With so many television shows that feature cars, there's bound to be mistakes made sooner or later. Some of our favorite shows, like The Dukes of Hazzard or Starsky and Hutch, have some awesome driving action where the car is usually seen flying through the air (There's a 46-minute video of the General Lee jumping, making me believe that it's really a plane.) It's the landing of these stunts that contain the most continuity mistakes, as you plainly notice the front end of the car crumpling up from the hard impact with the ground—with pieces of the car starting to come off—before they cut to a different camera angle, usually showing the car driving off as if nothing was wrong.
The quintessential type of car show that you'll find most motorheads watching comes in a few different forms. You've got the drama driven shows, like Fast N' Loud, the do-it-yourself shows, like Muscle Car, and the build-it shows, like Overhaulin'. All of these are filled with their own mistakes that anyone who is car savvy would notice in an instant. From simply having their facts wrong to really misunderstanding the time, effort, and detail that goes into a build, mistakes often leave us both confused and annoyingly amused to keep watching and see what sort of outcome will come about.
Whether big mistakes or small, I want to talk about some of the mistakes made on TV shows that only those of us with eagle eyes and a keen automotive brain could pick up on.
23 What Happened To The Other Car Last Week?
Seeing previous work displayed in the background of a garage show is always a cool thing. Either you've never seen the vehicle before and want to watch the episodes where they were building it or you recognize it instantly and remember the past episodes. I haven't seen this done better than Stacy David's GearZ show, where most of his personal builds are in the garage. However, the DIY garage shows that don't do this have always left me wondering what happened to these amazing cars. It's never explained and thought to be sold off, or rumor has it they are junked right after, so as to discourage people to sell the car online for a much larger price and to not deal with any legal matters if something were to go wrong.
22 Rusted Bolts That Come Off Way Too Easily
The garage is in the middle of a teardown of some old car that's been sitting in a corner of a barn. It's very rusty and doesn't look like things are going to go very easily. Of course, things go well and the car is done in an orderly fashion with almost no mistakes. During some of those scenes, it shows the mechanics taking off old, rusty bolts without any inclination towards using penetrating oil or a blow torch for some of the more extreme cases. No, they take it off without much fight and go onto the next bit where they show you how to do something, but all the while I'm left wondering why that bolt didn't snap in half.
21 Jeremy Gets His Facts Wrong
Even the Jezza gets things wrong from time to time, though this is one factoid too big to be overlooked so easily. During an episode of the Top Gear show, Jeremy states that Mercedes-Benz never participated in a rally. Of course, this isn't true, as in 1978, a Mercedes-Benz 450SLC participated and won the South American rally. This, of course, isn't Mercedes' only rally car, either, as a 300SE took 1st, 2nd, and 4th place in the 1963 Argentine Gran Prix.
20 Danny Gets His Facts Mixed Up
A mistake that's too well known to be overlooked, Danny claimed on his show that the Corvette was introduced in 1954 and 600 were made the first year. Anyone that knows anything about Corvettes knows that this is very off. The Corvette was first sold in 1953, with only 300 made the first year. In 1954, Chevy produced 3,640 Corvettes, so I'm not sure where Danny got this number, but I feel this fact is too well known for a guy like Danny—who is usually spot on about stuff—to make such a mistake.
19 Not As Done As It Looks
Does anyone else hear how some of the cars run a little off on some of the projects on TV? Though the team really does build these cars within a week, I almost think that sometimes they don't have time to tune the car properly. They're happy to show the car off anyway and as much as it looks great, it doesn't quite sound spot on. A little research reveals that this is exactly what happened; with the stressful timing, they didn't always get to tuning the car properly. Instead, the owners would have to send the car out or finish the job themselves.
18 Misrepresentation Of Car Enthusiasts
We all love to see nice cars, whether it be an old hot rod or a built-up import, or even the supercars whose posters we hang up on the wall. They're all nice, and some of us are lucky enough to be able to own these cars. Of course, it takes a different type of hard work to be able to buy that Lambo, but it's hard work paid off. In the show Fastest Car, however, that type of hard work doesn't seem to matter, as the people who participate and drive a supercar seem to be vilified, rather than glorified like the ones who built their cars. The way I see it, this is a mistake and a misleading representation of what a real car enthusiast acts like. It doesn't matter if you built it or bought it, the love for cars is the same and that's what should be glorified.
17 Powdercoat It, Then Modify It
I saw this on a television show once and though it didn't hit me at first, it was definitely something my dad and I brought up during the commercial break. What happened on this car show (Muscle Cars, I think, but I'm not entirely sure) was a resto-modding of this old car, and they powder coated the frame black to clean it up and to help prevent rust. So far, that's a pretty standard thing to do, and it makes sense. After they painted it, however, they started drilling holes into it for the roll cage. That makes no sense to me, and though the car looks good, it seems that the work was done in the wrong order.
16 Crazy Modifications That Don't Work
So, I'll assume that we've all seen an episode of Xibit's Pimp My Ride show, and I'm sure at least most of us had the thought at one point or another that what they're planning to put into a car just wouldn't ever work. I'd watch the rest of the show just to see how they were going to pull it off. It was years later that some of the car owners revealed some of the secrets behind the show, revealing that, indeed, our car-guy logic was right, and nothing worked as it should have (or at all).
15 Tires Blow Upon Landing
Another classic TV show mistake is when I see a car spin out or land from a jump, and just before they cut to the next scene, I notice a tire looking as if it had given out under pressure and blown up. Of course, in the next scene, the tire is fine and the car drives off without issue or even a flat. This happens all too often, and not to get off topic too much, but I noticed this recently in Smokey & The Bandit when one of the police cars make a U-turn to chase after The Bandit, and one clearly blows a tire, only to continue the pursuit in the next scene.
14 Nothing Is Done By Schedule, Then Is Miraculously Done On Time
This one is sort of a trope to create drama for the show, but to some of us that have worked in a shop, we know how hard it is to finish something on time once you've fallen behind due to various hang-ups. In just about any episode of various garage shows, they fall behind because it doesn't seem anything is working out, or one of the crew members messed up hardcore, but after some personal drama scenes and a commercial break, they're miraculously back on track and the car is just about done. Yeah, right.
13 Unrealistic Tech
How I love the kinds of shows where they display some of the latest and best tech that could be used by every man and woman who likes to tinker in their garages. Sure, some of the more advanced garages have nice lifts and some tools to that do a very specific job, but most of us are left with jack stands and some imaginative ways of working around jobs without having those special tools. Sometimes, though, the shows display something that's unrealistic to own or just too expensive for the average person to have the ability to buy.
12 Parts Fall Off When Landing
Some more TV magic plays out, usually after landing a huge jump, when we see that stray piece of chrome trim dangling off of the body after a really hard landing. The next scene, though, and that stray piece is right back in its position and doesn't so much as vibrate the wrong way. Unless this car is possessed by the spirit of Christine, there is no way that piece magically flopped around back into the same holes it broke free from only moments before.
11 Different Car From Scene To Scene
This one happens rarely, but the only time I've noticed it was in The Dukes of Hazzard where a character drives a white Ford Granada. No problem—till you come across a scene that shows a different year Granada, that is. The original car had the circle headlights, which puts it in the mid-70s, but the other Granada has the square lights, which were introduced in 1978. I'm not sure how this mistake was made, maybe the original Granada wasn't starting so they called in a last minute backup? Who knows, but it's one of those things we notice.
10 Interior Shots Don't Match The Exterior
This one can be a little harder to notice, as the interior shots are usually short. But if you're keen-eyed and keep it in mind when watching some shows, you'll spot this a lot more. It's the little things that stand out, like the windows not being the same shape or the whole of the interior being larger than the outside. Though the latter could be a camera fault, the windows not being the same shape or size can be a subtle fault, but glaring once noticed.
9 Unusual Modifications Done To The Car
I got the idea for this one by watching the show Fall Guy. There's a stunt in the show where Colt's beautiful Chevy pickup ramps off of a dirt jump and leaps high into the sky. A quick look at the undercarriage shows some unusual supports on the axle. This, of course, is additional bracing so the axle doesn't snap in half upon landing from such a jump, potentially ruining the scene and a perfectly good stunt truck. These little things are everywhere in jump stunts, it just takes a good automotive eye to catch them.
8 A Model Replacement
Another Fall Guy mistake, this one was laughably noticeable. Done during an impossibly huge jump, the Chevy is shown soaring through the air, but for some reason when they use a different angle, the truck is obviously a model that's subbed in in place of the real truck. Even people who are watching the show without much knowledge of automobiles will notice this, and maybe have to stop and rewind real quick just to make sure their eyes weren't playing tricks on them.
7 Car Magically Lands Flat
I picked this one up from the Duke boys, who for some reason or another jumped through a tree. One of the lower branches caught the underside of the General Lee, making it noticeably lean to one side upon landing. Before the car could land, the camera moved to the front fender, looking inside at the Dukes, who appear to land flat by the way their body reacts to the landing, which was then complemented by the General Lee driving off— undamaged, of course.
6 No Way It Tips Over That Easily
Now, we all know now that the Reliant Robin in the Top Gear series was rigged to tip over easily for comedic effect. Before it was revealed to be so, I'd always wondered how a car like that could really pass through the company's safety checks. They would have to know if their car is prone to tipping over that easily. Though we now know the truth, the episode is still quite funny, but I feel like knowing the truth, the effect has lost its luster.
5 Cutting Springs
This one threw me for a loop when the Overhaulin' team was working on a Nova. They just installed the suspension and the car didn't lower exactly to where it needed to be, so they cut off a coil to achieve that look. In the car world, this is almost like a mortal sin that almost everyone is guilty of at one time or another, and also can ruin the ride of your car as it bottoms out entirely too much. Maybe I'm not looking into it enough, and in this instance it's alright, but from my experience, this is extremely cheap and isn't beneficial to your car's handling.
4 Feels Like Only A Few Days
Many car shows are a bit misleading with precisely how long it took to complete a build. With shows that focus on one project for the entire hour runtime, it seems the cars are completed in a matter of a few days, when in fact it took a few weeks. Pimp My Ride is especially guilty of this, as it appears it took them no time at all to build the crazy modifications, when in fact it took them months! Without seasons to provide an idea of exactly how long it took for the cars to be built, these long drawn out projects appear to be completed in record time.
3 Never Even Touched The Drivetrain
Those shows that concentrate directly on the aesthetics of the car get me wondering if they even touch the motor at all, besides maybe cleaning it up and painting it. I can't be the only one that notices that shows like Pimp My Ride almost never talk about any sort of performance or handling upgrades or even bother to fix the problems with the motor that the cars came in with in the first place. Or maybe I am the only one who notices, who knows.
2 They Could've Saved That!
In the occasional episode of Monster Garage where things didn't work out so well, Jesse James would often destroy the car in an over-the-top, usually explosive fashion. Some cars were too far gone to really save, though I think a Cadillac hearse that Jesse had the back cut off of would've made a really cool custom Cadillac truck. Of course, Jesse had a show to shoot and instead, he crushed the car and had it ground up into little bits.
1 Misleading Sounds
A mistake that is still found in modern cinema is when the noises don't quite line up with the cars they represent. I found this to be especially common on Starsky and Hutch, as the Red Torino was an automatic, but when you listened to during some of the drive-by shots where it shifts, it sounds like a manual transmission car. I'm not sure if the Torino used in those shots is actually a standard, or if, for some reason or another, they dubbed over the original engine noise.
Sources: Top Gear, LSX, and SonnyBurnett1988