USA Today recently published their Top 10 Worst Cars of 2016, and that reminded us of some pretty epic-ly bad cars throughout history. Scroll through this list to see if your parents ever stuck you with one of these all-time clunkers.
#10 – 1976 Chevy Chevette.
While most of the best American car brands were cranking out muscle cars, Chevy took a regrettable time-out to unveil the Chevy Chevette masterpiece. With a 51-hp engine, the Chevette would have a tough time outrunning most golf carts, but it managed to win the hearts of plenty of highschool girls (just probably not these brown ones).
#9 – 1971 Ford Pinto.
Fortunately for Chevrolet, it was not the only major American brand to create a terrible car in the 70s. By the end of the 20th century, it was clear that the ’71 Ford Pinto was one of the most dangerous cars ever created, and had the distinct honor of generating the largest recall, and largest product liability lawsuit, in history. The final mark against the ’71 Pinto? It also resulted in the first time in history that a corporation was charged with murder for a faulty product. Yikes.
#8 – 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Diesel.
Rounding out an awful decade of clunkers, the ’79 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Diesel was born during high gasoline prices (and shortages) and the subsequent diesel boom of the late 70s. The 90hp these cars cranked out seem respectable compared to the Pinto or Chevette, but when you take into account how much larger these cars were, it’s not surprising that a lot of these had trouble getting families up the Grape Vine in California. Combine that with the fact that these engines barely lasted 2 years due to a host of inherent problems, and you get the 8th worst car of all time.
#7 - 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser Cabrio.
While the 90s saw some notable retro car hits like the new VW beetle, Chrylser failed miserably with the PT Cruiser, and added insult to misery when it launched a convertible version—the Cruiser Cabrio. Though initially marketed to young adults as a hip take on a classic looking car, the car unintentionally became a hit amongst the oldest demographic in America. Today, there are dedicated forums where PT Cruisers can share the tragedies that occurred in their lives that led to them owning a PT Cruiser.
#6 - 1975 Reliant Robin.
We’re guessing that whoever designed the Reliant Robin was relieved of their duties once it launched. It’s hard to imagine why anyone thought it would be a great idea to take a full-sized car and put it only on 3 wheels, and it turned out exactly as any level-headed person would guess—it was prone to tipping over, especially during tight turns. Genius.
#5 – Pre-2002 Ford Explorers.
Though the Ford Explorer continues to be one of the company’s best selling SUVs, prior to the 2002, the Ford Explorer more known for rollovers than for road trips. Whether the rollover problems stemmed more from Firestone tire blowouts or the structure of the Explorer, we’ll never know. Thankfully, Ford has since lowered the body, widened the wheel tracks, and introduced electronic stability control so you can get from point A to point B without worrying so much about dying in a fiery crash.
#4 – 1971 Chevrolet Vega.
At first glance, you might wonder why the Vega would make a worst cars list. It looks like a bit of Americana nostalgia that your dad would find on an abandoned lot and bring home to restore while regaling you of his high school years. Unfortunately, your dad’s rose colored glasses have probably made him forget all of the reliability, safety, rust, and engine issues that subjected the Vega to countless recalls and emergency design upgrades. By the end of the 70s, Vegas were no longer being made, and the GM brand had taken a considerable hit.
#3 – 1987 Zastava Yugo.
Thankfully, Americans don’t own a monopoly on terrible cars. In 1987, the Serbian-made Yugo (licensed by Fiat) was unveiled as a low cost alternative for those looking for a small car and a smaller price tag. While the Yugo was initially a huge hit in the states (selling almost 50,000 in 1987 alone), by 1992 sales barely eclipsed 1,000 once being realized the engine was prone to failing after only 25,000 miles.
#2 – 1989 Vector W8.
With twin intercooled turbochargers, 625hp, a V8 racing engine, and one of the coolest bodies ever built on a road car, the 1989 Vector W8 could have easily made the Top 10 Best Cars of all time list. Unfortunately, due to a variety of manufacturing issues, only 19 were ever made, and only 17 ever saw the road.
#1 – Pontiac Aztek.
As you might have guessed at the beginning of this all time worst cars list, the Pontiac Aztek comes in at #1. Even though the Aztec saw a bit of a renaissance as the chosen vehicle of Breaking Bad’s main character Walter White, it still says a lot about a car that the best thing it has going for it is the fact that it was used to haul meth across the New Mexico desert. Fortunately for all of our eyeballs, Pontiac, and the Aztek, no longer exist.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.