26 January 2004
Worst. Wheels. Ever. (2.)
New poll at Forbes.com: The Worst Cars of All Time.
The nominees seem plausible enough at least there's a Trabant though I have some problems with the Edsel listing, inasmuch as (1) it's not a Ford (it was based on a Ford, except for the top two trim lines in Edsel's first year, which were built off a larger Mercury platform) and (2) the model years in question were not 1957-59, but 1958-60.
In Vent #260, I held up the Chevrolet Vega as an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences:
David E. Davis, Jr., last seen as the Editor Emeritus of Automobile
magazine, worked on the ill-fated Chevrolet Vega project alongside the late GM stalwart Frank Winchell, and after the car was sent to the junkyard of history, Winchell told Davis: "That was the best bunch of guys I ever worked with, some of the brightest people I knew, and that still turned out to be the worst car we ever built. Not once do I remember any one of those individuals coming into the room yelling, 'Hey, you guys! I got it! Here's what we're gonna do! We're gonna build a really shitty
The best-laid plans, and all that.
Posted at 7:21 PM to Driver's Seat
I remember my grandparents driving a Plymouth Volare sometime in the mid-seventies, although I doubt they'd admit it now. Even worse, they later traded the Plymouth for an AMC Concord...
My first car was a 1973 Vega. It was very touchy about being put into reverse gear. It also drank oil like there was no tomorrow. I traded it in on a 1975 Pinto hatchback. I guess I scored pretty high (or low, depending on how you look at it) on the Worst Cars Ever list. I kept that Pinto for ten years, though. It was so rusted I had to require that any one riding in it have their tetanus shots up to date. :)
Thanks for posting that link. I really enjoyed the slide show.
I had two Pintos and loved both of them. I had a friend that owned a Vega and he had to build a fire under it to get it to start if the temp went below freezing.
If you're talking ugly cars, how about the AMC Pacer?
The Pinto, I think, got its bad press from that exploding-fuel-tank business; otherwise it was a competent if ungainly little boat.
The Pacer was the Chrysler Airflow of its day; every single line on it could be justified, and no one wanted to hear any of the justifications.
I was an engineer at American Motors when the Pacer was built. The car was designed to use a Wankel engine being developed by GM. When GM dropped the Wankel project American Motors substituted a straight six which was a horrible fit.
The car did have some neat features though. The passenger door was longer to make entry/exit easier. The ridge across the middle of the roof is part of a roll bar structure.
I owned a Pontiac Astra which was a Vega with Pontiac's badge. I didn't understand how the desire for a light aluminum block justified a cast iron head that weighed as much as the block and had all the grace of a railroad bridge. What about those iron plated pistons?
If the Pacer had been introduced, not back in the Bronze Age, but at this year's Detroit Auto Show perhaps with the badge of a Known Purveyor of Weirdness, such as Saab not one eyebrow (except maybe Robert Cumberford's) would be raised.
The Pacer was still an ugly freakin' car!
My first car was a 1974 Chevrolet Vega. It didn't have an airconditioner or a radio, and it had parts made out of, apparently, aluminum foil, but it lasted about six months. Then I bought the 1984 Ford Escort. It came with pre-installed rust holes and an engine block that was recalled due to spontaneous cracking. After that car (bought new) expired at exactly 98000 miles, I bought an '88 Plymouth Sundance. It leaked oil and power steering fluid like rain through a sieve, and finally threw a rod on the Miami Airport Expressway two months after Hurricane Andrew.
I don't have much luck with cars.
Try riding in a '74 Vega Hatchback with a 350 LT1 stuffed under the hood.
Damn, but that thing would move.
Move? How'd you ever get it to stop? Or did it come with an anchor?
This thing had been refitted with much larger brakes on the front. The rear end was a 12-bolt that had been narrowed and drilled to fit the Vega wheels but used the larger brakes that came with the bigger third member. The LT1 had a Muncie 4-speed behind it.