As any car-lover will tell you, there are some truly awful motors out there. And whether it’s due to bad handling or the bodywork, these vehicles can become very bothersome while out on the road. So keeping that in mind, we’ve taken a closer look at 40 of the worst cars ever constructed. You may well recognize a few of them!
40. Zündapp Janus (1958)
As the 1950s were coming to a close, the Zündapp motorbike company tried its hand at creating a brand-new car. Too bad the Janus was the result! This bizarre-looking motor had some of the strangest seating arrangements you’ll ever see. Check out how the back row points towards the rear windshield. It wasn’t particularly fast either – hitting a maximum of 50 miles-per-hour, according to Time magazine.
Morris Marina (1971)
When the Morris Marina first arrived in car showrooms, it proved to be a popular pick for incoming customers. But don’t be fooled; this vehicle had its fair share of issues. Yes, the Marina suffered with suspension problems after the company recycled parts of an old chassis design. And on top of that, the wiper blades were back-to-front.
38. Dodge Dart (2013)
When you’re looking for a new car, there’s a whole host of factors that you need to consider. How does it handle? What’s the interior like? Well, it could be argued that the 2013 Dodge Dart was a complete failure on those fronts. Its gear-box left a lot to be desired, while the chairs were covered in a shabby canvas material. The body was pretty outdated, too. Definitely one to avoid!
37. Triumph TR7 (1975)
Aesthetically speaking, the Triumph TR7 was an incredibly strange car – with its front-end resembling that of a recliner seat. Yet that was the least of its problems. You see, the TR7 had issues that ranged from temperamental carburetors to punctured sunroofs. Plus, the pop-up headlights were also known to stay shut in their time of need.
36. Amphicar (1961)
At first glance, the Amphicar might look like a vehicle that didn’t make the cut for an old James Bond movie. But we can assure you – it was a real thing on our roads... and waters. Yes, this hybrid motor served as a car and boat. The vehicle hit lofty speeds of 7 miles-per-hour in its latter form, according to Time. Too bad it had a tendency to sink!
35. Vauxhall Viva (1970s)
With hindsight, some vehicles from the past can lose a bit of their mystique and sheen. Mind you, that’s something you could never say about the Vauxhall Vivas from the 1970s – no one liked them then either. They were painfully slow thanks to their underpowered engines and boasted flimsy head gaskets. A real retro nightmare.
34. Alfa Romeo Arna (1983)
Born out of a partnership between Alfa Romeo and Nissan, the Arna was lacking in several departments after coming out in 1983. One of the biggest marks against it was its unreliable engine, while the exterior wasn’t that great either. And it was a near mirror-image of the boring Nissan Cherry model. That’s a disastrous combo, right?
33. MGA Twin Cam (1958)
While the MGA Twin Cam might look like a cool retro car, it hides a pretty messy secret beneath its hood. Yes, this vehicle housed a temperamental engine that wasn’t afraid to spout oil here, there and everywhere if you weren’t too careful. The carburetors have since been blamed for the issues – though that ship has long since sailed!
32. Cadillac Cimarron (1982)
It’s fair to say that Cadillac has plenty of name recognition around the world today. Then again, one car under its brand came close to ending it in the 1980s. We’re referring to the Cimarron, which Time notes was essentially a “J-platform sedan.” This ugly motor had a bulky body and stingy interior that still leaves Caddy fans in a cold sweat.
31. The Yugo (1985)
To say that the Yugo doesn’t have many fans would be a bit of an understatement. These cars were fitted with tiny engines that didn’t boast much power on the road, but the inside was arguably their biggest sin. It was slathered in plastic to go along with the equally ill-advised carpet. Oof.
30. Briggs and Stratton Flyer (1920)
Here’s a question for you to ponder: can a car realistically run without its body or windows? Well, one motor gave it a try back in 1920. Yes, the Briggs and Stratton Flyer was essentially a mobile wooden seat which exposed you to the elements. Thankfully, the minimalist design didn’t catch on!
29. Triumph Stag (1970)
On the face of it, the Triumph Stag appears to be a nice enough motor. Mind you, the engine under all that bodywork was a complete disaster. Alongside that, the Stag’s timing chains had a tendency to snap as well, while its water pump couldn’t be trusted. What a mess.
28. Aston Martin Lagonda (1976)
Thanks to a certain fictional spy, Aston Martin has become one of the most recognizable brands in the world today. But the less said about the Lagonda, the better. The inner-workings of that car could give any mechanic nightmares, as it was laced with electronic features that refused to operate.
27. Chrysler Sebring Convertible (all of them)
Convertibles can be eye-catching vehicles that generate plenty of interest from passing motorists. Yet if it’s a Chrysler Sebring, that fascination could quickly turn into dismissal. You see, these motors have a pretty bad reputation thanks to their “meh” appearance and questionable gear-boxes. According to The Drive, Jeremy Clarkson once labeled it as “the worst car in the world,” so that doesn’t help.
26. Chrysler/Desoto Airflow (1934)
The Chrysler and Desoto Airflow had all the attributes to be a success in the United States in the 1950s. So it’s too bad it came out in 1934 – at a time when motorists didn’t welcome such sleek-looking vehicles. Plus, some significant technical issues only added fuel to the proverbial fire. As a result, the Airflow flopped.
25. SsangYong Rodius (2004)
Let’s be honest here: the SsangYong Rodius could’ve boasted the greatest engine in history, and people still would’ve turned their noses up at it. The car had one of the strangest bodies of recent times thanks to its rear-end. The overall bulkiness also impacted its speed and weighed down the diesel engine. Sharp turns were off the table, too.
24. Lotus Elite (1958)
Due to its fiberglass shell, the Lotus Elite was a very light car. It tipped the scales at roughly 1,100 pounds, according to Time. But the material also proved to be a pretty big detriment, as it wasn’t particularly strong. You see, the suspension mounts would often rupture the vehicle’s body. That’s some design flaw!
23. FSO Polonez (1978)
Without wishing to sound too harsh, the FSO Polonez wasn’t exactly the nicest car to look at in the late 1970s. It was a narrow beast with horrible overhangs at both ends. Meanwhile, the Polonez was lumbered with a chassis and engine that belonged to the older FSO Polski Fiat 125p as well. Bad darts all round, then.
22. Plymouth Prowler (1997)
Yes, cars can come in all shapes and sizes. But the Plymouth Prowler really pushed those boundaries in 1997. It was like looking at a submarine on wheels! Sadly for motor-enthusiasts, though, the inner-workings of the vehicle didn’t match up to its unique appearance. The engine also wasn’t especially powerful and it lacked a stick shift.
21. AMC Concord (1978)
The Drive notes that the 1978 AMC Concord promised a luxurious interior which included “velveteen” chairs and an air conditioning unit. Mind you, it wasn’t all great. The ceiling’s material did have a tendency to droop away from the glue underneath it. Suspension was pretty lax too, so journeys could get quite rough for the passengers!
20. Austin Allegro (1973)
The Austin Allegro was another unfortunate product of the 1970s, but it could be argued that its most infamous feature was found inside. If you’re familiar with this vehicle, you’ll know that we’re referring to the “quartic” steering wheel. Looking like a circular rectangle, the design was in place to help you keep an eye on the dashboard. Who liked it, though?
19. Ford Excursion (2000)
To say that the Ford Excursion was a massive vehicle would be an equally large injustice. It was absolutely enormous! Yet it was too big for some, and we don’t blame them for feeling that way. The Excursion was close to 20 feet in length and roughly 6.5 feet in size, Time notes. Plus, it tipped the scales at 7,000 pounds. Imagine doing the school-run in that!
18. Ferrari Mondial 8 (1980)
You can’t go wrong with a Ferrari, right? Well, the Mondial 8 was the exception to that rule. One of the biggest issues stemmed from the car’s electronic features, which apparently threatened to shut down after a time. On top of that, Time claims that drivers were also greeted by the scent of smoldering wires. And that’s never a good sign.
17. Cadillac Sedan DeVille (1978)
Going by the name alone, the 1978 Cadillac Sedan DeVille sounds like a real fancy motor. When you see it, though, those favorable assumptions quickly vanish. Yes, the Sedan DeVille was a pretty ugly car that boasted a horribly narrow body. Not even the vinyl chairs could save this one from the rubbish pile.
16. Chevrolet Corvair (1961)
The Chevrolet Corvair might’ve looked like a car worth getting in the 1960s, but it was riddled with issues. According to Time, this rear-engined vehicle fired out oil all over the place, while the pillar holding up the steering wheel was a potential killer. It boasted a gas heater as well, which often led to hazardous vapors pouring in. Yikes!
15. Ford Pinto (1971)
It’s fair to say that most cars aren’t perfect, as their drivers are sure to pick out the odd issue or two. Then again, the Ford Pinto had a problem that could’ve proved fatal. Time notes that those motors would often catch fire if they collided into the back of another vehicle. Scary stuff.
14. Chrysler PT Cruiser (2001)
If you want a good idea of what the Chrysler PT Cruiser was like, here’s a review from the car’s Consumer Affairs webpage. It reads, “This car tries to kill me, literally! It shuts off for no reason at any time, even 75 miles-per-hour down [the] interstate. [The] alarm goes off for no reason all hours. [And the] horn honks for no reason while driving.” That’s quite a list.
13. Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo (1913)
If we were ranking vehicles by unorthodox appearances, the Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo would definitely be close to the top. Resembling that of a giant children’s bicycle, it was a lumbering motor that utilized a V8 engine. Yes, you’re reading that correctly! But thanks to the design, it was as impractical as you can imagine.
12. Lamborghini Bravo (1974)
The Lamborghini Bravo is as obscure a car as they come, and we wouldn’t blame you if you’ve never heard of it. The motor didn’t make it past the test model stage due to money troubles in the 1970s. Then again, that might be a good thing. Surprisingly, it lacked a rear-windshield – with vents taking its place. That would’ve been a problem!
11. Renault Dauphine (1956)
There’s no denying the fact that the Renault Dauphine was a popular car in the past, but it really wasn’t that great. One of the most pressing issues related to the vehicle’s lack of acceleration. According to Road & Track magazine, their drivers couldn’t get it over 60 miles-per-hour in less than 32 seconds!
10. AMC Gremlin (1970)
While the AMC Gremlin certainly didn’t have the most flattering of names, its appearance wasn’t much better either. Alongside an incredibly narrow front-end, the car boasted a backside that looked like it’d been horizontally sliced at the factory. Sure it was fast, but the lack of rear suspension just added another issue to the list.
9. Hummer H2 (2003)
Boasting a monstrous body and massive tires, the Hummer H2 was an absolute beast of an automobile. Yet it wasn’t well-received at the time of launch. In addition to its intimidating appearance, the car was a real gas guzzler, too. In the end, Time reports that a dealership selling the vehicles was set on fire allegedly by environmentalists.
8. Overland OctoAuto (1911)
Motorists have been treated to plenty of unique car designs throughout the decades. Yet this is one of the craziest you’re likely to see. As the name suggests, the Overland OctoAuto was an eight-wheeled prototype that debuted at the Indy 500. It came in at 20 feet in size, according to Time. The idea didn’t go beyond that stage though.
7. REVA G-Wiz (2001)
The REVA G-Wiz was powered by electricity during its time in the wild. But the less said about its appearance, the better. Yes, this bizarre-looking motor was uncomfortably compact, while the design of the front gave it a nightmarish face. Drivers also had to pray that they didn’t get caught in rain, as water could leak into the interior through the shell.
6. Crosley Hotshot (1949)
The Crosley Hotshot emerged in the United States a few years after the end of World War II. Unfortunately for car enthusiasts of the time, though, it was a bit of a disaster. Why’s that? Well, aside from being rather light, Time notes that the Hotshot’s engine was held in place by “stamped tin.” Yes, it’s as bad as it sounds.
5. Pontiac Aztek (2001)
Beneath the hood, the Pontiac Aztek is a fine piece of machinery. But aesthetically? Oof. Its body leaves a lot to be desired, and we’re being kind! Mind you, the car did receive an unexpected shot in the arm thanks to its use in Breaking Bad. Still, if that’s one of the only things going for it... what does that say?
4. Reliant Robin (1973)
Fans of the British TV classic Only Fools and Horses are sure to recognize the much-maligned Reliant Robin. This three-wheeled oddity has faced its fair share of ridicule down the years for its appearance alone, yet its speed wasn’t a joke. According to Auto Express, the car had the potential to hit 85 miles-per-hour! We’d still avoid tight corners, though.
3. DeLorean DMC-12 (1981)
Today, it’s almost impossible to think about the DeLorean DMC-12 without Back to the Future popping in your head. But aside from looking really cool, was it a good car to drive? Well... it had its issues. The famous motor wasn’t powered by a particularly forceful engine, and its heft didn’t help. Great Scott! Sorry, we had to do it.
2. Fiat Multipla (1998)
While looks aren’t everything when it comes to choosing a car, we’d beg to differ about the Fiat Multipla. Unlike other vehicles, these motors boasted a front-end that resembled a horrifying face. The hood itself is an oddity, as it sits below an angled curve under the windshield. Words can’t really do this thing justice!
1. Fuller Dymaxion (1933)
It’s not exaggerating to say that the Fuller Dymaxion was essentially a mini-zeppelin on three wheels. An interesting design, right? Yet in this case, “interesting” didn’t equal safe. Yes, all three test models had their problems – ranging from the suspension to weather-friendliness. Tragically, someone lost their life in a Dymaxion and that spelled its end. So we don’t blame motorists for turning their backs.