- Accidental Innuendo: At least one episode, "Speeding for Smogland'', shows a VIBRATOR option on Penelope Pitstop's dashboard.
- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- Dick Dastardly constantly gets far enough ahead before stopping to cheat (he sets up his traps off-screen, and it typically takes minutes for anyone to even get near his position on the course), proving him to be the best racer out of all of them. Isn't it more likely he has more fun losing creatively than the hollow victory of an easy win? Or is he simply too fixated on cheating to realize he's good enough to win without having to cheat?
- Did Dick's genie make honest mistakes or was he intentionally twisting Dick's commands out of hatred for having to do a bad guy's bidding?
- Designated Villain: Dick Dastardly has shades. He's the villain of the cartoon who repeatedly cheats to win, but the other racers often cheat too or have unfair advantages thanks to gadgets attached to their vehicles and receive no penalties whatsoever. The different is that Dick usually sets traps to take the other racers out permanently, or targets the drivers themselves. Still, sometimes Dick is not any worse than the other competitors yet is treated as a scoundrel.
- Fair for Its Day: As mentioned below, Penelope's stereotypical feminine mannerisms would be seen as quaint at best and offensive at worst by today's standards. But one must also consider that this show, which first ran in 1968, portrayed a woman driving along with the rest of the male drivers in a what was probably then a man's only sport and earned 1st place four times (and 2nd and 3rd two and six times respectively) across the entire run. She's not considered a joke by the other racers, who treat her as a legitimate competitor (some will flirt with her, but then she either pulls ahead or takes advantage of their distraction). She also doesn't accept being mistreated or disrespected, showing that despite her worrying about her makeup a little too much, she at the very least has a healthy amount of self-respect, rather than simply taking verbal abuse quietly.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
- Considering that Speed Racernote is fairly popular, it only makes sense that this show is too.
- Dick Dastardly is the most popular Hanna-Barbera character in Japan.
- The show is also very fondly recalled in Latin America.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Now, the name "Dick" is all the more fitting.
- Just Here for Godzilla: Some fans only watch the series for Dick Dastardly and Muttley's antics.
- Memetic Mutation:
- Rassin' frassin'...
- Muttley's wheezy laugh.
- Rooting for the Empire: Many people want to see Dick Dastardly win for once.
- Smurfette Breakout: Penelope Pitstop was the only female racer, and got her own spinoff series.
- Unpopular Popular Character: In-universe, Dick Dastardly is despised for always cheating and mocked for always failing. Meanwhile, the fans love him because he delights in being a cheating bastard and pity him for not winning.
- Values Dissonance: Penelope with her stereotypical feminine mannerisms and car with cosmetic gear would never pass muster today. A 2001 Cartoon Network Web Animation short, "Penelope Pitstop GT", shows how she can be updated.
- What an Idiot!:
- Dick Dastardly is known to lay traps for the other racers in order to win the race himself. For most of the traps he sets, he's at the scene a good while before the racers he intends to trap, meaning he's miles ahead of them. What's more, he often waits around to see if his trap will work. If he just raced rather than waste time setting traps, he'd probably win.
- Usually Dick loses the race by being Hoist by His Own Petard, but in "Whizzin to Washington", he is about to win without cheating... only to stop so he can give Muttley his autograph, losing anyway. He does it a second time in another episode to pose for a photo finish, and doesn't even seem to mind.
- Woolseyism: In the Latin American dub (which was broadcast in Spain, too), Dick Dastardly was turned into a Frenchman, called Pierre Nodoyuna (Nodoyuna -"No doy una"- is a colloquial Spanish term for "I always fail"). The change actually helped Dastardly's appeal in the Spanish-speaking countries, and he still remains a fairly popular character.
YMMV / Wacky Races