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by Brett Davis

TIME Online Edition in the US has released The 50 Worst Cars of All Time list onto its website. The cars are separated into era categories but they have all been included into the list because they are horrible cars in one way or another, according to TIME anyway.

1899-1939


1. 1899 Horsey Horseless – Included into the list because of its ridiculous wooden horse head featured on the front of the car. The horse head was also used as the petrol tank.

2. 1909 Ford Model T – Although it was one of the first mass-produced cars, and one of the pivotal industry products that demonstrated production line cost-saving capabilities, the car itself was very difficult and complicated to drive and presented a kind of reverse clutch that had to be held down in order for the engine to be engaged.

3. 1911 Overland OctoAuto – The Overland OctoAuto doesn’t really need an explanation of why it has been included into the 50 Worst Car of All Time, just look at it. The eight wheels provided unnecessary length to the vehicle which resulted in very poor sales; not one order was made.

4. 1913 Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo – The Bi-Autogo was basically a very heavy motorcycle featuring ridiculously small rear wheels that almost looked like training wheels. Enough said, really.

5. 1920 Briggs and Stratton Flyer – Briggs and Stratton are still around today and famous for the production of small engines that are used in a wide range of motorised equipment. The Flyer, on the other hand, was basically a billycart with a motor providing absolutely zero safety and comfort.

6. 1933 Fuller Dymaxion – The Dymaxion was a vehicle derived from an aeroplane cabin. It also featured a single rear wheel that provided the steering through a swivel mechanism. The rear wheel also provided atrocious death wobbles at any speed beyond running pace. A truly terrible car.

7. 1934 Chrysler/Desoto Airflow – It looked like a promising package, with a proper streamline body shell with steel panels. Unfortunately, the Airflow didn’t do well on the market thanks to its timing in the US market and that fact that the engine was prone to falling out on most drives.

1940-1959


1. 1949 Crosley Hotshot – The Hotshot had the recipe to be the first true post-war American sports car but instead it was designed by a chap who built and designed radios; Powel Crosley Jr. Cars, however, were clearly not his forte. The Hotshot’s engine wasn’t a typical and reliable cast-iron job, no, it was a concoction of brazed and stamped tin. It failed on most days.

2. 1956 Renault Dauphine – Arrh the Renault Dauphine. It produced pretty much as much power as you or me from its 760cc four-cylinder engine (14kW). It recorded a 0-100km/h time of 32 seconds, making it one of the slowest cars Road and Track magazine ever tested. The Dauphine was also poorly made and featured paper-thin panels.

3. 1957 King Midget Model III – The King Midget was a car developed that everyone could afford. Pity it was modelled on a toy car and was well behind its time.

4. 1957 Waterman Aerobile – The Aerobile is regarded as the first attempt at making a flying car. It featured dangerously small wheels and a dodgy retractable wing set. No one wanted to take it to the skies except its creator, Waldo Waterman. It now remains in a museum as a static-only exhibition.

5. 1958 Ford Edsel – The Edsel was big, heavy, very thirsty on fuel and above all, downright too expensive for American motorists of the Fifties. Critics also said sales didn’t take off for the Edsel because of its vertical front grille that was said to look like a vagina. The car was eventually pulled from the market.

6. 1958 Lotus Elite – The Elite had it all; looks, a reliable Coventry Climax engine producing 56kW, and above all, it was light. It was light though because it was made from fibreglass. Non-reinforced fibreglass. This meant the chassis was prone to all kinds of torsional splitting, especially around the suspension mounts.

7. 1958 MGA Twin Cam – The Twin Cam was a fantastic little car, apart from the fact that its heart, its whole reason for existence, the ‘Twin Cam’ engine, was truly terrible. It was renowned for sneezing all of its internal components out onto the road with no warning.

8. 1958 Zunndapp Janus – With a name that sounded like a comic character, the Janus featured an interesting rear-facing rear seat. Interesting, but certainly not a car any sane person would actually buy and drive on any sort of routine basis.

1960-1974


1. 1961 Amphicar – The Sixties was a time of getting innovative. There was all kinds of technology bouncing around trying to break through the market, like a bunch of flies trying to escape a small gap in the window. The Amphicar was an amphibious car that didn’t work well on the road – loud and not that fast – and didn’t work well on water – it leaked most of the time and was very slow on water. It was one of those flies that didn’t get through the gap.

2. 1961 Corvair – The Corvair was General Motor’s answer to the Volkswagen Beetle. It even featured a flat-six engine behind the rear axle. The suspension setup meant it spun out of control a lot of the time and it was renowned for killing occupants through various measures; the non-collapsible steering column that speared through the driver’s chest; the in-car heater which tended to pump exhaust fumes into the cabin; or the optional petrol-burning heater that nestled under the front boot which had a tendency to set fire to everything.

3. 1966 Peel Trident – The Peel Trident was regarded as the smallest car ever, but it didn’t mean it was a good car. The Plexiglass roof had a tendency to pressure-cook its occupants in the sun, while the sheer smallness provided very little in terms of on-road safety against other motorists, and cyclists.

4. 1970 AMC Gremlin – What an ugly little car. It featured vacuum-powered windscreen wipers, very little creature comforts and was terrible to drive. The design was also one of the laziest around; simply a hacked-off version of the AMC Hornet.

5. 1970 Triumph Stag – It looked good, like most British sports cars of the time, but it lacked aplenty in engineering prowess. The chrome-trimmed pillars gave the impression that the driver was driving about inside a fish tank, while the 3.0-litre V8 engine seldom provided meaningful propulsion – when it managed to remain as an internal-only combustion engine that is.

6. 1971 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Two-Door Hardtop – The LeBaron was needlessly massive, ugly and provided no real positive aspect to the motoring industry at all. The interior wasn’t even comfortable or a nice place to be.

7. 1971 Ford Pinto – The Pinto is renowned for its famously calculated lawsuit costs. The rear end of the car had a very strong tendency to go up in flames at the event of any sort of rear collision. So what did Ford do? It was calculated it would cost Ford $121 million to re-engineer the rear end, but would only cost Ford $50 million to pay out legal claims from customers. It chose the cheaper, latter option.

8. 1974 Jaguar XK-E V12 Series III – This car was spawned as a successor of the glamorously beautiful Jaguars of the day that were imported into the US. Only, to adhere to the US governing bodies, the eventual car that made it there was this. The original 4.2-litre six made way for a really heavy 5.3-litre V12 due to failing emission standards of the 4.2. It also came with hideous rubber bumper blocks on the front and rear, while the elegant shape was elongated into a larger, ugly two-door coupe or convertible.

1975-1989


1. 1975 Bricklin SV1 – Despite the fact that the SV1 looked like a shovel-nose shark the car is actually called Safety Vehicle 1 and was designed to expand the boundaries in car safety technology. But because of these added ‘safety’ features, the car was really, really heavy, so it was an absolute pig to drive. The gullwing doors alone weighed 45kg each, which meant getting in was a decent workout.

2. 1975 Morgan Plus 8 Propane – Due to new emission standards in the US, Morgan cars had to withdraw from the market… until the Propane came along. It was more environmentally friendly than previous Morgans, but it ran on propane feed from a tank of liquid propane sitting gingerly in front of the rear bumper bar, ready to be compressed from behind. It was more than dangerous.

3. 1975 Triumph TR7 – Although quite popular, the TR7 was simply a bomb of a car. The engine gave up being an engine at every chance it got. Whether its timing chain snapped or the oil pump exploded, the TR7 was a dreadfully under-engineered package.

4. 1975 Trabant – The old Trabant. Need we say more. It was actually made from recycled materials like wood and cotton; good for the environment, bad for engineering and structural integrity.

5. 1976 Aston Martin Lagonda – The Lagonda tried to be a technological marvel. It was. None of the ‘innovations’ ever worked though, including the engine.

6. 1976 Chevy Chevette – The Chevette just didn’t really offer the world anything meaningful. It was a car, but only just. The engine was all out of ideas at 38kW while the interior offered nothing significant to its occupants at all. It also looked like a bad smell, if that is possible.

7. 1978 AMC Pacer – Seriously, do we need to say more? Just look at this hideous little thing. It was actually very unreliable, heavy and then later in its life, quite unsafe.

8. 1980 Corvette 305 “California” – A pure disgrace and embarrassment to Corvette fans around the world. The 305 came in as US emission laws got tough. It featured a 4.9-litre V8 engine outputting 134kW of dismal power. What’s the point of a V8 Corvette if it struggles getting up hills?

9. 1980 Ferrari Mondial 8 – Riddled with electrical problems, the Mondial was heavy and only offered 160kW – not very Ferrari-like at all.

10. 1981 Cadillac Fleetwood V-8-6-4 – This was perhaps the first car to offer V8-like performance when given the beans, but four-cylinder economy while trundling about the city. Because it was 1981 though, the system seldom worked. Usually it performed as a jerky, multi-cylinder engine, firing anywhere between three and eight cylinders whenever it felt like it.

11. 1981 De Lorean DMC-12 – The Back to the Future car may have been an icon and fast enough to time travel in the movies, but as a non-fiction road car, it was heavy and the Peugeot powerplant was inadequate.

12. 1982 Cadillac Cimarron – Often described as all of GM’s bad-bits bins bolted together to form a car, the Cimarron tried to imitate German sedans such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but dropped very short of the mark.

13. 1982 Camaro Iron Duke – The Camaro that had a 67kW four-cylinder engine that could only just manage the 0-100km/h sprint in 20 seconds.

14. 1984 Maserati Biturbo – Just because it’s an Italian exotic brand doesn’t mean it’s good. The Biturbo was a disaster in every aspect. The engine, interior, exterior all fell apart, snapped, melted or caught fire at every chance they had.

15. 1985 Mosler Consulier GTP – Although it was designed like a race car, the GTP was actually made using a compilation of crap parts, including steering that was taken from a van and an engine taken from a Chrysler. It was also extremely ugly.

16. 1985 Yugo GV – It was built in Yugoslavia and was famous for offering floor carpet “as standard”. It also featured a rear window heater/defroster that was supposedly there to warm up your hands while you pushed it.

17. 1986 Lamborghini LM002 – It was designed as a military vehicle except it was turned down as a military vehicle, so Lamborghini built it for the road anyway. It was massive, heavy, drank copious amounts of fuel and handled like a tank.

1990-Present


1. 1995 Ford Explorer – The very reason this car is so popular is what makes it a bad car. The Explorer pretty much pioneered the entire soccer-mum SUV market segment. They use a lot more fuel than more necessary MPVs yet buyers continue to purchase these big SUVs simply because they like the high-riding driving position.

2. 1997 GM EV1 – GM eventually terminated one of the first ever production electric vehicles, the EV1. It was very small, unpractical, offered a very short driving range and was expensive to build and purchase.


3. 1997 Plymouth Prowler – This was a car that was designed to look like something from the Forties or Fifties. A sort-of futuristic hotrod, except it wasn’t. It was powered by a run-of-the-mill 3.5-litre V6 offering 187kW – slightly more than a Ford Falcon of the day, hardly worthy of the outlandish body style.

4. 1998 Fiat Multipla – Simply here because of those disgusting looks. A disgrace to the evolution of the car.


5. 2000 Ford Excursion – One of those cars that is entirely unnecessary. Weighing in at around 3100kg, the Excursion offered an 4500kg towing capacity yet it was bought mainly by soccer-mums who used it for shop-to-school journeys carrying 40kg kids.

6. 2001 Jaguar X-Type – Added to this list because it was formed simply to fill the market with more alternatives to the BMW 3 Series and the Mercerdes-Benz C Class, and for that reason alone, it was an insult to the proud, majestic British marque.

7. 2001 Pontiac Aztek – Described as a “plastic-clad mess”, the Aztek was a concept car that was hated by most pretty much as soon as it was unveiled.


8. 2002 BMW 7-series – The first car to offer BMW’s iDrive system which was, at the time, an over-complicated interface consumers and journalists critisised as soon as it was launched. For this ‘too much technology’ reason, it was deemed as a terrible car.

9. 2003 Hummer H2 – It was introduced shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and couldn’t come at a more inappropriate time. It was also not a very good off-road car nor was it good on road.

10. 2004 Chevy SSR – Mechanically lazy, poor quality ride and overall terrible interior quality meant the SSR was simply an interesting retro design, nothing more.