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The Worst Cars in History

Car design fails. Second-world manufacturing. Helter-skelter management. For one reason or another, these cars will go down as the biggest automotive flops.

worst cars in history

"Cars I Have Owned: 1971 Ford Pinto 3-Door Hatchback Runabout..." by France1978 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s human nature to always be searching for, let alone awed by, the latest and greatest. That tendency certainly extends to the automotive world, where the best new cars get all the headlines. But there are some important lessons to learn if we reverse course and look at some of the worst cars in history.

Ironically enough, there was a good idea hiding somewhere within each of these vehicles. But in each case those good intentions were betrayed by ulterior motives, fueled collectively by a calamitous combination of greed, frugality, ego and short-sightedness. The result is five of the worst cars ever.

The Worst Cars in History

Courtesy of DeLorean Motor Company

DeLorean DMC-12

It may be strange seeing the DeLorean DMC-12 on this list of the worst cars in history considering its fame and popularity. But off the silver screen, the car fell far short of expectations.

Former General Motors executive John DeLorean touted the DMC-12 as the sports car of the future. With its gull wings and sleek metallic look, it certainly has the aesthetics to meet that boast. But behind that facade was a heavy, underpowered and overpriced vehicle.

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Originally, the company expected to sell 12,000 cars per year. In the end, only about 9,000 vehicles were made during its two-year run and the company was shut down in 1982. Ironically, the DeLorean became iconic just a few years later with its prominent role in 1985’s “Back to the Future.” The movie franchise ensured that the car’s legacy would extend well past its seemingly destined fate as an automotive footnote. That’s why you can expect to see DMC-12s back on the roads soon.

The Worst Cars in History

1987 Yugo GV” by aldenjewell is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Yugo

The Yugo was a decades-old Soviet-era Yugoslavia automobile imported to the U.S. in 1985. The decision to sell the car in America was the brainchild of entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin. One need only to hear his version of the story to know that the Yugo was destined for failure from the start. In an interview with Car and Driver, Bricklin recalled sending his people “to find the cheapest car in the world. They found Zastava, in Yugoslavia, a 50-year-old factory building a 30-year-old car. We took this piece-of-crap car and within 14 months had set up 400 U.S. dealers and made 528 changes to the car.”

Yugoslavia had been manufacturing the car for years. Bricklin’s plan was to spruce it up and bring to America. There was no amount of changes that could overcome the vehicle’s poor quality, however. The Yugo’s engine generated a measly 55 horsepower, making the car dangerous to drive on American roads. The car was notoriously unreliable (the rear window defroster was reportedly there to keep your hands warm when you needed to push the vehicle), had many parts made of plastic, and oddly enough, featured carpeting as a standard feature.

But for the people selling the Yugo, the car was all about one thing: profit margin. The vehicle only cost $2,000 wholesale and was sold stateside for nearly twice that. Consumers quickly realized that even $4,000 was too much for the Yugo.

pontiac aztek - The Worst Cars in History

Pontiac Aztek” by SqueakyMarmot is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Pontiac Aztek

For as much grief as the Aztek got, it was actually at the forefront of what would prove to be one of the top automotive trends of the past two decades. When the car was first introduced in the early aughts, SUVs were surging in popularity and the idea of crossovers – vehicles with the space and power of an SUV combined with the on-street abilities of a sedan – was just beginning to take hold.

In fact, if you look the Aztek concept car, it doesn’t look all that dissimilar to some of today’s crossover models. Time may have put it best, saying, “The shame is, under all that ugliness, there was a useful, competent crossover.”

Clearly, the idea behind the car was good, but the execution was not. The problem was the Aztek suffered the same fate as the camel: it was designed by committee. No singular, coherent vision took the lead and just about everybody got a say in the design process. Even the bean counters made their mark involved. According to “The Globe and Mail,” GM accountants ordered the Aztek to be built on an existing minivan platform in order to reduce costs. This platform, however, was not long enough to hold the Aztek, forcing designers to create a box-like tail end.

The Aztek was in production all of five years, from 2001-2005. But showing that everything comes full circle, the car got a significant popularity boost when it was prominently featured as Walter White’s vehicle of choice in the uber-popular television show “Breaking Bad.”

ford pinto

1971 Ford Pinto” by dfirecop is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Ford Pinto

While most of the cars on this list are here due to aesthetic design fails, poor craftsmanship or lackluster sales, several of the worst cars ever made were actually dangerous to drive. These vehicles had such fundamental mechanical and design flaws that they posed a serious risk to the occupants of the car.

Chrysler’s PT Cruiser had a unique look, which many people derided, but it’s most notable for its mercurial nature. The car was known to shut off in the middle of driving, completely out of the blue. The 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, meanwhile, had an engine that exploded when it made 90 horsepower.

But the most infamously dangerous worst car in history is the Ford Pinto. The only feature that needs to be discussed about this 1970s vehicle is its fuel tank. The Pinto famously featured an exposed fuel tank. Cars involved in rear-end collisions, even at slow speeds, tended to burst into flames. Later on, the “Pinto memo” was publicized, which proved the company concluded it was cheaper to settle victims’ lawsuits ($50 million) than to recall and fix the cars ($120 million).

Aptly, the coda to the Pinto’s story is the car’s presence in American Museum of Tort Law.

pontiac aztek

Ford Edsel Ranger” by foshie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ford Edsel

We’ve reached the pinnacle of the worst cars in history. For decades, the terms “automotive failure” and “the Edsel” have been all but synonymous. So what went so wrong?

In the mid-19050s, Ford came to the conclusion that it should expand its product line. Specifically, it needed a new, mid-priced brand to go in between its flagship Lincoln and mid-level Mercury. According to Time, studies predicted that “by 1965 half of all U.S. families … would be buying more cars in the medium-priced field, which already had 60% of the market.” And so the Edsel was created, named after Henry Ford’s son, no less.

It’s not so much that the Edsel was such a terrible car – although it certainly had its faults, namely its price. It’s that it suffered the unfortunate fate of being hyped up as the greatest thing on four wheels. Believe it or not, Ford booked an hourlong prime time television slot on CBS to unveil the car, claiming the broadcast day as “E Day.” “The Edsel Show” included performances by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Louis Armstrong. By this time, however, the push for compact cars was well underway. Just two years after its prime-time debut, the Edsel’s run was over after less than 120,000 were sold. Ford had estimated it could sell up to 400,000 cars a year. In total, the company spent roughly $350 million on the Edsel’s research, design, tooling and production facilities, the equivalent of nearly $3.2 billion in 2021.

To add insult to injury, while the Edsel was cementing its place as the biggest automotive flop ever, “The Edsel Show” was nominated for an Emmy.

What do you think are some of the worst cars in history? Let us know in the comments below!

Comments
  • Eileen T.

    I had a Pinto in 1974. It didn’t burst into flames thankfully, but the stick shift broke off mid-shift and the back hatch clips broke. Not a good car for a new driver!!

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    • James H.

      2006 vw passat b6! Brakes would lock up randomly, or plastic housing on e-brake would crack and leave you unable to release the brakes. Most costly and dangerous vehicles ever made!

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      • Did anyone have a VW. 411 or 412? That was a nightmare as well as my brand new Volvo S40. The Volvo had to be towed at 6 weeks because of computer failure and it just started to fall apart – piece by piece

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        • My dad had a VW 411…if I remember correctly it had a bunch of electrical issues and he traded it in for a Chevy Nova before long.

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        • What did you do with the Volvo. I just bought a white 2007 one and have the same issue.

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        • oil leaks and fires! was a pontiac tech for almost 30 years! remember that piece of iron very well!

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    • Ron I.

      Yup had 2 pintos in the 70’s
      Pull in to gas stations and say”check the gas and fill up the oil!” The gas meter never really worked.

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      • Mark Z.

        Had a ‘71 sedan, and a 74 Hatch. 71 used oil, but otherwise as a 19 y/o I drove it like it was a muscle car. Ran great. Towed a U-haul trailer from Mississippi to Illinois in 1976, then from Illinois to Connecticut in 1978 with the 74. Never gave me any problems, finally succumbed to rust in ‘86. Always felt they got an understandable bad rap, but still loved them!

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        • Joe G.

          1980 Ford Pinto Wagon – a five thousand dollar automobile! Auto-power off circuit engaged at the most inconvenient times; water leaked through firewall; catalytic converter seized. Other than that a great car that fit 6 adults, two Boston Sunday Heralds, case of Heinekens, 6 Macanudos and a medicine ball down Rte 3 in the rain at 75 mph. 18 years and 98k later, traded for a ‘97 Buick Skylark.

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          • James G.

            In 40 yrs as a grease monkey never heard of a catalytic converter seizing……

          • Richard

            A catalytic converter has no moving parts. This makes this comment invalid.

          • I had a catalytic converter get blocked by melting the honeycomb. the mechanic that found the problem said ” in my 40 years as a mechanic I’ve never seen this happen” It was my 84 VW van.

        • My father loved his Pinto back in the day, He gave it to my younger sister and she had a very bad accident, No Fire. I saw the wreckage and believe it was rear ended. My father had to pay someone to take the wreck away…

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      • Chuck T.

        We had 2 Pinto’s a ’72 and ’75, at the same time. We never had major problems with either one, and the ’72 was hit from behind and didn’t burst into flames or leak a drop of fuel.

        After being repaired I drove the ’72 until ’77 and sold it to my brother. He drove it until ’79 and sold it to another brother who sold it in 1980 to a guy who needed the suspension and drivetrain for a kit car he was building. I wonder if those parts are still driving around?

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    • A lot of bad cars on here. Yes the Delorean wasn’t universally loved when it came out but they are highly collectible now!

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      • I will attest to the low power but fun to drive & with added turbos (which they were in the process of having as an option) moves along pretty well.

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    • OMG I was 20 years old and my last parent just died . Just a grand time . Anyway, I was going to school in very rural upstate NY. On the way home pitch black at night and the car caught on fire. My roommate and I had to go to a strangers house for help as you know there were no cell phones etc. That car was HORRIBLE. It almost never ran. Of the 2 times maybe that I could drive it it caught on fire and burned completely. Luckily we were okay and got out before it caught on fire. The Pinto is the absolute worst care EVER.

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    • Had a Datsun I think it was maybe a 280? Cute car but same thing mention before with another car. Was driving and it would shut down. Never found the problem. Traded it into for a Nissan pulsar. Engine crank fell off at 77,000 miles. I will never buy Nisan car again after those two problems

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      • Nissan build is to self destruct particularly timing belts. Stay away from Nissan

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      • The 280 had an initial run of bad fuel pump check valves. The valve was the same as the Volvo 240. So, using the Volvo part until Nissan corrected was the answer.

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      • The thing about the Corvair was that it had a rear mounted engine with a partial racing suspension in the rear. It was not really unsafe. Most people just couldn’t get used to handling that suspension correctly.

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      • I had one. If you went over 50 mph the front end would actually lift up making steering less accurate and responsive. I carried a bag of concrete and a heavy tool box in the front trunk to correct this problem.

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        • I had 4 different Corvairs and drove them on the Massachusetts Turnpike for years at speed and never had the front end lift nor the front end slide out. A bag of sand in front compartment winters helped stopping front end slide in the snow. Nader was an idiot and it was a shame that GM buckled under to the fool. I had the 140 and also the Turbo Spyders. Fun and dependable. Heat duct operator failure on one and push rod tubes had to replaced on one. Change the oil and fill up the gas. Great Car.

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          • Learned to drive on a 1960 Corvair. Loved the car. Got around my first winter with no problems. Wish I knew then to replace the gasket to stop the oil leak. Carted all my friends around after school.

          • Philip W.

            Also owned multiple Corvairs, 1965 & 1966. Great handling car, especially with John Fitch Sprint modifications. I never had a front end lift issue, found the car great in snow. Rear weight bias was also true of VW bug and Porsche 911/912.

          • My first car purchase was the Corvair, from a used car lot August 1967. I was only 19yrs. of age. I had a break down from the car lot to my home. Th car had strange fumes and a local garage said I needed a valve job…had no idea what he was talking about. Two days later, pack my belongings to move into my college dormitory 7hrs away. Never made it. Lost control on the NYS Thruway and car flipped over onto an incline . Both front and rear windshields were popped out completely with much os my property. Witnessed by others who went ahead to notify the toll takers who in turn contacted the troopers. They all came looking for the “bodies” judging by the observation of the wreck. [Prior to his arrival, I had already crawled out onto the hood and off of the wreck]. Trooper said I was travelling’ to fast for the weight of the car’…Say Wha???. I recall being at the speed 65mph limit. The local judge suspended my license. Took two photographs of the wreck I still have on my bulletin board. Thank you Mr. Nader, your book title says it all.

    • Funny thing – my Capri had almost the exact same engine but it was a wonderful car to drive once the worn out clutch was rebuilt (I bought it used). Light, handled well, decent acceleration and speed.

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    • Robert P.

      2018 ford focus a coworker has one the engine looms like it is 30 years old and its always breaking down

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      • My husband had a new ‘74 Fiat 128SL. He never knew if it would start so he kept an extra battery in the trunk in a wooden box marked “ Fiat First Aid kit”.

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    • 1980 Ford Pinto! Cost me about $1500 bucks back in 1987. No power steering but a cool little car to get around. I just never realized how much DANGER I was in. I had it about 8mo. then sold it when I got out of the Military…to a used car lot for $500 bucks.

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    • Chevy Vega was trying to be cutting edge but was pretty horrible.
      Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra was awful car. Mine died at 18,000 miles.

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        • The Chevy Vega was my worst car. It was a nice looking vehicle, but, the aluminum block engine was just awful. You are right, it needed more oil than gas. I always had a case of oil (the cheapest brand) in my trunk. I’d drive to the beach & before I headed home I’d have to put in a quart. Every time!

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          • My friend had what we called ‘the Vegs’ and when driving up a big hill in town, it would chug all of the way up, everyone in the car would be silent wondering if we would make it up the hill or start rolling backwards. Once we finally made it to the top of the hill, we’d have to pull over and put more oil in it!

    • Believe it or not, the worst car I ever had was a 1996 Camry! Came from a family of camry lovers who great success with them. Historically, and still, a highly rated car but Toyota really messed up that year. Car would accelerate unpredictably and I couldnt brake it to stop! Hated that car.

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      • Suzanne W.

        Yup. Sticky throttle cable. It made the car accelerate unpredictably. Congress was investigating Toyota and were looking into that. I wrote to Congressman Stupack they needed to look back ten years earlier. My Toyota Camry was a 1990. The only way to stop it was to crash it. Fun times! Thankfully, it sank into the mud along the exit (it had rained the night before). Will never ever, ever buy a Toyota again.

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        • OMG, I have a a 1995 and does the same! I sprayed WD40 on it from time to time, and got used to it— , just toss it in neutral and slam the gas to 4K RPMs!! Lol That’s what unstuck it. But very unsafe if you don’t know the throttle problem..

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    • The Ford Pinto has to be the #1 worst car ever. And with it’s history of the poorly placed transaxle bolt that resulted in explosions it has been the subject of many business school case studies. And there is the Volkswagen Thing!!

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    • I think that the bmw e39 (5 series) was the worst car ever built. Also- believe it or not- the Delorean was a well built car- in that it was made to last.

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      • Strange, the e39 5 series is often regarded as the best 5 series ever produced.

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        • My 528, ‘88, and my ‘03 530, both manual 5 speeds, ran superbly for 200k miles +, each. Jc

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    • The Chrysler “K” car. A more stripped down moving vehicle likely never existed. However it did run, not quickly or fast but it did start every time. Had that lovely “plastic” feel to every single feature.

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    • The Honda Element and the Toyota FJ Cruiser and the Sciom Xb are 100xs uglier than the Aztec. And every Subaru SUV made. These are low points in car design, consistory failure by Japanese in auto design.

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    • I had a1975 Ford Pinto. My first car. The rack and pinion steering went. And it wasn’t covered. Then came the gas tank. Disaster. But I was lucky because I sold it for $1000 to a mechanic. It was 3 years old (bought it for $3000)

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    • Pinto – a Five Thousand Dollar Automobile, once shuttled seven men, five Churchill cigars, Two Boston Sunday Globes ( sat ed. ), one medicine ball and a case of Heineken from The City of Champions to the old Boston Gardens at an amazing 80 mph.
      Being the Pony Wagon version, there was never a fear of rear-end collision explosion.( Backlund retained title vs Mosca – RSC ).

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  • Edward K.

    I remember the AMC Pacer as being one of the ugliest cars ever built. Not only were they ugly but with all that glass mimicking a fish bowl they were also very dangerous to drive if involved in an accident.

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    • Yeah I remember the Pacer and I always thought it was interesting so I kind of liked it. My family had always bought AMC Wagons so that a plus, however I think the spacecraft bubble look doomed it more than it’s performance.

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    • Nan C.

      I told my mother that very same thing! We drove passed the local dealership and she though it was cool-I told her it looked like a fishbowl on wheels! I was around ten (?) at the time.

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    • My father’s last car was a Pacer. We literally had to junk it, as no one wanted to buy it, even cheap. it was five years old and we got $100 for it as junk.

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      • Had a friend who had a AMC Pacer. With all the problems she had with it, she called it a “Pisser”.

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    • I helped someone move some stuff and had to ride in the back. Sitting under that glass on a bright sunny day for over an hour felt like being under a magnifying glass.

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    • My boss in the 1980s inherited his grandmother’s Pacer. He used it as his airport car, because he didn’t care what happened to it LOL. I rode in it a couple of times — it was a little tank that got very hot because of all the glass.

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  • Edward A.

    My Mom and Dad had a Chevy Vega in the early 70s.Burned oil by the quart.I think it had an aluminum block.

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    • Theresa

      Vega was the worst! My friend had one and she put a quart of oil in it weekly. It wasn’t leaking but burning it.

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      • Toni W.

        Oh my first baby a blue Chevy Vega I traveled with a case of oil in the trunk. Started it once by pouring gas into the carburetor.????????❤️❤️

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        • OMG – My first new baby also , and BLUE too! (A ’71) Never had oil problem, but guess what, after about 3 yrs it caught on fire en-route to work on Westchester Ave. (luckily I’d just exited the CWE!) My co-worker, an ins. adjustor who saw me & came to my rescue, said the fire dept. told him the cause was… my going too long without an oil change!

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      • Toni W.

        Oh my first baby a blue Chevy Vega I traveled with a case of oil in the trunk. Started it once by pouring gas into the carburetor.????????❤️❤️

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        • John H.

          I had a Vega from the mid 70’s to early 80’s. I loved that car, it was such fun to drive and never had a mechanical problem with it. I was a 4 cyl. engine with standard 3 speed transmission. Took the Vega on 2 cross country trips (Boston to LA) without a problem. I used synthetic engine lube (yes, it was available in the 70’s) and it hardly burned any oil at all. After 120,000 miles I sold it to a friend who drove it for 5 more years before I lost track of it.

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      • GERARD P.

        Chevy Vega should definately be on this list. This is one of the reasons why the cars from Japan and Korea gained a large part of the US car market in the late 70’s and 80’s

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    • James G.

      Friend from school had a 73 vega engine was locked down we dropped a turbo v6 out of a Buick grand national in it hooked to a muncie T10 rock crusher 4 speed and a narrowed ford 9 inch rearend …it was mean …im crazy and not alot scares me but ……that car scares me to drive …..but his 429 powered pinto is scarier ……..

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    • My Dad drove a Vega in the early 70s as well, when they were living in the LA area. Never had an issue with it until one day it just stopped – on the freeway. My Dad just got out and left it there.

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    • Jerry R.

      I had a Vega 1974.. every 3 weeks needed 2 quarts of oil. Kept it running for 93,000 miles. Paint corrosion was also common. Best sales job in my life was trading it in to a Buick dealership for $400.
      I also owned a Pinto wagon and Jeep Eagle Premier.. the Jeep Eagle Premier was by far the worst car ever made.. name something, it was faulty

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    • I bought a well-used ’72 Vega in the mid ’80s for about $350. Passenger side door used to fly open if you cornered too sharply. My girlfriend loved that (not)… but married me anyway.

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    • I has a 73 Chevy Vega with aluminum block and Steel Piston rings that would Wear away Aluminum Cylinder and burn oil and put out clouds of smoke. I used to run thick STP additive to limit the oil burning. A Complete piece of Junk from GM.

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      • I had a 1967 Ford Galaxie 500- the steering was held together with a cotter pin that would rust away and break rendering the car unsteerable down the highway like a missile.

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    • richard l.

      Have to pile-on in the VEGA criticism. Sad, too, because it was my first car and i adored it. A mohave-gold ’72 GT, with white racing stripes. But lousy engine, aluminum head, iron block. Different alloys cool at different rates, so one overheat, and the car was trash. GM was even forced to recall it to install a warning light and a coolant recovery tank: worthless. After an engine rebuild, lasted 1000 miles. with 73k on it, sold it to young family in Chicago. Always felt bad about that.

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  • Phil F.

    How could you possibly not include the Chevrolet Covair (“Unsafe at any speed”) or the Chevy Nova – whose principle problem was right there in the name, “No va” (“it doesn’t go” in Spanish)? Also what about leaving off a total clanger like the AMC Pacer, or for that matter, any one of the Chrysler K-car models?

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    • William H.

      We had a K-car wagon, and it was fine for our family with two small kids. It had plenty of room, enough power, and was reliable. It replaced our Saab 95 wagon that got squashed by a tree limb in a hurricane. Too bad, but the extra two doors in the K-car came in handy.

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      • My dad bought 2 K cars directly from Chrysler (had connections from years earlier when he was hauling cars), got them to have AC but with smaller engines, not a great idea. He should have known better, he was an engineer. To make things worse, they had bad routing of the fuel line, which tended to over heat in summer…

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    • Ron I.

      Chevy Corvair was another beauty! Had to use a paper clip in the distributor cap to allow the plugs to fire! Go figure

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      • Who was the hacker who didn’t fix it properly. The cap was a standard Chevrolet inline 6-cylinder cap.

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        • As a child I remember my father and uncle complaining about the rambler and oil problems, something about throwing a rod. My father worked on it for my uncle, but no one in the family owned one again.

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    • Donna F.

      I had a ‘69 Chevy Nova that I ran into the ground after 13 years. I loved that car!!

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      • Skeptic44

        I had an ’86 Chevy Nova that I loved, and which I drove for 14 years.

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        • That 86 Nova was actually a rebadged toyota corolla as that was the beginning the GM-toyota joint venture. They went on to not only make the nova, but the Geo Prizm which became the Chevy Prizm once they did away with the Geo brand and the Pontiac Vibe-Toyota Matrix. I had a geo prizm and a pontiac vibe–both were excellent cars

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      • Daniel F.

        Same here, 69’ Nova that I drove and drove into the ground, I loved it!

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      • I had a ’73 Nova hatchback that I loved — it had a big engine (don’t remember the specs) and I loved to surprise people by beating them when the light turned green. It got pretty good mileage, too. I was sad when it was totaled by a 17-year-old who, faced with a traffic light outage on her side of the intersection, decided to barrel through anyway. My light was green — and I wasn’t jackrabbiting at the time — and she t-boned my passenger side. Then she submitted a fake police report (her boyfriend worked at the station) saying it was my fault. It all came out OK in the end, though.

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    • David K.

      i had a 66 corvair, it had that rear engine. ran well. went fron queens ny to morris plains nj in 18 inches of snow while most cars were stuck. kept in for 10 years and resold it

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      • Mark M.

        Hear Hear! My sporty ’62 Corvair Monza saved my life when an inattentive driver rear ended me going 50mph in 1969. Not only did the rear engine on the Corvair absorb much of the impact but the lower height saved me from getting decapitated because my car was shoved under a flat bed truck. So, there, Ralph!

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      • My Dad had a Chevy Nova SS, and that car was a beauty! It was loud and fast!!! I’ll never forget when it got a flat tire while on our way to the Cape! It was scary…but my Dad (my hero at the time) was able to wrestle the car over to the breakdown lane and put the spare on. ????

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    • MY 70 NOVA RAN 12 SECONDS IN THE QUARTER WITH THE 396 ENGINE . NO DRIVELINE FAILURES ! DID YOU PEOPLE REALLY OWN OR DRIVE THESE CARS ???

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    • I think both you and Ralph were wrong about the Corvair. While not without its flaws, it was a creative and adventurous design amidst a sea of American Automotive mediocrity. Execution was not perfect, but if given a chance to evolve it could have competed with vastly superior engineering and style of the European marquees.

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      • Once they put a true IRS in the car it was decent. I had a 63 triumph spitfire, also had a swing axle. When the unloaded axle tucked under, one tended to worry. A December spring helped immensely
        The Mercedes 300SL was a properly engineered swing axle.

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        • The Mercedes mounted the differential much lower. That was the big difference. The axles couldn’t swing much.

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  • Your treatment of the Pinto is unfair. It turns out that it wasn’t any more likely to have fire related fatalities than any other car of its time. The $50 million was not the cost to settle lawsuits as reported at the time. It represented the cost to society. The Mother Jones article that leaked the famous Ford memo was misleading and in some cases flat out wrong. See below:

    https://medium.com/myboost/fords-poor-little-exploding-car-fb7a26d209a5

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    • Kevin M.

      You only need to Google “Pinto deaths” to come up with multiple stories, law suits, automotive magazine articles etc. detailing that what this article says about the Pinto is completely accurate. Forget the Mother Jones article, there are dozens of other references to how unsafe the Pinto was. Nice try though…

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      • Joe M.

        The problem wasn’t the tank. When rear ended it would spray fuel into the back seat area. Was fixed with a deflector shield. I had 4 of them and they used to get 28 miles to the gallon. In the 70’s that was huge. Had a five speed and used to red line that thing. Couldn’t blow the motor. Felt like you were in a Porche944. We used to imagine anyway!

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      • The so called Pinto deaths were no different than anybody else’s at the time.Their problem was somebody leaked a badly worded memo to the press. Millions of people happily drove Pintos thru gas shortages for years.

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  • Frederick V.

    You didn’t mention the Chevy Vega. The engine was guaranteed to overheat and warp requiring a replacement. A cast iron head with an aluminum block assured it was a throw away. Also, you could grab a beer and a lawn chair and watch the car rust away .

    Reply
    • Scott F.

      I agree with your comments on Chevy Vega. My first car was a second hand ’73. So little power it couldn’t get out of it own way. At least it was a standard. This allowed me to pop the clutch to get it going. That came in handy far too many times. As for the rust, by the time I got rid of this in ’85, you could see through the driver’s side floorboards to the road. Somehow on this particular vehicle, you couldn’t kill the motor. The car was sold to the mechanic at the local garage. He placed the motor in a fine buggy he had built. The rest of it was scraped.

      Reply
  • Paul F.

    You Forgot the Chevy Vega. The car was designed for a V-6 GM engine that they sold to Rover so instead they reworked and old straight 4 cast in aluminum. The first time the engine would get to hot the head would warp and the cylinders would scratch the silicon sleeves causing them to burn oil. Towards the end I was getting 25 mpg and a quart of oil every 50 miles. It also took 20 minutes to build one start to finish. There were numerous short cuts used from snap in fiberboard headliners to shipping them nose down in special railway cars to increase the capacity by 2 per railway car,

    Reply
  • Michael M.

    The 1980 Ford Fairmont 4 cylinder was probably the worst car I have ever purchased. It burned a quart of oil a week. I found out it had the dreaded Pinto engine. I complained to Ford and they supposedly had a fix. It was better but still burned oil. My local repair garage was able to replace parts which ended the oil problem at a lower cost than the geniuses at Ford.

    Reply
    • Stan B.

      My mother had one, bought used. On a rare sub zero morning in February, the cam seized. I learned from a friend who maintained a fleet of them that the hole feeding oil to one of the cam bearings was undersized; the fix was to pull the cam, put in a new bearing and cam, and not run the car on similar mornings; ran it another 2 or 3 years with no problem. Fortunately, they used the larger of the 2 Pinto engines, so I was able to undo the front mounts, and jack the engine up high enough for the cam to clear the upper part of the radiator mount; on the smaller Pinto engine, the cam came out the back of the head, and the engine would have had to come out. Other than that, no real problems.

      Reply
  • Genie A.

    Omission of the “Unsafe at Any Speed” Corvair, which made Ralph Nader famous, was a huge mistake on your part. Buying a Fiat 128 in 1974 was a huge mistake on my part. It went through four clutch cables in the one year I owned it. The good news is that, when a belt broke while I was driving on the Brooklyn Bridge, the car was so light that I (5’1″, 120 lbs) was able to push it across to Manhattan myself.

    Reply
    • I had a ’76 Fiat 128 Sport hatchback. First transmission blew at 6 months, 2nd a few months later. By 2 years, every belt, hose, pump, wire had been replaced. Windshield wiper motor burnt out during a rainstorm. Body rusted out around me. I had a mechanic on retainer. But when it ran, it was a blast!

      Reply
      • I owned a 1976 Mediterranean blue Fiat 128 3P…..I used to joke that if there was a threat of rain, it looked like it might rain, or there was a cloud in the sky 50 miles away, the car wouldn’t run….but on those 4 other days of the year it was a fun car to drive…..I had to completely replace the electrical system, the clutch cable would snap unexpectedly, the car stranded me more than several times and the straw that finally made me break down and cry was when my gas cap key snapped in the gas cap….a truly terrible auto

        Reply
    • Linda K.

      I had a Fiat and had to learn to drive a standard which was fine. But I hated that car because the clutch cable kept breaking. I was so happy when I sold that car.

      Reply
    • I was curious when I opened the AAA email which featured the list of the worst cars in history, and wondered if they put the Chevy Corvair at the top. I had a white 61 and had no idea I was driving a potential death-trap. It rolled over while I was rounding a sharp turn going down hill on the winding road through the Westchester Country Club golf course in New York state, it was during the summer of 1967. I was with a friend and we were both wearing seatbelts, as the roll-over seemed to be happening in slow-motion and so unexpectedly, I looked at my friend and said “hold on, here we go.”
      The car landed on its roof and slid for at least 30 feet before coming to a stop, and we were still in the right lane! A few golfers ran up from the adjacent green to see if we were ok. Thankfully there were no injuries to ourselves or to anyone else. I had the chance to take a good look at the front suspension and saw the left wheel had just folded under for lack of any lateral stability controls, a serious design flaw, and wish I had known what Ralph Nader had to say about the infamous Corvair. Two years later I got a 1968 Chevy Corvette, it was also white and I had no problems with it.

      Reply
  • This is the first time I have heard that it was well-known that PT Cruisers mysteriously shut off while driving. I suffered years with this dangerous problem, with five different repair shops telling me there was nothing wrong with it (and that it didn’t stall on THEM!). I donated the car in the end because in good conscience I couldn’t sell it to anyone!

    Reply
    • Carl M.

      I had a 2003 PT Cruiser GT. This was the turbo model. It never stalled but transmission leaked and lost fluid. No lower gear. Repairs cost a fortune. The upper radiator hose started leaking. I cost $1200 to replace due to the fact you had to remove the intake manifold to get to the hose. The other basic repairs were also costly. I couldn’t give the car away.

      Reply
    • Patrick V.

      I think it might have been the module on the distributor. This would happen on the Chevy Chevette. In the middle of traffic it would just die. Over heating on the electronics perhaps.

      Reply
      • I’m glad someone mentioned the Chevette. My wife-to-be had one with an automatic tranny. Most of the time we had to drive the POS up to 35-40 MPH in first gear before it would shift. We took it back to the dealer time after time and were told that nothing could be found that was wrong with it. That was our first and last Chevy.

        Reply
    • Anthony

      I had a 2002 Cruiser which lasted 210,000 miles and 16 years. The only time that happened to me was about 10 years in, I was in a parking lot after I had just had the battery replaced a week or so before. Turned out to be a loose connection. I did have the right front axle separate while driving it (fortunately within my condo complex) about a year before I retired it.

      Reply
  • Richard S.

    Where is the Chevette “Scooter” in this list? Talk about cheap! All plastic and cardboard interiors. We had an “up scale” 4 door 1978 Chevette hatchback and it was pretty good, but we didn’t have it long. Gave it to our niece.

    Reply
    • Robert Y.

      You could literally not go up a hill in a chevette if you ran the air conditioner!!!

      Reply
      • Bill H.

        1976 Plymouth Volare the car that almost killed Chrysler. Enough said.

        Reply
      • Pauline S.

        I had a 1985 Chevette, manual 4 speed, only ,uxury was a/c and fm radio, no power steering. That car proudly climbed MT. Washington in NH. Only traded it in because I needed a bigger vehicle. It was a fun car.

        Reply
  • D.Pesh

    I had one too; used more oil than gas and It broke down constantly.

    Reply
  • Maureen S.

    The Pinto was my first car. They finally did the recall. But that wasn’t the only problem with the car. The transmission didn’t work very well either. I could put the car in reverse from park in cold weather and wait almost a minute for the shift to actually happen. I also had multiple problems with the starter and other things. Traded in the car with 3 years and 36,000 miles. I usually drive cars until they die. Nuff said.

    Reply
  • Linda H.

    I had a Pontiac Aztek for years which my husband and I loved. So practical for sports equipment, building supplies everything and ran well until 80,000 miles.

    Reply
  • Dawn C.

    I think you have all forgotten the AMC Gremlin. They had a horrible reputation though I drove one for a couple of years. The window wouldn’t go up or down. The shift broke. It seemed like everything broke!

    Reply
    • Michael B.

      I have always loved The Gremlin and I still have one to this day. I drive it often for fun and show. BTW today is it’s Birthday 4/1/70 the first Gremlin rolled out.

      Reply
    • SusanAgingHippie

      oh yeah! I had one too and it had the cheapest tinny feel of any car I’ve ever been in. It was also the absolute worst car in snow; even 2 inches made it handle like a bobsleb.

      Reply
    • Maria A.

      Was waiting for someone to mention the Gremlin. It was an UGLY car.

      Reply
  • RICH K.

    Chevy Corvair – a 4 wheel death trap. Prone to roll overs & stall outs.

    Reply
  • Richard

    Remember Ford’s slogan “Have you driven a Ford lately?” Think about what they’re saying. “We used to make really crappy cars but…TRUST US NOW!”

    Reply
  • Joe H.

    The Corvair was by far the worst car ever made. My wife had one when I first met her and I would steer in one direction and the car would go in the opposite direction. I still married her after that experience.

    Reply
  • Michael M.

    Corvairs were good enough to have been manufactured for ten years…still plenty , restored and customized, being driven safely….I think their biggest problem was that the front tires were routinely overinflated,out of owners’ habit from front engine driving…made steering terrible

    Reply
  • Ron I.

    In the 60’s and 70’s I punished myself with Pinto (2), Corvair, Fiat, Renault and a Ford 500 (the biggest gas guzzler ever made!) finally bought a Ford Mustang. Turned out to be the best car I ever bought.. such memories

    Reply
    • I had a ’79 Cutlass Supreme with a 5.0l gas engine, one of the most reliable cars I’ve ever owned. The diesel engine in this model had the problem stated in the article. There was never a problem with the gas engines.

      Reply
  • Robert G.

    How could you miss the Chevy Corvair? I owned one as a teenager in Detroit. It was not just unsafe, it was humiliating. I also had a Delorean in college, and it was at least ‘cool’, even though I agree with most of the article’s criticism. It was not half as underpowered as the Corvair; we sometimes had to push that clunker uphill!

    Reply
    • Marcella A.

      Chevy Citation was definitely worse car I owned. Would stall many times on road
      And sometimes do a 360 turnaround. SCARY! Also paint was coming off of roof.
      When I brought it to dealer to complain, they said I must of had accident with it.
      Oh yeah,on the roof I think they must have used nail polish to paint it. This car was supposed to be tested for 5 years before production. Cars back then never seem to last more than 2 years. Planned obsolescence. It was only when Japanese cars were
      Made available cars lasted longer.
      Ct
      Nd

      Reply
  • Fiat 128: “Fix It Again Tony”. Came with automatic rust. First month the brakes burned out. Fuel pump fuse was located on top of the battery under the spare tire which was located in the engine compartment. In line fuse holder guaranteed to corrode. Easy to repair if you could find it.

    Reply
    • My 2015 Jeep Renegade has a 9-speed automatic Fiat engine. They must have figured out how to make good engines.

      Reply
      • I had a 1992 Chevy Blazer
        That blazer was the biggest toilet I’ve even own the blazer wasn’t cheap
        The windshield wasn’t even sealed on the bottom that was fixed
        some how water was entering the interior of the blazer and the carpet was getting soaked than the mold started the service manager told me I should use shop vac when it rains out
        I just said to him how often do you vacuum your car in a year than the valve seals went in the motor
        It had 28,000 miles when I traded in
        Got a Toyota and have been buying Toyota’s ever since

        Reply
  • Jeffrey G.

    The funniest license plate I ever saw was on a Vega and read “OY VEGA” a pun on the Yiddish expression “Oy Vey” roughly translated to “this is not good” about something that has occurred or will occur.

    Reply
  • Richard

    Chevy Chevette. Main bearings went at 5000 miles! Took it into the dealer because of noises and they wouldn’t even let me take it out, saying it was too dangerous, gave me a loaner. That and many other constant engine problems throughout its short lifel.

    Reply
  • Howard

    The family ’61 Chevy Corvair Monza was the 1st car I inherited. Had 98 HP and 4 fwd speed manual, long throw floor stick. Bucket seats and airplane friction clamp type seat belts. Nader be damned! Never did over-steer or spin-out. I loved it and raced it a lot, could drift corners and scare the crap out of my friends. Used to beat BMW 2002’s with it off the line. Mom used to whack the oil pan going over the curb-cut into the driveway incline when she came in @ speed due to the heavy tail (rear engine) and had to replace the pan. Was even easy to refit the fan belt that was over the top and then 90° down the rear face for the flat 6 when it lost tension and spooled off at high rev’s. After 9 years the front tub trunk and floor rusted out and Mom gave it to a friend of mine before I could restore it. Actually miss it, but not as much as my immaculate blue ’69 MGC.

    Reply
  • Elaine K.

    I’m driving my third PT Cruiser, a 2010 with 94,000 miles. I’m babying her because
    I can’t replace her. I love this car….would buy a new one in a minute! I’ve had no
    real problems, and enjoy driving this car. Wish they’d make PT’s again!

    Reply
    • Milton R.

      Drove a 2002 PT Cruiser to 130,000 miles, never a problem. Loved that car

      Reply
      • Emmett S.

        Our red 2003 PT limited still runs great with 76k.Only real problem is the paint, which started fading and peeling 5 years ago. Now the car looks like it’s got leprosy, which is embarrassing. But it’s so ugly, nobody would dare break into it. I could leave a box of money on the front seat, doors unlocked, and it would go untouched.

        Reply
  • Peter M.

    1972 Audi 100 had to be one of the worst cars ever! Not even the Audi mechanics wanted to work on it, and it needed work all the time, yuck

    Reply
    • I purchased a 1970 Audi 100 LS and Oh Boy was I in for it. For it’s time, it was an engineering marvel, but unfortunately it was a maintenance nightmare. The tough thing was that I was located in West Texas in the Air Force, about 170 miles one way from the Audi dealer and no mechanic in the small town knew what the Audi was, let alone fix it. So every few weeks, I would have to drive to San Antonio to have a problem(s) fixed and by the time I was half way home, something else would go wrong. Put a lot of miles on that Audi, not many that were fun.

      Reply
  • John G.

    Another insult/injury to Edsel by The Edsel Show is the program was the first to successfully air from videotape to the West Coast, rather than by the inferior kinescope recording method. Videotape was the game changer the television industry had been looking for since the beginning. The Ford Edsel apparently was not in the car industry.

    Reply
  • Sheila V.

    So many clunkers, so little time! I owned a Fiat X19… it had a great sporty look but what a nightmare. In the shop constantly.

    Reply
    • David H.

      I bought a used X19 in 1983. If I remember correctly, it was only four years old at the time. I drove it for a total of 10 miles before the head gasket blew, and I found out the head was cracked. So… I replaced it with a 1974 Chevy Vega GT. That lasted almost a year before the oil pump went. I stuck with motorcycles for a decade after that.

      Reply
  • Vito v.

    Am I the only person to own the infamous Ford Granada? From the day I drove it out of the showroom until the day I got rid of it I had many frustrating revisits to the dealer with no permanent resolution of the basic problem of the failure of the car to start. Lots of “we think we located the problem’ only to return with same “unresolved problem” within days sometimes even hours.

    Reply
    • steven

      Had a 1976 monarch ( mercury version of granada )–it was the accelerator pump in the carb——the non-leaded gas dissolved the seals–so I was told—kept it one year and traded it in for a dodge

      Reply
  • Worst car I ever owned was the Dodge Aries. To paraphrase Murphy’s Law, everything that could go wrong with a car went wrong with the Aries. Even diligent repairs couldn’t prevent a second round. It was the vehicle that drove me, an all-American car owner, guiltily into the welcoming arms of a foreign (Toyota) auto maker.

    Reply
    • Had a Dodge Aries for 6 years. Loved it. I would have kept it except it was a 2 door & getting car seats in was not fun!

      Reply
  • David S.

    Anyone who has ever owned a Fiat 850 like I did in the 1970s can tell you that the cars you mentioned were fantastic in comparison. Countless events such as broken motor mounts, a shooting dipstick, brake lines that sliced open if the short rubber hose wasn’t mounted exactly so made owning one of these a real adventure. My mechanic kept one or two spare 850s in his garage just the parts. I finally gave up when the car could not make it the 10 miles to work without breaking down.

    Reply
      • Owned 72 fiat 124 spider.5 speed. Reverse gear died in 12000 mile,front lower ball joints one could use as a rattle. Valve guides,4 wheel disk brakes that faded if used stop sign to stop sign. Rocker panels rusted to dust. By 52000 miles I was through with it,it did look and handle nice.
        Went to a 76 Celina lift back. It was everything the fiat wasnt.

        Reply
  • Dan O.

    A couple not mentioned in the article and comments:. Suzuki Samurai which rolled over at low speeds, GM diesels in 1979 and 1980, 1st generation Hyundai’s (1987-1990), and late 1970s Horizons and Omnis

    Reply
  • Chase L.

    The worst car I ever owned was a 1984 Cadillac Cimarron, which I bought new. I ended up taking it back to the dealer (Penske Cadillac in NYC) every week for almost a year to find out why the car was backfiring and would eventually die. Every week the dealer would give it back to me saying they could not find any problem with the car. I finally took the head mechanic out for a ride around the block where it backfired and finally died. They were never able to fix it. This was the most unreliable car ever built, and I have never bought a GM car since.

    Reply
  • Carl R.

    Great article, my list includes the Pinto and Aztec you mentioned but also the Vega(I had one unfortunately), the AMC Pacer and Gremlin, all K cars, the Renault Dauphine, and any Fiat

    Reply
  • Margie

    We had a 1980 (i think) Oldsmobile diesel Custom Cruiser wagon that died so many times while driving. After it had to be towed off the Queensboro Bridge, I was kicked out of the Auto Club I had joined (not AAA). They told me that their auto club was not a substitute for car maintenance !!!!

    Reply
    • No one has yet to name the 1980 Chevy Citation. I had one bought new. It had so many recall that it spent more time at the dealership than in my driveway.

      Reply
  • Thomas P.

    The Pinto was a far safer car then both the Toyota Corolla and the VW beetle by a1975 study ! Pinto 298 deaths per million compared to 333 for the Corolla and 378 for the VW bug ! 27 people total were killed in Pinto’s catching fire from rear end collisions. I wonder how many died in front end collisions in bugs with the gas tank in front

    Reply
    • Emmett S.

      Beetle engine fires were pretty regular. A weak, unprotected gas line went through the firewall, and twisted and rubbed against the metal because of engine shake. That wore out the hose, and leaked gas onto the exhaust manifold. I put out one engine fire in a V Dub driving next to me. I’d see beetles with burn marks on the hood or on the grill below the rear window. Like, lots of them.
      Inside the car, the battery was on the floor, under the rear seat. A flimsy plastic cap kept the seat springs from shorting out the terminals. If that cap fell off, the bouncing car would make the seat springs contact the terminals, and the seat stuffing would catch on fire. I watched on bug burn because of that.
      My own ’67 VW square back almost suffered both of those fates. But for 15 years, it was faithful, and unburnt.

      Reply
      • John M.

        I had an old bug where the back seat went up in flames like that. I drove into a snow back, and threw snow in the passenger door to put out the flames. Rolled started it down a hill, replaced the voltage regulator and washed the smoke off the inside of the windows. About 2 months later the motor developed massive oil leak on mid cape highway and the engine seized.

        Reply
  • Bill S.

    1963 Buick special. The flywheel guard would trap water, and when it got below freezing, car would not start, (flywheel frozen in ice from trapped water). Then when it rained, the coil would get wet and car would stall out. Started carrying spare coils. Bet it did get 25 miles to a gallon of gas, but only 25 miles to a quart of oil. Spent many a night on the side of the road adding oil, while cars
    whizzed by me at 60 plus mph.

    Reply
  • Scott A.

    I have no idea how it handled, but for my money, the ugliest car that ever made it onto the road was the AMC Matador. Just absolutely heinous-looking – definitely a by-committee product!

    Reply
  • Sharon N.

    Mercury Comet: I had a yellow one from 1975 I. True to it’s color, it was a lemon. With a friend who was good with cars, I did get it over 100k miles. When I was able to get it running, that is.

    Reply
  • No problem with the engine. Just rust every where. Undercarriage, exaust system, body, suspension system, steering, electrical. Rust so bad the car could not be driven. Not a car for New England.

    Reply
    • Emmett S.

      A friend of mine had a late 60s Rambler. The entire bottom of the car was rusted out. The rear upper shock absorber mounts were completely gone, and couldn’t be fixed easily. The car bounced over the slightest bump, and was unsafe to drive. It was like a clown car in a circus, bouncing, almost hopping, everywhere. When parked, a slight breeze made the car sway up and down. He sold it for scrap.

      Reply
  • The Datsun 260Z – Awful carborator trouble – rebuilt several times to no avail. Never started. Fuel filter filled way too often and car didn’t go. What a pain in the a _ _!

    Reply
  • Carl P.

    Surely, the Audi 100LS not only should have been in the list, it should have been in the slot that you put the Edsel.

    Reply
  • My first car was a 1967 Plymouth Valiant. Highly rated by Consumer Reports but “trouble starting and running.” They were not kidding! [What good is a car that has trouble starting and running??] The car would die in the middle of an intersection when it was important to get to the other side before a truck hit me broadside. Sometimes it would just die when it was stopped at a stop sign. I had to keep one foot on the brake and one on the accelerator.

    Reply
  • Joel A.

    The Corvair would be my nominee. The engine was air cooled, but very poorly. Because of that the gaskets cracked and the car always leaked carbon monoxide. Had to replace gaskets every 5000 mi. or so and drive with windows open or face asphyxiation.

    Reply
  • Patrick V.

    The Chevy Citation. Square shape not pretty with a traverse engine that seemed prone to breakdown. It came out in a two tone beige and tan paint version. Who thoaught that was attractive?

    Reply
    • Paid $5000 new in79 for my blue two door hatchback. Car went 1660000 miles. I know the history of the car but, ran great for me.

      Reply
  • Morris Minor side valve 1950.Medium hill, passengers had to get out and walk. Steep hill, they had to get out and walk and driver had to back the car to the top.
    MG TC 1948, if parked on a horizontal slope, one door would swing open, the other could not be opened; gaps between the floorboards insured a constant deluge in wet weather, steering had to be greased every 500 miles

    Reply
    • Oh, I had three Morris Minors while living in New Zealand. Went through gear boxes and master cylinders but then again the cats were 30 plus years old. So cute that I put up with them until I needed to be a bit more confident about passing inspections because the wiring was always an issue. My last one was a 1948 side valve and was just a toy for weekends. Braking required such a long area that driving in traffic was impossible. People kept pulling in front of me and I would have to drop back even more. Of course when people saw me coming they would pull out in front to avoid being behind me!

      Reply
  • Kevin S.

    General note. Found a great book a few years ago. Crap Cars by Richard Porter. A few of the cars mentioned here are in this book. It reviews 50 of the crapiest cars. Enjoy!!

    Reply
  • Elise (.

    Loved my Coviar—my underage brother would “borrow” it after my mom and I were asleep. After he got his license he ran head on into oncoming traffic (light floating front end) we are repairing our 23 year old, 230,000 miles on her “Alice” Toyota Sedan even though she’s got some rust. Most reliable car ever! At two weeks old she hit a deer—at 23 a deer ploughed into her side taking out door, fender, light and bumper—while I was on the way to get her inspected for her license—maybe full circle, but it’s hard to let our cross country champion (8 trips NY to CA or WA in the last few years) go. Great car!

    Reply
  • Tom A.

    The AMC Pacer would suddenly shut off while driving at various times without any warning. Sometimes it would run ok for a week or more. I tried several gas stations to have it fixed, but no luck. Very dangerous indeed.

    Reply
  • Gary B.

    I had a ’73 Vega for about a year. I bought it with 1700 miles on it and it was fine for about 5000 miles. After that if I drove 25 miles, I had to remove the plugs and dry the oil off them. What a piece of garbage.

    Reply
  • Inherited a Dodge Hasbeen (Aspen) with a slant 6 that when through ceramic resistors regularly so you would have to two foot drive (gas/brake pedal)to keep it running. It rotted so bad my Dad riveted aluminum flashing along the bottom to hide the holes….poor engineering/manufacturing at its best.

    Reply
    • i had a slant 6 Dodge too, also had the body hopelessly rusted out while the engine was still going strong, disappointing

      Reply
  • I nominate the 1968 Austin America that I bought new for a 30 mile commute. Big mistake. The car could not get out of it’s own way on a hill, and the carburateur (sp) failed constantly. Start up on a snowy day? Call AAA. It was a blessing when a few kids tipped it onto its roof in the street in front of my house. Fortunately my auto insurance gave me a good settlement, and I bought a real car.

    Reply
    • Peter H.

      That is the same car as the Austin 1100 which was my first drive in England. I loved it dearly, but that love was unrequited. Went through two engines and a gearbox in 18 months. Replaced it with Vauxhall Viva (GM) with an enormous 1300cc. Didn’t love it but at least it ran.

      Reply
  • i had a 66 corvair, it had that rear engine. ran well. went fron queens ny to morris plains nj in 18 inches of snow while most cars were stuck. kept in for 10 years and resold it

    Reply
  • Bill G.

    I have a friend who owns a DeLorean, properly cared for the car runs great and should never be on this list. If you know the history the problem was funding and a little white powder killed the car. Not the car – the silver jewlery John DeLorean was eventually invited to wear. The on impact instant glass blender AKA AMC Pacer should be on the list. or the “I would rather be on my roof” Suzuki Samurai.

    Reply
    • It definitely needs to be driven to stay running well. Some items were cutting edge for the time but they are right to say it was underpowered for weight. In the end it makes at least 1-2 people’s day to take a picture with the car any time it is driven & they also do mention the popularity. Just seems like author had limited word count.

      Reply
  • Kevin F.

    1974 Porsche 914 otherwise known as the Volkswagen Porsche; mid-engine so absolutely no one wanted to work on it, the engine was accessed by a tine pop-up grill behind the rear window. It had a removable roof panel that leaked when it rained, the stick shift was mushy and 1st gear wasn’t synchronized so if you forgot and tried to down shift before the car was completely stopped ouch, the 4 cylinder version that was available in the US (like mine) was underpowered, the pop-up headlights only worked when they felt like it, but worst of all, it would break down roughly half the times I drove it. I know sports cars are temperamental but come on! But…Mrs. Peel drove one in the Avengers do damn it I had to have one!

    Reply
  • The Pinto fire/explosion was often a result of a rear end crash that caused the gas tank to rupture on the differential housing. The leaking gas would ignite. The recall/fix was to put shield between the two.

    Reply
  • 1977 Dodge Aspen was the worst car I owned. It was in the shop more than on the road. It used to stall out while I was driving. Catalytic converter was replaced several times.

    Reply
    • Charlie B.

      Yes I remember the Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare twins. And yes Consumers raved about them. They followed the Dodge Dart, which was a good solid car! But Chrysler couldnt upgrade the slant 6 for emission controls(or they said), only thing that saved Chrysler later was Iacocca and the Mini Vans! Now only thing saving Chrysler(owned btw by a French/Italian conglomerate) is the Jeep.

      Reply
  • What about the Renault Encore? Worst car we ever owned!! went lemon law with it and then to the trash heap!

    Reply
  • Richard E.

    Chevrolet Corvair. Ralph Nader’s book said it well, “Unsafe at any Speed”

    Reply
  • It’s funny to read these comments. I had a 1976 Chevrolet Vega. I bought it from my Dad. He bought it new. What an absolute piece of garbage. At the time my Dad was a “Buy American” guy. Eventually he tried a Toyota Corolla and never bought anything but Toyota’s ever again. I learned the same lesson after buying my first new car a Plymouth Reliant K. Another American piece of junk. I started buying only Japanese cars after that misery. Haven’t bought American made since 1987. And never will.

    Reply
  • Joseph G.

    Its a tie between the Chevrolet Chevette and the Plymouth Horizon/Dodge Omni. Anyway does not matter. Drove me into buying Japanese cars for years

    Reply
  • The first new car I ever owned was a 74 Vega-GT. It was awesome. Road & Track said it was equal to the BMW 2002. Of course they had not driven it the 5K miles required to score the aluminum cylinders and see the fenders rusting away. Qt of oil with every fuel fill. AT 30K miles I put it out of its misery in Quebec when big sedan plowed into me. After a hospital stay I hitchhiked back home.

    Reply
  • Liag D.

    My best friend and I drove cross country for 2 months in a 1980 Ford Bobcat (basically the same as a Pinto). Threw all our clothes, tapes and a cooler in the hatchback and had the time of our lives! This little sucker even climbed Mt Washington and drove through the Rockies. Best car ever….

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  • My first “hunk of junk” was a Plymouth Reliant K car. It barely ran, and would put, put, put down the street. I detested that car by the time I got rid of it.

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  • The 1970’s International Harvester Scout II- rust came standard. Many memories of driving through puddles and having my friends scream as they were soaked-lol. My dad renamed it, “ El Pigo” which he wrote with a marker on each front side panel. Every repair conceived of, but my favorite was my dad’s improv repair of the broken accelerator cable. He ended up fishing a wire from the engine compartment to the front console that he could pull on to accelerate. Shifting became an art.

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  • I have so many Saab stories it would bring tears to your eyes. My first was a 1960. It had a 3 cylinder, 2 cycle engine. Had to mix oil in with the gas at the pump. If you didn’t get the right ratio of oil to gas mosquitoes would die in it’s wake. It left rubber twice. The windshield wipers fell off and it dropped a fan belt.

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    • We had two Saab two-strokes and I had two 99’s and two 900’s. Loved every one!

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  • John M.

    I had an old bug where the back seat went up in flames like that. I drove into a snow back, and threw snow in the passenger door to put out the flames. Rolled started it down a hill, replaced the voltage regulator and washed the smoke off the inside of the windows. About 2 months later the motor developed massive oil leak on mid cape highway and the engine seized.

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  • I have a Ford Escape and it is the worst car I ever owned. Every month it is in the shop for repairs. I like American cars, but I might have to buy a Toyota.

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  • CHRISTINE N.

    Had a 2001 Nissan Altima purchased used in ’05 from Nissan Dealer. Just after purchasing it, was on I95 and it stalled on the ramp. Luckily other drivers could see and go around. It started up again after restarting it. Dealer had it in for repair for about two weeks, and complained when I wanted the full two weeks of rental car costs paid. Over the years the engine light came on costing a couple of thousand dollars each time. However, I still liked it enough to consider having it repaired again. Decided not to do that.

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  • Michael J.

    How about the AMC Gremlin? Between my cousins and me we owned 4 of them – because they were cheap! Sourcing parts was complicated because AMC seemingly built this car with parts from every American auto manufacturer. Rear wheel drive with zero weight over the rear wheels meant it was un-driveable in the snow!

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  • Richard B.

    1971 Jensen Interceptor III. A collection of good parts assembled in the worst possible way.

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  • Bill F.

    80 Chevrolet Citation. The clutch would engage while you were waiting at a light while you had it pushed all the way to the floor. The pistons rattled in the cylinders. Rear brakes would suddenly lock causing uncontrollable fishtailing. Steering wheel assembly was not anchored to the dash and would move side to side while you drove. The carburetor starved the engine so it ran very roughly. The worst and most dangerous vehicle GM ever assembled.

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  • John L.

    The Chevette, the Gremlin and the Plymouth Horizon surely must rank at the bottom. My Mom’s Chevette rusted out to total dysfunction before 60K miles (struts broke through rusted-out front wheel wells). Interesting that all these candidates but the Yugo were American. Oh yes, the Russian Lada was another surefire winner from behind the Iron Curtain!

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  • John G.

    Loved my 71 Pinto. Same color as the one in the article. But that guy that slid down the rain soaked hill in Newark, NJ and took out the front left fender prevented the passenger door from opening. My girl friend hated it because she had to climb across the driver seat & manual shift to get in. She was a good sport though, she married me!

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  • John C.

    This list needs to include the following cars:
    Chevrolet Corvair 1960-1963 (Nader’s “Unsafe at Any Speed)
    Chevrolet Vega
    Ford Mustang II 1974-1978
    Subaru 360

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  • In today’s world I dumped NEW GM vehicles .. new GM is in 2007 … old GM went bankrupt in 2007. new GM co. now has engine,transmission,electrical failures of the GM trucks .I was prior to the new GM company and I always owned all old GM vehicles .. I then bought a Toyota truck vehicle and bought it in 2016 new , and I only had the air bag recall.. never brought it back to dealership no defects .. the dealership replaced the air bag with the NHTSA …RECALL
    new GM foot dragged on the air bag NHTSA recall and this year the GM has to change out these defective air bags. over hundreds of thousands of recalls on the air bag.
    EQUINOX has engine damage.. then many had failures and some had the engine blow up .. GM foot dragged then, the Lawsuit was in court . GM failed and GM had to replace these engines …
    GO ON INTERNET auto forums to see what vehicle you want . read how owners are posting the vehicles quality and how the vehicle companies are fixing these failures ..

    good luck

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  • Bill B.

    Chevy Corvair – winter driving = around and around we go
    AMC Hornet/Gremlin – built like a tank – handled like one too
    Plymouth Cricket – I went to buy one and the dealer couldn’t get it to start. British engineering – wink, wink, say no more.
    GM X Cars – You couldn’t get anyone to steal them if you left it running on the Cross Bronx expressway
    Renault Le Car – Le Pew Pew

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  • 1. Audi 5000: people claimed that it accelerated on is own, even when in Park, and killed people who got out and were opening their garage doors and also children who were in front of the car.
    2. Corvair: the “Unsafe at any speed” car that would actually tip over if you took a turn too fast. Ralph Nader made such a big name for himself with his book and consumer advocacy that he actually tried to run for president.

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  • Dave R.

    I would add the base model Ford Maverick. I had a girlfriend who bought it new for I think at the time $2,000. Seemed like every few weeks something would break on the car. The transmission leaked and needed repair. I remember driving it 2 miles in reverse to get it to a transmission shop. Another time on a frigid upstate NY winter day the master cylinder failed and I got so cold being outside replacing it that even a night of cuddling with my girlfriend couldn’t get the chill out of my bones. Finally the front seat which looked cosy with a faux plaid insert actually felt when sitting like a piece of masonite with a vinyl covering.

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    • I agree, on the basis of safety (remember Ralph Nader’s “Unsafe at Any Speed?”). I had a ’62 and it scared me to death a couple of times at freeway speed. Still, I know there are Corvair “cultists” out there who still admire its elements of creative engineering.

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  • Bruce W.

    Any discussion of worst cars ever HAS to include the Plymouth Cricket. A rebranded Hillman Avenger, it was Chrysler’s pathetic response to the Ford Pinto and Chevy Vega. I had the displeasure of owning one of these underpowered, unreliable and uninspired piece of junk. In the short two years I owned it, the fan flew off into the radiator twice and the a/c unit literally fell off the car.

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  • MY 70 NOVA RAN 12 SECONDS IN THE QUARTER WITH THE 396 ENGINE . NO DRIVELINE FAILURES ! DID YOU PEOPLE REALLY OWN OR DRIVE THESE CARS ???

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  • Debbie G.

    Peugeot 304 – Great car to sit in while in driveway! Very comfortable, and great car to drive. But don’t put it on the road! Even the salesman advised not to buy it!
    The car went through countless fan belts and other major fixes. Miraculously I owned it for 10 years even though it was only imported into USA for 2 years. Needless to say parts and service where an issue. Unbelievably it went for 100,000 miles, all with the back doors being tied shut due to rusted out latches and multiple sheets of metal for floor boards.
    It was an owners nightmare, except, it was so comfortable to sit in in the driveway!

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  • In a different way I was most disappointed by the Ford Taurus I inherited from my father. Big on the outside compared to cramped on the inside, poor visibility, used lots of gas, ugh

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  • Two others: Ford Escort – which I didn’t drive but which had the worst pick up EVER. My Datsun 280z was in the shop and I rented the Escort. I think I literally stood on that gas pedal and it still didn’t go anywhere. And later, my boyfriend at the time, who really just wanted to go 4-wheeling and was seduced by the “touch 4-wheel”, bought a Ford Bronco II. It had problems – not all of them from his abuse. They were all off the roads in a short period of time, never to be seen again.

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  • Leonard J.

    Dodge Diplomat-Master brake cylinder out twice. Power steering constantly leaking. Couldn’t hold alignment, went through 40 tires. Head gasket blew, leaking anti-freeze into oil. Door handles broke off in cold weather. Door hinges failed with door droop. Heater core blockage-no heat in winter. Intermittent backfire. Imagine the higher quality as a police interceptor? All failures before 60K miles.

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  • Dodge Omni 024….everything went wrong with this car, including the battery exploding! Worst car!

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  • Jeff B.

    It seems that the Ford Pinto should be the worst car ever just because as a child I remember the headlines of exploding gas tanks and Ford refusing to recall. Bright one. Later on in life as a LEO, we called the Honda Accord the Honda “Accordion”. Mainly because it crumpled easy in collisions. (just kidding). Great list…..

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  • Phil H.

    1975 Honda Civic! The carburetor was a disaster. It ran rough if at all, on cold, damps days. My wife’s ’78 was no better.

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    • The 75 Civic had its problems but in the winter with front wheel drive and studded snows it truly could go where no other car could!!

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  • Kaiden

    My mom had a Ford explorer and still has it. We had a problem with the Battery. On may 11th, the battery died and took over 4 days to charge up. On June 8th, we have to replace the faulty battery with a new battery. Now, everything is back to normal.

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  • 1977 Plymouth Volare. Eccch. Think Lemon Laws may have originated with that model!

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  • Richard B.

    1971 Jensen Interceptor. Or Pretty much any British car with the Lucas electrical system.

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  • Adrienne D.

    How about a 1972 Chevy Vega . The car was about 3 weeks old sitting in front of my parents house when it started on fire. After putting the fire out, I called the dealership to complain and got a flat toned remark “ oh that couldn’t happen.” I told the service manager come get the car, this thing is a piece of crap. An hour later the service manager called back and said a flat bed truck would be there and Chevy will pay for the repairs. Chevy knew the car was crap.

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  • I had a Yugo and the comment about pushing the car is spot on. I can still hear the sound of my high heels clicking on the pavement while pushing this piece of junk up the hill so we could get momentum to make it down the hill and around the corner. The stories I have would make for a great book.

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  • I had a 1973 Chevy Nova. That car burned oil faster than it went through a tank of gas!!! Worst car ever?

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  • What about a Pontiac J2000.
    Never forgot this piece of junk.
    Every part was changed included the engine.
    The horn would go off in the middle of the night. It would rain inside the car. You name it, we had it. The car was more at the dealer . Junk!!

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  • Patricia T.

    I bought a 1974 Capri brand new. It was the worst. It was in the shop more in the first year than not. It burned more oil than gas. When it rained the floor in the back seat on the drivers side would be totally flooded with water. Dealer could not find the problem and Ford would not stand behind it either. I got married in 1975 and we took this car on our honeymoon and we had to stop for oil more times than gas. Dealer and Ford motor company said this was normal. Are you kidding me???? Worst car ever.

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  • 1976 Chevette, car from hell, blown engine at 2200 miles. Engine replaced. Blown head gasket at approx 5500 miles. Shifter broke, the actual shift stick broke where it threaded in. Needed vice grips to shift. Alternator bracket broke, leaving the alternator dangling. Plus multiple AAA tows do to no start. Didn’t buy another chevy 30 years

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  • My first car was a Chevy Vega (1976), for $2000. Bought it in New Jersey, then took it up to Lake Placid, New York where I worked. Bad idea. It was too light for those snowy, icy roads, would spin out on mountain hairpin turns, couldn’t make it up hills without tire chains. Also, wouldn’t start in cold weather. I had to take the spark plugs in at night to keep them worm and cozy, and put in an electric dip stick heater in the morning. On the plus side, it could hit 80 mph on the Northway going down to NYC, and I did manage to keep it going for about 9 years, until the aluminum-block engine finally seized up (as they often did). Had it towed away, and then I “upgraded” to a Chevy Chevette.

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    • Forgot to mention that it starting rusting right out of the showroom. It developed a hole in the floor near the gas pedal, and a leak somewhere near the windshield wiper. So I just let the incoming water find it’s natural course and exit out through the hole.

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  • My car certainly wasn’t as bad as the stories I’ve read here, but it was not good. My first car I bought was a Chevy Beretta (the first model year), and what an unreliable car. The worst was right off the bat it stalled every time I slowed down. It took 4 years and several different mechanics to fix it. The emergency brake broke, the front passenger side seat belt broke (I only ever had a few passengers), sealent oozed out of the door frame onto my seat, the tailpipe fell off, the gas pedal wouldn’t depress unless I practically stood up in my seat, etc. And all this happened in the first few years. I finally traded it in after 6 years because I got a new job that was an hour away (prior job being only 15 minutes away). I heard they finally fixed all the problems with the car 3-4 years in, but they still discontinued the model in year 6, I think. Too bad, because it had a really fast engine (got 2 tickets to prove it!)

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  • william m.

    Bought a 71 Pinto new. Got 140,000 + miles out of it. needed a new clutch at 80,000, other than that , car ran great. I believe that, the regular oil changes, was the key to its longevity.

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  • Talking about under-powered cars, I had a 1968 VW bus with 55HP engine.
    We used to load up with friends and coolers for Grateful Dead tours and crawl up hills…..bicycles would pass us.
    Great times but not if you’re in a hurry!

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    • I had a new 68 VW bus. Going from SFO to Lake Tahoe the only vehicle I could pass was an older VW bus. Inching past this really old bus full of hippies, it’s engine exploded and showered hot metal on the pavement. We couldn’t stop, because an 18 wheeler was honking to pass us.

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  • Shirley G.

    Anyone have adverse comments on 2010 Black Color Hyundai Elantra SE Model? I’m still driving one.

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  • As a preteen in the 50s my uncle use to pick me up from my Brooklyn public school to visit my cousins in Queens. He had a Studebaker which I assume was a 1950s vintage. The horn would constantly beep as it went over every bump on the Kosciusko Bridge! It was amazing that it didn’t take flight from the wind!

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  • Fredric E.

    I was under the impression that Ralph Nader’s favorite, the Corvair, was the worst car ever.

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  • Judith H.

    Had a 70’s Vega. Carried a jar of indicator needles and a screw driver. It seemed every time I parked in a parking lot the needle would break. Trying to figure out if you are in reverse or drive is not a good thing, when your among other cars.

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  • 72 AMC Gremlin deserves an honorable mention for a car that like it’s plastic peers delivered more than a few issues. Talk about a vehicle designed for a short shelf life .

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  • My company bought 3 Chevy Citations. One blew engine in 1 week because they “forgot” to drill some oil holes to lube the crank. One caught fire at age 6 months. One lasted two years but shimmied so bad couldn’t drive it on the expressway. Dealer couldn’t fix it.

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  • Bonnee P.

    My 1989 Chevy Camaro Iroc z was a total disaster.It was a stick shift and after 20 k miles,I was driving and the manual shift was changing without me depressing the clutch.I took it in to the dealer and they kept it for two weeks and said the clutch was bad and burnt out .They charge me $756.00 Dollars for a new clutch.When I drove the car out from the dealer,it has the same problems.I took it back and they kept it for another week and told me the computer under warranty is bad.They fixed the computer,but afterwards the clutch began giving me constant problems.The mechanic while putting on the new clutch cut one of the bolts,causing the flywheel to warp.This cause me a big problem because I have to press all my weight on the clutch pedal to change gears.This was a total nightmare.Also the car ignition key had a computer chip on it.The car will not just easily start.If I go somewhere,I will have to have someone give me a push or park the car on a downward slope to give me a bost.Thank God,I donate this card .

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  • Had used Pinto not so great but never got rear ended so no major problem. Also Fiero GT that had a 6 cylinder. Was a fun car great in the summer not so in upstate NY IN WINTER. But was great in winter in a parking lot . Thought our daughter lots of lessons of what to do when front of car acts like an anchor and rear makes circles. It had much larger rear tires in front than rear. For rear had to get same all season tires state troupers used as couldn’t fit snow tires on it.

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  • Steven C.

    I nominate a car that, fortunately, rarely made it the US, the East German Trabant! Made from the 60s through to the falling of the wall when East Germans could see what real cars looked like!
    Twenty something horsepower, it’s said there was no 0-60 time since it never made it to 60. Starting was overly complicated, the build was incredibly slipshod and the East German roads were epitomized by clouds of noxious fumes and black smoke! Communist merchandise at its best?
    Top Gear did a hilarious piece on all the Communist made disasters!

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  • I’m sorry there was no room for the Corvair. I had a used ‘65 convertible for one LONNNNG year (‘68). I got very adept at changing the fan belt – by the side of the highway. NASCAR pit crews couldn’t be faster. Traded it in for a new ‘69 Camaro – which I still drive 52 years later.

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  • About the Corvair. The first 4 years (’60- ’63) can be considered defective by design, but only if driven as a sports car instead of a family saloon as intended. The omission of a $15 stabilizer bar ( GM was run by accountants, NOT engineers) was responsible. The ’64 was an interim year when a rear ‘camber compensator’ was added to correct the problem. The ’65-’69 models (with the great new styling) eliminated the problem entirely with a NEW muti-link rear suspension ; these can be considered sports cars masquerading as economy cars.

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  • Stephanie S.

    Cried when I had to sell my 1970 VW Karmann Gia because my mechanic could no longer find parts. He bought it from me for $200. Just to pass inspection he had to go to a junkyard and buy the yellow taillight for $35! Having a shift with no clutch and great mileage on regular gas was amazing! I bought the new Honda Civic. Within months the dashboard fell off! Traded that one for my first Subaru. I will never drive any other car again! My favorite was my Forrester. It’s 10inches shorter than the Outback with more headroom and the interior space is amazing. Unfortunately I cannot afford them. I now drive the automatic sedan due to injuries and my age, but it’s still the safest car there is! My only complaint is that it sits too low and I can’t even see my bumper. I’m old school and don’t want the car driving me! All my cars were 5speed manuals. Both my son and daughter-in-law own the new high end crossover Subarus that beep at everything, with dashboards that are very distracting for me! I’m only 4’11’’ and even though I like sitting higher to see the road, they are difficult to get into and climb out of! Great for snowboards and allow the gear they cart around, along with the dog!

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  • Eileen B.

    Hard to believe Chevy Monza isn’t on this list. Bought a new 1979. Finally turned it with only 37,000 miles on it. Had replaced the carburetor twice! Had to always back in since it wouldn’t work well in reverse till engine warmed up. A friend had a Monza that caught on fire while driving it. Was told it was the carburetor.

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  • Just out of the Air Force bought a brand new 71 vega hatchback had more problems with it several recalls the frame broke off from the body. Traded it in for a 72 Dodge Dart Demon drove it into the ground.

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  • Judith L.

    Had a Vega in the 70’s. Had to carry a screw driver and a jar of indicator “needles” for the gear shift. Every time I parked in a parking lot the needle would break off. Didn’t know if I was in drive or reverse! Judy

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  • Judith J.

    I had two really bad cars which were the first two I owned. Definitely cemented a fear of driving and to this day, I am a nervous driver and I don’t really enjoy it. I bought as my first car in 1986, a 1977 Chrysler Cordoba. I needed a car to commute and had limited funds. The car would breakdown unexpectedly and inconveniently. I had a lot of issues with a catalytic converter, maybe a timing chain and so many other issues. After the Cordoba died, still low on funds, bought a 1988 Hyundai Excel (before Hyundais were good quality). Also experienced a lot of traumatic breakdowns in that car.

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  • Michael S.

    De Lorean DMC 12 I own one. The car weighs just 2712 lbs. That’s NOT heavy. Stock the 130 hp 174 cubic inch six has 0-60 times of under 10 secs on the manual 5 speed and a 130 mph top speed. It’s not the fastest car in the world, but it’s not slow or “underpowered” either. It was designed to be a “respectable” sports car. John De Lorean said “One of my cars would save about 55 barrels of crude over it’s lifetime” The 1982 Corvette weighs 3233 lbs and it’s 350 ci V8 only had 200 hp. I installed a new stage 2 engine in my DMC with 197 hp It’s weight and power are now comparable to a Sunbeam Tiger or a 1969 Porsche 911. The truth is the DMC was well designed and was a good car. It was designed to resist corrosion. Besides stainless steel it has Glass Reinforced Plastic Floors and underbody you can fix like fiberglass. It’s brilliant! Cryogenicly set tortion bars made by Grumman Aerospace open the doors (Yes the guys who made the Apollo 11 LEM!). Much better design than the Mercedes Gullwing. And as for the Hellcats -Quite frankly I just can’t believe you can make 800 hp and not hurt the envirnment no matter what happens at inspection, plus you put the public in danger.

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  • Jeannette F.

    I went through 3 used cars within 9 months – I’d had it!!! At 18 I managed to save up $600 and the dealership gave me $200 for the trade-in. I bought my very first new car: a 1971 Ford Pinto in Grabber Blue! Price was $2,215.56 with extras like, LOL, carpeting and chrome around the wheel wells (Oooo!), and the monthly payment was a whopping $51.11! At 18 I could afford that. What I couldn’t afford was replacing the cam shaft that wore down at 20,000 miles! Seven years later at about 35,000 miles I sold the car to my sister. At 40,000 miles it needed another cam shaft, which she replaced. At 59,000 miles we could hear the engine tapping again so she sold it. A mechanic told me that those cam shafts were not tempered properly at the factory.

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  • I had a used Pinto. Picked it up at the shop on my way to work, 2nd shift. After I got out of work, St Patrick’s Day night, driving home when the Pinto stops running while I was crossing a bridge in the middle of it. This bridge was made out of metal grating. You could look through it and see the water below. Unnerving to say the least. The bridge had no break down lane, so I was stopped dead in the lane. First car hit me in the rear while I was trying to start it. When I woke up I got out of the car and tried to direct cars away from me. I saw another car flying towards me and it was not moving to the other lane. I got up on the guard rail and turned away. I really thought it was going to blow. It plowed into the rear of the Pinto. No explosion again. It moved the Pinto 3 car lengths forward and they swerved back and forth the bridge, stopped on the guard rail, tilting forward. When the tow truck picked it up the drive shaft and numerous parts fell off the under carriage of the Pinto. So this Pinto took 2 rear end collisions and didn’t explode. But it did break down on this bridge the day I got it back from the shop.

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  • Mark M.

    My brother bought a Ford pinto
    He had it for like 10 years
    His wife bought a corvair
    She said it was always a pain in the neck

    Reply

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