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Casual Car Giveaway

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"He tosses his keys to a random old black guy sitting on the sidewalk. The man is outraged, and in Wolfman Jack's voice yells, 'What do I look like, a valet?' How dare you, sir? How dare you mistake me, a guy with nothing better to do than sit on the sidewalk in the middle of the night, for a lowly valet? But there's no racial stereotyping going on here. Dalton tells the man, 'Keep it. It's yours.' The man looks at the keys, and with a brief grunt heads over to his new ride. And we all know you don't need anything else to assume ownership of a car, like, say, the car's title or any other sort of paperwork. That's Dalton for you; He just passes along his worldly possessions like it's his katra."

In fiction, if characters no longer need their car, bike or any other vehicle, they can just hand over the keys to the first guy they see. No need to worry about insurance, registration or any documentation whatsoever. You can just hand over your old vehicle and go about your business.

Contrast Hero Stole My Bike, where the hero needs a vehicle, and thus takes it from the first guy he sees. See also Undead Tax Exemption, for a different "no paperwork needed" trope.



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  • In the TSCC Reunion, Sarah Connor leaves a vehicle she has just used in an area where there are some gangsters hanging around, with the keys there to let it get stolen after she has wiped it down. They don't, Cameron takes it first.

  • In Road House, when Dalton is leaving, he gives the keys to his old car to a nearby bum, as humorously described by The Agony Booth in the page quote.
  • Star Trek (2009): When Kirk is leaving for Starfleet Academy, he hands his motorcycle over to one of the construction workers at the dock:
    Construction Worker: Nice bike.
    Kirk: (tossing the keys) It's yours.
  • The Studebaker in The Muppet Movie gets traded in with relative ease.
  • In Tommy Boy, when Tommy and Richard go to the airport, they drive up to the main entrance, where a guard tells them they aren't allowed to park there, prompting Richard to say "Uh, keep it!" (the car was basically falling apart at this point).
  • Michael ditches a truck outside an airport in Over the Top. In the Rifftrax commentary for the movie, Mike Nelson helpfully informs listeners that "You can't park there/You keep it" exchanges are legally binding contracts in over 15 states.
  • In American Pop, Tony takes his family's car as far away from New York as he can. Once he gets to California, he leaves it to the many hitchhikers he picked up along the way—then, at the last second, he tells them it's stolen, scaring most of them away.
  • At the end of Smokey and the Bandit, Big Enos gives Bo the keys to his convertible, leaving him with an even dozen.
  • Played with in Stripes. When John and Russell arrive at the Army recruiting center, they park in front of a Morguelan Walsh storefront:
    Street Guy: You can't park that car here!
    Russell: We're not parking it - we're abandoning it.
  • At the start of Pay It Forward, Chris (the reporter) witnesses a hostage situation at a house. The guy doing the hostage escapes from the house, crashing into Chris' car as he leaves. A guy then gives Chris his car as part of the 'pay it forward' cycle.
  • Played with in Psycho. On the run from the law and growing increasingly paranoid, Marion decides to trade in her car. She heads to a car dealership and buys the first car she sees without giving it a test drive. The car salesman lets her do it and she drives off with a new car in a few minutes, but the salesman becomes suspicious and tips off the police, later allowing investigators to trace her whereabouts.

  • In the end of the first Molly Moon book, Molly does give away her car to a somewhat randomly chosen man. However, she also gives away the documentation of the ownership, telling the man to simply sign the papers, and then the car will be his.
  • At the beginning of the first Jack Blank book, Jazen Knight drives his luxury car to a marina. A parking cop says he can't park there. Jazen tells the parking cop that he can park the car wherever he wants because the car now belongs to him.
  • In Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the book opens with Thompson and his attorney picking up a hitch-hiker as they drive to Las Vegas in a brand-new fireapple-red convertible. The kid's never ridden in a convertible before, and Thompson considers just giving it to him.
  • In JC Pollock's Threat Case, the villain, a Professional Killer hired to assassinate the President of the United States, murders a man and steals his car to continue his trip to New York (where the President will be appearing). Once in New York, a hooker hops in his car to solicit him, so he tells her to keep it and he tosses her the keys, takes his duffel bag with his Sniper Rifle and gets out. The narration mentions the car was stripped for parts within hours.

    Live-Action TV 

  • On Seinfeld, Jerry gets rid of a car infected with unbelievable B.O. by driving it to a bad neighborhood and leaving it with the keys in front of a shady-looking guy. The guy steals it immediately... and regrets it just as quickly.
  • In an episode of Life, Charlie decides that his luxury car is too obvious (there are criminals looking for him) so he offers to exchange cars with someone driving an old beater who stops next to him at the traffic lights. Once the other guy realises Charlie is serious, he happily makes the trade.
  • On Night Court, in the episode where Bull believed God spoke to him and told him to give away all he has. He gave his car to a woman, but unlike many examples here, he is actually shown giving her the registration.
  • The Hustle crew do it in "Big Daddy Calling", swapping their Cadillac for an old beat-up pickup truck as they flee Las Vegas.
  • In the Top Gear American special, when the guys arrive in New Orleans, a year after Katrina, they were supposed to sell their cars for whatever they could get for them. They instead decide to give the cars away, after seeing the condition the city is in. Subverted in that they couldn't find anyone who would take the cars.
    • Jeremy and Richard could, but James couldn't. And a lawyer threatened to sue for misrepresentation over Jeremy's car's model year.
  • In Breaking Bad, the Salamanca cousins give away a car they had been using to a family in exchange for some of their clothes. They could've just taken the clothes, but they apparently didn't need the car anymore.
  • Thunderbirds: In "City of Fire", one of the guys overseeing the rescue gives Scott his car when he has to go to Thunderbird 2 to pick up the Mole. (He probably got it back afterwards.)
  • In Alien Nation, Detective Sykes and Albert, the squad's Almighty Janitor, both bought lottery tickets in one episode. Sykes announced that he would use the winnings to buy a fancy sports car, while Albert admited that he would want to plant trees around the city. Albert ended up winning the lottery, and bought Sykes a sports car because he wanted to see Sykes happy. After realizing that the upkeep on the car would cost more than he could afford on a detective's salary, Sykes finally sold the car and used the money to buy trees for Albert to plant.
  • In Fargo episode "Who Rules the Land of Denial", Paul Marrane lets Nikki have his green beetle under the condition she delivered a message "to the wicked".
  • Smallville: In "Exile" Clark's "Kal" persona smashes some ATMs, steals the cash and uses it to pay for a luxury car. Later, when a random guy compliments him on it, he tosses them the keys and says "You like it? It's yours."

  • Happens in the music video of Stratovarius' "Hunting High and Low", where the protagonist gives his car to a pair of hobos, as part of spiritual liberation from his former life.

    Real Life 
  • A lot of Trabants were just given away shortly after the reunification of Germany.
  • In 2004, Oprah gave away cars to members of her studio audience. She did not pay the taxes on them, as befits this trope, and since this is real life the recipients were stuck with huge tax bills. In a later giveaway in 2010 she promised to pay the taxes, though there were questions about how accurate the amount was.
  • Recommended once you finish the Mongol Rally. The Mongol Rally is where the racers attempted to follow the path of the Mongol invasion in the middle ages. Usually with The Alleged Car. However exceptions are made for vehicles that Mongolia really needs. So they'll allow you to have a Cool Car on the expectation that you sell it the locals afterwards.