Peter: How much?
Ray: Only forty-eight hundred [dollars].note
[Venkman looks shocked]
Ray: Maybe new rings, also mufflers, a little wiring...
It was cheap, it was affordable, it was there. It's a car... allegedly. And it has many maladies you choose to interpret as charming quirks. It tops out at about 40 miles per hour (45 going downhill). It breaks down a lot, especially during plot-critical moments, and gets parking tickets while in motion. It needs to have special-order replacement parts since the dealer, manufacturer, and country it came from no longer exist. The only parts that aren't about to fall off are the ones firmly rusted in place. It has more duct tape than paint on it, has been in the newspaper for accidents more times than on the road, and looks like it came out of a junkyard.
In other words, it stands accused of being a motorized vehicle, but this has yet to be proven in a court of law.
The polar opposite of the Cool Car. Often found on the Neglected 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 rusty junker. Compare and contrast Sinister Car, which is in perfect technical shape, but can be even more dangerous to its driver and bystanders than the Alleged Car. May or may not go hand in hand with Drives Like Crazynote .
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.
If a horse, a house, or a computer gets this treatment, then you're respectively dealing with The Alleged Steed, The Alleged House, 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 (or worse, an alleged bicycle) will be part of a Real Vehicle Reveal. It may have been purchased at Honest John's Dealership. May or may not suffer a Critical Existence Failure. See also Resurrect the Wreck. This may overlap with Sentimental Shabbiness.
Real Life examples have their own page. Two of them. 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.
- Live-Action TV
- Real Life
- Real Life - Other Vehicles (motorcycles, military, aircraft, spacecraft, rail transport, watercraft)
- Big Bill Hell's, by virtue of being a parody of car dealership ads, freely admits that the cars they sell are total pieces of crap that are prone to breaking down, but think that you're so stupid, you'll still fall for their sales pitch and buy one anyway.
Bad deals! Cars that break down! Thieves! If you think you're gonna find a bargain at Big Bill's , you can kiss my ass!
- A Chicago icon: The car from the Victory Auto Wreckers commercial, in constant rotation (with minor updates) since 1985.
- 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.
- 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 (who are assigned to pilot it because they're the only ones capable of getting it moving again should it break down in the middle of a match), but it still has a much higher mechanical failure rate that the team's other panzers.
- When they're first found, all of Oarai's tanks are treated this way, as they're the bottom-of-the-barrel machines that the school couldn't sell when the Tankery program ended 20 years ago and they've been left sitting with no maintainence and most of them exposed to the elements.
Hana: At least they have personality, wouldn't you say?Saori: I believe the word you're looking for is "rust."
- GTO: The Early Years: Shinomi's friend Kyoko drives a car that's so beat up, Shinomi has to get in through the window since the door won't open. And then the door falls off while they're driving.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders double subverts this: Wheel of Fortune first appears as a slow, dirty clunker that causes our heroes some annoyance on the road. Then it turns into a deadly Cool Car when it's revealed to be an enemy Stand; then, after ZZ is defeated and his Stand fades away, the car that it was possessing turns out to be a barely-operable scrapheap.
- The Mysterious Cities of Gold has The Alleged Ship — the Esperanza is a rotten, leaky old wreck that somehow hasn't been scrapped yet. How they expect her to survive the Straits of Magellan is anyone's guess. Amazingly, they do survive the straits. The storm they encounter afterward, however...
- 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.
- 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 VWs 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.
- The Firesign Theatre album Eat or Be Eaten features a game sponsored by the new Recall by Kamikaze Motors, among its listed traits is that it is rated 'The #1 Most Advertised Car by ''Road and Hearse Magazine'', has a plastic brake system "with the look of real metal," has easily jammed doors, windows that don't open, and seatbelts that are non-functional except to break a window to escape.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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).
- 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 Boys features an Alleged Plane in the VAC Grizzly, loosely based on certain other military-industrial duds. It was rushed out the door to get that sweet World War II military contract dosh, and it showed. Its biggest flaw aside from bad reliability was that to achieve the range necessary for a carrier aircraft, the Grizzly featured fuel tanks just about everywhere they could fit one—including under the pilot seat—which meant that even a few stray shots would usually cause the Grizzly to catch fire. Naturally, with a sterling product like that under their belts, you should see their super-soldier project.
- Condorito: The title character still drives a dilapidated Ford T-type 1920s-era crank-start roadster most of the time.
- Disney Ducks Comic Universe gives us Donald Duck's famous Belchfire Runabout, license number 313. He did manage to get it to do 40 mph downhill (and became the first Belchfire 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.
- 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...
- 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.
- Gabe's beater in The Maze Agency, which is used to contrast Jen's 1958 Corvette, the Cool Car. It's not even clear what make it is, but the panels are not all the same colour, and it has been towed multiple times.
- Such kind of cars often appear in Mortadelo y Filemón. One example is in "Los Secuestradores" ("The Kidnappers"), in which Mortadelo drives a tuned-up SEAT 600 in a Formula-1 race. Once in motion, Mortadelo discovers the brakes do not work and things just go downhill from there. Years before, in one of the short stories, a criminal attempted to run over Mortadelo using the same model of car, just to crash into a coin Mortadelo carried in one of his pockets instead with the car ending up totalled.
- Brazilian comic Monica's Gang once had a story where Steve inherited an Alleged Motorcycle, mocked by his friend Curly ("This one is probably from back in the Paraguyan War. From the side that lost."). Steve then bets a pizza he can start the bike. Much struggle later, an offscreen Steve is heard yelling "It's on! It's on!" And as the final panel shows what happened: "I won the bet! It's on fire, so I started something!"
- 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.
- 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.
- The Arrival, a tie-in to Transformers: Animated, gave us the Bulkhead, an amalgamation of the most infamous traits of real life Alleged Cars. It's a former military vehicle (an APC in this case) with bad fuel economy like the trope-naming Hummer Dinger, the poorly placed gas tank with the tendency to explode of the Ford Pinto, the risk of rolling if turned at any speed faster than 20mph, similar to the British Reliant Robin, and the unauthorized use of the name and likeness of the Autobot Bulkhead. Thankfully, by the end of the story, Bulkhead tricked Porter C. Powell into doing an Engineered Public Confession that got the Bulkhead off the market.
- In the German comic Werner:
- Holgi's Porsche 911 S in "Das Rennen" (Eiskalt!). Yes, a Porsche. But it hasn't left the courtyard with its row of garages in two years due to a leaking gearbox and completely misadjusted carburetors.
- Andi's Ford Taunus 17m in "Besser is das!" (Normal ja!) and Gekotzt wird später!, but mostly because of the way it's mistreated.
- Wonder Woman Vol 1: Etta Candy has an old jalopy with the roof missing and no paint save the slogans the Holliday Girls have painted all over it which they all pile into to go places.
- Cul-de-sac has a downplayed example in Mr. Otterloop's car. It functions relatively well, but it's so tiny that he struggles to get in and out of it, and it ended up mistaken for a toy car on one occasion. His daughter describes it as a "Honda-Tonka mix, with a little Cuisinart".
- 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 watches a commercial for a used car dealership that seemingly sells only these. In fact, the proprietor openly admits 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.
- One comic had Jon buy a car from an Honest John's Dealership, the owner of which claims they stand beside every car they sell. When Jon asked if he means behind, he discovers that the man's engineers are so incompetent that they seem to have fitted the gearbox the wrong way round, and the car rockets backwards into a wall. Not to mention, windshield wipers, seatbelts, and tires are optional, and the salesman's office is a truck with the engine running.
- Garfield once watches a commercial for a used car dealership that seemingly sells only these. In fact, the proprietor openly admits 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.)
- 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.
- Brad's perpetually worked-on Chevy Nova in Luann.
- The various pickup trucks and 1970s sedans in Pluggers. As one strip puts it "You're a plugger if the junkyard attendant asks if you are buying or selling."
- Retail: Cooper's van, "The Orange Crush", which apparently has a beanbag for a back seat, pliers to turn the heater/ac controls, and no seatbelts. Cooper chalks that up to the previous owner being from New Hampshire. (Ironically, Cooper's never been pulled over in the van.) It's also such a gas guzzler that Cooper uses a scooter instead in the summer months. It eventually breaks down for good, and even the mechanics are baffled as to how the van survived so long.
- 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. Jeremy once got a ticket for littering for the number of parts falling off it as he drove. Jeremy's parents have occasionally commented that they consider it a safer option, simply because there's no way the pair will ever get it up to highway speed. Right when Jeremy and Hector were considering selling it, it gets totaled by a semi when the parking brake stops working and the van rolls into the semi's path.
- According to Ace Attorney fandom, Godot drives a puke-green, collapsing clunker only referred to as the "shit car", in contrast to the other prosecutors' much more classy vehicles.
- All Guardsmen Party:
- Their Discount Spaceship, the Occurrence Border is 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. A shuttle bay is filled with a corrosive warp fungus that lures in victims with ghosts of its previous victims. 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 "The gravity in this corridor is tilted 37 degrees widdershins with respect to this note", or (all too often) "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.
- On three separate infiltrations of civilian worlds, the team was stuck driving self-admitted "shitty vans" which prove a major hindrance when trying to outrun pursuing soldiers, police, and T'au battlesuits. "The 'Stealth' Mission" takes the cake, with a van that lacks not only air conditioning but even seats. The techpriest assigned to the mission, who hates the team, enforces this trope by declaring any modification to the van, such as adding said seats, is heretical.
- 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."
- In Cross Cases, since the loss of his beloved Blue Beetle, Harry's purchased an old vomit-colored Chevy Caprice, which he despises because it's huge and he can't maneuver it as well as he could the Beetle. It's basically an extra-shitty version of the Winchesters' Impala, and even Sam describes it as worse than Castiel's crapmobile. Somehow, Harry still manages to be pissed off about it when the Denarians melt it down to the frame.
- 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.
- A friend of Anakin's in The Hero Strikes Back has a predilection for these when it comes to starships, though whether because he's trying to be cheap, or the Force hates him that much, it's hard to say.
- 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.
- Midnight Green's dilapidated cart that he quite happily smashes into a tree.
- In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, All Might's car is a Downplayed version of this trope. While it's perfectly functional, Izuku notes that it has signs of wear and tear in places that concerned him. The side-view mirrors are also constantly falling off and he has to try multiple times to close the doors.
- 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.
- Tough Love: While taking his daughter to task for taking her father for granted, Charlie informs her that she's neglected her car's maintenance for so long that it requires massive amounts of repairs, which will cost thousands of dollars — and he has no intention of footing the bill.
- The Total Drama fanfic Unbreakable Red Silken Thread Plays With this: Cody owns an original 1983 DeLorean DMC-12 with factory original specs and parts. For himself it is the definition of a Cool Car, but ask anyone else, especially Heather, and it's junk; however, even she admits that it has some advantages; specifically, that it's built like a tank, so it protects the passengers from both crashing and extreme weather conditions.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 in Cars is full of rusty, beaten-up cars, much to McQueen's dismay. Ironically, the similarly rusty, beaten-up tow truck Mater later becomes his best friend.
- The villains of the second movie 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.
- Mater qualifies as one to a point; he's an entirely rusted over (flashbacks show that he used to have a baby blue paint job), dinged-up old tow truck missing his hood (he briefly gets it back during the credits, but promptly sneezes it off again) with all the creaks and rattles you'd expect of him. Still, he's a decent backwards driver and can hold his own in a high-speed chase, and in Cars 2 he is given several nifty gadgets that put him more in What a Piece of Junk territory.
- Both vehicles in The Fox and the Hound; the Widow's is a really old truck, and Slade's truck becomes as temperamental as he is after the Widow puts a load of buckshot through the radiator.
- In A Goofy Movie, Goofy drives an AMC Pacer that begins to fall apart as the movie goes on, and near the end, it finally explodes, sending Goofy flying through the air and crashing through the roof of Roxanne's front porch.
- In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, 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.
- The Incredibles: After retiring from his "Mr. Incredible" identity, Bob Parr drives a blue microcar that he barely fits in and stalls while ascending his driveway. After he finds work with Mirage, he replaces it with a jet black sports car.
- The Super Mario Bros. Movie: Mario and Luigi's van that they use for their plumbing business looks pretty beat up and fails to start after they get their first job, which requires them to travel on foot to their destination through a construction site.
- 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.
- Ace Ventura: Ace's Chevy Nova fails to start at the film's prologue, which lets the angry dirtbag man he took a missing dog from catch up to him and batter his car with a baseball bat. Ace, strapped for cash, can't pay to fix the busted windshield, which is so badly shattered he can't see out of it anymore and so he has to stick his head out while driving (it also gets more dents when Ace rolls it over in a Car Chase at the film's second act). The car remains in that state in the animated series.
- 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.
- At one point in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! there is a Car Chase between two geriatric clunkers that are so slow that Mason Dixon catches the man he's chasing by getting out of his car and running the other guy down on foot.
- 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.
- By Back to the Future Part III the DeLorean is in a truly sorry state. Its hover modifications were fried by lightning during the climax of the previous movie and after spending 70 years buried underground even Doc Brown can only do so much to repair it. Marty accidentally tears the fuel line on a rock and then he and Doc blow the fuel injector trying to make it run on alcohol. As such, they end up hijacking a train to push it to 88 miles per hour to enable it to get back to 1985... and then an incoming freight train pulverises it into pieces it minutes after arrival.
- 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.
- Bigfoot (1970): The station wagon of Traveling Salesman Jasper B. Hawks has definitely seen better days. It drives at a snail's crawl and the driver's side door is held closed with a rope. Hawks loves the car because it has been, in his words, a "loyal beast of burden" but his sidekick Elmer Briggs hates having to ride around in it.
- 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 (shot by Walter's misfiring gun, stolen by Larry Sellers,crashed into a dumpster, and smashed by the irate neighbor whose car was mistaken by Walter as Larry's), before it is finally set on fire by the Nihilists.
Well, they finally did it... They killed my fucking car.
- 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 Blues Brothers:
- Subverted with the "Bluesmobile", a decommissioned police car Elwood bought while Jake was in prison. Though it looks rundown and the cigarette lighter doesn't work, it is improbably fast and can even defy the laws of physics. It only comes to an involuntary stop twice: first when the brothers run it out of gas, and later when they reach their destination in Chicago and it falls to pieces.
- 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 the former owners is up to debate. It really says more about the price of a microphone before 1990s technology. The joke is that it's actually a pretty reasonable trade for a used car in the mid-to-late '70s.
- In The Brass Teapot the protagonists own a barely functioning Pinto that is falling apart.
- In Broker, the protagonists travel on a van that is so old its back door doesn't close properly.
- 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.
- The Cars That Ate Paris: The Greaser Delinquents drive cars built from the components of other wrecks.
- Ralphie's Old Man's 1937 Oldsmobile in A Christmas Story.
Old Man: That son of a bitch would freeze up in the middle of summer on the equator!
- In Clegg, Private Detective Harry Clegg drives a car so dilapidated that he won't allow clients to see it: preferring to park it a distance away and walk to meetings (two miles in one case).
- In The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Dean Higgins has an old little powder-blue roadster that notably needs a rope to keep the driver's side door closed.
- 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.
- In The Darwin Awards, the two Metallica fans offer to swap their van to a concertgoer for his concert tickets. The concertgoer takes one look at the van, bursts out laughing, and walks off.
- In Date with an Angel, Jim's car has a rope holding his passenger door shut. His buddies' car is even worse.
- 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 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.
- Dragnet: "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."
- Zigzagged in the B-movie Driving Me Crazy, Gunther takes an old crappy Opel and makes it run at hundreds of miles per hour. However, it only has two speed modes: minimum 200 MPH, and maximum 35 MPH.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Final Sacrifice: Zap Rowsdower's pickup truck, which is barely functional and needs hard liquor in order to start.
- In Friday, Smokey's car barely runs, but he still installs an alarm.
- Frank's "piss yellow" junker in The Frighteners.
- 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.
- Harry from Getting Straight drives a rusty, dented old car with cracked windows and torn seats. He can't get it to turn off without lots of Percussive Maintenance that unintentionally turns the radio on. Part of the dashboard is so damaged that it electrocutes him when he touches it. The car finally dies late in the movie when the engine suddenly explodes.
- 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. In Ghostbusters II it's more of a Cool Car, but by Ghostbusters: Afterlife it's back to being an alleged car again after sitting in a barn for twenty years with minimal (if any) maintenance.
- Andrew Steyn's jeep in The Gods Must Be Crazy gets stuck in gear and causes all sorts of other catastrophes.
- Elle, in Grandma, drives a 1955 Dodge Royal. Near the start of the film, it won't start until a neighbor helps out. During the film, it keeps emitting knocking noises, and later dies entirely while they're driving down the highway. It is implied that the reason it functions so badly is because Elle hasn't driven since Violet died a year and a half back, and may not have been maintaining its fuel and oil levels.
- 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
- 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.
- Inspector Gadget (1999): John Brown's ancient Chevette hatchback even before it flipped over and got blown up by an exploding cigar.
- James Bond:
- For Your Eyes Only has 007 forced to take the Bond Girl's car, a Citroën 2CV (also known in the English-speaking world as "Tortoise" or "Flying Dustbin") — the music even halts as the vehicle shows up! And yet in sort of a subversion, it holds pretty well in a chase. Then again, there's some movie magic, as stunt coordinator Rémy Julienne had the 2CV's engine replaced with one twice as powerful, and it clearly has a rollcage in several shots.
- 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.
- 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 Cuban zombie comedy Juan of the Dead, Juan and the rest find an abandoned Lada (a Russian export) and he manages to get it started just as they get surrounded by zombies. The car advances a few meters and the motor stalls, making Juan release a Cluster F-Bomb on Russians for exporting Ladas to Cuba in the first place.
- 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.
- Marta's 12-year-old Hyundai Accent in Knives Out is an understated example, in that it runs OK, but proves to be woefully unsuited when its owner tries to escape the police.
- 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.
- 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, of course, thinks it's actually a spy car in disguise.
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.
- 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.
- "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.
- Rodney from Massacre at Central High drives a beat-up jalopy because it's the only thing he can afford. After the bullies trash it, he tells David that he prefers the walk to school because the noises the old car made were driving him crazy.
- 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.
- The car that the title character drives in Mr. Hulot's Holiday is so underpowered and rickety, duct-tape and bailing wire could be considered luxury extras.
- The "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.
- Nick's Yugo Jessie in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.
Nick: This is not a cab, my friend, I promise.
- North West Frontier has an alleged train that smokes constantly and whistles at the worst possible moments.
- Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss has the Parker family's 1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster. The gas station attendant calls it an antique and, judging by the other cars on the road, it's about a decade old during the timeframe of the film, which was practically ancient for a vehicle in 1950s America. The Chevy regularly backfires; the starter spring sticking necessitates rocking the car up and down to free it; overheating is a regular occurrence; the fuel line is leaking; plus the Old Man asking for the heaviest motor oil when it's low probably means the worn engine is burning it.
- 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 veracity of the "true story" that is based on being hotly contested, The Pentagon Wars represents the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, as originally designed, as a deathtrap. The film is pretty much a step-by-step guide to how a first-world nation ends up manufacturing an Alleged Car for their military. Fortunately, when the flaws came to light, it did get redesigned enough to become a usable (if still overengineered) vehicle.
Sgt. Fanning: ...A troop transport that can't carry troops, a reconnaissance vehicle that's too conspicuous to do reconnaissance...
Colonel James Burton: ...and a quasi-tank that has less armor than a snowblower, but has enough ammo to take out half of D.C.
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles: After being sideswiped by two semi-trucks simultaneously and set on fire, Neil and Del's rental car still ran. And the radio somehow still worked as well. Practically nothing else on the dashboard survived, but the radio? No problem. Unfortunately for them, the police promptly impounded the car.
State Trooper: Do you have any idea how fast you were going?Del: Well, funnily enough, I was just talking to my friend about that. Our speedometer has melted and as a result it's very hard to say with any degree of accuracy exactly how fast we were going.
- Pow Wow Highway has a car stuck permanently in reverse, too.
- 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.
- Inspector Clouseau's car in Revenge of the Pink Panther looks like a pimped-out Batmobile, but it falls apart in the driveway.
- The title ship in Serenity. In both of the Book Ends, a piece of the ship simply falls off.
- 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.
- Skip's VW Beetle in Slaughter High. When first seen it is backfiring heavily. He stops to pick up Nancy and—despite his boasting of the car's reliability—it refuses to start again. It eventually arrives at the reunion being towed by Joe's pickup.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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 second Enterprise is like this in Star Trek V, allegedly because it was a quick refit of another ship still under construction.
- 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 that speed has been achieved at the cost of forcing various important components to withstand much greater stress than they were originally designed for (and given that the YT-1300 class was 70 years old at the start of the series, the Falcon is likely at least 30 years older than Han, and replacement parts intended for that ship instead of taken from another ship and jury-rigged to fit stopped being made before he was born), meaning that something could break under the strain at any moment (sometimes in a loud and fiery manner) 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, and once they get into space, they spend a large chunk of the film trying to get the hyperdrive to work. Its 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. According to various technical manuals, they are essentially starship engines pulling a sled, and exactly as dangerous as that sounds. 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 and First Order artillery.
- Also from The Last Jedi, the Resistance bombers. A thirty year old, slow, strategic bomber that has been repurposed to destroy starships. It's no wonder they lost their entire fleet destroying the First Order dreadnaught.
- Solo: The Millennium Falcon is practically a work of art when she first shows up on screen, but going through an intense firefight during the escape from Kessel, a harrowing chase through the Maelstrom by a pack of TIE fighters, several high speed collisions (including a long slide that tears off half the landing gear), and being grappled and munched by a giant space squid thing while trying to escape from a black hole, leaves her as an absolute wreck by the time Lando takes her away near the end of the film. Lando is not pleased, to say the least.
- 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 Shitboxnote (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.
- The Mario Bros' craptastic van in the Super Mario Bros. (1993) movie.
- 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 its 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 50-55 mph] This is the vehicle's top speed.
John: I COULD GET OUT AND RUN FASTER THAN THIS!!!!!
- Tommy Boy: Richard's pride-and-joy vintage Plymouth becomes one in the course of a sales trip.
- 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.
- 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".
- Inverted in Wanted. The Lada driven by Fox in the train hunt scene is the quintessential crappy car in (ex-)Soviet culture. Only she does some really crazy shit with this alleged vehicle.
- 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.
- The Woman in Red: Teddy is frustrated with the windshield wipers and wonders aloud what he would do if he had a date.
- 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.
- Two farmers, a Texan and a New Yorker, are discussing their farms.
Texan: "I don't know exactly how many acres my farm is, but it takes me about ten hours to drive from one side to the other."New Yorker (somewhat wistfully): "Yeah, I had a car like that once."
- The Alice Network: Charlie teases Finn about his Lagonda being a piece of junk, but it’s actually quite a nice car. In the epilogue, however, it’s basically scrap, and they only use it to go on picnics.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- Dead End Job Mysteries: While on the run, Helen Hawthorne traded her Lexus for one of these, which got her to Fort Lauderdale in Florida and promptly died, spending the next two years in a parking lot, just leaking oil and other stuff where it sat. When she finally gets it fixed enough to be barely functional in book 7, she calls it the Toad and winces every time it lets out a cloud of smoke and oil while she's driving, and she dreads it breaking down again. At the end of the book, having quit her latest job, she finally sells it to a mechanic who plans to use it for parts — and the money she gets is barely enough to pay the last set of repair bills on it.
- 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 practice this boiled down to replacing every component at once.
- 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.
- The Dresden Files has Harry Dresden's Volkswagen Beetle, complete with a cute nickname: The Blue Beetle. It used to be all blue, but due to monster attacks, he's had to use scavenged pieces of bodywork in other colors. He can't drive anything more modern because his magic will screw up its technology. Although this is never explicitly stated, it's possible that one of the reasons he's driving a VW is that the engine is farther away from him (in the rear, not under the hood). Plus, he knows a mechanic who can keep the car running eight or nine days out of ten, which, as far as Harry's Walking Techbane status goes, makes the mechanic a miracle worker. Harry's luck with the Blue Beetle finally runs out in Changes, when a demon smashes it flat under another car.
- Enchanted Forest Chronicles: In book 2 (Searching For Dragons), the protagonists borrow a Magic Carpet that fits this trope. The pink teddy bear design is just an unfortunate aesthetic, the sluggish performance is an inconvenience; when it breaks down in midair, it becomes an actual problem. Luckily, the breakdown is gradual enough for the riders to reach ground alive, but they don't trust the carpet for further trips and give it over to a repair expert while they seek alternate transportation.
- Jen from Extraordinary* has a car that stalls all the time, usually at the worst moments.
- Far Out, Brussel Sprout, a book of Australian schoolyard rhymes, contains this one:
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
Daddy drives a rotten car
Press the button, pull the choke
Off we go in a cloud of smoke
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
Daddy drives a rotten car
- 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.
- 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 interdimensional 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 its 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.
- 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.
- The Professor's Citroën 2CV in The Great Balloon Race: largely due to the damage inflicted on it while trying to find the starting line. When they finally arrive, the guard at the gate is astounded that it is running at all, only to discover that Charles has pushed it for the last 10 miles.
- The early installments of The Hardy Boys feature sporadic appearances from "The Queen", Chet Morton's unreliable yellow jalopy.
- Peter's Mercedes Benz in "In The Realm Of Carnal Horror" is older than he is, has 400,000 miles on it, and not everything works.
- Jaine Austen Mysteries: When Jaine's car is stolen in Death by Pantyhose, she rents a couple of different clunkers from "Crazy Dave's Rent-A-Wreck". Suffice it to say, they aren't very good cars.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- King City: The three patrol cars Wade and his rookies are given have poorly cleaned vomit, urine and such in them, seats held together by duct tape, and the least used of the three has 215,000 miles on it.
- 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).
- 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.
- In the Longmire books, Henry Standing Bear has a truck known as the Rezdawg, held together mostly through prayers and Henry stubbornly refusing to retire it. Walt is embarrassed to be seen riding in it.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mortal Engines introduces us to the Jenny Haniver, feared and respected airship of the legendary Anti-Tractionist agent Anna Fang. It's basically an airship Millennium Falcon, made almost entirely of scrap parts and seemingly held together with string and prayer. In a subversion, though, it's made of scrap parts from very powerful airships, by a legitimately talented engineer, and is only unreliable briefly as Tom hasn't yet learned all of the controls and only a quarter of them are labelled in a language he can understand. Its lightweight rust-bucket chassis basically turns it into a Fragile Speedster of the airship world that can outrun or outmanoeuvre military-class fighters. It gets its name from old circus attractions which feature cobbled-together skeletons the owners swear blind are mythical creatures like mermaids or dragons.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In The Savant, Arlo and Louie drive to Kentucky in Louie's 1940 Ford, but it keeps breaking down along the way, and they end up spending most of the $1,000 they brought on repairs. Louie trades it for a brand-new Ford Fairlane 500 Convertible as soon as he can afford to.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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".
- 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 Clap Your Hands If You Believe rather than any rules of actual physics.
- 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.
- Star Wars Legends:
- This continuity 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. That said, a few instead reached Ace Custom territory, thanks to more standardized build schemes or better engineers.
- The Han Solo Trilogy: Han's first ship, the Bria (which he leased from Lando Calrissian and his used-spaceship lot) is another Alleged Spaceship — a heavily modified SoroSuub Starmite-class freighter. Battered and worn, half the time Han and Chewie could barely limp her back to Lando's lot. Mako Spince later solved a lot of their problems by introducing Han to Shug Ninx and his spacebarn, where Shug revealed that half the problem was that SoroSuubs disliked being modified with non-SoroSuub parts, which is what had happened with the Bria. Even after it was finally and suitably repaired, it remained prone to malfunctions up until its destruction at the hands of Imperial TIE Fighters.
- 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.
- Stef from Stim has a car nicknamed The Frog because it's green, and because its faulty clutch causes it to hop and jump around the road. Stef manages to get it moving most of the time, despite its general poor condition.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Trueman Bradley's driver Sal Valle drives a thirty-year-old car on the verge of breaking down. Trueman hires him as his chauffeur and gives him enough money to buy a nicer car.
- Paul's first car in The Unexpected Witness is described at one point as a 1978 Classic Rusty.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 his 1971 novel Wheels, Arthur Hailey wrote that cars assembled mainly during a Monday morning or Friday afternoon were more prone to quality control issues, due to increased absenteeism and lower productivity associated with those time slots.
- 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.
- Space Academy: A starship example. The ''E.S.S. Black Nebula’’ is an incredibly old Earth light battle corvette that has been de-mothballed for their mission.
- 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.
- Alla Pugacheva's song "Daddy bought a car"... very cheaply.
- Arrogant Worms's song "Car Full of Pain" — complete with a verse describing how it is possessed by the Legions of Hell.
- "My Chevette" by Audio Adrenaline.
- 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.
- Roberto Carlos' "Calhambeque" (translated in Spanish by the same singer as "El Cacharrito") is about a man that gets an Alleged Car as a replacement after he sends his car (a Cadillac) to the repair shop, but ends up keeping the Alleged Car in lieu of the "normal" car (again, a freaking Cadillac) because the Alleged Car's quirkiness is an industrial-strength Chick Magnet.
- Bottle Rockets' 1000 Dollar Car suggests you buy a good guitar instead, it'll take you farther.
- The guys at Car Talk have been collecting these for some time now. Have a look.
- "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 sight
We had two on the left and only one on the right
But when I pulled out the switch, all three of 'em came on.
- "Rust In My Car" by New Zealand supergroup Citizen Band.
- Clare & The Reasons' "Can Your Car Do That? I Don't Think So"
- 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.
- Lorne Elliot "The Bear Song" describes the car used for their hunting trip as:
...in the back of a car, of unknown year,
With three bald tires, and no first gear,
A rusted, busted automobile,
with a monkey wrench for a steering wheel,
and both front doors jammed and rusted permenantly shut.
- 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.
- Josephine's car in Bo Diddley's "Ride on Josephine". Of course, he may not be talking about a car...
- 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
- Eminem, in line with his "trailer trash gothic" theme and general dislike of materialism, often uses these in his songs and imagery.
- A particular recurring character is the mid-70s models of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, as this had been the car he drove before he got famous (and after, until his friends basically forced him to buy something that didn't break down all the time).
- The artwork for The Slim Shady LP shows a Monte Carlo with a woman's corpse sticking out of the back of the trunk.
- In the music video for "My Name Is", in the scene where Slim is pulled over by the cops for drunk driving, he's driving a 1974 Monte Carlo (Eminem's own).
- In the music video for "Stan", Stan drives a 1976 Monte Carlo.
- In "Berzerk" he wakes up after a night out and a lean binge in "that Monte Carlo — with the ugly Kardashian!"
- In "When To Stand Up", Slim's mother buys him a truck for his sixteenth birthday, but when he turns it on it says "please fix me!" in an amusing voice. (A similar scene to this occurs in the loosely autobiographical movie 8 Mile, though Rabbit is in his 20s.)
- In "Won't Back Down" Slim Shady amusingly drunk-drives a hatchback with a trailer hitch rattling on the back and gigantic rims. He also warns his girl to watch the wood grain while she sucks him off as he drives.
- Eminem's Recovery Tour featured smashed-up outdated cars as set dressing.
- In "SHADYXV" Slim drinks gallons of vodka and breaks into a Datsun.
- A particular recurring character is the mid-70s models of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, as this had been the car he drove before he got famous (and after, until his friends basically forced him to buy something that didn't break down all the time).
- 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.
- 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.
- "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
- 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 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".
- Hillbilly Drummer Girl by Mono Puff
''Black behemoth Caddy, sleeping bag in backHoles right through the floorboards, a rolling chicken shack''
- 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.
- "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!!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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".
- The popular Tejano 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.
- The chorus translates roughly to:
carcacha, bit by bit. Please don't leave us!
- Sir Mix-a-Lot (he who cannot lie about liking big butts) has a track called "My Hooptie."
- In Øystein 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.
- "Teardrops on My Old Car", a parody of Taylor Swift's "Teardrops on My Guitar. 
- "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
- Downplayed in "A Couple Of Good Years Left" by Ricky Van Shelton. The narrator's car is starting to rust, the paint is faded, the radio doesn't always play, and it "stops more on a quarter than a dime," but it's still a reliable source of transportation and he's fond of it, so he's planning to keep it for at least a few more years.
- "One Headlight" by The Wallflowers while not about an alleged car, draws imagery heavily reminiscent of one, especially the third verse which compares the singer's situation to a beat up truck that smells like cheap wine and doesn't start. The comparison actually fits nicely with the song's theme, which is about overcoming hardships in life despite hindrances and difficulties.
- The second line in "Beverly Hills" by Weezer.
"My automobile is a piece of crap."
- Jim White's "Corvair" is something of a deconstruction.
I got a Corvair in my yard
It hasn't run in 15 years
It's a home for the birds now
It's no longer a car.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's car in "Stop Draggin' My Car Around", which is apparently so bad, the manager at a local disco had it towed for being an eyesore in his parking lot, and later, Al wonders if he can trade it in as a partial payment on a used bicycle.
- 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 titular spaceship from the GURPS podcast Cautious Optimism. It's a little worrying when the highest praise even the captain can come up with is that it's mostly airtight.
- One of the hosts of Well There's Your Problem is Liam, who has a van that is basically derelict and has enough issues to have received its own bonus episode.
- 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. The last episode reveals the wiring is actually made of gold, as part of a scheme by Carolyn's ex-husband that went wrong when she took the plane in the divorce. Part of GERTI's problem has always been the simple fact that gold is much heavier than copper.
Douglas Richardson: Most people have to stop and think before saying, "Aeroplane."
- 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.
- An interesting take: One caller described his car as running "rough for two minutes... then after six and a half minutes the engine dies." The caller turned out to be John Grunsfeld, who called in from the Space Shuttle while docked to the Mir space station.
- The Goon Show:
- In "Dishonoured" Henry Crun and Minnie Bannister are seen 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.
- In "The Missing Prime Minister", Eccles boasts that he's tuned the engine of his squad car and got an extra two miles an hour out of it:
Seagoon: How fast did she go before?
Eccles: She ain't ever been before.
- I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue: In the "Kiss of Death" round, each panellist has to come up with a one-liner that will not only end a date but make sure it is never repeated. One of Graeme Garden's was:
Fancy a run in the Skoda?
- The Jack Benny Program: Jack Benny's Maxwell. Real-life Maxwell cars were never noted for reliability; in-universe, Jack's Maxwell was many years old and falling apart, but he was too much of a cheapskate to replace it. It always had trouble starting when he tried to use it, so the distinctive clattering, spluttering, squawking noise of its engine dying was one of the show's many Running Gags. Originally a tape recording, this sound effect was later made by voice acting legend Mel Blanc.
- Lennox-Brown in The Men from the Ministry has a car that's this, which in one episode breaks down in the middle of the street.
- 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").
- Downplayed in We Are All Pirates' Revenge. Melvin's ship, the Zenpance, is described as looking rather run-down, which is supported by Melvin being envious of other pirates' ships, but it is still accommodating enough for the whole crew.
- 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.
- The Peregrine is an Alleged Helicopter. A Fragile Speedster with armor that can't protect it from a machine gun, it dies if an enemy unit look at it funny (and did we mention it only has short-ranged weaponry?). Worse, the internal flywheel it uses in place of a tail rotor has a nasty habit of breaking loose during hard landings and crashing through the cockpit. In the hangar, it has poorly placed access hatches and a reactor so poorly shielded that the maintenance crew has to wear hazmat gear to work on the machine. Most commands simply strip out the weapons and use them on better machines.
- 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 tend to break down at the worst possible time... which is doubly bad because the bulk of its fighting weight is its missile launchers.
- Or perhaps you could think of the Daboku, precursor to the production-grade Mauler that is a massive Flawed Prototype. It is slow. It is absurdly lightly armored. Its weapons are low-powered for its weight. It overheats at the slightest provocation. Finally, it has an annoying tendency to eject its pilot when struck even by the mildest of torso hits (though this is probably for the best).
- Another Alleged BattleMech is 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 takes 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. Spin-off game Chez Goth features a hearse with similar characteristics, because goths.
- The card Dodgy Jalopy from Magic: The Gathering is a riff on this trope, being one of the few vehicles that is arguably more useful in the graveyard than on the battlefield.
- 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, features 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).
- 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, since any given Wagon has likely been with the Orks too long to have received proper maintenance for the stress being driven by an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight puts on the systems, but not long enough to have been completely rebuilt and given things like controls Orks know how to work.
- The Eldar Wave Serpent had this problem for a long time in actual gameplay, since it combines 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 use it anyway. Some of the custom figures made to represent it are awesome, others not so much. Today, a Cool Car Lightning Bruiser with a sweet model, decent toughness, and more firepower than most troop transports.
- 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.
- Battlefield 1 has an alleged tank in the form of the Black Bess (or Big Bess as the crew calls her) from the war story "Through Blood And Mud" which is so temperamental, the mechanic of the crew thinks even cursing can lead to something going wrong. Given the burst fuel tank and the fact that one mission has the player having to steal replacement spark plugs from captured a German village and it stills need additional Percussive Maintenance, his claims are not that far off the mark. And this is all Truth in Television as early British tanks were almost as temperamental as shown in the game.
- BeamNG 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.
- 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. In fact, 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.
- Call of Duty has a rail shooter sequence where you ride in an old Citroen car through the French countryside while Germans in Kubelwagens chase after you.
- The second game has a similar sequence in a Sd.Kfz. 222 armored car that breaks down making a complete circle around the town.
- Car Town The game starts you with a worm 1973 Ford Pinto which can be fixed by just changing the paint colors. As for an July 2012 update, Roxy forces you to paint the car before proceed.
- As for 2013, there were Greenlight car codes that collecting them rewards you with an 1967 Shelby GT500. One of the Greenlight cars is the worm 1973 Ford Pinto from the beginning of the game.
- Crying Suns: Scrappers will strip any ship they find for parts, leaving those ships as barely functional wrecks. Their squadrons are always patched and cannot be repaired, though they get some Scrap back whenever they buy (or find) a new squadron.
- Destiny 2: One of the Sparrows you can get is the Micro Mini, which is so small that your Guardian barely fits on it (imagine a grown man riding a motorized tricycle and you’ve got the idea), and seems to top out at about one mile per hour. Some other Sparrows have the opposite problem, speeding up and moving so fast that you’re liable to crash into everything between you and your destination. The fact that the entire playerbase Drives Like Crazy (take a shot every time you see somebody spamming dance emotes while driving) does not help.
- 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 one of Forza Horizon 4's seasonal events, everyone must drive the three-wheeled Reliant Regal Supervan III, a precursor to the Reliant Robin mentioned on the Real Life page, on icy roads to boot. Fortunately, upgrades can be used. The game also has the Peel P50, the smallest vehicle to be designated as a car, which of course can be upgraded to a Lethal Joke Character.
- 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. Others like the Rat Loader have brakes that take several seconds to bring the car to a complete stop.
- 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.
- And then there's the Mothership, the old Volkswagen bus belonging to The Truth, which runs on decades-old cooking oil and whose engine block is held together with a macramé hammock.
- The strategy guide for Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories lampshades this trope with its description of the Moonbeam, the worst van in the game.
Moonbeam: The Moonbeam goes much faster if you shove it off a cliff, which is highly recommended. You'd be better off to get out and run rather than driving one of these.
- For a plane variant, check out the Dodo◊ in GTA III. Yes, the wings really are that stubby, and it's just as unstable as it looks. The devs were actually surprised that players figured out ways to fly the thing.
- 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.
- Jalopy has the titular jalopy, the "Laika 601 Deluxe" (an obvious Expy of the Trabant). Even after replacing all four tires, everything under the hood and the passenger-side door you'll be lucky to reach the border before something else breaks.
- 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 specifically 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.
- Mon Bazou (whose title is Quebecois slang for, essentially, "My Alleged Car") is another game in the vein of My Summer Car in which you build and drive the titular junker, this time in rural Canada.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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, theirs has definitely seen a lot of better days and its 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.
- 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 Tony Hawk's Underground, one mission has you driving an old beater as wildly as possible to overheat the engine before driving it into the river so that the owner can collect the insurance money.
- Wreckfest is all about racing the the most decrepit vehicles you can find, preferably while smashing up your equally ramshackle opponents.
- Jak 3's Tough Puppy. The first dune buggy you get to drive, it is slow as molasses and the only dune buggy without any weapon, which is a bit of a problem when the entire Wasteland is infested with Marauders. The trope even gets lampshaded by Daxter who outright calls it a runt. Thankfully you'll upgrade to the Sand Shark soon after.
- The Jackbox Party Pack: the cruise ship in "Joke Boat" is such a useless piece of kit that at the beginning of the final round it comes off second-best in a collision with a rubber duck.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Weaselmobile in GEOWeasel, also known as Weas's mom's station wagon, tops out at, not five, but seven miles per hour.
- 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. Even as a prop car to just sit in and pretend to drive, it's questionable, because the doors only open from the outside. 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.
- In Lackadaisy, Ivy Pepper boasts that she repaired the getaway car. Cut to the car collapsing and bursting into flames.
- In an episode of the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Digital Series, 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
- 8-Bit Theater has an Alleged Airship, that is outright sold under the name "Death Trap". While it does take the Light Warriors from place to place, it's unreliable and prone to crash — the one time it made a peaceful landing the Warriors had to highlight how unusual that was.
- Ben from Because I'm Depressed apparently got his car for just $4000.
Eve: Why is there no steering wheel? How did you drive this home!?
- 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.
- Dean & Nala + Vinny: Dean purchases an "ancient van that needs massive work. FOR US!!" Nala and Vinny are nonplussed and worried about how this will change their trips. Fortunately for Nala, one of the alterations made to "Nessie" is the removal of the passenger seat and installation of a cat tree so she can sleep or watch the road. But it lacks windshield wipers, which is a bit of a problem on the road.
- In Drive (Dave Kellett), the Machito is one of these, until the Emperor has it upgraded.
- Foxes in Love: Once comic shows that Green Fox drives what Blue Fox describes as "a dingy nightmare" while questioning its safety. Green's reasoning for not getting a better ride is that he'd rather be content with something bad than get used to luxury, only to become miserable after losing it.
- 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 spit wads."
- 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.
- In Girl Genius, one strip involves Agatha receiving a... rather poorly maintained walking house.
- In Inhuman Relations, Fred's clunker of a station wagon leaves a trail of smoke wherever it goes. That is, when it's not stalled.
- Lackadaisy: Rocky's car is in pretty rough shape, sporting several bullet holes, is prone to stalls due to a worn-out clutch, and the interior is a mess. Not surprising, considering Rocky's haphazard, reckless nature, and the fact that the car doubles as his home.
- Lines Uncrossed: Speedy's car is held together with duct tape and zip ties.
- Eric Remington's, as seen in this strip of Loserz.
- Oglaf has the ship in "Bilge" — upon its completion, the leader of the villagers who built it declared that it was a good reminder that all the hard work in the world was no substitute for actually knowing how to build a ship. They decided to sail it to battle against the Vikings anyway rather than let all their work go to waste. Even those Vikings were baffled as to how the thing caught fire.
- 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 Rhapsodies, Paul’s drives a 1975 Station wagon which still keeps going much to everyone’s amazement. (He doesn't know what the mileage is since the odometer broke sometime after he moved to the Northwest.)
- 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."
- The Schetch Pad has quite a few of these, including Finn's own 50-year-old Volkswagen.
- 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.
- This xkcd features a car with a stuck GPS that continuously attempts to direct its driver to Seattle regardless of where they're actually trying to go. The car gets rejected by a driver whose other option for a vehicle is haunted by murderous ghosts. The alt-text explains that the first car would also be haunted by murderous ghosts if the stuck GPS hadn't driven them away.
- SCP-802 ("Musical Tank") is a sentient WWII-era tank that appears to produce music from its innards. It is missing its turret, is run through with rust, and bears several battle scars.
- In Night Hunters, the Chevrolet Impala starts off this way, until it's crushed and repaired.
- 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.
- Robert Dunn of Aging Wheels self-describes as 'the premier collector of odd, slow, badly-made deathtraps'. His collection comes in two flavours: old but not as old as you'd think very-economy cars - such as a Reliant Robin, Yugo GV, and Trabant 601 - and surprisingly modern but no less terrible attempts by small startups to make cheaper electric cars - including a Wheego Life and multiple Codas - along with assorted videos on bizarre hyper-economy shed jobs from the 70s US oil crisis. Most recently, he's added a Lada to his fleet... Which, being in good condition, is merely a very basic but perfectly usable and unamusing car.
- Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee:
This is a 1976 American Motors Gremlin. It's got an engine. It's got an interior. It's got wheels. Oy.
- 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.
- The Volkswagen pickup in which Jerry picks up Michael Richards doesn't break down, but it has definitely seen better days, being covered in patches of rust. Furthermore, it only has three doors — not that one of the doors fell or broke off, mind you, but it was only manufactured with three doors (two small ones on the passenger's side, one big one on the Driver's side.) If anything, it at least seems like a car you could picture Kramer driving.
- When describing the car he uses to pick up Jon Stewart, Jerry talks about it as if the only nice thing he can say is that it meets the bare minimum to qualify as a car.
- 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."
- Garbage Time is an offshoot of DankPods, focusing on the automotive application of the term 'nugget'. Stars include:
- Tiny Tony Kowalski, an FSM Niki / Polski Fiat 126P that needed major restoration to be barely usable. Big rusted holes in the bodywork, disintegrating interior, and leaking petrol into the oil supply were addressed to differing degrees. Despite his tiny size, Tony isn't even that efficient, since doing anything like keeping up with traffic in low-density new world cities like Adelaide means flooring it at all times.
- Sleepy/Smelly Jeff, a 1994 EF Ford Falcon with the odd combination of base level trim but a 5.0L V8. Jeff was in surprisingly poor condition in many areas at purchase (including a still unidentified stench that resisted a deep clean and deoderant/disinfectant bomb) and had a few low-class modifications like no mufflers. After assorted repairs, they found both performance *and* fuel consumption to be worse than expected.
- The Donkey Van, a 2001(ish) Mitsubishi Delica purchased on the express point it was too rough to elicit concern when mistreated, having nearly half a million kilometers on the clock and Wade giving the prediction "3 months till it explodes" on it's debut. Donkey burnt oil and made wierd noises, but otherwise worked for over a year until responding badly to a can of engine conditioner spray.
- Two Face, an '84 Daihatsu Charade with surprisingly low mileage and signs at least the first owner cared about it, but it's been sitting untouched for well over 6 years full of rubbish and old fuel. Despite an initial appearence of having survived remarkably well, the boys found wear in the cylinder bores upon breaking the engine down, which meant sending it off for reconditioning.
- 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.
- Occasionally, the usual FailRace crew will set up races in the Forza games for which they build deliberately crappy cars and then swap them around to others in the group.
- Pretty much any car that is featured on Hoovie's Garage
- 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.
- 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, by running aground on the kerb interface and resisting all attempts to budge it for over 45 minutes).
- In Ben 10: Alien Force, Ken's car is a junker visibly held together with duct tape. Ben and Gwen call it the Awesomemobile, making Kevin a bit defensive of his own car until he actually sees it.
- 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 alright 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.
- In the episode Nature Clarence from Clarence Joshua's car is very worm out complete with parts coming off of the chassis.
- In Dan Vs., nine times out of ten, the reason for Dan seeking revenge is due to something happening to his car, which is probably how it got to be in the condition it's in. People tend to assume it's been abandoned, and when it was accidentally donated to the Salvation Armed Forces, the volunteer responsible told him, "In my defense, no-one would want to keep a vehicle like that."
Salvation Armed Forces Employee: We only received one car donation today, and it was not in drivable condition.
Dan: Yes! That's the one!
- 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.
- Variant: the Vulture Squadron of Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines have crashed out their planes, so they buy a dilapitated plane at a used plane dealer ("Guaranteed to go three miles or three minutes, whichever comes first"). Once they get it airborne, it cracks into pieces due to Zilly's shivering.
- Donald Duck doesn't have any better luck with vehicles in animation that he does in comics. Two different cartoons have him acquiring alleged airplanes (well, if we need to be specific, one of them (The Flying Jalopy) he gets saddled with by an evil salesman named Ben Buzzard who wanted him to crash so he could collect a life insurance policy that he swindled Donald into signing, and the other one was a do-it-yourself kit plane that worked wonderfully until Donald was in the air and encountered a storm, because (and this the announcer didn't mentioned until then) the plane's all-plastic design dissolved in water). The result in both situations is Donald racing to do a Midair Repair.
- The five-part DuckTales (1987) storyline that introduces Gizmoduck sees Scrooge and Launchpad acquire an alleged spaceship.
- In the Family Guy episode "There's Something About Paulie", a shady car dealer tries to sell Peter a car which Lois points out has dents, a steering wheel made of cardboard, and instead of an engine has a drawing of one. Despite this, Peter buys it immediately when the dealer tells him that it belonged to James Bond, and it breaks down shortly after he starts it up. The actual plot of the episode starts when Peter turns to The Mafia to destroy it so he can get a better one.
- 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, dug-up VW 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- The Looney Tunes Show has Daffy Duck's parade float. The Merrie Melodies music video about it in "Gribbler's Quest" highlights its status with lyrics such as "Parade Float, the AC blows hot. Parade Float, the transmission is shot.", "It won't go over twenty-five", and "It tends to catch on fire."
- In The Loud House, the title family's vehicle, affectionately named "Vanzilla" is certainly this. It has a tendency to break down, forcing the family to push it to force it to start back up, and is also known to have uncomfortable seats and faulty door locks. The only reasons it hasn't been replaced are because it's a Loud family heirloom going all the way back to Lynn Sr.'s grandfather, and because the family's resident grease monkey Lana keeps it in shape. In "Vantastic Voyage", the one time they succeeded in getting Lynn Sr. to part ways with the van caused him to become obsessive and possessive with the new van he purchased, prompting the family to re-possess Vanzilla in spite of its faults.
- 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.)
- In Mission Hill, Jim knows Andy hates the Bilgemobile.
- 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.
- 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.
Popeye: "Used car"...wait'll I gets me hands on that Smilin' Dutchman!
- At the start of "Vacation With Play," Olive is driving a jalopy to a vacation spot and the vehicle is only on three wheels. Popeye is holding up the axle of the fourth while running in pace with the car.
- 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).
- Regular Show: Muscle Man's old worm-out black sedan.
- Every Meat Burritos has a 70's brown sedan that was trashed out during a cop chase in a flashback.
- The Simpsons:
- Crazy Vaclav, whose cars (especially the one that he shows to Homer, which is an apparent East European rip-off of the Reliant Robin (itself a Real Life example of The Alleged Car)) are prone to breaking down, and were made in countries that no longer exist (and Homer can barely fit inside the damn thing). But they can go a dozen hectares on a single can of kerosene. Bilingual Bonus for those who noticed when Homer was instructed to put it in "H" to start it, H is the Cyrillic equivalent of the Roman N, for Neutral.
- Comic Book Guy's car, a "Kremlin", isn't much better. As he brags in The Simpsons Hit & Run and 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!
- The Canyonero. It's so big that it takes up two lanes, has lights that blind everything, has a tendency to roll, and has been known to spontaneously combust ("Unexplained fires are a matter for the courts.")
- The Springfield Elementary school bus has been portrayed as this, owing to how underfunded the school is and the life of hard knocks from being driven by Otto. "The PTA Disbands" has it in such poor shape that there's a visibly crumbling hole in the floor, and the students have a procedure to use their clothes as drag chutes because the brakes have stopped working. We then get a Cutaway Gag to the other school bus the school owns, which, while sitting in the parking lot, explodes when a tiny leaf lands on the roof.
- The most infamous of Alleged Cars in the series is probably the Homer, the Creator Killer of Powell Motors and named after its lead designer. Operating under the idea that his long-lost half-brother was the embodiment of the average Joe, Herb Powell gave Homer sole creative control—unfortunately, being part of the working class is not the same as knowing how to make products for them. The result was a badly overdesigned mishmash with an outrageous pricetag.
- Star Trek: Lower Decks: The Cerritos is in excellent shape, as a Starfleet vessel, and takes an incredible pounding (especially in "Moist Vessel"), but has shades of this from time to time. As a "second contact" ship, it's considered one of the less prestigious duty postings in the fleet. In the "next episode" preview of "Moist Vessel," the Cerritos is shown to be worn down somewhat, possibly as an aftereffect of the terraforming fluid she was hit by in the previous episode. She's approximately a decade and a half old, as her registry number would place her as a contemporary with the USS Voyager (NCC-74656).
- Star Wars Resistance: The Fireball, an old racing ship that Team Fireball is named after. It got its name because it has a tendency to explode while being piloted. Random pieces fall off when people pat it in the workshop. And when Kaz is piloting it during one race, the joystick detaches in his hands.
- In the first episode of Strawberry Shortcake: Berry in the Big City, Strawberry's Aunt Praline helps her get started on her baking dreams by giving her the latter's old food truck, which is visibly falling apart from lack of upkeep. One of the doors falls off when they're pulling out, the front bumper falls off not too long after, all of the tires deflate simultaneously, and the wooden counter snaps in two when Strawberry leans on it. Fortunately, her friends help her give it a much-needed makeover.
- 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 inoperable for entire seasons at a time. You could actually tell which season of the show you were watching by the location of the Technodrome. First, it was under New York, then it was in Dimension X, then it was in the center of the Earth, then it was trapped on a particular asteroid in Dimension X, it returned to Earth but was trapped in the Arctic, then it was at the bottom of the ocean until finally it was sent back to Dimension X, but without Shredder and Krang. This was definitely unrelated to the fact that Rocksteady and Bebop were the ones forced to do most of the maintenance.
- Thomas & Friends:
- Some of the diesel locomotives are prone to mechanical breakdowns. One of the most notable examples is Derek in "Double Teething Troubles", who has a tendency to overheat, which, as noted in the Real Life section, is very much Truth in Television.
- On the steamies' side of things, Henry the big Green Engine starts out as this, having a small firebox that results in him being a poor steamer and feeling chronically ill. His problems are remedied over the course of two early episodes, first with the use of Welsh coal, then with a complete rebuild as a different engine with a larger firebox.
- Caroline is a vintage car who does not like being driven at high speeds because it causes her engine to overheat. In her debut episode, "Train Stops Play", she is used to retrieve a cricket player's ball from Stepney when it lands in one of his freight cars, and when she breaks down, Stepney has to take her back to the cricket field on a flatbed. In "Lady Hatt's Birthday Party", she breaks down again when Sir Topham Hatt asks her to take him to his wife's birthday party, leading to George the Steamroller calling her a disgrace to the road and telling her to find a scrapyard.
- 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.
- 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 Venture Bros. has Henchman #24's powder blue Nissan Stanza.
- Victor & Hugo's van was prone to backfiring, 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 Hammerspace in the rear.
- Wacky Races has a Cool Car or two but mostly ridiculous cars, including one made of scrap wood, one of discarded tank parts, another that's apparently a mobile moonshine sill, and one that's a literal rock on wheels.
- 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 1920s 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 Flintstone and his cave car.
- Wait Till Your Father Gets Home has Harry buy a real lemon from an Honest John's Dealership — in this instance a new car dealership — 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).