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Winter: "Get closer! We have to get that data disk!"

Tycho: "Ease up! Elscol and Wedge practically have 'em giftwrapped! After all, I promised Darklighter I'd bring this baby back without a scratch!"

[Winter shoots at their own speeder]

Winter: "Now it's scratched. Get closer!"

There's this total jerk, see, and he has a really nice car, very possibly a shiny red convertible. And he loves this car more than anything else in the world. He will make it clear to everyone that the car is worth more to him than all their lives put together, and they are not to touch it, go near it, even look at it wrong.

There are three possible futures for this car:

  1. Somebody will borrow it without permission.
  2. It will be destroyed.
  3. Most likely, both of the above.

If the one who owns the car is a main character, the trope is Watch the Paint Job. See also It's Going Down. Practically a subtrope of What Could Possibly Go Wrong?



  • Vice-Principal Uchiyamada in GTO has a very shiny Benz that he loves very much and it gets thrashed over and over again. Multiple times people attempt suicide and just happen to land on the car, it also gets stolen (by students) and driven off into Tokyo Bay. In its final appearance he's gotten savvy and has lashed a mattress to the roof. It gets destroyed in a different way.

Comic Books

  • In Battleground: Tatooine, an arc in the X Wing Series comics, Winter and Tycho have to borrow Huff Darklighter's shiny, expensive speeder to chase after some people who shot up a party. While driving, Tycho takes it a bit slow, telling Winter that they promised to bring it back without a scratch. Winter then shoots the front of the airspeeder and says "Now it's scratched. Go!" A few pages later, the speeder is totally destroyed.
  • Characters in Sin City love to take care of their cars. Wallace and Dwight's Cadillacs are the two biggest examples. Unfortunately, many of these cars do get wrecked, much to the chagrin of the characters.
  • One Archie Comics story featured Reggie showing an excessive, obsessive, amount of concern for his car. As Archie states, "Reggie doesn't own his car- his car owns him!"
  • Ronnie's "tuff" hot rod that Cherry wrecks in "Hot Rod Boogie" in Cherry Comics #1.


 Cameron Frye: Less than a hundred were made. My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love. It is his passion.

Ferris Bueller: It is his fault he didn't lock the garage.

  • Flounder's brother's car in Animal House.
  • Kirk's stepfather's car in the Star Trek movie.
  • Kerr's car from Terminal Velocity gets driven out of a plane. And Kerr leaps out after it. It does not go well for him.
  • Agent Malloy's car from Con Air.
    • Possibly subverted. He actually shrugged off its destruction.

 Vince Larkin: I know a good body shop in Fresno if it's insured.

Duncan Malloy: I was bored with that car anyway.

Vince Larkin: It worked out nicely, then.

  • Starsky's Gran Torino in the Starsky & Hutch movie. Very unusual in that Starsky is a protagonist, and (after being talked into attempting an ill-judged jump) he destroys the car himself.
  • Walt Kowalski's titular car in the Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino. True to the trope, the car does get 'borrowed' without his consent.
    • If by 'borrowed' you mean 'run away from in mortal terror after a would-be thief stares into the wrong end of a fully loaded high caliber rifle weilded by a Badass Grandpa' then sure.
  • Variation in Return of the Jedi: Lando, about to borrow the Millennium Falcon to go with Wedge and Rogue Squadron after the second Death Star, tells Han he'll bring his ship back without a scratch on it. Han has a feeling that he'll never see his beloved Falcon again. Lando does bring her back, and her radar dish is missing.
  • Doug's father-in-law's Mercedes, The Hangover.
  • Main character's brother's 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge in Sex Drive.
  • Winston Wolfe's Acura in Pulp Fiction:

  Winston: I get my car back any different than I gave it, Monster Joe's gonna be disposin' of two bodies.

 Jefferson's Brother: My brother's gonna kill us! He's gonna kill you and he's gonna kill me! ...My brother's gonna shit!

Spicoli: Well, make up your mind, dude, is he gonna shit, or is he gonna kill us?

  • Archie's dad's Pontiac Firebird that ends up wrapped around a tree in High School USA. The kids then concoct a scheme to persuade Archie's dad that he wrecked the car himself.
  • One Crazy Summer features Teddy's red Ferrari, complete with personalized license plates reading "CUL8R".
  • Sgt. Murtaugh, driving his wife's station wagon, chasing the South Africans in the opening sequence of Lethal Weapon 2. At the police station, a cop bets money that Riggs & Murtaugh will catch their target first, but once he's told that they're in Murtaugh's wife's station wagon, he wants to back out of the bet. (Naturally, since Riggs is involved, the car becomes The Alleged Car in very short order).
  • In Tower Heist, Shaw's most precious possession is his valuable sports car in his penthouse once owned by Steve McQueen, which, in a fit of anger, Josh Kovacs smashes to hell, declaring "Steve McQueen is my little bitch." Also, it happens to not only be made of solid gold as a hidden emergency treasure trove, but its glove compartment is where he hides his secret ledger of all his fraudulent accounts.
  • At the beginning of Project X, Thomas' dad tells him not to touch his Mercedes or let anybody else use it. Predictably, it winds up at the bottom of the pool.
  • All of James Bond's cars are this to Q. It especially applies to The World Is Not Enough, in which it gets sawed in half by a helicopter-mounted buzzsaw.
  • The titular SUV Sharon from the Venezuelan Movie Mi vida por Sharon is treated this way. The plot of the movie is all the lengths its owner goes to rescue it from express kidnapers, almost at the expense of his family and the romantic relationships with his ex-wife and actual girlfriend (the man was two-timing with each other, and still both felt more betrayed with his love for his SUV). Although he manages to reconcile with his family and got his car back, Sharon still gets destroyed, at the hands of the pregnant dumped girlfriend, in a explosion that would make Michael Bay smile.


  • Crowley's very attached to his Bentley in Good Omens.
  • In Shutter Island, Teddy blows up Dr. Crawley's beloved car in order to create a diversion.
  • Phyllis Reynolds Naylor uses this trope cleverly in one of the Alice books. The teen-age Alice is a passenger in a jerk's flashy new car, and he is driving recklessly at eighty-plus miles an hour. He ignores her pleas to slow down and drive sanely, so she pretends that she's going to puke. The jerk says, "Not in my car!" and stops to let her out to puke. Once out, she wisely refuses to get back in.

Live Action TV

  • Here's a handy guide: if Kelso makes even a passing reference to his car in an episode of Scrubs, bad things are going to happen to it.
  • In Power Rangers RPM, when Col. Truman refers to the Project Go-Onger van as his prized possession, you knew it was going down. And it did: the Monster of the Week planted a bomb on it, causing it to go out of control and right off a cliff. The Rangers bailed out just in time to see it die.
  • Lt. Gruber tanks in Allo Allo.
  • The Villain of the Week in one Burn Notice episode is allowed to drive Jesse's Porsche Cayman under the belief that it was now his. To keep Michael's client from blowing his head off, Fiona rassures Jesse that she will only shoot the windhield. The guy backs up in a hurry, rips off the back bumper, and drives off. Jesse says, annoyedly, "Just the windshield."
  • In Chuck, Casey is shown lovingly washing his Ford Crown Victoria. Chuck must later divert an incoming missile by reprogramming it to home in on said Crown Vic. Casey is inconsolable.
  • Donna of Parks and Recreation is crazy about her Mercedes.
  • This happens in Only Fools and Horses, and even ties into an earlier plot point too. Del borrows Boycie's Jaguar E-Type (for various reasons), and just when he decides to stop in the road at the end of the episode, the car gets crashed into by a dodgy car with no brakes Del had sold to an Australian guy earlier in the episode.
  • Chi Soo from Flower Boy Ramyun Shop loves his black car and drove it to school. His father stopped him from doing this by taking the wheels; he had a Played for Laughs breakdown in the garage because of this.

Professional Wrestling

  • Eddie Guerrero and his lowriders. One time when he and Rey Mysterio, Jr. were teaming Rey got slammed onto the hood of Eddie's car. Eddie came over to see what happened, cold-cocked Rey, and embraced the car as if it could feel pain.

Video Games

  • Death Rally disables the sabotage option at the Underground Market if the player is going up against the Adversary. Of course, most players beat him by blowing up his car, rather than trying to out-race him, anyway.

 "What? You crazy, man? Nobody touches the Adversary's automobile and lives, nobody."

  • Grand Theft Auto Vice City. Underground racing circuit plus bazooka = win for the player.
  • Sully, the leader of the Orphans in The Warriors, can often be found at Frank's Autobody tinkering with his car. When Cleon confronts him after Sully bragged about intruding on the Warriors' turf on the radio, Sully and his men hide behind a locked gate and then taunt Cleon further. Cleon retaliates by having his "youngbloods" (rookie gang members) smash Sully's car with their fists, their feet, and giant sledgehammers. The sequence ends with a Big No from Sully.
  • As mentioned above, James Bond's cars. In James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, he is forced to self-destruct his Porsche Cayenne Turbo as a distraction. Just before pressing the button, he looks skyward and says, "Forgive me, Q."


Western Animation

  • Mr. Wolffe gets a car like this in an episode of Rocko's Modern Life.
  • Kevin's car in Ben 10 Alien Force. The abuse it is subjected to throughout the series (and Kevin's subsequent freak-outs) is a Running Gag.
  • Happens to Bummer's golf cart in the Stoked! episode "Reef, Broseph's and Emma's Totally Stupid Adventure".
  • Owned by a Jerk Jock in an episode of Batman Beyond. When he bullies a wimpier classmate, the wimp snags his dad's humongous construction 'bot and crushes it like a beer can.
  • Knockout in Transformers Prime is his own Precious Precious Car, being the unusual car-mode Decepticon. He's incredibly vain and takes cosmetic damage very seriously.

  "No! Not the paint job!"

  • Teen Titans gives us a full episode where Cyborg builds a high-tech sports car from the bottom up, only to have it jacked by a couple of hoodlums, given an unwanted flame paintjob, then snatched again by the even more careless Gizmo. Cyborg finds the little pipsqueak and protests in horror at the site of him munching down on fast food inside the car.

  Cyborg: He'll get ketchup ON THE SEATS!!!

    • Sadly, his ride gets torn apart as he tries to wrench it back from him, and then utterly ruined when it crashes into a police transport. Worse, the recently-captured Overload was sitting inside the truck, and promptly assimilates himself with the wreckage, morphing it into an evil version of the original, egging Cyborg on by boasting that he'll have to waste the car to beat him. Cyborg says it's not his car anymore, then blasts it into oblivion. Afterward, he builds an identical replacement. However, the car gets nothing but abuse in later seasons.
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