quit 5 hours later, as they just reached Oregon. So they drove back (as Krist Novoselic had rented a van to do the trip), making sure to stop at a quarry to stone the car in anger.
  • The early '80's Cadillacs were let down by manufacturer engine choices and arguably good ideas that were put into production 20 years too early.
    • The V8-6-4 engine, a V8 which used a crude cylinder deactivation system to try and save fuel. Such systems are common today, but 70's era electronics simply weren't up to the challenge and it gained a reputation for never working right that it never really shook.
    • To further compound problems, the engine in question (a decent all cast iron 368 CID V8 based on the venerable 472, at least without the V8-6-4) was offered alongside the infamous Cadillac 4100 V8, known for using iron cylinder heads on an aluminum block. Given the material technology of the time, such "composite" designs were notoriously unreliable and led to head gasket and mechanical failure after as little as a year in rather spectacular fashion, requiring a replacement of either the engine or the car (Swapping the motor for a proven Chevy 350 V8 will solve all those problems, though).
    • The other option, a Diesel Oldsmobile 350, which left buyers with a choice of buying a car that would leap and shake or one that wouldn't start if it was near freezing temperatures. Adding to the issues, the diesels had inadequate and badly-designed head bolts. Combined with aforementioned poor head gaskets, premature mechanical failure was almost unavoidable. Also, the conspicuous lack of a fuel-water separator meant that it was easy for the engine to hydrolock itself. If that happened, owners unfamiliar with the quirks of diesel motors could consequently damage or destroy theirs simply by trying to start it.
  • The Reliant Robin can't be easily considered an Alleged Car, because it's hard to classify it as a car. It has two defining features, one being the fact that it only has three wheels, the single wheel is in the front. The other? Rolling over. One takes a sharp turn in a Reliant Robin at their own risk. It may be the only car in history to roll over 360 degrees from cornering too hard. In the UK, especially Oop North, the Robin became popular as it only required a motorcycle license to operate and thus avoided many taxes that car owners were saddled with. In spite of—or because of—this, the Robin has become something of an icon of British popular culture. The yellow van in Only Foolsand Horses is commonly mistaken for a Robin (it was actually a Reliant Regal Supervan), as was the light blue van that was always getting tipped over. Top Gear has done several segments on the Robin (and its tipping over) and the Robin even has a racing circuit where tipping over is so common there are established techniques for righting oneself right there on the track. The London Olympic opening had a Reliant Robin that... just exploded.
  • Yahoo automotive contributor Tim Cernea has several of these stories, the most tropeworthy being his 1965 Ford Falcon Ranchero. In true handyman fashion, he described the car losing its fuel tank on the highway as "a minor setback".
  • The 1974-78 Ford Mustang II. To start with, it was based on the aforementioned Pinto. This was supposed to make the new Mustang lighter and more nimble. Unfortunately, the Arab oil embargo and the advent of emissions regulations meant any benefits of the downsizing were offset by anemic engines-the most powerful option, a 4.9 litre V8, took 11 seconds to reach 60 MPH. While a big sales success in its day, the Mustang II is seen today as the Dork Age of the Mustang name.
  • The G-Wiz is a very tiny electric car. Ok, technically it is legally a "Heavy Quadbike" in Britain for its extreme lack of power (meaning it can skip all those pesky safety regulations for real cars). You can't use any of the electronics such as the radio, since it will kill the G-Wiz's already very short battery life. It has extremely poor acceleration and top speed, limiting its use to city use almost exclusively. At least the car's slowness decreases the chance of a crash, which is good thing, since the G-Wiz can take a crash with another car as well as a bicycle. An acid spraying bicycle. At one point, Jeremy Clarkson had a G-Wiz go up against four guys carrying a table in a drag race. The table won.
    • The G-Wiz got zero stars in Autocar magazine's review of it. When the people at Top Gear made their own electric car, the clearly awful Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust (which has its own entry in Live-Action TV), Autocar reviewed it, too, giving the Top Gear car... half a star. Talk about a Take That.
  • Ralph Nader would have you believe the Chevrolet Corvair is an Alleged Car, with claims (detailed in his book, Unsafe At Any Speed) that it would roll over on turns due to its suspensions and rear engine. The NHTSA found, after severe testing, that "the 1960Ė63 Corvair compares favorably with contemporary vehicles used in the tests...the handling and stability performance of the 1960Ė63 Corvair does not result in an abnormal potential for loss of control or rollover, and it is at least as good as the performance of some contemporary vehicles both foreign and domestic." Additionally, Car and Driver critisized Nader for ignoring driver induced crashes from lack of adapting driving habits and maintenance to the rear-engined layout, and problems not found in Porsche 911s, which featured the same layout and a similar suspension, or the Type 1 Beetle, with Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen using very similar swing axles to the Corvair with no issues (the Corvair's swing axle was actually sourced from the Corvette, which also did not have any such problems).
  • Following World War 1, the Bristol Aircraft Company found itself at a loose end and decided to make use of its aircraft engine technology in producing cars. Unfortunately, said technology was based around radial engines, which are about the most unsuitable shape possible for mounting in a car. The only way to fit the three-cylinder radial they used into the car was to mount it with the crankshaft vertical, above the rear axle (in contrast to the above examples where the engine is on the same level as the axle). This resulted in the car's centre of gravity being ridiculously high and going round any approximation to a corner at any useful speed while remaining upright was more or less impossible.
    • Meanwhile in Germany, the Rumpler aircraft company found itself in a similar predicament, and turned out a car whose Cw (coefficient of air resistance) was only equall`ed 50 years later for your average family car, when CAD and windtunnel testing became commonplace.
  • 60 Minutes did a special on Audis in 1985 that showed the gas pedal would fall to the floor when the brake was pressed and the transmission shifted to reverse. Problem is, they lied. There is nothing wrong with those cars, just a lack of familiarity on drivers' parts with the closer and smaller pedals on European cars. Audi's sales have never recovered. note 
    • Ten years earlier, Audi gas tanks had an explosive problem that got them up to the Supreme Court. Long story short, it was deemed the speed of the drunk driver's car, rather than the design of the fuel tank, was responsible for the fire.
    • It has recently been proven the 2009-10 "Runaway" Toyota controversy was caused the same way: drivers mistaking the brake pedal for the gas.
  • This came back to haunt Chrysler again during The Seventies. In 1976, Chrysler introduced the Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare; a pair of new compacts designed to succeed the long-running Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant. The car was fairly successful at first; only to run into reliability problems and rust issues that led to their being the most-recalled cars in the industry until the Chevy Citation and the rest of the GM "X-body" cars (mentioned above)— something that Chrysler could ill afford as its financial situation worsened during the late 1970s.
  • The Pontiac Aztek was an Alleged SUV if ever there was one. It had a notoriously ugly exterior design that, in theory, was supposed to look "Futuristic" but invited ridicule instead, earning it the predictably derisive nickname "Ass-Tek". Also, because of all those weird angles, it would leave you a rolling snow bank if you lived anywhere where it snows. To add to the problems, the motor was too small and the chassis too heavy. In theory, using a V6 should have meant better fuel economy, in practice, the overworked motor had to burn through gas even faster just to reach and keep highway speeds. The not insignificant amount of aerodynamic drag created by the aforementioned awkward-shaped exterior did not help. It's telling when a vehicle with such a large gas tank still had to make frequent stops at the pump, making it an even worse liability as gas prices rose. By the time of the economic crisis of the late 2000s, the Aztek had damaged the Pontiac brand so badly that GM canceled the entire Pontiac line. It is now generally seen as the "point of no return" where Pontiac lost its credibility as a performance vehicle brand and became a parody of itself. Some members of the automotive press were openly comparing it to the Edsel as the true scope of its failure became obvious. As of the 2010s, Azteks are one of the cheapest used cars on the market because few people want them, the combination of notorious ugliness, anemic performance and poor mileage having doomed them. At the very least, they taught the major automakers of the world how to make a V-6 SUV, by showing them exactly what not to do.
  • The Ford Excursion, also known by the cynical nicknames of "The Ford Excretion" or "The Ford Excrement". The combination of its curb weight of 7230 lbs (making it about a ton heavier than even the biggest stereotypical "land yacht" sedans of the 1970s), and its 6.8L V-10 engine, make for the ultimate gas guzzling SUV, getting only a pathetic 9.6 mpg. It also comes with the option for a 7.3 L Turbo-Diesel V-8 engine, which gets slightly better fuel mileage at just over 10 mpg, but it's still rather wasteful. So what's the trade off for the single digit fuel economy? Well it's big. So big that parking it becomes difficult, and dangerous (assuming you can even find a parking space that it'll fit in). And it's loud. Extremely, ear damagingly loud. So if you like big, loud, wastefully gas guzzling SUVs, or if you're a Mexican drug lord looking for something to show off status and seat lots of goons with lots of firepower, then it's perfect; otherwise, avoid it like the plague, or the price of gas alone will bankrupt you. Simply put, it was a symbol of everything that was wrong with American consumerism of the early 00s until the Hummer H2 came out a couple years later, which gladly deposed the Excursion as the ultimate gas guzzling SUV.
    • The line about Mexican Drug lords isn't just a joke either. The Excursion's popularity with the Mexican cartels is one of the reasons why Ford continued to sell the Excursion in Mexico after it was canceled in the rest of North America. Talk about bad publicity.
  • The EV 1 was certainly a revolutionary car. It did more to advance electric car technology than any other vehicle. However, GM made the fatal decision to fit the first generation of them with the same lead acid batteries as the rest of their cars as a cost saving measure. These batteries were designed to power sparkplugs, fuel pumps, lights and car radios on a gasoline car, and thus weren't really up to the far more energy intensive task of powering an electric car's engine. This severely compromised their range, while at the same time making them significantly heavier, both because of the lead, and because a large number were needed in a single car just to get it to go. By the time better batteries where put in the second generation (which due to the limits of 1990s technology still weren't nearly as good as modern electric car batteries, but were still a marked improvement over the lead acid originals) GM had changed its mind entirely and ditched the concept of an electric car altogether. Thus, the car that did more to advance car technology than any other vehicle, also became the car that killed the electric car for an entire decade. Of course that had as much to do with GM's horrible mismanagement of their own product, and their decision to repossess and crush almost all the EV1s in existence as if they where ashamed of them (they had been made available only on lease and GM refused to sell the cars or renew the leases). The EV 1 is today a heartbreaking example of what could've been.
  • The Tata Nano, a car manufactured and sold in India, designed to be the world's cheapest, and boy does it show. A tiny cramped interior, a two cylinder engine, no air bags, no power steering, no AC (Which in India's climate is a HUGE problem, unless you enjoy dying of dehydration and/or heat exhaustion), and the trunk and engine can only be accessed from inside the car, because the rear hatch doesn't open.


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American DreamCyclic TropeBasement-Dweller
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