Like most guys, we appreciate the finer things in life—a good beer, a fine cigar, a sharp ride. But we are not without a sense of humor. Not every ride is sharp, or good. These cars take the cake for horrible design, lack of reliability, and danger. Here’s a look at 10 of the worst cars ever made.
Sold in the U.S. for a scant 4 years, the Merkur was essentially an American spec European Ford Scorpio. The original two level wing was actually viewed as a positive by the automotive press. The curious XR4Ti actually made the Car and Driver Best List in 1986. But Ford couldn’t leave well enough alone, and they replaced the two level spoiler with a single spoiler that actually increased its coefficient of drag. Nice work. Shortly thereafter, Car and Driver removed the soon to be discontinued Merkur from its 1986 list citing lack of sales.
Where most cars are designed to protect the occupants, the Ford Pinto had other ideas. You see, due to a design failure, a rear impact could cause the fuel filler to come loose and puncture the fuel tank, often times ending in the car being engulfed in flames. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ford allegedly determined that the cost of litigation would be less than fixing the problem. Sorry Pinto drivers.
OK, let’s be honest. No one expected much from the Yugo GV. Making its way to the U.S. via Communist-led Yugoslavia, the GV was designed to be an affordable car for everyone. Thankfully, everyone didn’t buy it though as engines were prone to failure as were electrical systems. And if you did make the unlucky decision to pony up for this sort of VW Golf, you had to pay extra for some carpeting under your feet. We’ll pass.
Ford Mustang II
What’s this, a Mustang on this list? It’s true. Although rarely seen now, thankfully, the 2nd generation Mustang shared nothing of the classic styling of the original Mustang. But we really can’t pin all the blame on Ford, as most American cars made from the mid 70s to early 80s… well… sucked. Universally ignored by Mustang enthusiasts, the Mustang II was embraced by people looking to save a few pennies at the pump.
What can you say about this travesty of an automobile? Sure Walter White drove one for a spell on Breaking Bad, but even then it was a symbol of mediocrity and desperation. But don’t just take our word for it, take a look at any list of worst cars ever and the Aztek will likely be sitting at the number 1 spot.
Made and designed in California, the three-wheeled Davis Divan was made from 1947 to 1949. Plagued with claims of fraud and grand theft, the Davis Motor Company only made 13 of these upside down bathtubs before the bottom fell out.
Who knew that the symbol of American luxury almost met its demise in the 80s due to this mistake? OK, humor us for a second—take your hand and cover the grill and what do you have? A Chevy Cavalier, right? We will just assume the marketing genius that decided to slap the Cadillac name on a Cavalier has moved on and can do no further damage to the auto industry.
The Ion is another resident on most lists of worst cars. Despite a solid start as America’s answer to offerings from Honda and Toyota, Saturn was in need of some refreshing. Unfortunately, the Ion wasn’t the answer and has been referred to as the “2nd worst car of the millennium.” With poor build quality and wretched interior styling, the Ion would ultimately be the nail in the coffin for Saturn.
Named the worst British car of all time, the Reliant Robin was another of the failed three wheel car experiments. Originally conceived to be classified as a motorcycle with relaxed licensing rules, the Robin—or the plastic pig, as it was called—came in 4 variations with top speed of 85 mph. And no reverse. And while the whole flipping over thing was somewhat exaggerated, the Robins did have the unfortunate problem of the steering wheel popping off while moving.
To cap off our list of worst cars ever, we head over to Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. That’s right, to Communist East Germany. Dubbed the “People’s Car,” the Trabant was supposed to be an alternative to the VW Beetle. Manufacturing and design, however, were a serious, serious afterthought. At higher speeds, body panels were prone to falling off, but since the Trabant was equipped with an 18hp motor, high speeds weren’t really an issue anyway. Oil consumption on the 2-stroke motor, well, that was another issue. And safety standards? Well, they just weren’t there. No turn signals, people. Brake lights? Nope, no need for them either. Das katastrophe!