Ray: Everybody can relax, I found the car. Needs some suspension work and shocks and brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear-end...It was cheap, it was easy to buy, or the only thing affordable. Charitably, it could be called a car. Unfortunately, it tops out at about 40 miles per hour (45 going downhill). It breaks down a lot, and gets parking tickets while in motion. It needs to have special-order replacement parts since the dealer, manufacturer, and country it came from are no longer in business. The only parts that aren't about to fall off are the ones firmly rusted in place. It can only be called "the alleged car". The polar opposite of the Cool Car. Often found on The Rez, in fictional foreign countries, or in the parking lot of Honest John's Dealership. Expect My Car Hates Me to happen a lot when driving this junker. Sometimes, though, the owner of the alleged vehicle will become quite emotionally attached to it. Sometimes it's because only the owner knows the car's little quirks and can keep the thing running. Sometimes it's Stockholm Syndrome. Sometimes they've been through so much together, it's hard to let go. The Hero's Classic Car is a dated model; it can be Played for Laughs if the car is in bad shape. If a horse or a computer gets this treatment, then you're respectively dealing with The Alleged Steed and The Alleged Computer. The subversion of this trope, where a car looks like this but is secretly a Cool Car, is What a Piece of Junk. A Chronically Crashed Car may become one of these if it gets repaired one too many times. A Rice Burner is often an attempt to make one of these look like a Cool Car. Either this or a bicycle will be part of a Real Vehicle Reveal. It may have been purchased at Honest John's Dealership. Real Life examples have their own page. Many, many real-life cars have become inspirations for what you see below; any such real-life cars should be placed on that page. There is a depressing number of them.
Peter: How much?
Ray: Only $4800.
(Venkman looks shocked)
Ray: Maybe new rings, also mufflers, a little wiring...
Peter: How much?
Ray: Only $4800.
(Venkman looks shocked)
Ray: Maybe new rings, also mufflers, a little wiring...
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Anime & Manga
- Azumanga Daioh gives us the infamous "Yukarimobile". Yukari Drives Like Crazy, and presumably this is why the car is in the state it's in; it's a miracle that it can even still be driven. 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 license. The car had been assembled out of discarded parts from numerous stolen vehicles. Then it gets customized by Miyuki.
- 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 an order of magnitude more capable. Its go-to option when it encounters an enemy vehicle is trying to run away.
- The team's later acquisition, a Tiger(P), could most charitably be described as Awesome, but Impractical. It outweighs and outguns the rest of the team's vehicle park on its own, but its engine, suspension, or fuel system will conk out at the least opportune moment. In its first appearance, it gets stuck in the mud, breaks down, and spontaneously catches fire before even getting into firing range. Its later track record is better, due to hard work from the Automotive Club, but it still has a much higher mechanical failure rate that the team's other panzers.
- Initial D:
- Downplayed. Wanting to be like Takumi, he seeks out to buy an AE86 Levin, but accidentally buys a AE85 Levin insteadnote , but it's in near perfect condition. The Speed Stars make fun of this, but Itsuki is convinced by Takumi to stick with it, regardless.
- Jeremy Hotz's routine about his diesel-powered Chevette with a trailer hitch:
What the hell could I possibly tow? Another Chevette in case the first one breaks down?
- 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 sheared 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.
- Bill Cosby has driven a few:
- Why Is There Air? includes a bit about his first car, a 1942 Dodge he bought for $75. It wouldn't go over 50 mph. It came with four bald tires; he could only afford a single snow tire for the rear end. He had to load the trunk with sandbags to get any traction. He tried to drive it after a blizzard and wound up skidding sideways at 50 mph before crashing into a tree. At least he tried to make it cooler by painting "CAPTAIN AMERICA" down the side.
- The title routine on 200 M.P.H. includes a bit about getting heckled by a Volkswagen driver after his Rolls-Royce breaks down, followed by his skewering of VW's and the problems they have - such as getting blown into the ditch by passing trucks and losing in a head-on collision with a dog.
- He had a bit on his father's car, a 1952 Chevy. It didn't make any noise when revving the engine — which immediately made it the uncoolest car ever. It also didn't help that he was comparing it to Fat Albert's car, a 1941 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.
- Archie Comics: Archie Andrews' jalopy has evolved over time as the series became a Long Runner, but it was never anything better than an old piece of junk. His first appearance in 1941 had him driving a 1916 Ford Model T. Then he started driving a generic 1930s jalopy. These days, it's usually an old Ford Mustang. But some of the things he's driven have really been held together by spit and prayers.
- He tried to get one particularly old car 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!
- In Archie Comics (2015), he drives a 1980s-style hatchback which only Betty can keep in working order (meaning he always has to be on good terms with her if he wants to drive somewhere).
- He tried to get one particularly old car insured:
- Disney Ducks Comic Universe gives us Donald Duck's famous Belchfire Roundabout 313. He did manage to get it to do 40 mph downhill (and became the first 313 driver to get a speeding ticket). He reveals in the story Recalled Wreck that he built it himself from parts that are all out of production and can't be replaced. In the Paperinik stories, though, Gyro has managed to make it quite formidable.
- Sin City:
- Gail has an unfortunate tendency to saddle Dwight with crappy cars when he's helping her. During The Big Fat Kill she gave him a clapped out, abused, and neglected 1957 Thunderbird on its last legs. It didn't even have enough gas to get him to the tar pits. She later gives him a Beetle in similar condition (but with a full tank of gas).
- Nancy's car is so broken-down and idiosyncratic that no one but her can keep it running.
- Gaston Lagaffe: Gaston's car (the picture for this page) is an old jalopy, a Fiat 509 from 1923 or 1925. It's so slow that 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 the British-made Achilles, largely chosen for its name. Too bad it rolled off the assembly line in 1903 and looks every bit its age.
- Gabe's beater in The Maze Agency, which is used to contrast Jen's 1958 Corvette, the Cool Car.
- In the German comic Werner, Andi's Ford Taunus 17m in "Besser is das!" (Normal ja!) and Gekotzt wird später!
- 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, including Fat Freddy's 1958 Ford:
Franklin: Is your car working all right?
Fat Freddy: 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... 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.
- 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.
- Dave's (unseen) AMC Pacer in Knights of the Dinner Table, mostly due to his refusal to do any maintenance on it. At one point, it is stuck permanently in second gear. It eventually dies, forcing him to cadge lifts on Bob's scooter.
- Frazz's Chevette, which he refers to as his "'Vette" and claims doubles in value when he puts his (admittedly probably expensive) bike on the rack.
- Garfield once watched a commercial for a used car dealership that seemingly sold only these. In fact, the proprietor openly admitted the cars' flaws in the commercial. (A minivan that had been driven off a cliff, a car with no brakes, a V-8 engine with only four working cylinders, and a car with noise problems.)
Garfield: He never sells anything, but he is honest.
- 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.
- 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.
- In A Kingdom Divided, Vinyl Scratch becomes one of the crew of an old, steam-powered airship. Its stoke is placed next to the balloon filled with hydrogen.
- In Came Out of the Darkness, one of Dudley's friends from Smeltings has a beat-up vehicle on which he comments "Car's a piece of shit, but it runs and it's mine."
- Teen Wolf's Stiles' blue Jeep shows some tendencies to be The Alleged Car in canon, but it's often played up even more in fanfic. Quite often, the car used to belong to Stiles' mother, leaving Stiles heartbroken if supernatural shenanigans causes it to be irreparably damaged.
- The All Guardsmen Party have their Discount Spaceship, the Occurrence Border. It's only half as long as a vessel of its class should be because the front fell off, so its "bow" is a big scab of melted metal. Whole sections of the ship are sealed off as unsafe or tainted. There's a primitive tribal society living in the vessel's hydroponics gardens, whose duties include keeping a carnivorous alien population down to manageable levels. The ship's interior is covered in little yellow notes bearing warnings such as "This control panel governs the flow of plasma through bays D3-S15, no one remembers why we have plasma going through there, but if you shut them off engines 3 and 7 stop working," or more commonly, "Do not touch this button." And things only get worse when the ship shudders its way into the Warp. The only good thing about it is that it's a perfect mission ship, because no one who looks at it would ever suspect the Inquisition might be using it.
- This trope is actually named in We're Jerry Springer Not Casablanca
He chanced a look into the work area and saw the alleged car pulled into the bay. “That car looks like it needed to be taken out back and shot ten years ago, boy,” he said. It was a sad sight; a boxy sedan that was at least half rust. The other half might have been duct tape
Films — Animation
- In Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!), the gang drives around France in a run-down blue Citroen 2CV. Charlie Brown is routinely injured whenever he starts it with the hand-crank. It doesn't help that they get rear-ended twice in the film, resulting in Marcy yelling in French and Snoopy giving insulting gestures. The saving grace is that Snoopy is also the one doing the driving (he knows enough to keep the car running at least).
- The last song heard in The Brave Little Toaster brutally deconstructs the attitudes of materialism and abandonment behind this trope. It's sung by thousands of personified Alleged Cars, all of them waiting 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.
- The Rusteze Bumper Ointment tent 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, Pacers and Yugos, with the apparent Big Bad based on a German microcar in which passengers always face the back. In fact, two of the baddies are even called Grem and Acer.
- Both vehicles in The Fox and the Hound; 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.
- 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.
- While it's in perfect working order, Judy Hopps' meter maid cart is rightfully referred to as a "jokemobile" by Nick Wilde due to the lack of dignity imparted when driving it.
- Finnick's van. The driver's door is silver, the rest of the van is some kind of rusty red, with an awesome mural on the side panels. It backfires a lot, too.
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, and it can do some amazing things despite its condition. But there's always something wrong with it, and it can easily become non-functional and turn its occupants into sitting ducks (usually for plot reasons). This is most famously used in The Empire Strikes Back, where Han and Chewie spend much of the Hoth sequence trying (and failing) to get it into condition to escape from the planet. It's status as this even gets weaponized in one of the Expanded Universe novels - because the Falcon is continually being redesigned and repaired, the Empire has three totally different confirmed sensor profiles for the ship gathered over a period of only four years, and as a result have to assume that the bizarre sensor profile being given off by two distant fighters acting as decoy really is the Falcon, luring them away from targets of actual value.
- The Phantom Menace gives us podracing, which appears to consist solely of Alleged Vehicles. They all go insanely fast, but a billion things could go wrong (often explosively), and there is practically no protection for the driver or other components. The film itself shows that podracing is obscenely dangerous (hence why there must be something different about Anakin for him to be so good at it), and at least one pod just explodes on the starting line. Roughly a minute after everyone else had already started racing.
- The ancient speeders on Crait in The Last Jedi make the Falcon look like an Aston Martin by comparison. We see them actually SHAKING when they launch from the base, Poe puts his foot through a panel on one, and they bounce repeatedly off the ground unless the pilot deploys a stabilizing ski to drag across the ground beneath it. most of them get picked off easily by TIE fighters.
- 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 looks like a pimped-out Batmobile, but it 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 is 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, a pea-green monstrosity covered in way too much fake wood paneling. "You think you hate it now — but wait til you drive it!" The engine continues to idle after the keys have been taken out, and the airbag deploys randomly. Rarely for this trope, it's brand new, presumably American, and not cheap.
- Vacation has the next-generation Griswolds rent a Tartan Prancer, a minivan made in Albania. It's another rare case of a then-new (if fictitious) alleged vehicle.
- The villains in Dead Man's Shoes drive an ancient Citroën 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.
- James Bond:
- Jack Wade's Zaporozhets in GoldenEye. He starts it by rapping the engine with a sledgehammer, a semi-legitimate technique for fixing a real-life model.
- Whatever Cool Car gets issued to Bond by Q invariably ends up as one of these by the time he's done with it.
- The Citroën 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 rear axle. 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 is in dire need of repair, but doing so would cause the family to miss Olive's contest. As such, it needs to be push started, and the horn has a loose connection causing it to beep intermittently.
- Subverted in The Fast and the 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", which is designed to look beaten-up so as to surprise opponents when they realized that it's so tricked out under the hood, 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 jeep in The Gods Must Be Crazy gets stuck in gear and causes all sorts of other catastrophes.
- 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.
- The car in Dude, Where's My Car? 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).
Daffy: Alright, let's see what this baby can really do!
(DJ turns on the ignition, and the entire car falls apart)
Daffy: Well, that's an interesting feature.
- 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.
- 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, no paint job, coughs black smoke everywhere it goes, and becomes an Instant 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 passenger seat while he drives.
- 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 is incredibly old by Olympic equipment standards. The Jamaicans use it out of necessity (and they feel it brings them luck). Their final race in the movie turns into a hair-raising wreck because one of the pieces used for maneuvering tears itself apart right in the middle of a turn.
- 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 Volkswagen 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 sneezes and his Polish Fiat car falls 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.
Joseph Dredd: Mark 4 Lawmaster, improved model, with dual onboard laser cannons and vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. Range, 500 kilometers. Men?Technicians: Yes sir! (presses a button and the hoverbike turns on and begins to hover.)Hoverbike: Active. (sparks fly from hoverbike and screen suddenly blinks red) Malfunction! Malfunction! Malfunction! (hoverbike goes dead and thuds back onto the floor)Joseph Dredd: Hmm. Yours, if you can ever get it to work.
- In The Blues Brothers:
- Subverted with the "Bluesmobile", 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.
- While it's never shown on screen, Elwood states that he traded the original Bluesmobile (a Cadillac) for a microphone, and Jake never thinks to question if Elwood could have gotten a better deal. Whether this says more about the car or former owners is up to debate.
- It really says more about the price of a microphone before 1990's technology. The joke is that it's actually a pretty reasonable trade for a used car in the mid-to-late 70's.
- In 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 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 (1984), 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.
- Dean Higgins' car from the 1975 Disney film The Strongest Man in the World. In the climax, Dexter has to power 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.
- North West Frontier has an alleged train that smokes constantly and whistles at the worst possible moments.
- In The Brass Teapot the protagonists own a barely functioning Pinto that is falling apart.
- The U.S.S. Stingray from Down Periscope is an ailing, diesel-powered rust bucket of a submarine. It's assigned to LCDR Dodge for the wargames because they're supposed to be simulating a terrorist group, and it's the exactly the kind of crappy, obsolete sub a terrorist group would get its hands on.
- Operation Petticoat features the U.S.S. Sea Tiger. It had been badly damaged in battle prior to the film, and most of the film involves the crew trying to get it to a safe port for repair. Halfway through, it ends up being painted pink. Even years later, they still couldn't fix one of the engines, which is prone to backfiring.
- The bus in Who's Singing Over There? starts out pretty beaten up, but over the course of the movie, it loses a tire that gets stabbed to become completely flat, and it gets a hole in the roof courtesy of a very careless passenger with a gun.
- Blue Ruin: The title of the film refers to the battered and rusted out blue Pontiac that the main character is living out of at the beginning of the film. The car serves as a plot device several times.
- The Cars That Ate Paris: The Greaser Delinquents drive cars built from the components of other wrecks.
- Tommy Boy: Richard's pride-and-joy vintage Plymouth becomes one in the course of a sales trip.
- The Arrival: The main character starts the film driving a junked-up 1968 Saab V4 station wagon. He uses it to ram the gate of a radio station and discards it without a second glance.
- K2: Siren of the Himalayas: Before the team gets to K2, there's a scene where they're waiting for the vehicles that will take them there to start.
- The pick-up truck commandeered by John, Sarah, and the T-800 after the SWAT van gets wrecked in Terminator 2: Judgment Day qualifies as one, due to it's almost total inability to maintain normal freeway speeds, let alone escape from the T-1000's liquid nitrogen tanker.
John: Step on it!
T-800: [looks at speedometer, which is hovering between 50-55mph] This is the vehicle's top speed.
John: I COULD GET OUT AND RUN FASTER THAN THIS!!!!!
- Inspector Gadget: John Brown's ancient Chevette hatchback even before it flipped over and got blown up by an exploding cigar.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Weasleys have a flying Ford Anglia, which at the beginning of the movie is still a Cool Car, having only minor dysfunctions ("The invisibility booster is faulty"). Twelve-year-old son Ron then uses it to fly with Harry to Hogwarts, where he crashes it into the Whomping Willow, which totally beats the car up. The Weasley parents never bother to pick up their car from Hogwarts, and at the end of the school year, the beaten-up, malfunctioning car makes a sudden reappearance when Ron and Harry are in the Forbidden Forest. Most frighteningly, the car now also acts creepy, deliberately throwing Ron and Harry out of it.note
- The Woman in Red: Teddy is frustrated with the windshield wipers and wonders aloud what he would do if he had a date.
- The plot of Marathon Man gets set in motion when Dr. Szell's brother dies in a car accident, which probably wouldn't have happened if the car weren't barely functional.
- Two for the Road sees the main couple in several vehicles, but most prominently an old MG that has trouble starting even right after its purchase. Eventually, they have no choice but to junk it.
- Fat Albert: When Fat Albert goes to pick up Laurie and Doris, Bill says they need to ride "in style." That ride turns out to be a hodgepodge contraption made up of parts from the junkyard, powered by manual peddling. As Albert starts the car, Bill sits under the hood with Mushmouth and he makes engine noises as Mushmouth sings with his new voice.
- Stella's truck in Almost Night is covered in rust, with flakes constantly coming off. It is also run by an evil AI and used to belong to the Dark Lord.
- The Junk Bucket and The Pink Clinker in The Baby-Sitters Club. The Pink Clinker actually works well — Nannie just likes to call it that.
- In The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams:
- Kate's Citroën 2CV is the Trope Namer. It gets her in court by throwing a wheel and nearly causing an accident; a police officer would refer to it as "the alleged car". The 2CV has this reputation in Real Life as well.
- Dirks' car is not much better; it's a beat-up Jaguar described as needing to go for maintenance more frequently than for petrol. He also Drives Like Crazy (and has very spotty navigation techniques); when he rear-ends another car and busts the right-side indicator, he rationalizes it by saying he rarely turns right anyway. At one point, he has to steal a tow truck just to force the repairman to get it running.
- Good Omens loves this trope. Interestingly, strange events lead to all of them improving over the course of the book.
- Newton Pulsifer has a Wasabi. He named it after famous British highwayman Dick Turpin, because "wherever I go, I hold up traffic". It's described as being made in Japan during an awkward interim period; they had stopped ripping off Western designs, but had yet to perfect their own, leading to a car with all the flaws of Western cars and some new ones only the Japanese could devise. It has incredible gas mileage, but it spends an inordinate amount of time in the shop. It has a voice (recorded by someone "who spoke neither Japanese nor English") that would randomly recite "prease to frasten sleat-bert". It would deploy airbags on dangerous occasions, like when a faulty airbag has suddenly obstructed your view of the road. Newton's attempts to convince others to buy one are motivated by the idea that misery loves company. It gets improved by Adam in the denouement, such that, for example, instead of Engrish the vocal warnings are delivered in the form of pleasant haiku.
- Crowley drives a 1926 Bentley, which qualifies as a Cool Car and stays that way despite its age due to his being a Reality Warper. 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.
- Anathema Device has an Alleged Bicycle, possibly made of drainpipes. It too gets improved after Crowley knocks it over in his Bentley and Aziraphale fixes it with a miracle, who then has to gloss over her feeble protests that it didn't use to have a basket, air pump, or gears.
- American Gods has a ton of bad (and bad-smelling) cars.
- Shadow buys a "Pee-Oh-Ess" 1983 Chevy Nova for $450. It "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 "a lumbering and ancient Winnebago, which smelled non-specifically but pervasively and unmistakably of male cat."
- A 1970 VW bus "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 ends up buying another vehicle that is badly painted 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 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, described as "the only broomstick ever to need bump-starting." It was a second-hand gift when she got it in Equal Rites, and she only ever had it maintained with quick bodge jobs. This gains it a notorious reputation among Dwarf broomstick mechanics, since the stick and bristles have both been replaced many times but it still has the same problems. When it finally gets properly worked on in The Shepherd's Crown, they have it working perfectly in a few hours.
- In Space Marine Battles, this is the impression the Iron Warrior get when they hijack an Ork plane. It doesn't have any landing gear and works on Crazy Awesome rather than any rules of actual physics.
- 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.
- Dave Barry Slept Here also makes this claim about the Ford Model T:
By modern standards, the Model T was very primitive: It had no electric starter, no radio, no heater, no air conditioner, no brakes, no transmission, no engine, and no wheels. The only way to get it to actually move was to have four or five burly men pick it up and stagger down the street. But it was affordable, and people bought it like crazy. "What the hell," they said. "There's nowhere to go anyway, here in 1913."
- In the column "Lemon Harangue", he talks about his father's unerringly awful car buying instincts:
- 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, but 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 seems quite fond of this trope:
- Cujo has a woman and her son trapped in one of these by a rabid Saint Bernard.
- The evil, sentient title car in Christine 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. 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 From a Buick 8, they're not quite sure what the object masquerading as a car is, but an actual car it is not.
- 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. When she doesn't have a car of her own, she's forced to drive her Uncle Sandor's powder blue 1953 Buick Roadmaster "Big Blue". It's large, it's ugly, and Stephanie hates it, but most men love it, and it is practically indestructible.
- The early installments of The Hardy Boys feature sporadic appearances from "The Queen", Chet Morton's unreliable yellow jalopy.
- 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 a pizza in the back. It didn't have problems driving (until they took it into a field and the driveshaft fell out), but it had almost no floor, 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 him over and engenders 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 subpage. 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, 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 Trabant’s 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 it 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.
- Earlier in the Sweet Valley High series, the twins drove their mom's old Fiat Spider which was constantly breaking down. According to Jessica, she was driving up a hill one day, and pedestrians were walking faster than the car.
- In Wise Blood, Hazel Motes buys an old car for $200 (about $1500 in 2011). He's quite proud of it, but no one else is impressed, and it's missing several seats.
- 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 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.
- The Joads' 1926 Hudson Super Six Sedan (converted to a truck) in The Grapes of Wrath typical for 1930s Dust Bowl migrants. Vehicles of that era required a total engine rebuild every 20,000 miles and a new paint job every other year; by the mid-1930s, it would have 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's company car is a barely-functional Ford Maverick that's held together mostly by rust. 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 is described at one point as a 1978 Classic Rusty.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe introduced the concept of "Uglies" to the franchise — starfighters cobbled together with pieces of other starfighters. They were usually barely airworthy, let alone spaceworthy, and only used by desperate bandits. The most infamous was the "Die-Wing", a TIE fighter cockpit with Y-wing engines, a slow, unshielded, weak-hulled, lightly-armed, flying death trap. It was even less reliable than the Imperial ship it was based on, which was designed for expendable pilots. The worst Uglies' main advantage was that they were notoriously unpredictable to trace.
- This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It: Dave's car is pretty pathetic, but John's is the real example. He drives an old Cadillac that he inherited from a deceased relative. Its tape deck is stuck blasting a tape of Creedence Clearwater Revival at maximum volume, and John can't find any way to stop it. He's stuffed pillows into every speaker.
- In Paper Towns, Ben's car RHAPAW (Rode Hard And Put Away Wet), a 15-year-old Buick "composed primarily out of duct tape and spackle" that runs "not on gasoline, but the inexhaustible fuel of human hope", certainly qualifies.
- Newspaper columnist D.L. Stewart recounts, via his book Father Knows Best — Sometimes, the considerable trouble he has with his MG Midget, which a salesman refers to at one point as "the English Edsel". When told it's in average shape for a Midget, the same salesman's response is "That bad, huh?" In six years, it gains 42,000 miles on its odometer, 20,000 of which come while it's attached to the back of a tow truck. Later on, some of the cars that his oldest son looks at (and in one case, actually buys) also qualify.
- In Watersong, Marci owns a thirty-year-old Gremlin, which she calls "Lucinda". When she gets into a car chase in Elegy, Alex is surprised that the car is able to start at all, let alone keep up with the supernaturally fast sirens.
- Conversant with Metallicar Syndrome as Skulduggery Pleasant is, he has to have multiple cars stashed around Ireland in order to avoid being spotted in seconds by suspects. One car Valkyrie really disapproves of is the yellow hatchback she dubs "the Canary Car".
- Witkacy's ride in Shaman Blues, as noted by everyone who rides in it with him. Among others, it lacks a hand brake, two windows, the inside light, seat covers (Witkacy uses blankets), and a working ventillation system, and it's considered too dangerous for any company to insure it. He defends it vehemently, though, and appears to be right, as it never fails (though sometimes takes several times to start up).
- The Girl from the Miracles District has the Chevy in Aleks' garage. Aleks is a mechanic so good at his job, it borders on supernatural, and he's sworn that he'll make the car work properly. He's been trying, along with Nikita, for several years now, and they've never managed to make its engine run for more than fifteen minutes.
- In Void City, Carl loans Eric one while Eric's own car is out of commission. He deliberately picked the worst one available since, knowing Eric as he does, he figures it's just going to get wrecked somehow and there's no point wasting a good car.
- The children's story The Rattletrap Car is about a such a car, which is in such bad condition it falls apart during a trip to the lake and has to be stuck back together with various toys and Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge Delight.
- The Jennifer Morgue: James Bond gets an Aston-Martin; Agent Bob Howard gets a Smart car. It's so underpowered that his life is seriously at risk when he tries to take it on the Autobahn. It develops shades of Cool Car later in the book, as its Bond-esque gadgets actually come in handy.
- An aerial variant in The A-Team episode "The Battle of Bel Air". The helicopter Face scams for Murdock to fly is clearly falling apart. One door is barely hanging in there; there are holes in the floor and its innards are badly functioning. With Murdock at the helm, they still make it, but it's clearly not something anyone could have done.
- Our Miss Brooks:
- Miss Brooks' car, when she has one. It's almost always in the shop. In fact, the number of episodes (on either radio and television) where she gets to drive her car can be counted on one hand: "Game At Clay City", "Who's Going Where", "Four Leaf Clover", "Brooks' New Car" and "Head of the State Board of Education".
- Walter Denton's junky jalopy is usually in working order, but Walter often drives it sans top — or even sides.
- A one-time offender was Mr. Conklin's second automobile, mostly a Stutz. He tries to unload the lemon on the unsuspecting Mr. Leblanc in "Mr. Leblanc Needs $50".
- In Auction Kings, Paul gets a Rolls Royce in. Normally, it'd be a high-value car, but it was in such poor shape, it sold for cheap.
- 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 Citroën DS, is one of these until Spike crashes it in Season 4's "A New Man." He replaces it with a Mid-Life Crisis Car, a BMW 3-series convertible (still used, but much more contemporary). The Citroën is also mocked in the Buffy tie-in novels. Oddly, it's actually totaled in one of them.
- Xander and Oz have both confessed their own personal off-screen road-trip-gone-wrong stories that begin with their vehicles breaking down.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000:
Servo: "Hey, it's that old AMC Crow Gypsy's been tinkering with for years!"
- Mike and the bots wasted no time in bashing the "Rowsdower-mobile", Zap Rowsdower's truck from The Final Sacrifice.
- Crow apparently has a beater version of himself to loan out the the SOL crew while he gets repairs done. He shudders and constantly emits smoke, but hey — he's got a killer radio!
Junk!Crow: "HEY, GUYS! Are there THINGs that are HAPpenING!"
Servo: (coughs) "Ugh, he must be runnin' rich!"
- Only Fools and Horses:
- The Reliant Regal three-wheeled van owned by the main characters 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.
- The Ford Capri driven by Del in later seasons, known to Rodney as "the Pratmobile".
- The vast majority of cars that Boycie sells are Alleged Cars.
- 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 beaten-up Peugeot 403 convertible. He seems pleased to own a foreign car, and he doesn't appreciate others telling him it's a piece of junk. Columbo's actor Peter Falk allegedly picked it out himself after seeing it used as essentially a test bed and oversized paperweight at a mechanic's shop.
- 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:
- Oliver's Hoyt-Clagwell has an Alleged Tractor.
- 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 previous owner welding two Ford Escorts together. This is known in the trade as a cut-and-shut, and if you do it properly it's perfectly safe and street-legal. This particular car was not an example of a cut-and-shut done properly; it flexed noticeably while in motion and was one large pothole from snapping clean in half. The auto-shop crew jacked it up, took one look at the chassis and refused to work on it because it was a total death-trap, and Xzibit had to negotiate a Product Placement deal to source a replacement car.
- Top Gear naturally has a ton of these. It's particularly prominent in the show's "cheap car challenges", where they try to win a challenge by spending as little as possible.
- The team largely considers the former Eastern Bloc as having produced nothing but these, as highlighted in a segment asking a simple question: "Did the Communists ever produce a good car?" The answer was a resounding no. Highlights included a Lada Riva and a Moskvich 408 losing a quarter-mile drag race to a dog, a car whose door wouldn't close (which Clarkson had to drive in that state), a car controlled mostly by push-buttons which fell back into the panel when May pressed them, and a three-wheeler covered in canvas. May and Clarkson came to the same conclusion with early Chinese models (although later ones were much better).
- The FSO Polonez, a Polish-built Fiat 125 derivative, so failed to impress Jeremy Clarkson 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.
- The Reliant Robin, a three-wheeled rear-wheel-drive subcompact car, was so notorious for rolling over that Clarkson was challenged to drive one just 15 kilometers — and rolled over at least ten times. However, Clarkson would later admit that this was staged to make it look like an Alleged Car.
- The Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust is an Alleged Car of the presenters' own devising; the crew wanted to see if they could build, on their own, an electric car better than the Reva G-Wiz (featured on the Real Life page). It had a top speed of ten miles per hour. It had a sharp, boxy aluminium body that could blind the driver. Its seats were plastic lawn chairs stuffed into the cabin. It couldn't go in reverse. It was insanely noisy. It had a single battery which took seven hours to charge; they tried to fix this with a portable generator in the back, which filled the cabin with fumes and defeated the purpose of building an "electric" car. The crew claimed it was street legal, but they (hilariously) falsified the tests. They gave it to Autocar magazine to review; it was described as so dangerous it could get into horrible accidents while driving in a straight line. Hilariously, though, Autocar rated it a half-star better than the G-Wiz.
- The creations of the British Leyland company are largely considered crap. One car Clarkson tests loses two different doors at separate points.
- Hammond's Toyota Land Cruiser (aka "Donkey") from the Bolivia special. The engine hardly ever started, its prop shaft fell out, its differential exploded, and it was a total death trap. It wasn't a poorly designed car; it just shows how bad things can get with neglectful maintenance.
- All three vehicles in the "budget supercar" special. May's Lamborghini Urraco kept running out of electricity and required a supercar enthusiast to restore it to working condition after the episode. Hammond's Ferrari Dinonote had all of its engine electronics fail, although Hammond was able to restore the car himself. Clarkson's, though, was the worst; his Maserati Merak's engine disintegrated into a fine cloud of metal bits. He had to scrap it in the end.
- The Mallorca Rally challenge saw the team buy their cars at an auction. Hammond bought an early 1950s Lanchester, whose list of issues was so long it hit the floor. He admitted that he only held on to the car because his grandfather worked for the coachbuilder who built it. Then he learned that it wasn't the same coachbuilder.
- Played with in Albania, where the trio tested which luxury car would be best for a "leading light in the Albanian mafia". Clarkson was originally supposed to drive a Bentley, but Bentley suffered a sudden humor deficiency and pulled out. In retaliation, Clarkson purchased a none-too-gently-used Yugo and pretended it was "really" a Bentley. He was quite disappointed with the "Bentley", but bizarrely, it was the only car of the three the locals knew how to fix.
- The Botswana special saw the trio buy dirt-cheap old cars and drive them across Botswana in varying states of repair (including, at one point, removing doors, seats, and other coverings to make them light enough to cross the Magkadikadi salt pan). Except for Hammond, who fell in love with his 1963 Opel Kadett A — so much so that he called it "Oliver", refused to modify it, saved it from drowning in a river, brought it back with him to England, and fixed it up to appear in Richard Hammond's Blast Lab. Clarkson and May thought he was rather missing the point of the challenge.
- The crew hit this hard when trying to buy cars for under £100 (less than the cost of a long-distance train ticket). May's Audi and Hammond's Rover 416 were barely functional. Clarkson had by far the best car, a 1970s Volvo which was mechanically sound (even after a 40mph crash) even if none of the electronics really worked by the end. For a car that cost one pound, that ain't bad.
- Clarkson tried his hand at building an even smaller Peel P50. The result had no suspension (so the driver can feel every bump), couldn't reach highway speeds, had a fuel tank too small to handle the minimum required fuel purchase, and was a hybrid — but required two hours to convert to electric power. The body covers the driver's chest and head, but not his extremities. It was roundly rejected by the investors on Dragon's Den. And Clarkson called it the P45, an unfortunate names (and eventual "Funny Aneurysm" Moment) considering that "P45" refers to a standard British termination notice — i.e., a "pink slip".
- The American version of Top Gear has had its fair share of alleged cars. Entire episodes can be devoted to finding such cars and fixing, salvaging, or just managing to sell them.
- In the Alaska Special, Tanner's Chevy was barely functional. It turned out that although it was labeled as having a diesel engine, it was really a Chevy Small Block V8 (and thus a gasoline engine). He still won, and it was the only truck to finish.
- 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.
- Adam's puke-and-blood-stained former taxi cab, obtained for less than $500, had what he described as "a several-minute delay between steering input and actual turning".
- "What Can It Take?" is a durability test for older reliable cars whose parts are gradually removed, turning them into Alleged Cars. By the final challenge, they're all stripped to their frames with various engine parts missing; Tanner's Honda Civic was cut in half horizontally.
- 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.
- The Daily Show: 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 SClub7 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. Morgan still considers it to be a Cool Car and gets a Vanity License Plate for it.
- The Plymouth Duster (often mistaken for a 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.
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.
- One episode had Al on the phone with the manufacturer's automated answering systn going through a long list of questions about the car and pressing a button on the phone to answer each question. After the last answer, the computer referred to him by name.
- Most cars on The Red Green Show. Many of these were repurposed on the "Handyman's Corner" segment. The show's creators have even claimed that having "an old car that barely runs" confirms its driver as a member of Possum Lodge. Examples include Red's old Possum Van, this clip of two alleged cars combined to make a luxury mid-engine car, and Red cutting two cars in half and connecting the front ends' steering (it managed to move 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. It 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", a 1975 Chrysler New Yorker four-door hardtop. The driver's side front door doesn't open, it's missing the passenger side front door entirely, and it requires a specific method of key turning to start it. It breaks down periodically, but it's 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 lost its roof in an offscreen Noodle Incident, which didn't stop any of the characters from driving it. After Lahey becomes a cop again, his cop car also ends up losing its roof.
- The MythBusters seek out Alleged Cars for their experiments. Those that are perfectly fine are generally rendered Alleged Cars after being experimented with. "Earl the Caddy" at least managed to last an entire season before it was finally destroyed by being dropped from a crane. The show has also featured alleged snow plows, cranes, cement trucks, motorcycles, airplanes, war machines, and every other kind of moving contraption.
- The Fawlty Towers episode "Gourmet Night" has a famous scene 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.
- Doctor Who gives us the TARDIS, the Doctor's Time Machine. To ordinary people, it's a technological marvel; in addition to time travel, it functions as a universal translator, has a built-in Weirdness Censor that allows it to disguise itself, and it's Bigger on the Inside. But other Time Lords think it's an absolute piece of junk; the Doctor basically borrowed it from a workshop where it was a literal museum piece. Among the things wrong with the TARDIS:
- It has a mind of its own (literally), but it's unable to express itself very clearly. On the one occasion it could, it proved to be fairly unhinged. It's also clearly attracted to the Doctor and lets that affect its judgment.
- The navigation is expertly described as "knackered" before the Doctor even gets into it. It frequently takes them somewhere other than where they want to go (although often where they need to be). It's also liable to keep them where they don't want to be, often through Plot-Driven Breakdown.
- Although in "The Doctor's Wife", it's revealed that the TARDIS usually takes the Doctor to where they need to be intentionally.
- It's supposed to have a "chameleon circuit" that allows it to disguise itself seamlessly among its surroundings. When the series starts, the Doctor's landed in 1960s Britain, so it disguises itself as a police box. It then gets stuck like that and hasn't been fixed since. The Doctor has since grown accustomed to this appearance and now refuses to get it fixed, and out-of-universe, the police box appearance is iconic.
- The Doctor did make a couple of aborted attempts to fix it. He gained the data necessary for the block transfer computations in "Logopolis", and in "Attack of the Cybermen" he tries to implement it, with dubious results. The TARDIS turns into an ornate girls' dresser that sticks out like a sore thumb, a pipe organ, and a large iron gateway, before finally breaking and becoming a police box again.
- Although it's Bigger on the Inside, it's also got extremely variable architecture which can't keep itself stable; a given door could open into anything at any time. It's scarily easy to get lost inside it.
- When taking off or landing, it makes a sound like a large animal dying of a prolonged respiratory disease. It might be because of a stuck parking brake, or the Doctor simply not knowing quite how to drive it. The sound, though, has evolved into Most Wonderful Sound both in and out of universe, so it also isn't changing any time soon.
- Although other TARDISes have been depicted making the same sound, so other reasons for it might be various characters taking the Mickey.
- The physical interface is a shambles. Important functions are labeled with Sharpie or sticky notes. On occasion, very important switches will accidentally be stuck in the wrong position. It's also got missing or unintuitive safety features.
- It's the Last of Its Kind, and only it can understand how it works or how to maintain or fix it. The Doctor himself has no idea how to maintain it, and on at least one occasion human engineers have done better with it than the Doctor has.
- In Series 10, he finally found someone competent to do maintenance on it. Only problem was, that someone was Missy. Naturally, it didn't work out well.
- In one episode, a character found the TARDIS's manual propping open a vent, but in a later episode it was revealed that the Doctor threw it into a supernova because he disagreed with it.
- It once crashed into itself, and another time it landed inside itself.
- When major failure or explosion happens, it's been known to cause catastrophic effects across the space-time continuum. At least once, the entire universe was threatened with total destruction just because it was exploding.
- 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.
- Canada's Worst Driver:
- One of the "contestants" on the fifth season was nominated for owning several Alleged Cars. He proudly declared having never paid more than $400 for a car.
- 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.
- It has now become a yearly tradition on the show to purchase a brand new cool sports car that will be used by the bad drivers on every show, inevitably turning it into this trope assuming it's even remotely close to driving condition at all by the end of the season.
- 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.
- Similarly, Richie and Potsie bought a car together in an early episode of Happy Days. For his next car, Richie was smart enough to go to automotive expert Fonzie.
- 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. Despite this, and the fact the crew (the Cat in particular) have no end of complaints about it, the one in Seasons VI and VII manages to last several hundred years, an asteroid impact, and crashing into two different moons with relatively few problems. A small price to pay for the radio being stuck on country & western.
- Red Dwarf itself might also count. Even when it was new, it wasn't up to spec, thanks to massive budget cutbacks. The result of three millions years of wear and tear is a preposterously large and slow ship managed by a demented computer which has a small moon buried in its underside. At one point the ship is apparently stolen, and the Cat questions who in their right mind would steal "a giant red trashcan with no brakes and three million years on the clock".
- 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. It seems to end up spending more time in the police garage than on the street. Apart from an "old taxi" smell, windows that won't roll completely down, the rear-view mirror that won't stay up, a catch in the gas pedal, and the glove box that keeps popping open, it suffers a blown radiator hose, busted tail light, and a cracked distributor cap before a brake failure finally causes it to roll downhill and crash into a light pole. It is last seen towed back to the station.
Mechanic: Wow, what happened?
Reed: Well, we retired her for you a little early.
- In "Truant", there were the two drug dealers who hid their twenty-six dime bags of high-grade heroin in their gas tank. One of the bags broke, stalling the car.
Malloy: Are you telling me the car died of an overdose of heroin?
Narcotics Detective: What else?
- In "Truant", there were the two drug dealers who hid their twenty-six dime bags of high-grade heroin in their gas tank. One of the bags broke, stalling 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 murdering 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.
Darnell: I wish we had a car that flew.Joy: Hmph. I wish we had a car we didn't have to start with a spoon!Darnell: Seems like such a shame to waste your wish on something that small.
- Several others have shown Joy's Subaru BRAT to not be in the best condition; several episodes mention it breaking down, and it's also (due to the placement of the back passenger seats) not exactly a family car. In a Noodle Incident, the car got stuck in reverse, but since the kids still had to get to school, Joy drove them anyway and got a ticket. In the same episode that mentions that incident, we have this exchange:
- For that matter, Earl's El Camino. One of the doors went missing, and Earl had to steal a door from a blue El Camino (that's been missing a door ever since, yet still on the road). It only goes up to a certain speed, the engine coughs and sputters sometimes, the air conditioner doesn't work (and neither does the tape deck. Part of it is justified; it's mentioned that Randy once put bubble gum in the gas tank to see if the car's exhaust would blow bubbles, and (due to poverty) Earl doesn't really take care of the car.
- 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 & 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 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.
- In another episode, Cam and Arastoo are driving to work when they get pulled over. While the cop is walking over, they bicker about why, Cam declaring that "With this car, it could be anything," and listing problems he's had with it. The car does work fine for the brief scene it's in.
- 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 Line Is It 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 too 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 dull green 2004 Pontiac Aztek (see Real Life), which he eventually ends up selling for 50 dollars.
- While iconic for the series, the RV "Crystal Ship" was a piece of junk. At one point a malfunction during a meth cook winds up stranding Walt and Jesse in the desert where they nearly die of starvation.
Jesse: I don't even get it. I mean, we had money. Why'd we have to have the world's shittiest RV?
- The prequel Better Call Saul has Jimmy Mc Gill driving around in the dusty, dilapidated Suzuki Esteem.
- 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.)
- Mike's Mitsubishi Galant on Mike & Molly becomes one in "Mike's Manifold Destiny". (Oddly, it never showed trouble before.) The engine loses power if the air conditioner is on (it later dies), there's a hole in the floor, the windows won't stay closed if the tape is removed from the switch, and the hazard lights don't work. And that's just in the teaser.
- Serenity! The Firefly-class transport ship is hugely outdated by the timeframe of the story, but Serenity is a special example. When Mal bought her at a used ship lot, she was in such bad shape that she wasn't even capable of flight, nevermind space-worthy. However, as Kaylee once so eloquently put it, "it'll fool ya".
- Mother, from My Mother the Car is a 1928 Porter, a fake equivalent of a Model T, and considered this trope by the neighborhood.
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
- Jake admits he has a terrible car, but he loves it because he associates it with the first arrest he made after graduating from the academy. The sentimental value is (partly) why he takes his bet with Santiago so seriously.
- Captain Holt's beloved convertible Gertie, which is viewed by everyone who isn't him as one of these. For added Genius Bonus, Gertie is a Chevy Corvair, a make of car infamously highlighted by Ralph Nader's Unsafe At Any Speed as an exemplar of the American auto industry's sloppy and negligent approach to safety in the 1960s. Similarly to Jake, however, there's an emotional attachment that explains Holt's affection; Holt's husband bought him the car early in their relationship so they could keep in touch.
- Chet Kelly's junk-heap station wagon makes an appearance in the Emergency! episode "Firehouse Quintet". He tries to give the crew a lift to the gym for basketball tournament practice, but the car breaks down partway and the guys have to push it.
- In the "Nanny on Wheels" episode of Nanny and the Professor, Nanny convinces the Professor that she needs a car. They go to a shady used-car dealer who tries to sell them an Alleged Car. A few scenes later, Nanny tells the Professor that she has found a car for only $25. Actually, the car was free; the $25 was the towing fee to have it towed from Mrs. Patterson's garage. It was even more of an Alleged Car than anything at the used-car lot. The Professor criticizes Nanny for thinking she can do anything with such a piece of junk (it looked like it was held together by cobwebs and one of the headlights was hanging by its wires), but with help from the Professor's kids (and some "un-help" from the family dog, who stole the carburetor), she successfully restores it and ends up with a really Cool Car.
- Better Call Saul - Jimmy Mc Gill drives a clapped-out, ironically named Suzuki Esteem. When a couple of scam artists try a faked injury running into it, he tells them "The only way that entire car is worth 500 bucks is if there's a 300 dollar hooker sitting in it."
- Gerry's Triumph Stag in New Tricks. He keeps claiming it's a classic, but it is notoriously unreliable and when any other team member rides in it, they are always dubious as to whether it will get them to their destination (although that could just be them extracting the urine).
- Mr. Belding had one of these during the lone season of Good Morning Miss Bliss (forerunner to Saved by the Bell):
Miss Bliss: "Surely you don't need approval to have a car towed, do you?"Mr. Belding: "Oh, you mean that broken-down Yugo that's been there for two weeks?"Miss Bliss: "Right. Why didn't you ever have it towed?"Mr. Belding: "Because it's mine."
- Bering Sea Gold: The dredges in this series are custom-cobbled using whatever junk can be found in remote Nome, AK. Lack of reliability of on-board air compressors and / or water heating systems is a threat to the survival of the diver searching the bottom of the Bearing Sea for little flecks of yellow metal. As the seson have progressed, the skills of the operators at keeping their dredges has improved.
- In Other Space the UMP Cruiser is a spaceship version. Decades obsolete, its engine spews brain-frying radiation and its walls are "mostly decorative". Bits of it fall off when it undocks. Not helping is that the AI running it was originally designed to deal blackjack.
Natasha: The fact that you've survived this long is crazy.
- While Overhaulin requires cars to be in running condition to be on the show, they've had their share of these:
- One car had a serious oil leak as Chris drove it to the shop.
- Another car had a colony of mice living in it.
- More cars than can be counted have had serious rust issues.
- Matt's car in Life in Pieces. It's so broken that the only thing that started it was tequila. And by the end of the episode, it bursts into flame.
- In Good Luck Charlie: It's Christmas, when Amy manages to get both her and Teddy kicked out of the Denver Airport and the bus taking them to Palm Springs, they walk eight miles to Lenny's garage, where Daryll, who bought it out, sells them an old Yugo for $50.00. Teddy has a hard time driving it over a hill that night, especially when the headlights and the brakes don't work, and when it starts to snow, one of the windshield wipers breaks off. The next morning, when they stop at a diner for breakfast, the entire car falls apart.
- As Wheeler Dealers is a show about fixing cars, there are many ones that are examples of that trope before they get work done on them:
Edd China: "Not a Bronco!"Mike: "Uh, yes, it is. (Points to badge) This is a Bronco. One of the most legendary, iconic American cars ever."Edd: "Not a Bronco."Mike: "Yeah, I see what you mean. It's not all a Bronco, but it's a Bronco. (Edd shakes his head) It's 90-percent Bronco."Edd: "I would say that's not even 50-percent Bronco. Look at the state of the body work. It looks like it's been wrung."Mike: "Okay, 70-percent!"
- The 1988 Toyota MR 2 from "S 02 E 01/02" had some rust and required a screwdriver to start it up,
- The 1985 Suzuki SJ 410 from S 02 E 05/06 not only was one before the restoration, as it had a worn engine, but also kept being one after it, due to having perforative corrosion to a level barring it from passing an inspection.
- The 1971 VW Beetle 1300 from S 02 E 11/12 was so derelict, China gave up restoring it as a Beetle and instead used it as a base for a beach buggy, replacing most parts and using only a few original mechanical components.
- The 1989 VW Transporter from S 03 E 01/02 was dented and one of its rear doors was unopenable.
- And the only reason that episode featured an 80s Transporter was that the older ones in the price range were in much worse condidtion than the final purchase, being practically unrestorable.
- The 1978 Porsche 928 from S 03 E 11/12 was an unroadworthy non-running barn find with no service records and a non-original set of alloys.
- S 04 E 07/08 featured an 80s BMW 635CSi that failed its inspection due to extensive underside rust. It was used as a donor car for the episode's main focus, a 1985 BMW 635CSi being restored.
- The 1982 Lotus Esprit from S 05 E 03/04 had faulty suspension, a rusted exhaust and a leaking sunroof.
- The 1971 Fiat 500L from the next 2 episodes didn't even make it from the seller in Italy tho the garage in Britain, neeeding to be carried on a flatbed.
- The original car meant to appear in S 05 E 11/12 was a 70s Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, but the bad condition of the car's body led Mike to backing up from the purchase in the last minute and buying a 1984 Bentley Mulsanne Turbo R instead.
- S 06 E 03/04, the episode about converting a Porsche 944 into a track car, had a different example of the model being considered, but the crash damage of its body was deemed too severe.
- The 1960 VW Beetle in S 06 E 11/12 had a broken engine, faded paintjob and a rotten front floorpan.
- One of the Bond Bugs considered by Mike in S 07 E 06 was missing a large portion of its parts, and the body color had faded.
- The seller also had a rotten 1959 Cadillac 60 Special sedan.
- The 2001 Range Rover from S 08 E 03 had its suspension break down on the way to the garage.
- The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air from S 08 E 10 was actually a 210 converted into a Bel Air and caught fire shortly after purchase.
- The 1992 Morgan Plus 4 from S 09 E 02 had a rotten chassis that needed to be completely replaced.
- The 1977 Alpine A310 from S 09 E 04 wasn't able to make it to the garage, due to overheating.
- The next episode featured a 1974 Porsche 914 that was barely able to move under its own power for a mile and had an interior full of dried plants and dust.
- The 1963 BMW Isetta from S 09 E 13 had its rear brake lock up, causing the vehicle to spin out.
- The 2000 Porsche Boxster from S 10 E 04 was originally sold as a parts car, due to transmission and exhaust problems.
- The 1972 Lamborghini Urraco from S 10 E 07 had its engine rendered unstartable by a loose cam belt and was unable to move, due to seized brakes.
- The 1967 Amphicar from S 11 E 07 broke down during the test drive (or rather float) after the restoration.
- The 2001 Audi TT from S 11 E 10 did not have a working 1st or 2nd gear.
- The 1974 BMW 2002tii from S 12 E 04 was unable to move under its own power.
- The 1982 Alfa Romeo Alfasud from S 12 E 11 had not had any engine service done in 17 years.
- S 13 E 09, fearuring 1970 Ford Bronco brought about this exchange as Mike pulled into the shop.But one 2016 episode dealing with a 1970 Ford Bronco brought about this exchange as Mike pulled into the shop.
- The vehicle later received a replacement body.
- A hideous, badly repainted convertible sedan that's literally falling apart (front bumper falling off at a sudden stop, etc.) is featured in the opening credits of the short-lived 1979 James Belushi / Michael Keaton sitcom Working Stiffs.
- In Press Your Luck, one Whammy set and armed dynamite by the player's score, only to have the car break down. The Whammy got kaboomed.
- For a couple of years, the Dutch consumer awareness program Kieskeurig note had a segment called Het Wrak van de Weg note where the police, along with a car mechanic and a stunt driver explained and demonstrated how dangerous driving a decrepit car can be. Queue Free Wheels and cars snapping in half. At the end of the segment the car, or what was left of it by then, was destroyed in a creative way, along with the jingle "Die zien we nooit meer terug!" note Depressingly, one police officer stated there were an estimate of 15,000 dangerously decrepit cars on the road in the Netherlands alone. A compilation can be found here.
- Adam Sandler's "Ode To My Car" is a profanity-laced Reggae-esque ballad with a chorus of "Piece of shit car, I got a piece of shit car".
- Jan and Dean had a lot of songs about cool cars like the Shelby Cobra and the Pontiac GTO. They also had a song called "Schlock Rod", about a jalopy that's almost falling apart and questionably customized.
- 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.
- 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's car in "Stop Dragging My Car Around", which is apparently so bad, the manager at a local disco had it towed, and later, Al wonders if he can trade it in for a used bicycle.
- 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. 
- "One Piece At A Time" by Johnny Cash is a variation: He's put together a Cadillac by smuggling parts out of the factory over almost a quarter-century. The "psychobilly Cadillac"◊ 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 sightWe had two on the left and only one on the rightBut 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 yardIt hasn't run in 15 yearsIt's a home for the birds nowIt'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 repair shop, 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.
Carcacha, go step by step, don't stop "limping" forward.carcacha, bit by bit. Please don't leave us!
- The chorus thranslates roughly to:
- 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 backHoles 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 discoWe 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 Volkswagen 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.
- The old van that used to belong to Rivers of Nihil was notoriously shitty even by metal standards, where busted rattletrap vans that still somehow work are the norm. Adam Biggs walked one interviewer through many of the quirks: the driver's side door was effectively unusable because it would not shut unless one put all of their body weight into slamming it (which means that they had to enter through the passenger's side and climb over the seat to get to the driver's seat), the back door needed to be held up while holding the lock to get the lock to engage, the AC wouldn't turn on while the cruise control was engaged, the speedometer and gas gauge both jumped all over the place at random intervals, the oil pressure light was on constantly because the sensor was busted (the oil pressure was actually fine at the time of the interview as per Biggs), there was no left audio channel, the passenger side mirror was prone to swinging inwards when the door was closed, closing the glovebox made the audio exceedingly quiet until one manually pressed the tape in the cassette deck down, and finally, the rear heat did not work, only the AC. It was quite the spectacle, but they got a much better van and presumably sold the old one for whatever they could get for it in scrap value.
- In Řystein Sunde's "Engelsk bil" ("English Car"), the narrator sings about the terrible cars he's owned:
- His first English car was a Vauxhall Victor. He got tired of pushing it and bought a Saab.
- The Saab coughed and struggled all the time, and only had enough boot space for a hat.
- His Citroën rusted, trundled, leaked a lot and forced him to buy a bag full of uncommon tools.
- His Italian car could actually achieve a high RPM, but didn't last long.
- His second English car was a Hillman. He could hear it rust, the engine refused to work, and the windscreen wiper didn't work either.
- The De Soto was shiny and had a large engine, but ran out of fuel after driving a mere 100 metres.
- He currently has an unknown English car, which is no better than the others. The key snaps when he starts it, and he can't drive more than a mile before it stops. He also mentions that it sinks when he drives into a river - a pretty common problem for cars, but its inclusion suggests that he knows it from experience and that it happened because the car has horrible handling.
- The sloop Antelope from Barrett's Privateers by Stan Rogers qualifies. She is described as having a list to port, ragged sails, leaks badly enough that the pumps have to be run all the time, and her cannons are described as being both cracked (indicative of being poorly cast) and having a low shot weight (4 pounds in an era when even small warships often carried 12 or 18 pound guns).
- The opening of Relient K's song Breakdown
Oh what a lousy excuse for a car.
One mile to go, but I can't push it that far.
- "Rust In My Car" by New Zealand supergroup Citizen Band.
- The Dude's Torino from Dutch Pinball's The Big Lebowski, which includes rust stains, a broken headlight and a front bumper tied to the hood with rope. To add insult to injury, it doubles as a "bash toy" that the player hits to score points.
- The Jack Benny Program: Jack Benny's Maxwell. Originally a tape recording, its distinctive clattering, spluttering, squawking noise was later made by voice acting legend Mel Blanc.
- The Goon Show featured Henry 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.
- Car Talk: 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.
- In Cabin Pressure, GERTI, the sole airplane of MJN Air, is an Alleged Aeroplane. Her systems regularly break down. Parts fall off of her. She's perpetually on the verge of breaking down permanently and putting MJN out of business.
Douglas Richardson: Most people have to stop and think before saying, "Aeroplane."
- 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.
- The Hetzer Wheeled Assault Gun is 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. Compare it to the Demolisher and you'll see why the latter excels in every possible way at the expense of the former. All that said, it is not unreasonable when you consider that the Hetzer 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 to their own forces 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 that was a massive Flawed Prototype. 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). Another Alleged BattleMech was the Matar, a 110-ton superheavy Mech designed during the Amaris Civil War as a machine intended to withstand an entire BattleMech company assault. It was quickly reduced to a fiasco and thus became known as "Amaris' Folly" when the leg actuators shut down during powered movement because of the extreme stresses it took for each of the actuators to undergo; the project was scrapped and Amaris' faction eventually lost the war when they could not find new ideas to overcome Aleksandr Kerensky's forces.
- The optional "Design Quirks" rules introduced in the Strategic Operations rule book adds a number of negative quirks to combat assets due to poor quality standards or designs, such as "Poor Workmanship" (more easily destroyed by a Critical Hit), "Poor sealing" (requires piloting checks to ensure the cockpit remains hermetically sealed), among a host of others like poor targeting computers and sensor suites.
- 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.
- The Eldar Wave Serpent had this problem for a long time in actual gameplay, since it combined relatively poor stats with a complete lack of any official model. Since the rules intended it to be the Eldar's primary troop transport, Eldar players used it anyway. Some of the custom figures made to represent it were awesome, others not so much.
- 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 Grand Theft Auto IV a few of the cars come in a 'beater' variant which is in horrible condition, with rusty bodywork, oxidized paint, missing panels and inferior performance (also, they backfire constantly). This one is a perfect example◊, and yes, that is duct-tape holding one of the windows in. And some of them even have alarms.
- The rusty beater cars in Grand Theft Auto V often even have trouble starting.
- Beater cars such as the Tampa were introduced to the series in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, with the sole intention of being customized by the player (also a new addition to the series.) These cars specifically were designed to allow for the maximum number of modifications and thus became the best cars in the game.
- There's also beater Glendales and Sadlers found in San Andreas in the woods that can't be fixed due to them actually being separate, pre-damaged models internally named GLENSHIT and SADLSHIT respectively.
- 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.
- TIE Fighter introduced the T-Wing, which was this for the Rebels. It was a rushed, poorly constructed replacement for the A-Wing, with poor maneuverability and an outdated navi-computer. The Rebels quickly realized this and decided it was best to just sell them to third parties for some quick cash. Surprisingly, the craft actually became quite popular in the Outer Rim thanks to the cheap parts, and probably some illegal tune ups. It's not much of a stretch given that, among their primary buyers, were pirates.
- 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!
- Kerbal Space Program runs the gamut of alleged vehicles; rocket ships, planes, cars, with their allegedness being augmented or removed by the Design-It-Yourself Equipment. Rocket ships run into the obvious issue of exploding right after takeoff or with players forgetting to pack parachutes for the landing; in fact, there's a Game Mod specific built to prevent this with pre-mission checklists. Cool Planes frequently clip their jet engines off during takeoff if the player sets the landing gear too far forward. Rover wheels will catastrophically explode if run too fast, causing the vehicle to frequently roll wildly out of control.
- The main character's buddy's car in Showtime at the Gallows.
Hell on four wheels would be a better title for Steve's car, but of course Hell can't be nearly as disorderly. It certainly has the heat of a nightmarish inferno, but with all the junk scattered all over the floors, you're afraid the underworld wins in the neatness department. The decrepit state of the 'inferno' is intensified by a roaring noise that comes from the back of the car. Seemingly all the makings of purgatory...to go.
- The Saboteur has some delightful wrecks, such as the Corino LX Junker ("Junker" is actually part of its name). These vehicles are covered in rust, often have old furniture strapped to the roof, blow thick black smoke when accelerating (if you could call it that), and have a wobbling back wheel. At least their top speed is better than walking... unless it has undergone serious damage, in which case walking is actually faster.
- Beam NG has 3 alleged cars: the Ibishu Pigeon, a Reliant Robin/Piaggio Ape Expy, the stanced Ibishu Pessima, which is essentially a 90s sedan with no shock absorbers and the basic engine and the beater Ibishu Covet, which is a dirty 80s hatchback that constantly overheats, has blown struts and trim pieces from several trim levels.
- The (at this moment of writing Early Access) videogame Jalopy is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: you (the player) and your character's uncle embark through a Road Trip Plot through post-Glasnost Eastern Europe, riding a two-stroke car (an Expy of the Trabant called the "Laika") that takes twenty-two seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph and will see high maintenance through the journey (although exactly how high, though, will depend on the player's choices).
- One of the first favors you have to perform in Sleeping Dogs involves driving one of these into the harbor. The owner needs the insurance money to pay her husband's medical bills. Wei suggests selling it before being asked to crash it. The car is in pretty bad shape (one hit would probably render it inoperable) and it's quite obvious no one would buy it for a decent price.
- My Summer Car is all about this. You build the car from scratch, and unless you have exact knowledge of how to build a car from a frame and hundreds of parts, it's going to end up like this.
- ''Beam NG.drive" features a few examples:
- The Ibishu Pigeon is an unstable 3-wheeler that has a top speed of 65 mph.
- The stanced Ibishu Pessima has virtually no ride height and very crappy handling.
- The beater Ibishu Covet has a 1.5 carburetted engine with a blown head gasket, broken shocks, worn tires and dirt/rust textures all around.
- One scenario has you driving a cement mixer that not only likes to tip over the corners, but also loses parts as you drive it.
- The parts actually fall off so quickly that it is hard to complete the challenge (which takes about 4 minutes) without everything falling off before the truck reaches the finish.
- 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.
- Highway Blossoms: Marina's car (in fact her brother's) died of old age in the middle of the road, thus initiating the plot. When it was stolen later, it turned out it wasn't worth much more than scrap metal it was made from.
- Parodied with the Gremlin in Homestar Runner, which has only ever been seen sitting in place in the middle of a field, so it's probably just an old broken-down abandoned car. That didn't stop Strong Bad from trying to take it on a road trip in one Strong Bad Email. As he said at the end of the episode:
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.
- And even as a prop car to just sit in and pretend to drive, it's questionable, because the doors only open from the outside.
- The Weaselmobile in GEOWeasel, also known as Weas's mom's station wagon, tops out at, not five, but seven miles per hour.
- 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.
- Lovingly nicknamed "Ratmobile" in Stand Still, Stay Silent seems to be this... but luckily, they end up with better one, called "Catmobile" by fans. Good, because Ratmobile fell apart when they walked past it.
- In Girl Genius, one strip involves Agatha receiving a...rather poorly maintained walking house.
- Eric Remington's, as seen in this strip of Loserz.
- Project 0: Owen doesn't think too highly of the Buggy, but it's Aatu's vehicle of choice. But, as a bunch of 13 year olds, they're lucky to have a car at all.
- In Scary Go Round, Esther deGroot drives a car like this.
Esther: "I have a surprise for you," says my dad. "You know that car Hitler liked so much? I made you one out of rust."
- Commander Kitty has the CC Pomatus, CK's ship which has an "engine" instead of an engine room, a faulty transporter, a snarky, uncooperative AI, and an armory five decks below the main gun.
- In Inhuman Relations, Fred's clunker of a stationwagon leaves a trail of smoke wherever it goes. That is, when it's not stalled.
- In Rhapsodies, Paul’s drives a 1975 Station wagon which still keeps going much to everyone’s amazement. (He doesn't know what the millage is since the odometer broke sometime after he moved to the Northwest.)
- The Schetch Pad has quite a few of these, including Finn's own 50-year-old Volkswagen.
- 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
- Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee:
- The DeLorean lives up (down?) to its reputation when Jerry Seinfeld picks up Patton Oswalt and it becomes the first car in the series to break down.
- The second car to break down on the series was the Siata 8V he uses to pick up Steve Martin. Before he even gets going, he tries out the controls and breaks the turn signal off.
- 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.
- Roadkill is built around this trope. They take an old beater of a car and take it on some grand adventure. There are far too many to list. Some notable examples:
- The "Draguar" that had to be given a car wash every few miles to prevent it from overheating.
- The Datsun 240Z that puked oil all over the track, broke frequently, and almost got them bounced from their event for being a general hazard.
- And the 1975 Corvette with no windshield, gutted interior, and brakes so bad, they did a slow down slide around on a stop sign and got pulled over.
- General Mayhem, a Charger (well, some of it is) with a motorhome engine (later replaced by a Hellcat engine) and some parts out of a wreck that died on them at the "24 Hours of Lemons" event (a whole racing competition specifically for Alleged Cars!) and some improvised bits. Authorities refused to register it.
- The Gremlin project car was not in good shape when it raced against a Prius, but the Prius lost hands-down by rolling to a halt after emitting "A Suffusion Of Yellow" halfway around the first lap. It had blown the engine block open, so they took it out into the desert to be crushed under a Chieftan MBT. They still have the Gremlin.
- Episode 5 featured a challenge to see who could get the most attention for the money on their way out to a cover shoot out of town, the two contenders being a new rental Lamborghini and a Model A rat rod borrowed from Sailor Jerry, with an overwhelming gender divide - all males they encountered wanted the Italian supercar while all females encountered wanted the rat rod - after getting the thing to stop doing its Old Faithful act, whilst dealing with its lack of instrumentation (it stopped, so obviously you're out of fuel) lack of comfort (you pull the door shut with string tied to the door's inner structure, as it has no interior lining) and low ground clearance (the first thing it does upon leaving the Motor Trend carpark is delay their breakfast out by over an hour, byh running aground on the kerb interface and resisting all attempts to budge it for over 45 minutes).
- In one episode of A Couple of Cunts in the Countryside, Cammy says that you could make Duncan's car break down by giving it a "quite hard dick slap."
- Regular Car Reviews: Mr. Regular's 2007 Honda Fit, "Silicone Sally". It's got 110,000 miles on it, it's not as powerful or fast as the car it replaced, and it's filled with enough silicone leak sealant to eliminate any resale value.
- The Chevy Chevette they reviewed takes it even further making a whopping 23 horsepower, an air cleaner that was non-serviceable until Justin got a third party one that could be, and was designated "Unsafe for highway use" when it was released
- Pretty much any car that is featured on Hoovie's Garage
- The Simpsons:
- Crazy Vaclav, whose cars are prone to breaking down, and were made in countries that no longer exist. But they can go a dozen hectares on a single can of kerosene. (And for those of you playing at home, a hectare is a unit of area, not length)
- Comic Book Guy's car, a "Kremlin", isn't much better. As he brags in the game the episode "Brake My Wife, Please", "I can't drive 55, 'cause it only goes 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!
Ned: I CAN'T! IT'S A GEO!
- 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 "1992 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).
- The Planet Express ship zigzags this trope. The characters make several comments on how poorly designed and ugly it is (the Professor even claiming that it's been known to fall apart just sitting in the hangar), the reactor is held together by tape, and up until the third movie it is quite literally fuelled by shit (well, dark matter, but since that's Nibbler's faeces...). But on the other hand, it can take a ludicrous amount of punishment from just about anything, and still fly, even when Fry is the one at the wheel.
- There's this jewel:
- 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.
Wade: In the meantime, you can work on your... um...
Kim: Car. It's called a car, Wade.
Wade: Uh... technically, I'm not so sure.
- In Daria, almost every car that doesn't belong to Daria's family is one of these.
- Tom's Pinto. Eventually, his mother has this car hauled away in the middle of the night. He replaces it with another, which Daria describes as something you'd want to get a tetanus shot before handling.
- Mystik Spiral's affectionately named "Tank". It "was a van at one point", but breaks down so frequently that Jane has memorized the exact number of seconds you need to wait to hit its dashboard to make it go again.
- Trent's Plymouth Satellite. It overheats constantly, and Jane sarcastically refers to it as "an adventure on wheels."
Daria: What about your car?
Trent: It'll be here in the morning. No-one ever steals it; not sure why.
- In Mission Hill, Jim knows Andy hates the Bilgemobile.
- In the Garfield and Friends episode "Lemon Aid," Jon wins one of these in a contest and foolishly sold away his own car before seeing it.
- 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 Bulletproof Bomb is a sedan of the 1920's driven by the Ant Hill Mob. Their special method to boost the car's speed is poking their feet through the floor of the car, lifting the car from the ground and running away in a similar fashion to Fred Flinstone and his cave car.
- The Venture Bros. has Henchman #24's powder blue Nissan Stanza.
- The five-part DuckTales (1987) 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 driveable condition.
Dan: Yes! That's the one!
- Stanley Ipkiss's indiscriminate-model clunker, complete with a portable driver's side door, from The Mask. (It's based on "The Loaner" from the movie - and the lack of door serves as a Call-Back to the scene where it breaks down.)
- 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 bug 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 and 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.
- The Technodrome from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987). It is a legitimately deadly war machine, when it works. Unfortunately for the bad guys that's almost never. Many a scheme was hatched just to get the darn thing running and it would remain trapped at the bottom of the ocean or in the arctic for entire seasons at a time.
- 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 & 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 resilient 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.
- Tom and Jerry: The short Blue Cat Blues (yes, the infamous short that ends with the title characters committing suicide by sitting on a railroad track) has Tom buying a car reminiscent of a Ford model T from a used car dealer, complete with a bulb reed horn and malfunctioning engine. It soon gets run over and squashed flat by the Absurdly Long Limousine being driven by his rival.
- A variant in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Granny Smith refers to the Apples' wagon as a jalopy long after its wheels have broken off in "Pinkie Apple Pie". They cobble the pieces together into a raft, which survives a plunge down a waterfall only to fall apart when Pinkie Pie gently touches down on it, then build a sledge from the remains to drag their surviving luggage for the rest of the trip.
- In a short for the spinoff My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, Applejack and Big Mac find one of these to serve as the tour bus for the girls' band. It's so dilapidated that it falls apart as soon as AJ bangs on the fender. Subverted later in the short, when the girls manage to turn it into a Cool Car with the help of their powers.
- When Count Duckula wants to break the land-speed record, Igor builds him a car to do so. Sort of.
Duckula: Uh, are you sure this will be all right at 700 miles per hour?
Igor: It is wind-tunnel tested, m'lord.
Nanny: Is that when you stood it in the corridor and fanned it with your hand?
Igor: Silence Nanny!
Nanny: Only bits fell off it then.