Usually online, when playing with my friends, we have spent a little over an hour searching every corner of the map looking for a particular car/motorcycle with absolutely no luck. Yet, after much insistence, we find that precise vehicle and soon after, we have no trouble finding another one right away.
I remember looking for a Sanchez for over forty minutes without even seeing them in the street. Then, when I found one and got on it, I remember seeing three within a minute.
This is consistent enough for my friends and I to rely upon it when searching for vehicles "We only have to find one, then, we'll all have our own". I don't know if this happens to everyone or if it is just a glitch or a coincidence. Maybe there is a bug in the coding or some strange pattern. Anyways, it has been bugging me for some time now and I wanted to know whatever mechanism is behind this phenomenon.

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    I feel like this would happen a lot in the other GTA games (definitely GTA 3, I'm sure the others felt the same way as well). – PawnInGameOfLife Jul 29 '15 at 5:00
  • @PawnInGameOfLife I have only played GTA 4 and 5, I noted this happening in GTA 4 very consistently, not so much in 5. But if you think it happens in all of them then it makes me more interested about the question. – Guacho Perez Jul 29 '15 at 5:02
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    in the GTA 3 games, the game could only load so many car models into memory at once. This limited the number of different kinds of car you could see on the road at any one time. Since the player's active car, whether being driven it or not, is also loaded into memory, the game will normally include in the list when randomly spawning cars. This means if the active car is rare or not normally found in the current neighbourhood it will suddenly become a fairly common sight. I don't know if this the same thing happens in GTA IV as well. – user86571 Jul 29 '15 at 6:27
  • @RossRidge but then how do you find it in the first place? If it needs to be in the cache to begin with, shouldn't it be common already? – Guacho Perez Jul 29 '15 at 16:33
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    I notice the same thing, and put it down to psychology. I notice the car Im driving more, because it is always right in front of me. That said, @Ross Ridge has made a very good argument from a developer POV, and should probably consider posting it as an answer. – user106385 Jul 29 '15 at 17:05

You will definitely see more copies of your car once you start driving it, but the game will also load a set of other cars to be more realistic.

There is a also a slight trend for the game to load certain cars based on what you happen to be driving at the time, which you can then make use of to get the car you want (e.g. driving the Sultan RS causes the Sentinel to spawn more frequently).

Finally, some vehicles will always be loaded. These include service vehicles, dealerships cars and certain helicopters.

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    Yep. Same with gta 5. Ride a super car, lets say t20 and you'll see way more super spawns and a little bit more t20 spawn. – Ave Aug 17 '15 at 6:33

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