These five cars were gleaned from a list of “ten cars that should have never hit the road” in a Wall Street Cheat Sheet report.
The Cheat Sheet report said more people denounced the car for its unusual styling than its actual performance as a car.
Regardless, the AMC Pacer was flop.
Hagerty Insurance issued a poll asking to name the worst car design of all time, and the Pacer was bestowed with the unfortunate honor.
It wasn’t just that the car looked like and inverted bath tub - it was built with cheap materials and its subpar ‘build quality’ didn’t help the Pacer in the court of Public Opinion.
George and Jane Jetson, of the Hanna-Barbera 1962 cartoon TV series The Jetsons would have loved the Pacer but not too many other people liked it.
In the infinite wisdom of Ford engineers the fuel tank was placed between the rear axle and
The fuel tank had a penchant for rupturing in accidents over 25 miles per hour.
About 500 deaths were associated with the faulty tank placement during the eight years before Ford redesigned the fatal flaw.
General Motors introduced the X-Car n 1980. It turned out to be an unsuccessful car as customers complained of disintegrating transmissions, suspension systems that seemed to wobble on their own mounts, and brakes that would cause a shudder every time they were applied.
There were so many niggling faults and a seemingly endless series of recalls that sales of X-cars almost tanked by its third year.
In a weak moment we bought a new X-Car early in 1980. Ours was the Buick Skylark. A few months later we took a trip to Washington D.C. to see my sister and her family. While there the engine developed a vibration. A Buick dealer in Tacoma Park, Maryland discovered that the front plate of the engine was loosely fastened. The car had less than 5,000 miles on the odometer.
This is the environment in which the ill-fated Cadillac Cimarron found itself in. Yes, the Cimarron was just an X-Car in a fancy suit and not a nice suit at that.
Pulitzer-prize winning automotive journalist Dan Neil had this to say about the Cadillac Cimarron: “Everything that was wrong, venal, lazy, and mendacious about GM in the 1980s was crystallized in this flagrant insult to the good name and fine customers of Cadillac.”
GM rebadged the Chevrolet Cavalier and tried to pawn the results off as Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac cars. It was a near epic fail but it took GM four years to realize it.
The Ford Edsel is one of the most well known automotive blunders. Despite being kind of homely, fuel thirsty, and quite pricey, the Edsel was actually a pretty decent car.
A big big shortcoming here was Ford’s overhyping of the vehicle, promising it to be much more than the Mercury ultimately was.
The Edsel just didn’t catch on. Car buyers bought a Mercury or went on to something completely different.
The Yugo was said to be the pinnacle of automotive imperfection. The gold standard of inferior craftsmanship that gave off the impression “of something assembled at gunpoint.”
The engine had a tendency to not run properly. Someone wrote that bits of the car would fall off, and the electrical system seemed to be more for show than anything else.
It was the Mona Lisa of bad cars built in Soviet-bloc Yugoslavia.
We had a tax client who won a new Yugo in a raffle at a dealership in Denver. She asked for cash instead and they gave her $4,000. However, at the end of the year she received a 1099 for $10,000. She tried to tell the dealer the car wasn’t worth anywhere near that much but they wouldn’t change the 1099 and she had to pay tax on $10,000.
She was still better off than if she had kept the quality challenged Yugo.
The last photo shows our vote for the best use of the Yugo.