%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1517664575060897700
%% Please do not replace or remove without starting a new thread.

Derived from the live-action comedy film ''Film/TheGreatRace'', ''Wacky Races'' is a Creator/HannaBarbera cartoon production where 11 outlandish vehicles compete in absurd cross-country races. [[HilarityEnsues Hilarious hijinks ensue]], partly due to whatever area they are racing through, but mostly due to the absurd lengths to which one racer (Dick Dastardly, the quintessential DastardlyWhiplash) goes to cheat and sabotage the race, even though these attempts backfire in the end and cause him to always finish in last place (if he even finishes at all).

Creator/HannaBarbera gave co-credit for it to [[Creator/MerrillHeatter Heatter-Quigley]] (the producers of ''Series/TheHollywoodSquares'') on Creator/{{CBS}} [[SaturdayMorningCartoon Saturday morning]] in 1968, where ''Wacky Races'' marked the end of H-B's SuperHero adventure cycle and a return to slapstick comedy. Heatter-Quigley was to have provided a live game show segment in which children won prizes for predicting the outcome of the races; CBS nixed the plan, but Hanna-Barbera kept Heatter-Quigley in the end credits (even though the end copyright still reads "© 1968 by Hanna-Barbera Productions"). Subsequently, [[MoralGuardians Peggy Charren]], head of the organization Action for Children's Television, blackballed the show, charging that it enticed kids to make monetary wagers on the races' outcomes.

Many of the visual gags look suspiciously similar to those in [[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Road Runner]] cartoons, including the use of [[PaintedTunnelRealTrain painted scenery that people can enter, and fake railroad tracks that suddenly have trains running over them (and Dick Dastardly)]]. Michael Maltese, who wrote just about all of the Creator/ChuckJones Road Runner cartoons, was a writer for ''Wacky Races''.

The six voice actors were Creator/DawsButler, Creator/DonMessick, Creator/PaulWinchell, Creator/JanetWaldo, Creator/JohnStephenson and Dave Willock as the {{Narrator}}. In 1969, ''Wacky Races'' was rerun on CBS, along with its two spin-off series: ''WesternAnimation/DastardlyAndMuttleyInTheirFlyingMachines'' and ''WesternAnimation/ThePerilsOfPenelopePitstop''. (All three shows were widely syndicated in the 1970s and '80s.) In 1990, the cartoon was [[{{Revival}} revived]] as ''Fender Bender 500'', a part of the {{anthology}} show ''Wake, Rattle, and Roll''. In this incarnation, only Dastardly and Muttley returned (this time with a Mean Machine {{expy}} called the "Dirty Truckster") the roster was otherwise made up of [[{{Crossover}} classic Hanna-Barbera all-star characters]] like WesternAnimation/YogiBear and Huckleberry Hound.

The ''Wacky Races'' video game adaptation for the [[UsefulNotes/SegaDreamcast Dreamcast]] is notable for being one of the first games to use CelShading.

[[WesternAnimation/WackyRaces2017 A reboot of the series]] was announced in 2016 and started airing in 2017. Additionally, a new comic book reinterpretation by Creator/DCComics called ''ComicBook/WackyRaceland'' mashes the show up with a ''Film/MadMax'' inspired setting.

[[AC: Frequent Wacky Races Tropes:]]
* [[DickDastardlyStopsToCheat Dick Dastardly setting a trap for the other racers]], and inevitably [[HoistByHisOwnPetard getting caught in it]].
* Muttley snickering when Dastardly's plans backfire.
* The dragon in the belfry of the Creepy Coupe.
* Professor Pat Pending changing the shape of his Convert-a-Car.
* The Red Max flying over the other racers.
* Penelope Pitstop's beauty gadgets, built into her Compact Pussycat. She's also been shown cooking rotisserie chicken and popcorn under the car's hood (using heat from the engine).
* The Ant Hill Mob's getaway power: six pairs of legs protruding from the underside of the Bulletproof Bomb.
* Peter Perfect's Turbo Terrific falling apart, usually after [[TemptingFate him making a remark on how good, reliable and resilient it is]].
* The Slag Brothers hitting each other over the head with clubs which apparently makes the car run faster somehow.
* Radar displays during the race.

!!This series provides examples of:

* AbandonedMine: The Arkansas Chugabug's driver Luke once entered a subway and mistook the tunnel for an abandoned mine.
* AbhorrentAdmirer: The episode "The Super Silly Swamp Sprint" had Dick Dastardly's alligator disguise backfire when he got the attention of a smitten female alligator.
* TheAce: Peter Perfect. Well, he tries to be the best at everything, anyway. Considering how often the Turbo Terrific gets wrecked, he could qualify as a [[ParodySue Parody Stu]].
* AcePilot: The Red Max is a skilled pilot who rids a plane in the Wacky Races.
* AffectionateParody:
** By ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'', in the episode "Dexter's Wacky Races". They even use Hoyt Curtin's background music from ''Wacky Races'' as well as Ted Nichols' music from ''Motormouse and Autocat'' and ''WesternAnimation/ThePerilsOfPenelopePitstop''.
** One segment of ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls Rule'' also counts.
** There's also one episode of the old Gundam OVA series.
** ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' even gets in the act in the episode "Handicar." The racers are mainly comprised of some of the episode's characters, but they even throw in Dick Dastardly and Muttley as well (both looking long in the tooth after 45-plus years).
** The ''Anime/TimeBokan: Royal Revival'' OVA pitted its series' villains against one another for the ultimate prize of starring in the next series of the franchise.
* AllBalloonsHaveHelium:
** In the "The Great Cold Rush Race", Dastardly inflated an inflatable version of the Mean Machine from ''inside'' it to overtake the other cars into first place, but it backfired when Muttley tapped him on the back, inflating Dastardly.
** In "Whizzin' to Washington", Dastardly uses his breath to inflate a giant balloon hoping to send the other cars away by popping it. The balloon floats while Dastardly is inflating it, allowing the cars to pass.
* AllStereotypeCast: Features a couple of stereotypical cavemen, a RedBaron expy, a couple of army stereotypes, a mob of stereotypical gangsters, a supergenius scientist inventor, a lazy hillbilly with a pet bear, a stereotype lumberjack with a pet beaver, TheChick who is a GirlyGirl obsessed with her looks, and a DastardlyWhiplash-style villain. There's also a racer whose main trait is being a racer, who serves as this cast's "Normal Guy".
* TheAllegedCar: Ironically, Peter Perfect's Turbo Terrific is possibly the most fragile of the racecars, seeing as it falls in a heap at the slightest provocation.
* AlliterativeName: Almost everyone and everything has a name that's an alliteration. Examples include Penelope Pitstop, Peter Perfect, Dick Dastardly, the Creepy Coupe...
* AlternativeForeignThemeSong: The Japanese version had [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6EbzvVNh4I this]].
* {{Angrish}}: Muttley tends to grumble incoherently after being at the receiving end of a Dastardly DopeSlap.
* BadassMustache: Dick Dastardly has a nice mustache.
* {{Balloonacy}}: It happens to Dick Dastardly in at least two occasions including his own breath instead of helium. One was intentional and the other wasn't.
* BambooTechnology:
** The Slag Brothers' Bouldermobile is basically a rock on wheels that manages to function the same way as an ordinary car.
** Luke drives in the Arkansas Chug-A-Bug, which uses a stove as its power source.
** Rufus Ruffcut's Buzzwagon is completely made of wood with buzzsaws for wheels.
* BecomingTheGenie: [[spoiler:At the end of "The Dipsy Doodle Desert Derby", Dick Dastardly's genie laffs at his latest misfortune and Dastardly says he'd teach the genie to laff if they switched places. The genie then switches places with Dastardly.]]
* BehindAStick: In "Beat the Clock to Yellow Rock", there is a scene where Dastardly and Muttley hide behind a cactus that is much thinner than both of them.
* TheBigRace: True to the show's title, the series is always about the characters competing in races.
* BerserkerTears: Dick Dastardly sobs like a madman at the end of "Race Rally to Raleigh":
-->'''Dastardly:''' (''pissed after losing another race'') Oh, who wanted to win this old race, anyway? (''bursts into teary tantrum'') '''I''' DID!!! '''I''' WANTED TO WIN THE RACE!!! I ''NEVER'' GET TO WIN A RACE!!!
* BlindingCameraFlash: In one episode, Muttley photographs Penelope Pitstop during the race. Penelope is blinded so severely by the flash that she has to stop driving momentarily.
* BreakoutCharacter: Dick Dastardly And Muttley would star [[WesternAnimation/DastardlyAndMuttleyInTheirFlyingMachines in their own series]] after Wacky Races. The female racer, Penelope Pitstop, would get [[WesternAnimation/ThePerilsOfPenelopePitstop her own series]] as well, with The Anthill Mob joining her.
* BribeBackfire: In "Fast Track to Hackensack", Dick Dastardly changed a speed limit sign from 35 mph to '''85''' mph. When the Sheriff had the Ant Hill Mob stop, Ring-A-Ding tried to bribe him with a cigar, prompting the Sheriff to say Ring-A-Ding worsened the Mob's case for that.
* BrokenAesop: The ending of "Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist" has this. Dick Dastardly just won a race! And by legitimate means, too! How could...oh, it's been recalled and the trophy taken away because...the nose-cone of his car extended on an accordion-thing and crossed the finish line first? How is that gimmick any more deserving of disqualification than ''everything else on the show''? To add insult to injury, Peter Perfect wins a race in another episode by doing exactly that, and no one complains. Though admittedly, Peter's rear wheels were in front of the competitor behind him when he crossed the finish line, so an extension wouldn't really matter. Probably because StatusQuoIsGod. Dick Dastardly must always lose, no matter what the other racers do.
* CatchPhrase:
** "Drat and double drat!" for Dick Dastardly; "And the wacky beat goes on" for the {{Narrator}}.
** The Latin American Spanish dub has "¡Caracoles!", which was commonly heard in Latin American Spanish dubs of a number of Hanna-Barbera shows at least in the 1960s and 1970s.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Muttley, most notably in "Race to Racine", where he's supposed to sabotage the Ant Hill Mob from within, but ends up sabotaging Dastardly.
* CheatersNeverProsper: Played with. Almost ''everyone'' on the show cheats to some extent. However, Dastardly, who is outright malicious about it and deliberately tries to sabotage the other racers, does ''not'' prosper.
* CircusEpisode: In "Whizzin' to Washington", the Ant Hill Mob elude a motorcycle policeman by posing as a troupe of circus acrobats. Afterward, Dick Dastardly assumes the character of a circus ringmaster and has the mob perform a dangerous high dive.
* ComicBookAdaptation: Seven issues by Creator/GoldKeyComics, plus an appearance in ''Golden Comics Digest'' #2 and ''Hanna-Barbera Fun-In'' #5. Also two issues by Franchise/ArchieComics and a few by Creator/DCComics. In the Gold Key issues, the cars are shown running from left to right, whereas they go right to left on the TV show. Also, a running gag on some stories loosely adapted from TV episodes has Penelope Pitstop managing to eliminate Peter Perfect and Red Max by getting them to fight over her. Peter's car in the Gold Key series was called the Varoom Roadster (its working name) and the Ant Hill Mob's car was the Roaring Plenty (identified in the show as such once).
* ContemporaryCaveman: The Slag Brothers are a pair of hairy cavemen who have somehow made it to modern times. Their design was recycled for {{WesternAnimation/Captain Caveman|AndTheTeenAngels}} (except there was only one of him).
* CoolCar: All eleven of the racers have impressive cars.
* DamselInDistress: Penelope Pitstop finds herself in trouble quite often - a woman whose {{catchphrase}} is "[[UsefulNotes/AmericanAccents Hay-elp! ''HAY-elp!'']]"
* DastardlyWhiplash: Dick Dastardly is, of course,one of the {{Trope Namer}}s.
* DeliberatelyJumpingTheGun: There is often a racer, usually Dick Dastardly (of course) either starting the race before the opening shot or trying to do so.
* DickDastardlyStopsToCheat: The TropeNamer. In many cases, Dick Dastardly might actually ''win'' a race if he wasn't so insistent on setting traps to sabotage the other racers (which always end up backfiring on him).
** In most episodes it could be argued that he got that all-important lead not by having the fastest car or sabotaging the other racers, but by taking a short cut on the non-linear route. He'd technically still be in last place, but could place his traps ahead of all the other cars. When they were out of the race, he could return via his shortcut and drive the route properly. But there are also several races that are straight marathons, where it wouldn't work, AND HE STILL CHEATS!
** Averted by the Ant Hill Mob in "Free Wheeling to Wheeling" (which does win them the race):
--->'''Clyde:''' We'll never win at this rate unless we--\\
'''Ring-A-Ding:''' Cheat! Right, boss?\\
'''Clyde:''' Wrong!! Unless we lighten the load, you dum-dum!\\
'''Ring-A-Ding:''' *''as the Mob tosses out stolen money, machine guns, etc.''* Who says it pays to win? There goes our ill-gotten gains!
** Lampshaded in the ''Wacky Races'' comic book story "Follow Through to Yoo-Hoo" (Gold Key #4, August 1971). All the racers use a book called "How to Win a Race by Hook or Crook," written by Dick Dastardly himself.
** The unaired pilot for the revival ''Wacky Races Forever'' makes it a certainty. Dastardly (presumably the son of the original) is instructed by a figure in the employ of Peter Perfect (whose son Parker is racing) to just win the race, and he's a yard shy of the finish line, which Muttley points out. Dastardly bonks him on the head and firmly states, "No, Muttley, we can't win fairly. [[ContractualGenreBlindness We are villains...ergo, we ''have'' to cheat!!]]"
** One episode features a genie who has to grant Dastardly's wishes. Instead of merely wishing for a victory, he keeps trying to use the wishes to get rid of the other racers.
* DudleyDoRightStopsToHelp: Peter Perfect often stops to do a good deed or help someone in need in almost every episode. This cost him the race at least once as he screeched to a halt just before the finish line to avoid running over a cat that had wandered onto the track. Did earn him a new cat, though. Also, Professor Pat Pending frequently stops and uses his car's inventions to help others.
* DopeSlap: Dick often slaps Muttley whenever he does something dumb.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: They're called ''wacky'' racers for a reason. Luke sleeping behind the wheel and Penelope doing her make-up or even showering while racing are some of the milder stunts they pull.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: In "Scout Scatter", the Ant Hill Mob didn't hesitate before risking themselves to save a boy scout from a waterfall even if it meant increasing the chances the sheriff would catch up with them. (They escaped.)
** Toyed with. In the comic book story "The Scavenger Scramble," the last item on the racers' list is a parking ticket. Dick Dastardly parks the Mean Machine at the red curb in front of a police station, but the police coming out seem more interested in Dastardly's CoolCar than in enforcing any traffic laws. Dastardly loses his cool and ''demands'' a parking ticket.
* {{Expy}}: Dick Dastardly is based on the character of Professor Fate from the film ''The Great Race'', although his visual appearance is [[ComicBookFantasyCasting based on]] the British comedic villain actor Creator/TerryThomas.
* EyebrowWaggle: Muttley. Dick Dastardly does this at the end of "See Saw To Arkansas" when he stops his car just short of the finish line so he can [[LargeHam pose for the photo finish.]]
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: Dick Dastardly's car is much, much faster than the other racers, and would win if he followed the rules. Yet, he cheats and fails every time at it, and loses, often coming to a stop right before the finish line to watch everyone else pass it.
* TheFool: If you drove a car by reclining, sleeping and steering with your feet, you would drive about a hundred yards or so before crashing into something. Luke, however, does not need to worry about that. Although Blubber Bear does plenty of worrying for him.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: In a couple of episodes, Clyde calls Ring-A-Ding "Dum-dum." That would become Ring-A-Ding's name when the Ant Hill Mob appeared on ''WesternAnimation/ThePerilsOfPenelopePitstop.''
* FragileSpeedster: While Dastardly's Mean Machine is the fastest of the racers, it balances this out with its apparently poor structural integrity. Expect it to get wrecked at least OncePerEpisode.
* FreudianExcuse: In "Super Silly Swamp Sprint," Dick Dastardly laments that he became a bad guy because the other racers forced him to be one.
* FryingPanOfDoom: Penelope wields one in "Idaho a Go Go".
* GadgeteerGenius: Pat Pending is a genius inventor who drives the Convert-A-Car, a vehicle that can turn into anything that can give him an advantage in the race.
* GenerationXerox: In the ''Wacky Races Forever'' pilot, Peter and Penelope's children, Parker and Piper, are racing in vehicles strongly resembling those of their parents.
* GenieInABottle: In one episode, Dick Dastardly finds a bottle with a genie and becomes the genie's master. As the TropeNamer for DickDastardlyStopsToCheat, he never seems to realize he can easily wish to win the race.
* GogglesDoNothing: Peter Perfect, Penelope Pitstop, Sawtooth, and Dick Dastardly all have headgear with goggles that never cover their eyes. Red Max occasionally will have his goggles over his eyes.
* GoneSwimmingClothesStolen: In "Beat the Clock to Yellow Rock", a group of bear cubs steal the clothes of to the Ant Hill Mob while they're swimming in their underwear.
* GratuitousFrench: "Pierre Nodoyuna" (Dick Dastardly) in the Latin-American Spanish dub occasionally uses various French words and phrases such as "monsieur" and "mon ami".
* GravityIsAHarshMistress: in an extreme example of Gravitational Cognizance, the Army Surplus Special drives of a cliff, but cannot fall until Sergeant Blast has completed a detailed mathematical analysis which concludes that a tank cannot be supported by thin air.
* GreekChorus: The race announcer acted as one of these.
* HammeredIntoTheGround: In "Real Gone Ape", the circus ape beats Peter Perfect into the ground.
* HaveAGayOldTime: In "Speeding for Smogland", it's revealed that Penelope's car has a vibrating seat. At the time (and in the implication of the dialogue) it was a crank health fad, but nowadays it has differently funny implications when you see a young woman flick a switch on her dashboard marked "VIBRATOR".
* HisOwnWorstEnemy: Dick Dastardly would easily win all the races if he just stopped cheating. While his cheats always backfire, if he actually stopped cheating the episode would end in one minute at most.
* HonourBeforeReason: Peter Perfect tends to help out anyone who's been sabotaged. Especially Penelope.
** He even helps Dastardly in "The Super Silly Swamp Sprint," albeit after pulling him and Muttley out of the alligator-filled swamp, Peter throws them and their car in the back of the pack (after which they are catapulted from a tree into the front).
* HoppingMachine: One of the Convert-A-Car's alternate forms uses 'Pogo Power'.
* IdiotBall: [[RuleOfFunny Everyone would make an uncharacteristically stupid decision every now and then, especially if it would get a laugh.]]
* IneffectualSympatheticVillain: Dick Dastardly is technically the bad guy of the cartoon, but all he does is unsuccessfully try to win the race by cheating, and quite a few of his failures are hard not to pity.
* InjunCountry: The setting for the episode "Why Oh Why Wyoming", where the racers encounter [[TheSavageIndian Chief Crazy Buffalo]].
* InsultMisfire: From this exchange at the start of "Rhode Island Road Race":
-->'''Narrator:''' Leading the pack is Dick Dastardly, the Dracula of the drag strip.\\
'''Dick:''' I resent that remark.\\
'''Narrator:''' But do you deny it?\\
'''Dick:''' No, I just resent it!
* InteractiveNarrator: Quite so, one of the {{Ur Example}}s in WesternAnimation. The characters often respond to the narrator's statements.
* IWouldSayIfICouldSay: Done by one of the ghosts in "Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist": "I'd be bored out of my skull if I had a skull."
* LanternJawOfJustice: Peter Perfect is a good guy with a large chin.
* {{Leitmotif}}: Dick Dastardly had a very prominent theme, which played in pretty much every episode whenever he pulled a trick on the other racers. Penelope Pitstop also had a far less played motif as well.
* LimitedWardrobe: Everyone wears the same clothes all the time.
* LiteralMinded: Numerous examples (in the interest of wordplay).
** At least one example cost a racer first place; in "By Rollercoaster to Upsan Downs", when Sgt. Blast told Pvt. Meekley to "head for that finish line, and step on it", Meekley hurried to the finish line ''on foot'' and planted his foot firmly on the line. He then had to watch as Red Max, the Slag Brothers, and Lazy Luke and Blubber crossed the line in their cars and took the top three spots.
** Muttley was also prone to this from time to time; when Dick Dastardly is trapped on the spray from a whale's blowhole in "Eeny Miney, Missouri Go!", he tells Muttley, "Do something! Anything!" Whereupon Muttley does a tap dance... which does qualify as doing something, just not something relevant.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: The series has a total of 23 characters.
* LuckyTranslation: The Brazilian translation saw the Slag Brothers being translated as "Irmãos Rocha". Irmãos = Brothers, and Rocha, which happens to be a common surname in Portuguese, means Rock. The net result is their name being more 'plausible' in Portuguese than in English.
* MadScientist: Professor Pat Pending is a relatively mild version of this. He isn't exactly insane, but his inventions and the transformations done by his Convert-A-Car leave little doubt that he's a little odd.
* MascotVillain: Dick Dastardly and Muttley are the bad guys and easily the most iconic characters of the show, eventually getting a spinoff in the form of ''WesternAnimation/DastardlyAndMuttleyInTheirFlyingMachines''.
* TheMafia: The Ant Hill Mob are a group of mobsters.
* MilitaryMashupMachine: Three cars come to mind:
** Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly's ''Army Surplus Special'' is a combination of a halftrack, tank, and Model T with a pair of bazookas strapped to the sides as impromptu rocket boosters.
** The Red Max's ''Crimson Haybaler'' is essentially a WWI biplane with wheels, complete with a machine gun.
** To a lesser extent but still obvious is Dick Dastardly's own ''Mean Machine'' which looks like a combination of a [=MiG=]-21 fighter jet, a rocket, a race car, and some sort of predatory fish.
* MoralDissonance: Dick Dastardly set a lot of traps, yeah, but if the ''other'' contestants used their cars' special abilities (one was a tank, one had buzzsaws for wheels, one had a dragon in it, one was an airplane, one could turn into any type of vehicle its driver could imagine, etc.) to gain an advantage or even disable or destroy the other vehicles, nobody even batted an eye. Only Dick was considered to be cheating.
* MotionlessChin: Like many Hanna-Barbera cartoons, the characters' mouths move independently of their chins when they talk.
* NervousWreck: Blubber Bear is endlessly worried about things going bad for him and Luke.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed:
** Dick Dastardly was based on [[Creator/TerryThomas Terry-Thomas]]; Clyde, on Edward G. Robinson in ''Film/LittleCaesar'', and Red Max, on the World War I pilot Max Immelmann.
** "Free Wheeling to Wheeling" may indicate that Clyde was based on Clyde Barrow of Bonnie & Clyde fame:
--->'''Clyde:''' All right, you mugs...everybody out and push!\\
'''Ring-A-Ding:''' Aw, gee Clyde. Do we gotta?\\
'''Clyde:''' Maybe you'd rather I should tell Bonnie on you?
** Big Gruesome talks like Creator/BorisKarloff, while Little Gruesome's voice is an imitation of Creator/PeterLorre.
* NoFourthWall: Zig-zagged throughout the series as many of the drivers look to the camera and converse with the show's announcer. Most notably in "The Wrong Lumber Race" when Dastardly tries to take over:
-->'''Dastardly:''' And now the Double Zero takes the lead, it's gaining on one, and--\\
'''Announcer:''' Hold it, hold it, ''I'll'' do the talking here, Dastardly. ''You'' do the driving!
* TheNotableNumeral: The Gruesome Twosome.
* NonFatalExplosions: Occasionally, cars will blow up without causing any harm to the driver, the other racers, or anyone else who happened to be nearby.
* NonHumanSidekick: Rufus Ruffcut has Sawtooth (a beaver), Luke has Blubber Bear, and Dick Dastardly has Muttley (a dog).
* OpeningNarration: A very lengthy one introducing all the racers and their vehicles.
* PaintedTunnelRealTrain: In one episode, Dick Dastardly tries this trick to waylay an approaching Peter Perfect. Not only does Peter drive into the picture without ill effect, but a ''bus'' then drives out of it and runs over the apoplectic Dastardly.
* PantyShot: An episode has Penelope Pitstop with her laundry wind-drying from her car as she drives, and on the line we see a slip and a pair of panties.
* PercussiveMaintenance: The Bouldermobile. At one point the car pulls out its own club and hits back just before completely falling apart.
* PunnyName: The destination cities of some of the races include Ballpoint, Penn.; Deepinaharta, Texas; and Wotwill, Delaware.
* {{Revival}}: A made-for-TV movie, ''Around the World With the Wacky Racers'', was planned for 1988 (as part of the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 line of TV cartoon movies) but it was never carried out. The 1990 segment ''Fender Bender 500'' (part of the series ''Wake, Rattle and Roll'') is considered a revival of ''Wacky Races'' merely because it has Dastardly and Muttley in it. Also, ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nKKbXuilg4 Wacky Races Forever]]'', an unsold pilot for Cartoon Network featuring the son and daughter of Peter and Penelope (who got married), as well as Pat Pending (who, it seems, went gleefully insane, and who now seems willing to use attack abilities), and a cute vampire girl and her companion subbing for the Gruesome Twosome.
* RhymesOnADime: Some episode titles fall into this: "See Saw to Arkansas," "Beat the Clock to Yellow Rock," "Idaho A-Go-Go," and "Mish Mash Missouri Dash."
* RoadRunnerVsCoyote: Follows the standard plot of the antagonist's efforts to defeat the hero(es) always being doomed to failure. Dick Dastardly never wins any of the races no matter what he does to put the other racers out of action.
* ScaryTeeth: Dick Dastardly and Viceroy are depicted with nasty-looking teeth in the ''Wacky Races Forever'' pilot.
* SergeantRock: Sergeant ''Blast'' calls the shots in the Army Surplus Special and is never soft on Private Meekley.
* SignatureTeamTransport: ''Every'' vehicle is one for its respective owner(s). They're all extremely representative of their pilots' personality.
* SillySpook: "Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist" has a pair of goofy ghosts in the abandoned saloon.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: Penelope Pitstop is the only woman among the racers. Iwao Takamoto said in a bonus feature on the ''Wacky Races'' DVD set that Penelope's creation was an afterthought, when he and Jerry Eisenberg noticed that all the racers to that point were male.
* SneezeOfDoom: In "Wacky Race to Ripsaw", Peter Perfect's car fell apart because of his sneeze. Then again, his car falls apart OnceAnEpisode.
* SouthOfTheBorder: "The Baja-Ha-Ha Race".
* SpeechImpairedAnimal: Muttley and Blubber Bear don't talk much.
* SpinOffspring: The ''Wacky Races Forever'' pilot featured two new racers known as Parker and Piper Perfect, who were established as being the children of Peter Perfect and Penelope Pitstop.
* StealthInsult: This exchange from the comic book adaptation of "Mish Mash Missouri Dash": (Gold Key #2, Feb. 1971):
-->'''Narrator:''' Let's face it, Dick. You're just a born loser. You've got nothing.\\
'''Muttley:''' Snaffacrassin Frassin...(translated: "What do you mean 'nothing'? He's got ''me,'' hasn't he?")\\
'''Dick:''' That's ''exactly'' what the man meant!
* StockFootage: Some drivers' dashboards are recycled to cut animation costs.
* TeamRocketWins: Although Dastardly and Muttley never won a race in the original series (not even on a technicality), a few episodes of the ''Fender Bender 500'' had them win for once. Even ''they'' were surprised.
** In the Dreamcast version, going through the rigamarole of tasks necessary to unlock Dastardly is worth it just to win a race as him and listen to the narrator's either disgusted or bewildered reaction.
** In the comic books, Dick won twice ("The Scavenger Scramble," Gold Key #7; "Trek to Tanzania," Archie Comics #1), but in each case there was a catch to the victory.
** Lampshaded and subverted in "Whizzin' to Washington," in which Dastardly passes everyone en route to finish first ''without'' cheating only to suddenly stop:
--->'''Announcer:''' The Double Zero has yet to cross the finish line. What happened, Dick?\\
'''Dastardly:''' I stopped to give somebody my autograph.\\
'''Announcer:''' You're kidding. Who would want ''your'' autograph?\\
'''Dastardly:''' *''pointing to Muttley, who holds a note pad with Dastardly's autograph''* Him!!!
** "See-Saw to Arkansas" had a similar lampshading/subversion; on the home stretch, Dick Dastardly is dead level with Red Max, the Gruesome Twosome, and Rufus Ruffcut, and the announcer declares that they will need a photo finish - a declaration which gets Dastardly's attention. When the photograph is taken, Red Max, the Gruesome Twosome and Rufus Ruffcut are shown to have taken first, second and third, respectively... while the Mean Machine has stopped just short of the finish line, and Dick Dastardly and Muttley are posing next to it. The announcer declares Dastardly a [[LargeHam big ham]], to which Dastardly and Muttley chuckle.
** Dick and Muttley are about to cross the finish line first in "Speeding For Smogland", but it wouldn't count--due to a multi-car collision that catapults three other drivers from the vehicles, they wind up in the Arkansas Chuggabug. The narrator tells Dick and Muttley that crossing the finish line in the wrong car constitutes a disqualification.
* {{Thememobile}}: All of the cars are themed on their drivers. The lumberjack drives a car with buzzsaw wheels, TheMafia drive a 1920s sedan, etc.
* ThinChinOfSin: Dick Dastardly has a pronounced chin that reaches almost as far forward as his nose. This is the villain with the fastest car in the Wacky Races yet never wins because DickDastardlyStopsToCheat.
* ThoseMagnificentFlyingMachines: Most notably Red Max and his Crimson Haybailer, also Professor Pat Pending and his Convert-a-Car and the Gruesome Twosome's Creepy Coupe. On occasion, the other cars will take flight as well.
* TransformingMecha: Professor Pat Pending's Convert-a-Car can turn into anything.
* TricksterArchetype: Dick Dastardly. Sure, he can win the race by playing fair, but he insists playing the race his way. Of course he loses, but he keeps coming back for more. "The Super Silly Swamp Sprint" has Dastardly saying the other racers forced him to be a bad guy in a clear case of CrocodileTears, as he adds: "I don't ''want'' to use those destructive machines but they leave me with no other choice."
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Dick Dastardly's plans to hinder the other racers only worked out (temporarily) on the very rare occasions when he didn't explain them out loud beforehand.
* VehicularSabotage: Messing up the other racers' vehicles is a standard Dick Dastardly tactic in the ''Wacky Races'', to try to get a leg up on the competition.
* WackyRacing: This show is the TropeNamer. The premise of the series is that it's a racing event where everyone's cars have gadgets and gimmicks they use to try and win the race.
* WeaponizedCar: Most of the male racers have some kind of combat capability (a cannon, buzzsaws, ''a dragon''...)
* WiperStart: In one episode, Sergeant Blast ends up in the Compact Pussycat [Penelope Pitstop's car]. Trying to stop it, he activates the controls that apply face powder and lipstick. Granted, these are not standard controls in a car, but it does raise the question of why he thought the brakes would be activated by a button on the dashboard. Meanwhile, over in the Army Surplus Special, Penelope winds up firing the cannon.
* WrenchWhack: In one occasion, Muttley covers his head with a bucket under the belief that Dick Dastardly will hit him bare-handed (if the gloves he wears don't count) as usual but Dastardly uses a wrench instead.
* YouDidntAsk: In "Baja-Ha-Ha Race", the Mean Machine gets stuck on mud until a donkey pulls it out. To make sure his rivals won't be as lucky, Dick Dastardly buys the donkey. When Penelope Pitstop gets stuck, the seller calls another donkey to pull her car. Dastardly protests that the seller didn't say he had another donkey and the seller replies that Dastardly didn't ask and he has several donkeys.