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I'm sorta curious about this.

According to the TARDIS wiki, The Master's TARDIS has disguised itself in the form of a self-propelled vehicle a couple times:

Once as a vintage 'horsebox' (horse carrying truck) in the episode Terror of the Autons, shown here in video:

and once as a 'black Rolls-Royce limousine with darkened windows', written in the novel titled The Face of the Enemy

As shown in video with the horsebox disguise, the ship materialized normally, and presumably did the same as the Rolls-Royce.

(Slightly non-vehicle, but in the TV episode The Keeper of Traken, the Master disguised his ship as a Melkur, which could walk around and fire sonic beams from it's eyes)

Also, Iris Wildthyme's ship, the Celestial Omnibus, looked like an old-style London double-decker, the No. 22 to Putney Common, and apparently it was able to drive. (Though I am unsure if this particular time-space vessel is in fact a TARDIS)

So, I wish to ask the community this: if for some reason a Time Lord didn't want to just take off and rematerialize their ship at the intended location, could they drive their 'car' down a highway from the console room? If their TARDIS had disguised itself as an Airstream trailer, could they hook it up to a pickup truck and tow it like any other RV?

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    Is there any reason not to think the Celestial Omnibus is a TARDIS? It's repeatedly described as one, both in the books and in the page you link to yourself. In which case you have your answer... – tardigrade Oct 15 '20 at 6:51
  • @tardigrade, I was just a little unsure, but taking a closer look and thinking a bit does come to that conclusion. The unconventional configuration of the Omnibus is just what throws me off a bit, not having the 'traditional' interior. – Jazzyamx Oct 15 '20 at 6:58
  • I think it was intentionally chosen to be a "weird, craaaazy" configuration. As I understand it Iris Wildthyme is a rather divisive element of the Whoverse... – tardigrade Oct 15 '20 at 8:44
  • Also relevant: "Alien Bodies" features a TARDIS in the form of a police officer who is indistinguishable from the real thing, so the external configuration is pretty flexible. – tardigrade Oct 15 '20 at 8:46
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I'd have to say no.

A TARDISes ability to change shape comes from the chameleon circuit. The Doctor's TARDIS is of course broken in this respect, but when working it disguises itself as something to blend in with its surroundings. And that's all it is - a disguise.

Consider this: in The Empty Child, the Ninth Doctor expresses surprise when the phone on the outside of his TARDIS rings:

How can it be ringing? It's not even a real phone. It's not connected...

If the telephone on the outside of the TARDIS is not a real phone, then were a TARDIS with a working chameleon circuit to transform into a car, it would not be a real, working car.

The Eleventh Doctor did use the exterior phone on the outside of the TARDIS a couple of times, but the first time he is shown using a phone is at the end of The Beast Below when the phone is actually on the TARDIS console. It would seem that the Eleventh Doctor found a way to divert the phone to the dummy outside. No other Doctor has used it as a phone before or since.

Crucially, the inside of the TARDIS apparently remains the same even when the exterior changes. So if it were to appear as a vehicle externally, there would be no car engine to propel it as a car inside.

Could a TARDIS in the shape of a car mimic the movement of a car? Well, the TARDIS can travel through time and space, so it is capable of travelling through physical space in its own right. Examples of this happening include The Runaway Bride, when The Doctor piloted the TARDIS in a car-chase to rescue Donna, and The Day of The Doctor when the War Doctor crashed it through a wall. So the TARDIS can move about if it needs to, we just generally see it materialise on a planet surface, and dematerialise when it needs to return to orbit.

However, I don't believe that the TARDIS could take the shape of a car and then move in such a way that imitates a car. The way that the TARDIS is seen to move through physical space, rotating or spinning as seen in many episodes of both classic and modern Doctor Who, is nothing to do with the current appearance of The Doctor's TARDIS. For example, in Spyfall, the Master's TARDIS is in the shape of a house and is seen flying next to a plane, gently rotating in a similar manner. That is evidently how a TARDIS moves, whether the chameleon circuit is engaged or not and whatever form it has taken. Presumably then, if it was to take the form of a car it would still have to move in the same fashion.

I should add that all of the above is based on the Mark III Type 40 TARDIS possessed by The Doctor. These are apparently outdated and were decomissioned by the Timelords.

On a personal note, I sincerely hope that the series writers don't ever try to turn Doctor Who into the Transformers.

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    +1 for the line about turning Doctor Who into the Transformers. – user89104 Oct 17 '20 at 4:57
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    "If the telephone on the outside of the TARDIS is not a real phone, then were a TARDIS with a working chameleon circuit to transform into a car, it would not be a real, working car." I'd interpret the Doctor's line to mean that it's not a "real phone" because "it's not connected" to the phone lines like a real police box phone would be, I don't think he's saying it would be physically incapable of taking calls if it were connected to phone lines. In other words, it may still have all the internal electronics of a real phone. – Hypnosifl Oct 23 '20 at 20:43
  • Also note that in episode 4 of "Colony in Space", the Master's TARDIS is disguised as the spaceship of the "Adjudicator" (the Master in disguise), and we see it fly in for a landing like a plane, then turn around and land using its rockets, all making loud sounds presumably characteristic of that vehicle but not of TARDISes. I suppose it could have been really hovering like a TARDIS (though I don't know if TARDISes had been shown to do that in the 3rd Doctor era) and just pretending to use wings/rockets, but I think the more natural interpretation is that it was really functioning like a ship. – Hypnosifl Oct 23 '20 at 20:50
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A TARDIS seems to have a fair amount of control over the size and appearance. And another one even simulated an entire Diner interior so if some writer wanted to there would not be any real reason it couldn't have wheels.

Point to consider - if it created holographic wheels that didn't actually roll and flew in a very controlled manner it would be indistinguishable from a vehicle with functional wheels.

Additionally the Tesselecta which appears to be a human time travel ship did have the ability to shape shift into functional wheels (Let's Kill Hitler). Gallifreyan civilization being very old and very advanced implies that if they wanted a TARDIS to do it - it would likely be more advanced than a Tesselecta.

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    The Tesselecta wasn't a TARDIS. It wasn't even Timelord technology. I think this is a bit of a stretch. – Astralbee Oct 15 '20 at 14:51
  • @Astralbee I understand however I feel it is similar enough that it establishes wheels and shape shifting can happen in theory. I do not claim a TARDIS does do that but surely timelords can do anything technologically possible if they want. Similarly a T-1000 terminator specifically can shape shift quite well but does not have the ability to make wheels nor is it in the Dr Who universe. – lucasbachmann Oct 15 '20 at 18:15
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In "The Runaway Bride" we see the TARDIS actually fly through the air. Presumably it could use this capability while in the shape of a vehicle to mimic the vehicle in motion.

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  • Could you find and edit in a video clip of this or an image to back this up? – TheLethalCarrot Oct 15 '20 at 12:49
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    @TheLethalCarrot Not really necessary IMO. The source (episode name) is already clearly cited, and it's one of the major events of that episode. – Rand al'Thor Oct 15 '20 at 14:12
  • @Randal'Thor not saying it is necessary but the evidence directly on the answer would certainly improve this a lot. – TheLethalCarrot Oct 15 '20 at 14:16
  • youtu.be/UBO3Kvg7FJw?t=149 – Acccumulation Oct 15 '20 at 20:05
  • I don't believe that the TARDIS could take the shape of a car and then move in such a way that imitates a car. A real police box doesn't move. The way that the TARDIS does move through physical space, rotating or spinning as seen in many episodes of both classic and modern Doctor Who, is not to do with the current appearance of The Doctor's TARDIS. For example, in Spyfall, the Master's TARDIS is in the shape of a house and is seen flying next to a plane, gently rotating in a similar manner. That is evidently how a TARDIS moves. – Astralbee Oct 16 '20 at 9:37

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