Worst Mechanically Made Cars of All Time
At Carolina Auto Service, we see many cars roll into the garage each day, and we hear all kinds of nightmare stories about specific vehicles. While some manufacturers have been around since the beginning of the industry, like Ford and General Motors, others haven’t fared so well. You probably don’t even recall manufacturers like American Motors Corp, DeLorean Motor, Fisker Automotive, and Kaiser-Frazer Corp.
Mechanical Nightmares Throughout History
Even the biggest and best companies have had their duds over the years. Here are some of the most prominent car failures in history. From a mechanical standpoint, these cars were frightening and either cost a fortune to repair or had issues like the engine exploding on impact.
1. 1909 – Ford Model T
It’s only fitting to start at the beginning. While Ford was a pioneer in the automotive industry, everything they sold wasn’t a success. The Ford Model T’s 1909 model is proof. Nicknamed the “Tin Lizzy,” this car was designed by William C. Klann. It was called the Yugo of its day, as it was pure junk. Within a couple of years of production, there were more sitting in salvage yards than on the road.
2. 1970 – AMC Gremlin
Richard Teague gets the credit for the design behind this lemon. The theory was they would beat out the Ford Motor Company by developing a sub-compact automobile. The motor was too heavy for the vehicle, and the handling was very challenging due to the complex proportions.
The loss of suspension in the back was another significant issue. This car was made from the AMC Hornet by taking away the rear space to call it a compact car. Since the company was already falling on hard times, this nightmare didn’t make it better for them.
3. 1971 – Ford Pinto
The Pinto was another car that had an odd body shape. The primary issue with this one was that the cars were notorious for catching on fire in rear-end collisions. The engines would explode from the impact. Talk about safety ratings.
4. 1976 – Chevy Chevette
The Chevette was another lemon that was cost-effective to make a cheap to buy, so therein was the appeal. For starters, the small 51 horsepower engine made performance issues commonplace. Compared with today’s cars that get anywhere from 250 to 440 hp, this car had trouble getting anywhere fast.
The bare bones model came with a standard transmission. It was uncomfortable for the passengers due to the cramp cabin, and the ride was always loud due to the design.
5. 1985 – Yugo
Speaking of the worst cars ever made, no list would be complete without the Yugo. Malcolm Bricklin was the mastermind behind this horrible car, and many were sure that he was trying to encourage the population to do more walking. The engines were terrible, and the electrical systems were known to catch on fire, and somehow that wasn’t the worst issues with owning these gems.
The vehicle was manufactured in Yugoslavia, so some folks have joked that it was probably made at gunpoint due to the shotty design. You must question the purchase of this car when the manufacturing company lists carpet as an upgrade. Some automobile enthusiasts have joked that the only reason the rear defroster worked so well was so that you could warm your hands while pushing it down the road.
6. 1982 – Chevy Celebrity
It tried to be a great car, but it fell short in many ways. Chevy designed this vehicle to replace Malibu’s declining sales. A perk was this one was a front-wheel drive, which meant it would handle better in the snow. This car was a huge moneymaker for Chevy, but it was also a massive pain for the driver.
Car enthusiasts nicknamed this one “The Walrus” as it took a long time to get up and go and was a blubbering mess driving down the highway. The 3-speed automatic transmission was about as fast as dial-up internet, and the 2.8-liter V6 took a while to get the car moving.
7. 2001 – Pontiac Aztek
The concept behind this car was good. It was a crossover meant to go offroad. The fact that it turned into a camping vehicle was another benefit, but this is where the list of advantages stops. Many thought the car was ugly, and add poor performance to that, and it made the list of the top 50 worst cars ever made.
Its issues were vast, including the sluggish acceleration and bad handling, and it felt unstable on the roads. Sure, you could drive it off-road if you wanted, but you would undoubtedly have to spring for a tow truck to get you out.
Final Thoughts on the Worst Mechanical Cars
Thankfully, the automotive line has come a long way in the past 100 years. Hopefully, your vehicle is a bit sounder than the ones listed here. However, give us a call when you need an oil change, tune-up, or have any other mechanical issues.