Cindy winning her car in Survivor: Guatemala
|Description||A curse that the winner of the car reward challenge will not be the Sole Survivor.|
|Appearance(s)|| The Australian Outback|
The Car Curse refers to the pattern where no Survivor contestant who obtained a car after winning a Reward Challenge has gone on to the win the game. It was most popularized after the events of Survivor: Fiji.
In Survivor: Thailand, Ted Rogers, Jr. won the reward challenge on day 34 after Brian Heidik purposely gives him the answer of the challenge, winning a Chevrolet Trailblazer. Ted finished in 5th place, and Brian ended up winning Thailand.
In Survivor: Guatemala, on day 34, Cindy Hall was informed of the Car Curse before she accepted her reward, but she still chose to keep the 2006 Pontiac Torrent she had won, rather than give 4 away to the other remaining castaways. She finished in 5th place.
In Survivor: Panama, Courtney Marit, Danielle DiLorenzo and Terry Deitz, won the reward challenge on day 28, and fought for a GMC Yukon. Terry defeated Courtney and Danielle and won the car. He finished in 3rd place. Cirie Fields, who had finished in 4th place, would later receive a GMC Yukon as prize for winning the Fan Favorite Award.
In Survivor: Fiji, Yau-Man Chan won a 2008 Ford Super Duty after winning the second part of the reward challenge of day 34, but used it to make a deal with Dreamz Herd to trade the car for the Immunity Necklace if Dreamz were to win immunity at the final four. Dreamz later broke the deal, resulting in Yau-Man's elimination in fourth place. Dreamz finished as co-runner-up.
- Some assume that cars are no longer offered as rewards because of the deal made between Yau-Man and Dreamz, due to the use of the car as a way to bargain.
- Another possible reason for the lack of a car reward in later seasons is that according to U.S. law, the winner of the car reward has to pay taxes on the car by April 15 of the next calendar year, despite the castaways not receiving their winnings until the season finale airs, which is in May for even-numbered seasons. In Fiji, Dreamz received the car reward from Yau-Man, but was unable to pay taxes on it, resulting in the truck being repossessed.
- Amber Mariano, the winner of Survivor: All-Stars, was rewarded with a Chevrolet Malibu after being picked to go on the reward by Rob Mariano. However, she did not win the car herself, and the one she received was not the same one shown at the Reward Challenge.
- Rob Mariano is the only contestant to win the car and also win the title of Sole Survivor, although he won Survivor in a different season than when he won the car.