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United States Hardware

Worst Cars Of All Time Rated 1017

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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  • results (Score:4, Informative)

    by shystershep ( 643874 ) * <(moc.liamg) (ta) (drehpehsdb)> 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%)
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • That's nothing... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:43PM (#8094136) Homepage
    Inexplicably, some of these relics still manage to survive.

    If you think that's amazing, check this out: the Pinto has its own domain name [] and cult following.
  • Re:Soviet cars rock. (Score:3, Informative)

    by szo ( 7842 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:48PM (#8094215)
    How's trabant a soviet? It was made in the DDR. All the other details are right, it rox! :)

  • by ChangeOnInstall ( 589099 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:51PM (#8094248)
    "Editor's Note: 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.
  • 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 []

    Australia has had it's fair share of lemons like the Holden Camira [], Leyland P76 [] (which at the time, both won Car of the Year)
  • What? No Skoda? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:53PM (#8094270) Homepage Journal
    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

  • 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 ) <> 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*"
  • Re:Ford Escort? (Score:5, Informative)

    by John Courtland ( 585609 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:56PM (#8094307)
    It's the cheapass ignition module. I worked at a shop that had a Ford-based ambulance come in. Boom, it started on fire and burned to the ground right in front of the shop. Almost every ford before 1991 had shit ign modules. They were a recall, get yours replaced if you are uncertain, they aren't expensive and you won't start on fire.
  • Re:LADA Niva (Score:3, Informative)

    by bigjocker ( 113512 ) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @07:59PM (#8094325) Homepage
    Forgot to add a link to a picture of the new model []. (sorry, it's a spanish site, but the pictures show the model I'm talking about)
  • 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 []

    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.

  • Re:Ah, the Pinto. (Score:2, Informative)

    by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:09PM (#8094426) Journal
    But the pinto can fly []
  • '77 Chevette (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sounder40 ( 243087 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:15PM (#8094494)
    Any list purporting to be the "Worst Cars of All Time" that doesn't include the 1977 Chevrolet Chevette is missing a major example. My friend's father bought one as a commuter car, and it made it 22,000 miles before the floor rusted out beneath his feet at highway speed! (In Houston, so, no, salted roads were not a factor.) Oh, and Chevrolet said "tough" when he complained since it was out of warranty.
  • 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: 7i /_review/109486/ _5154699 ml ctID=132

    Sounds like its a hit with reviewers.

    Here is the search input string I used: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Re:Ford Focus (Score:5, Informative)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:45PM (#8094847) Journal
    The Focus is such a piece of shit that it set a record for simultaneous investigations by the NHTSA. Here's a report from CBS News [] - you can google for others. Or ask this guy [] or these people [] have to say..

    Known defects include stalling when making a turn, catching fire, unexpected acceleration, wheels falling off, etc. And Ford doesn't have enough $$$ to pay all the claims, so they try to blow you off. That's why the morale problem [] at Ford is so well-known.

  • by echucker ( 570962 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @08:46PM (#8094850) Homepage
    Nice list, but not the one related to the article in question. Your descriptions point to this article [] from October 21, 2002. The linked article is from this week's January 25, 2004 magazine.
  • by redsilo ( 684634 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @10:16PM (#8095907)
    There are a couple of cars on the list that may deserve to be there but some of the facts have gotten lost in the lawsuits and the press. Edsel has become synonymous with lemon and some of the reasons were detailed. Over time we forget that it was a new line and was sold by dealerships that had been happily selling Packards and Hudsons for years. Those were quality cars that couldn't command the volume of sales to compete. The Edsel was ok but still basically a dressed up Ford and not at all what the newly recruited sales force considered an excellent car. The Olds diesel probably wasn't one of GM's finest efforts but circumstances and overly ambitious PR also share some blame. At about the time it was introduces there was a shortage of diesel fuel and fuel suppliers were literally scraping the bottom of the barrel, or tank, if you prefer, to meet the demand. When that happens you get impurities from the bottom that under normal circumstances would never see the light of day and certainly not the tank of an autombile. The Stanadyne-Roosa Master fuel system tends to be unforgiving of poor fuel, usually costing an entire engine with the failure. Some people got along fine with the GM diesels. They were people accustomed to using diesels and who had a reliable fuel supply to burn in them(farmers, construction firms, etc.) They also knew that in spite of the company claims that the diesel should operate just like a gasser some extra attention was needed if they were to be reliable.
  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @10:53PM (#8096225) Journal
    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. If they warped, you were looking at a new set.)

    Despite that, it was a car with "character" - which is more than I can say for most of the egg-shaped boring shells on wheels GM/Ford/Chrysler crank out year after year.

    The well known and feared "engine fire" problem was *only* on the 1984 models, and was simply due to an oil line that was run too close to hot engine parts. The recall fix was simply to re-route the line, and then voila - no more issues.

    Now, I also know that back in '84, Pontiac was throwing 4 cylinder engines sourced from the Chevette into the first Fieros - because of a shortage of parts.

    So basically, yeah - this was a car that suffered from a lot of cost-cutting and not enough pre-sale testing/troubleshooting on its initial release. But for anyone who waited a year or two to buy, it wasn't really a bad little vehicle at all. I went with the V6 in mine, and think that was a wise move. I had about 160,000 miles on mine when I traded it in, and the original engine and automatic transmission were still working just fine.

    I'll tell you though, Pontiac has lost all respect from me in the customer service dept. anyway. I bought a brand new Firebird/Trans-Am from them back in '98, and it was total lemon. I had it in the shop as often as on the street. The dealerships were uncooperative with me from day 1, refusing me a loaner rental car (despite that supposedly being Pontiac's policy when your car is in for warranty work), denying problems were their fault when they clearly were, etc. etc.

    Even back when I owned my Fiero, Pontiac dealers were rude and basically told me my car was unsafe and not worth repairing, when I wanted them to service it. (I had better luck getting a few repairs, like sticking power door locks, fixed at a Chevy dealership!)
  • by wahmuk ( 163299 ) <jlwomack61@gmail. c o m> on Monday January 26, 2004 @11:36PM (#8096513)
    Daimler-Chrysler makes SMART. So it's not all bad news...

    Hooray! The smart is due in the US in 2006. Unfortunately, they have decided for their first model to be the ForMore [], an SUV-like iteration of the ForFour, their upcoming four-door four-seat model.

    Then maybe we'll get the ForFour and the ForTwo later on. The powers that be at DaimlerChrysler seem to think that we won't buy the things, despite a barrage of grey []-marketers [] trying to bring the the little cars into the US. And their US product announcement FAQ [] basically says that we won't get the smaller cars.

    But there's hope!

    An "Americanized" version of the roadster was debuted at the Detroit Auto Show. The Dodge SlingShot [] concept car is obviously based on the smart roadster, down to its three-cylinder rear-mounted engine and the targa style removable roof panels.

    I'll keep my '94 del Sol a little longer, thank you!

  • Re:Zaporojetz (Score:3, Informative)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @01:39AM (#8097196) Homepage Journal
    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 [] ?

  • 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!
  • Re:LADA Niva (Score:2, Informative)

    by Reservoir Penguin ( 611789 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @03:15AM (#8097565)
    I live in Russia and I used to own this car. Its 4x4 performace is quite impressive. Get it if you can leave with really poor acceleration (something like 17 sec to 100 km/hr) Unlike most other VAZ models based on fiat its a compltely original design.
  • Re:MR2s rule (Score:2, Informative)

    by FigWig ( 10981 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @03:24AM (#8097591) Homepage
    Street legal elise coming this year to the US with toyota engine. Many people have already put down deposits.

  • by macheath ( 87915 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:33AM (#8097981)
    Absolutely very poorly researched. In case of the Citroen they also forgot to mention that hydropneumatically suspended cars were already on the market since almost 20 years at the time. The suspension would only give trouble if basic maintenance was not performed on the suspension, which was admittedly more maintenance than was needed on a leaf spring. But is this surprising? In my personal experience (I have /have had 4 HP-sprung Citroens in all, average age 15+ years) the suspension *never* failed on any of those.

    Same goes for some of the other cars mentioned, and really some bad cars are not on the list. The Alfasud for instance: great car to drive but already rusting in the showroom. The GM Diesel V8s from the 80s. Other companies could make reliable diesel passenger cars and had done so since the 30s (Mercedes for instance). I could go on...
  • Re:LADA Niva (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bertie ( 87778 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @09:22AM (#8098685)
    Did you know that, for that reason, the original Land Rover was designed so that everything could be worked at using a single spanner? No? well now you do.

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