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Worst Cars Of All Time Rated 1017

Posted by simoniker
from the vroom-vroom-sputter dept.
prostoalex writes "Forbes magazine complains that people nowadays do not have a real understanding of how awful a car can truly be. Hence they compiled a list of the worst cars available in the US, or 'lemons' created after World War 2. In the former Eastern Bloc, there are plenty of other choices, including this Ukrainian jewel, as well as many Soviet cars did not make it to the Forbes article."
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Worst Cars Of All Time Rated

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  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:31PM (#8094008) Homepage Journal
    I saw the Pontiac Fiero at an autoshow and immediately fell in love with it. It appeared a sound design with potential. The bitter reality was it was well engineered, then passed through the hands of bean-counters who shopped around GM for cheap parts to build this car with, to keep it under $10K. Result, 2.5l 4cyl with a red-line of 4,500 RPM, spun out easily, parking brake froze on a regular basis (I often drove to work burning the brakes until they freed up) and shifted (4 spd) like a transmission designed by space devils [penny-arcade.com]. The last straw was a broken headbolt at 30,025 miles, 25 over warranty. The company response, not to be unexpected, i.e. our cars are only good for warranty mileage, after that they could completely collapse and we don't sweat it. With an engine that redlined at a mere 4,500 RPM, and had a shut off, too boot, a broken headbolt sounded like a defect. That they left it to me to pay for was the height of comtempt for the customer. Not for the product, but for the way the company failed to stand behind it, I could never trust them with my $$,$$$ again. Too bad, I still think the car wasn't really all that bad in concept and could have been saved by a company that didn't run away from their products.

    I never did have to contend with the broken engine block or engine fires or "secret recalls"* which were common with these same cars, I dumped it 2 years after buying it.

    * Secret recall: when the customer brings it in for any other service, sneakily check to see if it needs anything on this list fix and take care of it without ever letting them know you did it.

    • LADA Niva (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bigjocker (113512) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:44PM (#8094155) Homepage
      I'm thinking about buying a Lada Niva. I've been in love with this car for a few years and now I have the chance, but I'm intrigued by the comment in the article mentioning them as bad cars. I have a few friends who have been owners of this car and, althought not the best car around, they seem to perform really well.

      The new generation of Nivas comes with a motor that is 1700 cc, inyection motor (I really don't know the correct translation of this spec ...), 4x4, air conditioning and few gadgets.

      Is this car really bad? or is it suffering from bad PR?
      • What? No Skoda? (Score:3, Informative)

        by ackthpt (218170) *
        I'm thinking about buying a Lada Niva. I've been in love with this car for a few years and now ...

        When I was in Europe, 92-94, the running joke was the Skoda. Yet, in the UK there was an Skoda owners club, that built these cheap cars from Prague into serious rally cars. With little enough down to get a durable car that just needs some love and attention, almost anything is possible. The Chevy Nova taught most of us in Michigan that, back in the 70's

        • A friend of mine is a foreign exchange student in Prague right now and he says the running joke in Prague is "How do you double the value of a Skoda?" -- "Put gas in it."
        • Skoda jokes:

          The difference between Skoda and a Jehova Witness:
          You can slam the door on Jehova Witness.

          The difference between Skoda and a sheep:
          It is less embarassing to be caught in a sheep.
      • Re:LADA Niva (Score:3, Informative)

        by bigjocker (113512) *
        Forgot to add a link to a picture of the new model [tucarro.com]. (sorry, it's a spanish site, but the pictures show the model I'm talking about)
      • Re:LADA Niva (Score:5, Informative)

        by Tandoori Haggis (662404) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:26PM (#8094604)
        These vehicles were great little workhorses. I recall the old ones (they were exported around 1979?)which looked rusty (before they started proofing them against road grit/salt) but had been driven through through forests on rough tracks and were none the worse for it.

        Reviews on this vehicle seem to conclude that it is a very capable 4 wheel drive vehicle, provided that you accept its limitations. It was designed for rough unmade roads/ sub-arctic tundra rather than highways/motorways.

        I suspect that because they were cheap, they tended to be neglected. Also some folk expect limo ride in a cross country hack - its for getting from A to B.

        No, this vehicle is more like a poor mans Land Rover, yet I suspect its may be easier to live with, provided you can get the parts, look after it and use the gears appropriately.

        Here are links to reviews on the Lada Niva for you:

        http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/motors/cars/lada_niva_1_ 7i /_review/109486/
        http://www.ciao.co.uk/Lada_Niva_ _5154699
        http://www.carsurvey.org/review_18955.ht ml
        http://www.reviewcentre.com/review20585.html
        http://www.preloved.co.uk/reviews/review.cfm?produ ctID=132

        Sounds like its a hit with reviewers.

        Here is the search input string I used:

        http://s22.ixquick.com/do/metasearch.pl?cmd=proc es s_search&startat=10&language=english&qid=-1&query= Lada+Niva+Review&cat=web&rl=NONE&lui=engli sh

        Good luck and have fun.
      • by uglomera (138796) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:28PM (#8094619)
        How could no one mention the TRABANT [team.net]? My family owned two of these, it was the only car we could get back home without waiting for a decade for a government permit. It was made of cheap carton, really plastic, had 26 horsepower on 2 cylinders, and it totally sounded like a blender in distress. The gear shifter was made of aluminun which wore off every 10000 miles or so, it was a standard replacement like the oil.

        There are many Trabant fans in Europe now, some clubs even, which are preserving this true icon of the communism era. I myself have so many memories of this car, including the ones of being made fun of because my father owned one. But it was cheaper than the russian cars (even that is possible) and many times it was more reliable.

        Ah, the Trabi :)
        • My family were driving across the eastern German border one overcast day, so roads were slippery. The entry to the gate was paved with stone so it was especially slippery.

          We were in a Russian made Lada [autohopper.com] and as we stopped for the gate, a Trabant behind was apparently unable to slow down and slammed into the back of us.

          Damage on the Lada amounted to a small 5 inch dent.

          The Trabant? The entire front was shattered. The poor woman wasn't able to drive it away.

          Don't know how people ever got into those thing
      • by joel.br (701251)
        The only reason Lada put demisters on the back window is to keep your hands warm while you are pushing it home.
    • MIne :-) (Score:5, Interesting)

      by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:44PM (#8094164)
      I was working as a contractor, one of the permanent hires was new from college, thought he knew everything, took no advice and asked for none, but sure gave it out. I had a 1986 MR2; this was 1988. He came in one day bursting with ego and pride and told me he had bought a Fiero. I looked at him in amazement ... why did you buy that piece of shit? He was startled, said Isn't that what you have?

      Idiot had bought the car strictly based on what he thought I had. No research, no test drive, nothing.

      My MR2 now has 330,000 miles and runs like a champ, still shifts at redline like it couldn't be happier.
    • by telecaster (468063) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:45PM (#8094173)
      How the hell can a Yugo be worse then a Pinto?
      The Pinto actually blew up and killed people!

      Yeah, the Yugo was bad. But I don't remember the damn thing blowing up. You have to run to blow up....
      • by El (94934) on Monday January 26, 2004 @10:35PM (#8096079)
        The real question is: in which vehicle have more people died from embarrassment while driving? Whether you die in flames, or simply never get a second date because you pick women up in a Yugo, either way, you're pretty much taking your genes out of the gene pool, aren't you?
    • That's what reverse is for. 25 miles backwards, and viola! It's under warranty again!

      Not that you should do this.
    • That sounds exactly like my experience with an 86 Olds Regency 98. They also shopped around for cheap parts and replaced the Olds engine with a cheap Buick engine.

      Less than 1 month after the warranty expired, the Transmission completely died and had to be rebuilt. I got the same sort of response that after warranty, they don't car if the car melts down. They wouldn't even appologize for it.

      Then at 128,000km, the timing gear (which was made of plastic) threw off all its teeth and the flying timing
    • by swordboy (472941) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:26PM (#8094603) Journal
      Funny you mention the Fiero... I am a Michigander who happens to live just across the street from Pontiac. I fell in love with the Fiero. However, it wasn't the bean-counters that caused me to fall out of love with the car. It was GM themselves.

      Ya see... GM's bread and butter is the Corvette. The Fiero was finally something that could displace the 'vette as the image car. And the big wigs didn't want that to happen. So they crippled the car with mediocre performance by allowing only mediocre parts like those from the Chevette. However, the engineers did get to design the hell out of the car (not that it would ever be used for anything but show purposes) and one day, they had Getrag [getrag.de] whip up a transaxle for one of GM's V8s. They put the combo in a late model chassis and quickly took it out to the test track in Milford. If you'll notice, a V8 has no trouble fitting into one of these cars [v8archie.com]. It was designed that way...

      This test car was unstable and ended up killing the test driver. GM used this as an excuse to kill the Fiero program. A few years ago, my brother was working at GM Powertrain Headquarters in Pontiac and stumbled across the old Fiero design studio - it hadn't been touched since they closed the doors more than a decade ago. He said that it was so much like a time machine that he spent the rest of the day in there.

      Chrysler ended up buying the transaxle property from Getrag and using it in their Maserati TC [maserati-indy.co.uk]. The tranny is near bulletproof if you can get your hands on one.
    • You know, I also owned a Fiero (bought a used 1986 SE model from the original owner), and I really liked the car. Yeah, I had the problems with the sticking parking brake too, but only once during the winter (snow and ice), when it was almost understandable it might act up. The brakes themselves were an occasional problem in general, though. (They had extremely thin rotors, due to the small clearances available for them, so they'd warp easily - and weren't usually possible to be "turned" and salvaged. I
    • Fieros (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rs79 (71822)
      The 19 year old punk across the street has two of them, both have been stripped down to nothing and built back up.

      I have to say I'm hellish impressed with the engineering of them, it's the closest the US has ever come to building a Ferarri - certainly not on looks, but in power and handling. Stock they're less than ideal ecpecially with the 4 banger, but the V6's are pretty nice and the 88 suspension or modded earlier suspension is more than capable. The low polar moment of inertian from a true transverse
  • results (Score:4, Informative)

    by shystershep (643874) * <[bdshepherd] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:32PM (#8094013) Homepage Journal
    In preparation for the likely slashdotting, here are the current results of the poll. Notice the many non-U.S. built vehicles here (you'd think that at least the poster would RTFA, but apparently not).:

    Which of these cars do you consider to be the worst?
    1975-1980 AMC Pacer
    177 votes (11%)
    1970-1974 Chevrolet Vega
    203 votes (12%)
    1970-1972 Citroen SM
    28 votes (2%)
    1978-1988 Fiat Strada
    24 votes (1%)
    1983-1989 Ford Bronco II
    36 votes (2%)
    1957-1959 Ford Edsel
    40 votes (2%)
    1971-1980 Ford Pinto
    233 votes (14%)
    1978 Honda Accord hatchback
    56 votes (3%)
    1971 Mazda RX-2
    9 votes (1%)
    1979-1984 Oldsmobile Delta 88
    30 votes (2%)
    1984 Pontiac Fiero
    62 votes (4%)
    1956-1968 Renault Dauphine
    75 votes (5%)
    1957-1962 Sachsenring Trabant P50
    90 votes (6%)
    1981-1991 Yugo GV
    567 votes (35%)
  • Ah, the Pinto. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarkHelmet (120004) * <mark AT seventhcycle DOT net> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:32PM (#8094019) Homepage

    Back when my father was alive, he was a doctor. Our policy in our family was to have two cars: one car that was elegant and classy for going to important meetings / etc, and one car that was completely "ghetto" for the purpose of appearing not-so-well off.

    The logical choice for car #2 was The Pinto. It was a clunker. It had such a lack of style that it was actually stylish... well... in its own sort of way.

    Why would someone want to masquarade as not being well off? Because it's usually not a good idea to driving through Compton in a Lincoln Continental. Even though at the time we were living in Minnesota, this applied but only to a lesser degree.

    So tell me... Is a car jacker more likely to jack a pinto, or jack a Lincoln? Hmmm... Blending in is important sometimes.

    So yes... the Pinto. One of the worst cars of all time, but still managed to serve its purpose.

  • Ahhhh... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Demanche (587815)
    They Are Making Fun Of my dream cars...... :
  • by caino59 (313096)
    they never really had problems to really warrant labeling them as 'lemons'

    They were just butt ugly.

    there are definately other cars out there more fit to recieve "worst car ever"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A SCOda.
  • The Holden (Score:5, Funny)

    by So Called Expert (670571) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:35PM (#8094045)
    In New Zealand, there was a joke about the Holden that went something like this:

    Q: What's the difference between a sheep and a Holden?
    A: You wouldn't want to be seen getting out of a Holden.

  • by flogger (524072) <non@nonegiven> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:35PM (#8094051) Journal
    If you are at work, beware of porn ads on the link to the worst slav car. FYI.

  • Did they consider the factor of ugliness? I mean, reliability comes first of course, but aesthetics do play a part. For that matter, does anyone know what the hell is up with the "shoebox on wheels" trend? (honda element, et al.)
    • Shoebox Factor (Score:3, Interesting)

      They're intentionally built ugly. Echo, Element, the new VW van, you name it, they're made to appeal to people who want a "quirky" vehicle that will "stand out". These people don't want a generic Bronco-shaped SUV or cab-forward sedan that they can't find in a parking lot. Of course, like many trendy "quirky" things (eg Lisa Loeb's glasses, trucker hats), most other people hate them.
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:36PM (#8094065) Homepage
    What about the K car? Currently Red Green's car of choice for "case mods".
  • by nate1138 (325593) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:37PM (#8094074)
    What about the Trabant? With a plastic body, approx 30Hp in a noisy, dirty 2 stroke engine, what's not to love?
    • Re:Soviet cars rock. (Score:3, Informative)

      by szo (7842)
      How's trabant a soviet? It was made in the DDR. All the other details are right, it rox! :)

      Szo
    • The Trabant has an interesting place in economic history. Once the Berlin Wall fell, economists could examine the books of the Trabant factory. Of course, manufacturing businesses work by taking raw materials and adding labor to produce a finished product, and if the value of the finished project doesn't exceed costs, they lose money. That's not uncommon, but with the Trabant, the value of the car was *less* than the value of the raw steel, glass, plastic, etc. used to make it, not even counting the labor!
  • Soviet Cars (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Via_Patrino (702161)
    Soviet Cars were like trucks in shape of a sedan, they were made to work several years without failure, what makes than awful to drive.
    • Re:Soviet Cars (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Via_Patrino (702161)
      I forgot to mention, one of the reasons that soviet cars didn't evolve is that they didn't suffer the oil crisis on the 70's, because they had all the oil they need and weren't in the market, so they didn't need to care about efficiency
  • Forgot One (Score:5, Funny)

    by CavyDriver (702395) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:39PM (#8094085)
    Pontiac Aztek!

    That car is so bad, it must have been hit twice with the ugly stick.

  • Last 2-3 decades (Score:5, Interesting)

    by macdaddy (38372) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:39PM (#8094088) Homepage Journal
    You mean all the cars of the last 2-3 decades aren't the "worst" autos of all time? I mean hell they don't last more than 8-12 years or so anymore if that. A nice 1974 Chevy 3/4-ton pickup if kept clean (to mitigate fender rot) will outlast any new GM truck hands down. The old adage "they don't make them like they used to" is sure as hell true in my book.
  • Doh (Score:5, Funny)

    by NanoGator (522640) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:39PM (#8094089) Homepage Journal
    Figures. I have 3 from that list sitting in my front yard. At least I don't have to mow the grass, just move the cars around once a month.
  • If you like cars, Check out http://cartalk.com/

    Cartalk is a *hilarious* and very informational do-it-yourself car-show that broadcasts on some NPR member stations.

    Click and Clack are great.

    They have all of their past show-recordings in WMA or REAL formats - okay, so that kinda sucks, but otherwise, it's a great show.
  • Cars... (Score:4, Informative)

    by John Seminal (698722) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:40PM (#8094098) Journal
    I know a couple that lives in the neighborhood that drives a Yugo. They have had the car for 15 years, and it must have over 300,000 miles on it and it still runs. I think there should be a distinction between cars that look bad but runs good, and cars that are lemons. Just because a car looks like a box with wheels does not mean it is a bad car.

    I know many people that could care less how good a car looks as long as it gets them where they want to go. Sometimes these cheaper cars are a great value considering how little gas they use.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:40PM (#8094105)
    Where is the Ford Escort? I have personly been in 2 that had the engine catch fire, and have known of two others that caught fire. Meanwhile, the Edsel, quite possibly the ugliest car Ford ever made was a fairly decent car for it's time. As for Pontiac Fiero, I owned one once and had it catch fire while it was parked and being washed in a stall. I had to rewire the /entire/ car. On the other hand it had the best handling of any car I have ever driven.
  • I was certain my first new car would be on this list. Sure enough... tied for first, the 1971 Chevrolet Vega.

    It took only 8 months to burn a valve. I immediately dumped it and bought a used 67' Plymouth Fury III. Now THAT was a great car!
  • From my childhood in the 1960's I have fond memories of the Simca Chambord, the Aero Willys, and the DKW-Vemag. These were all designs bought from foreign companies, years after they were obsolete in their respective countries of origin.


    But I guess the land of the lemons has to be the former "German Democratic Republic", with the Wartburg and the Mother Of All Lemons, the Trabant.

  • by Lurks (526137) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:42PM (#8094118) Homepage
    Hmm, well as a European - I pretty much consider all American cars as being pretty amusingly bad. That's not trying ot be insulting or whatever, it's obviously just a cultural thing.

    Those big cars, big engines, sloppy suspension and those looks, oh my word. Hmm, I must catch myself because I do like plenty of yank sports cars. And obviously the Ford GT36 is probably the finest muscle car in the world.

    But SUVs, Hummers and those station wagons with wood panels on the side? Oh God, make it stop.

    I wish they'd stop trying to bring Cryslers over to Europe too, it's just embarrassing when they sell 3.

  • Look, Wayne and Garth still drive around in one, but I don't recall the Red Vines dispenser as being factory equipment. Hrm.

    I still see a few AMC Eagles around here - the jacked up 4x4 station wagon model.

    Some of these older cars are still running and quite well at that. It's just a pain to find parts that don't come from Pick N' Pull...
  • Since the list was supposed to include US-built cars only, this Ukrainian jewel, as well as many Soviet cars did not make it to the Forbes article."

    And not all of them deserve to be on that list. Sure, most Soviet-era cars look like crap, but they got the job done. Many of them were cheap to buy and run, easy to repair yourself, and would start in the coldest of winter. No need to take the car back to the shop if something breaks, just take a long some duct tape, a few paper clips, some rubber bands a

  • by ektor (113899)


    This article attests to the (lack of) quality of publications like Forbes, Money, Fortune, etc. Sensationalist articles that are both poorly written and researched.

    For more good writing that is often amazingly entertaining articles I suggest The Economist [economist.com].

  • Um, this is most definitely not a list of US-built lemons. Fiat, Renault and Citroen all make an appearance, as does Mazda.
  • Zaporojetz (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:44PM (#8094153) Homepage Journal
    Soap box [startua.com](Milnitsa, ) was a very popular car in the Ukraine, as well as in the rest of the former USSR. Same goes for the rest of the former soviet cars. Of-course the popularity was mostly due to the fact that this car was very cheap and much more accessible than other cars, especially by foreign manufacturers (foreign to the soviet population.) So the soviet cars definetly do not belong on the 'lemon' list, simply because they in fact were really popular among the soviet population.

    I am originally from the city where this car was manufactured, the most polluted city in Ukraine, btw.
    • Re:Zaporojetz (Score:3, Informative)

      by roman_mir (125474)
      BTW., Zaporojets was built by a factory that built parts for Soviet tanks, what is even more interesting is that the engine used in this car was also used by some disel tanks as a starter (ignition) system, now that's recycling!

      Now, forget your SUVs, how about this beauty:
      LUAZ [autocitychannel.com] ?

  • by Phil John (576633) <phil@webst[ ]ltd.com ['ars' in gap]> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:45PM (#8094165)
    ...I remember my dad got one for my mum when her 15 year old fiat finally gave out, he thought it would be a good deal, (i.e. it was cheap).

    Well, they got it home and found out one of the tires had a slow puncture...so before we could go out in it for a test drive, that had to be fixed. And that was just the start of it.

    Over the next 7 years that car had so much money spent on it just to keep it going through Control Technique (the belgian M.O.T.) that the decision was finally made to get my mum a new car. So my parents went to the V.W. garage and she decided to get a polo, at which point they found out that if they took the LADA to the scrapyard they would give them more money for the car than the V.W. dealership would give as a part-ex. Yes, it was worth more as scrap! :o)

    Reminds me of all the old lada jokes we used to gall my dad with,

    Q)Why do LADA's have heated rear-windscreens?
    A)To keep your hands warm whilst you are pushing it.

    I also remember the first aid kit that came with the thing had phials of Ether in it...good thing my mom never crashed!

    OTOH, that polo has been going for well over 10 years and shows no sign of dieing yet.

    Ah, happy days! :o)
    • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:00PM (#8094343) Homepage Journal
      another old anecdote:

      A soviet drove his Lada(01) to Munich and it broke at some point there. Some Mercedes driver offered his help and used a rope to tie the cars together to pull Lada to the nearest mechanic. On the way a Volvo decided to race the Mercedes, and apparently the Merc. driver forgot about Lada at its back.

      Later local newspaper had a headline: Lada participates in a race! A Mercedes and a Volvo were seen to race each other on the autoban, but apparently a Soviet made Lada was seen chasing them from behind and honking the horn, so that the two cars would move aside and let it through.

  • The Sinclair C5, OK not exactly a car but a complete disaster nonetheless, or some of the older Skodas? They produced many jokes at the time.

    Why do Skodas have heated rear windows? To keep your hands warm while you push it.

    What do you call a Skoda with a twin exhaust? A wheelbarrow.

    What do you call a Skoda with a sun roof? A skip.
  • Crazy Vaclav: She'll go three hundred hectares on a single tank of kerosene!
    Homer: What country is this car from?
    Crazy Vaclav: Ah, it no longer exists, but take her for a test drive and you'll agree -- zagreber dimslotik diev! .... Put it in 'H'!
  • I agree.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Selecter (677480) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:46PM (#8094187)
    .. with the Yugo being the worst car of all time, at least of the cars made or imported into the US. Some of the East German plastic body cars would probably be worse.

    I drove a Yugo as a delivery guy out of high school for an auto parts place. The owner had bought a fleet of them becuase they were so cheap. Within 3 months every single one had a major failure ( engine blew, tranny seized ) and he junked the entire lot and bought Ford Escorts.

  • by Charles Dodgeson (248492) <jeffrey@goldmark.org> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:51PM (#8094239) Homepage Journal
    Since when is the Trabant an American car?

    But the real question is whether it is a car at all. In Hungary, if said, say, that you arrived at a party by car, but in fact travelled in a Trabant, your statement would be considered misleading at best. These things were not really considered cars.

    The brother of a friend of mine (yes, this is a friend of a friend story) drove his Trabant from Hungary to Amsterdam in the 1970s, where Trabant's hadn't been seen before. Whenever he returned to his parked vehicle, there was always a small crowd around wanting a closer look and asking if he'd built it himself.

    There is a joke (told back in the days when they made Trabants) about some Saudi sheik who'd heard about some car built in one of those northern European germanic countries (Trabant was produced in East Germany) that was so special that it took them years to build one for you (in socialist economies it was typical to wait several years between ordering a car or Trabant and it being available for you to pick up). So this sheik thought that he would order one and had one of his secretaries send away for it. Since he'd paid in real money, the vehicle was shipped immediately. It arrived and the sheik was happily puttering around in a local village when he saw a friend of his and shouted out, "Hey, Abdulla! Look I ordered a car that takes years to make from one of those nortern European countries, and they sent me a paper model that actually runs!"

    I won't go into what carrying on a converstation was like in one of those things. I would say that it would be like carrying on a conversation on a lawn mower, but the lawn mower probably has a more powerful engine.

  • by ChangeOnInstall (589099) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:51PM (#8094248)
    "Editor's Note: Forbes.com was unable to obtain permission from Ford to use an image of a Bronco II from the 1983-1989 model years. The Bronco above is a 1980."

    This is a bigger screwup than this editor's note leads one to believe. The Bronco and Bronco II are two completely different vehicles. The Bronco was based on theu fullsize Ford F-150 pickup, where the Bronco II was based on the compact Ford Ranger pickup. The Bronco was produced before, during, and after the time the Bronco II was produced. The two-door Bronco II was effectively replaced in the early nineties by the Ford Explorer, while the Bronco continued up until about 1997 when it was replaced by the four-door Expedition.

    While the Bronco II was prone to rollover, the regular Bronco never had such issues.
  • The Mazda RX-2? WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bouis (198138) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:52PM (#8094252)
    The RX-2 is a beloved classic and very desireable today. Really, "bad fuel economy and emissions" -- who cares? They were quick stock, and you could port the 1.1l or 1.3l engine yourself to the point where it would make more power than v8's of the day.
    As far as being reliable, they were no worse than any other early 70's car.
  • Pinto Lovin' (Score:4, Informative)

    by R33MSpec (631206) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:52PM (#8094254) Homepage
    After a bit of a google found a great page on all time stupid cars [geocities.com]

    Australia has had it's fair share of lemons like the Holden Camira [google.com.au], Leyland P76 [google.com.au] (which at the time, both won Car of the Year)
  • by flogger (524072) <non@nonegiven> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:54PM (#8094279) Journal
    The Edsel 1857-59

    The Edsel was the ultimate DOA car, but contrary to common opinion, this was more a function of market segmenting and changing tastes than of purely bad styling. And of course it doesn't help that it was ugly. The vertical front grille of the Edsel looked like a big nose that divided the otherwise relatively conventional front of the car, and the front and back styling made even the 350hp V-8 version look slow. By the time Ford decided to restyle the Edsel in 1959, the car's sales had slid off a cliff and that was the end of Edsel.

    1989-91 Chrysler TC Masarati

    There were a whopping 52 service bulletins (many requiring recalls) for this bastard-child car born of an unfortunate need by Maserati for ready cash and Chrysler's willingness to turn a LeBaron into a Maserati. Not only was a 3.0-liter V-6 a criminal concept for a supposed Italian exotic (putting out a pathetic 141 horsepower), but so was the American sheetmetal. Then there were the many mechanical nightmares from blown clutches and engines to leaking roofs. This car cost double the sticker on the LeBaron and broke twice as often. After all, it was Italian, right?

    1959-1969 Chevy Corvair

    Sure, the nifty-looking Corvair had some good points. Like a Porsche 911, its engine was air-cooled, and resided in the back, to provide extra rear-wheel traction. Too bad its flat-six engine biased the weight of the early cars so far aftward that the steering became very light at highway speeds; and it sure didn't help that the gas tank was mounted up front, so if you did wreck--Ka Boom! If only the design had been better executed. Bummer. (Watch out, here come the nasty letters from all those Corvair fans!)

    1969-77 Ford Maverick

    There were four-door Mavericks and two-doors. There was a Mercury version called the Comet. There were vinyl-topped models, too. What they had in common was that they were built on platform designs heavily prone to rust (this was the early days of unit-body cars) and weak-kneed in-line six engines. But the cars were cheap and therefore, popular, especially in the gas-crisis years. Not that we think the Maverick is necessarily as bad as what came afterward--the abysmal Fox-platform Futura/Fairmont, and the Grenada, which was still based on the Maverick platform, and so carried forward all the bad-handling traits and massive rustability to boot.

    1980 Chevy Citation

    With a 2.8-liter V-6 and front-wheel drive, this was GM's attempt to take on the likes of Honda and Toyota. GM also shared this so-called X-body setup (of the Citation) with Olds (Omega) Buick (Skylark) and Pontiac (Phoenix). The differences were basically in body style, not fundamental mechanics. Naturally, because the cars looked futuristic and because they got decent mileage, the Citation and its brethren were a huge hit (800,000 Citations sold in 1980). But to meet demand GM let quality slip, so problems like faulty brakes and steering plagued Citations and led to a steep drop in quality--and sales.

    1986 Cadillac Eldarado

    In a desperate attempt to reach a younger demographic, Cadillac revamped its classic Eldorado to look less like a classic Caddy road yacht and more like a two-door version of the ill-conceived four-door Cadillac Cimarron. Demand for the new Caddy fell (big surprise), and only a year after introduction production sank to just under 18,000 units. Did it matter that you could get a V-8 in the Caddy and not in the other GM look-alikes? Nope. It took another 16 years of awful versions (2002 will be the last year of the Eldo) but the decline all started back in 1986.

    1982 Renault Fuego

    In the early 1980s American Motors Corporation (before it was absorbed by Chrysler) and French-maker Renault teamed up to make some really awful cars but none as bad as the Fuego. Thankfully, the relationship died out--and today AMC no longer exists and Renault hasn't set foot on American shores since. Th
  • They missed one (Score:3, Informative)

    by whitroth (9367) <whitrothNO@SPAM5-cent.us> on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:55PM (#8094283) Homepage
    From very personal experience: the Chevy Chevette (pronounced "shove-it").

    I had a 1980, purchased used in 1981. In the five years we had it, it had
    1 broken spring
    1 (or was it 2) dead starters
    1 dead alternator, and
    2 (TWO) transmission rebuilds, one of which was paid for by a class-action lawsuit.

    Designed cheap (not inexpensive), built cheap, disposable.

    mark "will *NEVER* buy another GM product
    without a *free* 10 year warranty
    on *everything*"
  • Da Vega (Score:4, Interesting)

    by realperseus (594176) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:01PM (#8094350)
    Hey, how can you knock the Vega??? Now here is a car that once you dropped a 350ci motor into it the freaking thing wouldn't quit! Yea it would break rear axles every week if you kept putting your foot down, but what a fun car to drive! Junkyards had parts for these things like you would believe... the yard I frequented had a seperate section just for them. We had a blast putting these things together for the dragstrip. Used stopsign channel for the subframes, and once we found out you could put a Monza (remember the Monza??) rear end into the thing (much stronger than the stock Vega rearend) then all bets were off, it was "foot to the pedal time" ALL the time! Sure my fingers were greasy all summer and I spent more time under the hood/under the car than I did driving/racing it, but WOW, what a summer that was! Wish I still had one...
  • The pinto.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kraegar (565221) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:07PM (#8094410)
    Yes, the pinto exploded... two of them were known to do so that I have been able to find out about.

    Reference [wfu.edu]

    The second case, the one in Elkhart Indiana, happened less then 5 miles from where I live. That case is the one that made the pinto famous, and is especially bizarre.

    In 1978 U.S. Highway 33 between goshen and Elkhart was 3 lanes - one going each direction, and a center lane that was for passing, turning, or whoever wanted to be in it at the time. Head on collisions happened on occasion, and a project was being weighed by the state on whether or not to widen the road. It was being blocked in part by the railroad company that owned the tracks the road follows, and in part by local businessmen who owned the property on the other side.

    So along comes this poor girl, who puts the gas cap on loosly after filling up her Pinto's tank. She then gets on to 33... she sees the cap fall off, and decides to stop and get it. On a road with no shoulder, and no where for following traffic to go except into the aforementioned death-trap of a center lane.

    And along comes a van. A van driven by a a doped up moron hit the car. The van had a modified front bumper made from heavy wood. And the gas cap still had not been placed back on to the Pinto.

    Boom, no more Pinto.

    Fast forward to the state prosecutor filing against Ford, and the highway Department quietly expanding the road while the prosecutor had them distracted. (The road is now 5 lanes, two each direction, and a center lane that occasionally sports a head on collision. It also has rest stops every 150 feet, and signs to point them out).

    Yes the car had a flaw, but the case that made it famous is suspicious at best. The blame could easily fall on the girl for stopping. It could fall on the doped up driver of the van. It could be blamed on the highway department. The prosecutor managed to blame it on Ford.

    • The same design team must have doen the current crown vic, as Dallas has lost several police officers from rear impact/blow up accidents.

      There are a number of recalls... And last I heard Dallas and sereral other cities are suing Ford over this.
    • Re:The pinto.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by madcow_ucsb (222054) <{ten.sknas} {ta} {2todhsals}> on Monday January 26, 2004 @10:12PM (#8095862)
      Yeah I did a report on the Pinto case for my Engineering Ethics class in college. I'd always heard that those things blew up right and left. I looked online and there were all kinds of articles about it. And then I noticed they were all a mass of circular references and they all refered down to the famous Mother Jones article (which my prof had provided) as the sole "real" source. Not one article I found added more evidence than from the "insider" sources Mother Jones supposedly unearthed.

      I think I really pissed off the prof when I concluded that Ford may very well have gotten a bad rap for that one. Yeah I found a couple real cases (and the court docs as well) but I'll be damned if I could find any other record of the hundred or thousands of exploding cars that the "advocates" would have us believe. It seems like someone else would have noticed and written it down eventually...

  • Porsche 924 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Crusty Oldman (249835) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:11PM (#8094454)
    As the ex-owner of a Chevy Vega, I can say with authority that this list is nowhere near complete. The worst car ever built has to be the Porsche 924.

    Lack of power was only one of its negative attributes. The body panels over your legs rusted and let in rain water. The exhaust system would shake itself apart. The headpipe, catalytic converter, and resonator all tore themselves apart from vibration. The cast iron exhaust manifold actually split longitudinally from the shaking. The cooling system was designed with the radiator lower than the engine, so it would constantly develop an air bubble and overheat the engine (and eventually crack the engine block). And oh yeah, the driver's door fell off. Literally!

    The nickname I gave my Porsche 924 was "two-dollar whore", and it must have liked the name, because it had me calling it constantly.
  • Why No Bronco II? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hondo77 (324058) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:15PM (#8094502) Homepage
    Why does Forbes need Ford's permission to run a picture of the Bronco II?
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:22PM (#8094571) Homepage Journal
    X-Body cars, the Cimmaron by Caddy was by far the worst transgression were notorious at times.

    Ford's Tempo & Topaz also developed bad reputations for oil seals.

    Chrysler was just plain bad. Having to use the K-platform under about everything they offered. If anything they were the styling idiots of the 80s. Amazing turn around for that car maker. Still love Iaccoca's introduction of the mini-van where the door handle came off in his hand.

    The also missed the Renault Alliance and Hyndai (sp?) Excel ? Their first car was atrocious.
  • by PHPhD2B (675590) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:38PM (#8094736)
    The Citroen SM is stated to have "air and water" suspension ... totally incorrect. The SM had "hydro-pneumatic" suspension, which the writer apparently assumed to mean air and water.

    In fact the suspension was hydraulic/pneumatic, the hydraulic fluid was oil, not water, and the gas for the pneumatic system was nitrogen, not air.

    As someone else pointed out, the picture for the Bronco II slide shows a Full-Size Bronco, which was a completely different vehicle than the Bronco II. This would be like showing a Chevy Caprice in the Chevy Vega slide. How difficult would it be to get permission from someone owning a Bronco II to use a picture of it for the article?

    Article claims the Edsel didn't sell because it had too many features and was thus too expensive, and also because it was ugly. The Edsel failed because it was a bad car - major quality problems and prone to catching fire.

    Furthermore they claim in a stab at the rotary engine that Diesel engines had problems in early life. What on earth are they talking about? The Diesel engine was invented about a century ago. European cab drivers have been using Diesel engines for decades upon decades ... Trucks, and tanks, and construction machinery, and what else uses them.

    I could go on, but I won't. This is a very poorly fact-checked article.

    • Citroen Maserati SM (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rs79 (71822)
      This car is on of the great car of all times. Is it a car you can get in and just dive. No, hell no and fuck no. The cam chains need constant attention. You'd better have access to a good Citroen or avaiation mechanic to keep the complex hydraulics in order. And they rust. Badly.

      But, if you expend the effort to keep one in good nick you get a comfortable French car with a killer Italian engine and spaceship looks even 30 years later. They still go for big bucks today.

      Citroen hydraulics are well understood
  • GAZ-21 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bugmaster (227959) on Monday January 26, 2004 @10:28PM (#8096013) Homepage
    Hey ! Don't go around dissing the GAZ-21, the official vehicle of the KGB. I actually got to ride in it during my youth (no, I was not part of the KGB, nor was the KGB after me... long story). That thing was built like a tank; you could bounce modern-day Toyotas off of it like ping-pong balls. It was also extremely easy to service -- none of these little tricks like "remove the battery to change the headlights" that modern cars have. The car did break down occasionally, but this was due to the decrepit state of the Soviet manufacturing pipeline, not due to bad design. And actually, GAZ-21 broke down a lot less than, say, the Moskvich. And of course, it was sturdy enough to go offroad any time -- which, in practice, meant "as soon as you get out of Moscow", Soviet roads being what they are.

    Is GAZ-21 a good car by today's standards ? No. It's an old, old car made in the 60s. But it still was a great car for its time, especially considering the enormous challenge of making any kind of car in the USSR.

  • by sakusha (441986) on Monday January 26, 2004 @11:19PM (#8096419)
    I can't believe it, my family had TWO different cars on this list, the Olds Delta 88, and the Fiat Strada.
    The Strada we owned for about a month. A new Fiat dealership started up, my dad got involved with their financing company so he got a deal on a Strada. But the car basically fell apart in less than a month. I remember pulling on the door handle, not realizing the door was locked, and I pulled the handle right off the door. The engine started smoking and blew up within a couple of weeks, it had massive transmission problems, my dad took it back to the dealer and told them to shove it.
    My mom owned the Olds, it was an aging rustbucket and had continual problems. The muffler rusted through, we took it to a repair shop and they told us it was a good thing we never took a long trip, because the hot manifold was lying too close to the gas tank, it could have blown up at any moment. The car finally died one day while I was driving it, I was backing out of an angle parking spot and the front suspension caved in, leaving the front wheels both pointing inward about 30 degrees, like this: /--\ oh man it was a sight.
    Yep, both of those cars were pieces of crap.
  • Pinto (Score:4, Funny)

    by flynt (248848) on Monday January 26, 2004 @11:41PM (#8096553)
    Ford Pinto (Score:-1, Flamebait)
  • by herbierobinson (183222) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @01:58AM (#8097271) Homepage
    Surely anything with Lucas electronics in it should be near the top of the list!

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.

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