Ghost Cars are one of the most popular myths in the entire GTA series. It is also one of the first and only myths that have been proven to be real.
In the game, there is a variant of the Glendale car, called "glenshit" in the game's internal files. This vehicle differs from the normal Glendale because all of its body panels, bumpers, and doors are dented. Its damages cannot be repaired by cheats or by visiting a Pay 'N' Spray. These damaged cars are nicknamed "beaters."
Several of these beater Glendales spawn in the woods of Back O' Beyond. However, they spawn on the side of a steep hill, which makes them slide to the bottom of the hill as soon as they spawn, making it appear as if they are driving by themselves. This phenomenon can be witnessed at any time in the location in Back O' Beyond; It is unknown if this is a glitch, or if game developers implemented this on purpose. The exact location where these cars spawn is in Back O' Beyond, just south of two horseshoe-shaped rocks. One of the dented Glendales also spawns in the Junkyard.
Many fan-made videos show the cars whirring to life with their lights turning on and attempting to run down the player. While this happens, the car is immune to damage, and will not stop unless the player is killed, or the car is somehow damaged beyond driving. No evidence that supports these videos' validity has ever been found.
There is a glitch on some PS2 versions of the game where the ghost car that 'rolls' down the hill spawns incorrectly, right through a tree. If this occurs, the driving wheels can be witnessed spinning on the ground silently, while the car remains stuck.
The Sadler is another vehicle in GTA San Andreas that has a beater variant. The Sadler, an older-styled pickup truck, may also spawn as a beater, in which its body panels and doors are all dented. Like the Glendale, the vehicle cannot be repaired with cheats or by using a Pay N' Spray. Although the Sadler plays no part in the Ghost Cars myth, several beater Sadlers may occasionally spawn in various locations around Back O' Beyond. The beater Sadler is also involved in another lesser-known myth, the Red Truck myth.
In Vigilante side-mission
Sometimes, players might see these being used as getaway cars by the criminals. The cars are wrecked, but the game chooses any random ped and car for the player to chase.
In GTA IV
In Multiplayer (unknown in Single Player), some cars have no driver, and are unobtainable, but they're driving around like there is someone in them. They can be stolen if the driver-side window is shot out. Some cannot even be obtained by this means. They appear after someone has obtained a 3-5 star wanted level, usually. Some pop up at random. They can be seen (listed from most sightings to least) in and around the Dukes area, Bohan and northern Algonquin. They have no driver and you shoot them, they will not speed away.
In GTA V
In Singleplayer, there is a minor glitch resulting in some cars having no driver but they will still drive around like normal. This behavior is most likely to be seen in and around the Lago Zancudo area. They will turn aggressive and drive away if the player fires a weapon, mimicking regular pedestrian behavior.
In GTA Online
Ghost Cars also appear in GTA Online. They spawn randomly and can be stolen. They can randomly disappear too, and can appear if a player lags out. The lagging out, or purchase of a vehicle replacing the personal vehicle, creates a car that is unobtainable, even if the windows are shot out.