Worst Car Lists

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Just this morning read one of those ubiquitous "Top 10 worst cars ever" lists. How worst is defined varies widely across the list. Examples I can remember from the list: Dodge LaFemme - Attempting to create a market where none existed. A Dodge Lancer with features tailored to what was perceived would appeal to women. Not a bad car, poor marketing. Edsel - No vehicle ever made could live up to the hype of the Edsel. Basically a restyled Ford with some gimmicky features to try and justify the increased price. Not a bad car, but overly complicated, bad styling and not worth the money. Cadillac Cimarron - A Chevy Cavalier with leather seats and a different grill and wheels. Again, a huge price increase over the model it was derived from. Market misjudgment. Trabant - East Germany. What more needs to be said? A huge communist pile of excrement. This car deserves to be on every worst car list. Henry J - Dumpy styling and built to a price point. Wouldn't get out of it's own way, but that made it no different than many of the cars of the time. My point here is to question how listmakers define the term "worst" when it applies to cars. Reliability? Longevity? Sales numbers? Performance? Just my 1/50th of a dollar's worth.
 
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Did the automaker lose money (or even worse market percentage, or bad pr, or brand degradation) from the product and/or was the consumer provided a subpar product or mislead as to the product. For example, the Cimmaron lost money for GM. Worse is diluted the Cadillac nameplate losing money for them for years after the vehicle was written off. But it was equally as bad for consumers, many of whom probably unknowingly bought what they thought was a premium vehicle. The Aztek really only did half of that. Besides lose money and further illustrate to the entire world how out of touch the 1990's GM was... at least consumers pretty much got what they expected looks and utility wise.
 
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I'd add the Chevettte and the Pontiac version, the "Ashtray". Or, the Fiat 850 soft top, a little rust and the doors wouldn't close because the body bent in the middle. Owners thought it was just the door latche which needed adjusting.
 
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You can't have a [censored] car list without the Chevy Vega!! I actually seen a guy on a forum trying to defend that turd once.
 
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And one must remember that these examples of "bad" cars may not all be bad. Inconsistent manufacturing and quality control factor into the mix. I inherited a free Chevette in the 80's that my daughter took over and drove for almost 10 years. She gave it to her cousin when she bought a new Mazda 323 (an example of an excellent commuter and all around daily driver with a good rep). The cousin drove it for about 10 years, too. I did the oil changes and general maintenance. We never had a problem with the car. It was trouble free. I would have never purchased the car because of it's bad reputation but for free, we kept it with the idea that as soon as it started to be a problem, we'd junk it. The car lasted until an accident and did finally make that trip to the junk yard but not because of mechanical problems. Part of the success of this one car is good routine maintenance, good weather (never any snow, not much rain or humidity), a garage and two drivers that had good driving habits. I would not begin to judge all Chevettes by this one but it appears that two identical looking cars from the same manufacturer can very quite a bit in quality.
 
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Originally Posted By: Charlie1935
Surprised that no one mentioned the Vega and Monza or their GM cousins.
You beat me to it by mere seconds!! lol
 

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Originally Posted By: morepwr
The only thing a Vega was good for was to make a dragcar out of with a small block in it!
X2 wink I had a friend back in the day that had a Monza spider with the V8 , A few little mods & a wicked little car it was smile
 

chestand

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Originally Posted By: bepperb
Did the automaker lose money (or even worse market percentage, or bad pr, or brand degradation) from the product and/or was the consumer provided a subpar product or mislead as to the product. For example, the Cimmaron lost money for GM. Worse is diluted the Cadillac nameplate losing money for them for years after the vehicle was written off. But it was equally as bad for consumers, many of whom probably unknowingly bought what they thought was a premium vehicle. The Aztek really only did half of that. Besides lose money and further illustrate to the entire world how out of touch the 1990's GM was... at least consumers pretty much got what they expected looks and utility wise.
Point well taken on the Cimmaron. Cadillac customers at that time were pretty used to what a Cadillac was and the Cimmaron was not it. So you lose sales on the front end because it doesn't look right and you lose sales on the back end because anyone who bought one expecting a Cadillac was sorely disappointed. Brand dilution and brand erosion. And with Cadillac probably more than most marques, brand loyalty was paramount.
 

chestand

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I remember another one from this morning's list. Mustang II. Again, not a bad car but sure not a Mustang. It was nothing more than a reskinned Pinto.
 
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Originally Posted By: cb_13
You can't have a [censored] car list without the Chevy Vega!! I actually seen a guy on a forum trying to defend that turd once.
Hey!!!! What are you talking about? I owned one of these creampuffs and it taught me a lot about motor oil. Like a quart every 400 to 750 miles. I still can't figure out how the cowl beneath the windshield could the the first thing to rust out. The Vega also taught me alot about imports as it was 15 years before I bought another GM product.
 
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Originally Posted By: SilverC6
Originally Posted By: cb_13
You can't have a [censored] car list without the Chevy Vega!! I actually seen a guy on a forum trying to defend that turd once.
Hey!!!! What are you talking about? I owned one of these creampuffs and it taught me a lot about motor oil. Like a quart every 400 to 750 miles. I still can't figure out how the cowl beneath the windshield could the the first thing to rust out. A friend brought a 57 Ford Fairlane new and in 2 or 3 years a hole rusted through in the roof! The Vega also taught me alot about imports as it was 15 years before I bought another GM product.
 
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I acquired a Vega while in college. The first thing I did was put in a larger radiator. This took about 30 minutes and required tin snips and a drill. I managed to keep it running for a few years. I recall it got about 26 mpg, which I thought was ok. It did not even have a front sway bar, so it was a very ill handling car over 100 mph. (yes, it would do 100) I finally took it off the road when its air cooled auto trans gave out. By then it actually had well over 100k miles. But yes, it was a rust bucket. My co-workers called it the Vega from H.ell. lol
 
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I've read a lot of the "worst car" lists and one must remember one thing: It was probably written by some kid fresh out of journalism school who has never driven any of the cars on the list and probably couldn't pick any of them out from a car lineup. While I'm not here to defend the list as a whole (some of the cars on any "worst list" are bad), some of them got some undeserved bad marks. On your stated list, the author picked on the Henry J. For beginners, that car was produced in the early 50s when just about all cars on the road were notoriously unreliable and most needed an overhaul by 75K miles. It also had an overdrive transmission that could enable it to get almost 35 MPG. (But gas was cheap, so that's a moot point) It was extremely simple to work on and it really wasn't any worse of an economy car than anything made at the time. It also had a six cylinder engine that made the light-weight car fairly peppy. I wouldn't say that it had dumpy styling either (it had a swoopy back window and truck and had FINS!), but that's just my opinion. I wouldn't put too much into any list unless the author truly talks about his experience that he had while driving any of the vehicles on his list.
 
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Originally Posted By: SilverC6
Originally Posted By: cb_13
You can't have a [censored] car list without the Chevy Vega!! I actually seen a guy on a forum trying to defend that turd once.
Hey!!!! What are you talking about? I owned one of these creampuffs and it taught me a lot about motor oil. Like a quart every 400 to 750 miles. I still can't figure out how the cowl beneath the windshield could the the first thing to rust out. The Vega also taught me alot about imports as it was 15 years before I bought another GM product.
Note that early Mustangs actually have the same problem with cowl rot.
 
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Seems like the Cimmaron was made worse because it came shortly after the Seville diesel and the Cadillac with the V8-6-4-0 engine.
 
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My folks had a Chevette and a Pontiac station wagon when I was much younger. The Chevette was scrapped because of terminal rust at about 7-8 years old, or about 1988-1989. The Pontiac of similar early 1980's vintage made it to the mid-1990's before it was junked. GM did not make good smaller cars back then!
 

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I would have gladly traded my '79 Honda, bought new, for an Ashtray or Vega, but no suckers could be found. I sometimes wish that I had bought a Cosworth Vega instead of my Firebird, but they were pricey, if my memory is correct, about the same as, or a little more than, the smog dog Corvette. I recall the Monza and its clones being nice little cars. They were stylish in their day, and available with a small V8. They made great sleepers. I also recall a student teacher at my HS having a little car that could easily pull the front wheels off the ground. Pretty sure it was a Henry J that had something swapped in. Most of the 70's average joe imports were real losers. The only ones that I recall being worth a flip were the little rear wheel drive Celica's, the Cosworth Vega, the fabulous 240Z, The Opel (Buick) Manta and Opel GT, the Mercury Capri, the Beetle, and the rotary rockets, when they ran, which wasn't often. Honda's had a kool aid following even then, and to my great misfortune, I drank it in big gulps, but they were the worst of the worst - rust buckets with a manual choke on Civics, and the dreadful CVCC engine - an engine so horrible that no one else even bothered with. I suppose I should add the 320i and TR6 to that list. The 320i was the only BMW that ever really interested me, but when I got out of school and finally had the opportunity to pull the trigger on one, I went with the '83 Turbo T Bird - a move I never regretted for a single second.
 
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