Meanwhile, the Corvair had other problems. It leaked oil like a derelict tanker. Its heating system tended to pump noxious fumes into the cabin. Even so, my family had a Corvair, white with red interior, and we loved it. Less a car than a 5th-grade science project on seed germination, the Peel Trident was designed and built on the Isle of Man in the s for reasons as yet undetermined, kind of like Stonehenge.
The Trident was the evolution of the P, which at 4-ft. More like Doofus on the half-shell. American Motors designer Richard Teague — remember that name — was responsible for some of the coolest cars of the era. The result was one of the most curiously proportioned cars ever, with a long low snout, long front overhang and a truncated tail, like the tail snapped off a salamander. Cheap and incredibly deprived — with vacuum-operated windshield wipers, no less — the Gremlin was also awful to drive, with a heavy six-cylinder motor and choppy, unhappy handling due to the loss of suspension travel in the back.
The Gremlin was quicker than other subcompacts but, alas, that only meant you heard the jeers and laughter that much sooner. So consider the Triumph Stag merely representative. Like its classmates, it had great style penned by Giovanni Michelotti ruined by some half-hearted, half-witted, utterly temporized engineering: To give the body structure greater stiffness, a T-bar connected the roll hoop to the windscreen, and the windows were framed in eye-catching chrome.
The effect was to put the driver in a shiny aquarium. The Stag was lively and fun to drive, as long as it ran. The 3. The timing chains broke, the aluminum heads warped like mad, the main bearings would seize and the water pump would poop the bed — ka-POW! Oh, that piston through the bonnet, that is a spot of bother.
Appearing to have been hewn from solid blocks of mediocrity, the Imperial LeBaron two-door is memorable for having some of the longest fenders in history. V8 and measured over 19 ft. The interior looked like a third-world casino. Here we are approaching the nadir of American car building — obese, under-engineered, horribly ugly. Or, it would be the nadir, except for the abysmal Chrysler Imperial, which had an engine cursed by God. The Imperial name was finally overthrown in Well, this is fish in a barrel. Of course the Pinto goes on the Worst list, but not because it was a particularly bad car — not particularly — but because it had a rather volatile nature.
The car tended to erupt in flame in rear-end collisions. The Jaguar E-Type was heavenly, a dead-sexy, mph supercar, a stiletto heel to the heart of any car-loving man. By , it had morphed into this, this thing. In order to compensate for power-sapping emissions controls required in the U. Not finished ruining the lines, Jag plumped up the fenders, spoiling the smooth, aero-sleek contours of the original. The piece de resistance, Jag affixed hideous rubber bumpers — Dagmars, really — in a lame attempt to meet 5-mph bumper standards.
The only Bricklin I ever sat in caught on fire and burned to the axles. Despite its hand-removing, lb. Another safety feature: incredible, crust-of-the-Earth-cooling slowness. The venerable, and I do mean venerable, Morgan Motor Company of Malvern, Warwickshire, has been making cars the old fashioned way since it was radical and high-tech. With wing fenders, wooden-frame bodies, and sliding-pillar front suspensions, Morgans are mailed to us direct from But in the early s, new U. For years, small numbers of these bouncy little roadsters had tanks of liquid propane hung perilously behind the rear bumper.
And people gave the Pinto grief?
The trouble was not necessarily the engineering, or even the peculiar design, which looked fit to split firewood. It was that the cars were so horribly made. The thing had more short-circuits than a mixing board with a bong spilled on it. The carburetors had to be constantly romanced to stay in balance.
Timing chains snapped. Oil and water pumps refused to pump, only suck. The sunroof leaked and the concealable headlights refused to open their peepers.
8 Beach Boys car songs that actually mention a specific car | Hagerty Articles
One owner reports that the rear axle fell out. How does that happen? Oh yeah. This is the car that gave Communism a bad name. Powered by a two-stroke pollution generator that maxed out at an ear-splitting 18 hp, the Trabant was a hollow lie of a car constructed of recycled worthlessness actually, the body was made of a fiberglass-like Duroplast, reinforced with recycled fibers like cotton and wood. Trabants smoked like an Iraqi oil fire, when they ran at all, and often lacked even the most basic of amenities, like brake lights or turn signals.
But history has been kind to the Trabi. Thousands of East Germans drove their Trabants over the border when the Wall fell, which made it a kind of automotive liberator. Once across the border, the none-too-sentimental Ostdeutschlanders immediately abandoned their cars. Ich bin Junk! In the disco days of the s, even supercars were cocaine-thin. Meet the Aston Martin Lagonda, a four-door exotic that lived on dinner mints and hot water.
Designed by AM penman William Towns — undoubtedly wearing a very large cravat at the time — the Lagonda was as beautiful a car as ever resembled a pencil box. The company decided to build the Lagonda with a brace of cutting-edge, computer-driven electronics and cathode-ray displays, which would have been very impressive if any of them ever worked. I include the Chevy Chevette only to note that even the most unloved and unlovely cars have their partisans. There are Pacer fan clubs and Yugo fan clubs, and if there is a Chevette fan club, let it begin with me.
My girlfriend in college had a diaper-brown Chevette three-door hatchback, as bare bones as an exhibit at the natural history museum. It had a hp engine and a four-speed manual transmission and not much else. It was loud and it was tinny, but we drove that car across the country three times and it never failed us. Once I got a mph speeding ticket in it. That was on the down slope of the Appalachians, but still. The last time I saw that Chevette it was still plugging along. Vaya con Dios, old paint.
A recent poll by Hagerty Insurance asked enthusiasts to name the worst car design of all time: This glassine bolus of dorkiness is the pathetic winner. Remember Richard Teague, designer of the amputated Gremlin? Him again. Indeed, my family owned a dark green Pacer with that Navajo-blanket upholstery, and it worked just fine until I drove it through a ditch, after which the heavy doors hung off their hinges like beagle ears. The air conditioning was non-existent. You could actually see fumes of volatile petrochemicals out-gassing from the plastic dash. Wayne, I feel woozy. Federal emissions requirements of the s took a big neutering knife to American muscle cars, and no car bled more than the Corvette.
The worst of it came in California — dang hippy librels! That gave the Corvette — the very totem of hairy-chest, disco machismo — acceleration comparable to a very hot Vespa. These were dark days indeed. Even the legendary Italian sports car company whiffs once in a while, and the first Ferrari Mondial was a big red disaster.
Eventually, every single system would fail, not infrequently accompanied by the smell of burning wires. The factory-authorized service, meanwhile, was more like factory-authorized extortion. Mondials eventually got much better. They could hardly get worse.
These days, cylinder deactivation, or variable displacement, is relatively common — the Honda Accord V6 has it, for instance. But in , when semiconductors and on-board computers were still in their infancy, variable displacement was a huge technical challenge. GM deserves credit for trying, but the V was the Titanic of engine programs. The cars jerked, bucked, stalled, made rude noises and generally misbehaved until wild-eyed owners took the cars to have the system disconnected. For some it was the last time they ever saw the inside of a Cadillac dealership.
De Lorean left the building in , leaving behind 8, stainless-steel DeLoreans and one time-traveling hotrod. Few car projects were more maledicted than the DMC By the time Johnny Z. The car was heavy, underpowered the 2. The Giugiaro-designed DMC sure was cool looking, though. The horror.
Everything that was wrong, venal, lazy and mendacious about GM in the s was crystallized in this flagrant insult to the good name and fine customers of Cadillac. Seeking an even hotter circle of hell, GM priced these pseudo-caddies with four-speed manual transmissions, no less thousands more than their Chevy Cavalier siblings.
This bit of temporizing nearly killed Cadillac and remains its biggest shame. There was a time when 90 horsepower was a lot, and that time was As the base engine for the redesigned Camaro and Pontiac Firebird , the 2. So equipped, the Iron Duke Camaro had mph acceleration of around 20 seconds, which left Camaro owners to drum their fingers while school buses rocketed past in a blur of yellow.
The Biturbo was the product of a desperate, under-funded company circling the drain of bankruptcy, and it shows. Everything that could leak, burn, snap or rupture did so with the regularity of the Anvil Chorus. The collected service advisories would look like the Gutenberg Bible. The only greater ignominy was the early s Maserati TC, a version of the Chrysler Le Baron a flaccid, front-drive, four-cylinder loser-mobile with the proud Mazzer Trident on the nose. Finally, sir, have you no shame? The resulting fiberglass-bodied car had a marvelous power-to-weight ratio and did so well in racing that it was eventually banned.
Or it might have been that the course workers were suffering from post-traumatic stress from the sight of the thing. Mosler had thought of everything but a stylist, and the pride and joy of this arch-capitalist looked like something from an East German kit-car company. Truly one of the ugliest cars ever, the Consulier GTP proved once and for all that building a car is harder than it looks. To that end, in , he began importing the Yugo GV, which turned out to be the Mona Lisa of bad cars. Built in Soviet-bloc Yugoslavia, the Yugo had the distinct feeling of something assembled at gunpoint.
The engines went ka-blooey, the electrical system — such as it was — would sizzle, and things would just fall off. Or not. This Vpowered super dune buggy gets on the list — well, my list anyway — purely because of its appalling clientele.
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The luxurious LM appealed to spoiled young Saudi sheiks wanting to cross the sand to survey their oil field holdings. Uday Hussein, son of Saddam, had one, which the U. Read on. How could the best-selling passenger vehicle in America 14 years running, the mother of all mom-mobiles, the beloved suburban schlepper of millions, wind up on this list? Forget about the whole Firestone tire controversy. In its very success, the Ford Explorer is responsible for setting this country on the spiral of vehicular obesity that we are still contending with today.
People, particularly women drivers, discovered that they liked sitting up high.
Even though more fuel-efficient minivans do the kid- and cargo-hauling duties better, people came to prefer the outdoorsy, go-anywhere image of SUVs. In other words, people became addicted to the pose. And, as vehicles got bigger and heavier, buyers sought out even bigger vehicles to make themselves feel safe. Helloooo Hummer. All of that we can lay at the overachieving feet of the Explorer. The EV1 was a marvel of engineering, absolutely the best electric vehicle anyone had ever seen. It held out the promise that soon electric cars — charged from the grid with all sorts of groovy power sources, like wind and solar — could replace the smelly old internal-combustion vehicle.
Sports Cars, Muscle Cars, Trucks and Hot Rods Take Over Main Street
And therein lies the problem: the promise. In fact, battery technology at the time was nowhere near ready to replace the piston-powered engine. The car itself was a tiny, super-light two-seater, not exactly what American consumers were looking for. By the mids, car designers had powerful new computer tools at their disposal, allowing them to pursue low-volume, high-zoot projects that before would never have recovered the development costs. The Prowler was one such project.
Inspired, if not plagiarized, by a retro-roadster design by Chip Foose, the Prowler looked like a dry-lake speedster from the 22nd century, with an open-wheel front end and low-slung hotrod fuselage. Except they forgot to make it a hotrod. Intent on containing costs, Chrysler stuck its standard-issue 3.
The result was a flaccid little jerk of a car that threatened much but delivered little. The Multipla that appeared in was anything but adorable. With its strange high-beam lenses situated at the bottom of the A-pillars base of the windshield , the Multipla looked like it had several sets of eyes, like an irradiated tadpole.
It had this weird proboscis out front and a bulky, glass cabin in back, and the whole thing was situated on dwarfish wheels.
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I rented one of these in Europe and it worked beautifully, but it was just so tragic to look at. They have to be beautiful. GM had its H2. It weighed 7, lbs, measured almost 19 ft. At the time, Ford argued that many of its customers — ranchers, farmers, um, tugboat enthusiasts — needed a vehicle this big with over 10,lb. To its dubious credit, the Excursion pioneered the use of the blocker bar, a kind of under-vehicle roll bar designed to keep the Excursion from rolling over anything unfortunate enough to be hit by it.
A business case is not the same as wisdom. Yes, the company, owned by Ford, had access to a very successful world car platform, the Mondeo, which Americans knew as the Ford Contour. There was money to be saved. Revisit the glorious s and early s, when cars from Reynolds Buick, Yeakel Chrysler-Plymouth, Mel Burns Ford, and others created the lasting muscle car legacy through innovative advertising and over-the-top performance.
Detailed text and more than historic photos and illustrations provide the history of those dealerships. Author Steve Magnante is well known for his encyclopedia-like knowledge of automotive facts. There are well-researched muscle car facts in this book that even the most esteemed experts would be surprised to learn. Fans of these collectible cars will appreciate the technical and entertaining information shared on every page about all of the great American makes.
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Kevin Mackay tells story after story of finding and restoring valuable Corvettes such as the Briggs Cunningham Le Mans racer that took 1st in class. If you like L88 Corvettes, no one has bought and restored more of them than Kevin Mackay! Few authorities in the hobby could be counted on to provide this much entertainment in a single volume. From early Hudson Hornets, to the birth of the Hemi, to aluminum and fiberglass panel sedans, to lightweight special-order muscle cars ready to race from the factory. Lost Muscle Cars is a collection of stories written by enthusiasts about their quest to find these extremely rare and valuable muscle cars.
World-leading authority Tim Boyd takes you through the entire era of muscle car kits, covering the options, collectability, variety availability, and value of these wonderful kits today. Boyd also takes you through the differences between the original kits, the older reproduction kits, and the new reproduction kits many people find at swap meets today.
Whether you are simply a fan of Linda or a collector of Linda Vaughn memorabilia, this will be the premier piece in your collection! You will relive the muscle cars, advertisements, and marketing tools employed by Chrysler in this first-ever book published on these Mopar programs by author and historian Jim Schild. Rediscover the nostalgic history of the way things were in the 's with over photos and illustrations featuring the cars, clothes, movies, drive-ins, service stations and so much more.
There are 1, well-researched Mustang facts in this book that will surprise even the most esteemed experts. Fans of these collectible cars will appreciate the technical and entertaining information about all of generations of this wildly popular pony car shared on every page. Fords of the Fifties is a book about Ford Motor Company and its cars during the s -- the romantic decade of chrome, fins, and dual exhausts. In Street Sleepers, the secrets are exposed and the owners and builders of some of America's quickest street machines share their deceptive art.
Outstanding photography and in-depth owner interviews tell the tale, and even track times are shared. Search: Search. Muscle Cars. Show 9 15 30 50 per page. Four of our best-selling titles covering the history the iconic American muscle car. Volume No. This all-color classic tells the inside stories of Ford during the Total Performance sixties. Free Downloads Get free articles and information.
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