By on September 19, 2012

 

Since we can’t have nice things all the time, like images of the production Jaguar F-Type, I present to you what may be the ugliest car I’ve ever seen – surpassing the multitude of Ssangyong Rodius (Rodii?) I saw on my Birthright trip.

First shown in 1998, the Buick Signia was described as

Buick’s new multiple activity concept vehicle that was showcased at the North American International Auto Show yesterday, is evidence of the company’s revived commitment to innovation and versatility, according to company officials.

Based on the architecture of the Park Avenue, the Signia is an upscale family sedan with SUV attributes designed for modern families on the go. Features include a high roof and seats for easy entry, inset rocker panels that prevent slush or mud from dripping on your pants, a removable hatchback for hauling large items, infrared sensors that detect objects in your blind spot and flexible cargo space, including a powered floor that extends 15 inches out the back. While the concept car showcases a number of new technologies, Buick executives say the Signia will not be built as it is.

What in the name of Allah was General Motors thinking? The wood interior with the art deco switchgear? The glass canopy and the swing-out doors? That beak up front? I’ve seen prettier photos of partial-birth abortions. It may be the only automobile in the world to come standard with an extra chromosome. GM even let it rot in a desolate lot, neglecting even to crush it.

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110 Comments on “Kill It With Fire: Buick Signia Concept, Quite Possibly The Worst Car Ever...”


  • avatar
    Lynchenstein

    In order to surface, you need to know which way is up. Or at least find the bottom. I think GM found the bottom, so it’s only up from there, right?

    Or did the great minds behind this straighten some lines and create the lovely Aztec?

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Exactly what I was thinking…. an Aztec/Rendezvous with glandular disease.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      I think I might take an Aztec over this… thing.

      Man, a Buick LaCrosse is on my short list for a purchase next year, I can’t beleive the same company who penned it’s beautiful shape is responsible for this.

      Puke.

      • 0 avatar
        tanooki2003

        Actually much of Buick’s more current design ideas comes from overseas, not here with exception of the Enclave and the thankfully dead Lucerne

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        yeah..my mother just bought a new Verano (man, is that thing quiet on the road!)…conservative styling, yet not stodgy. This thing however…my eyes! It burns…make it stop!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The 3.9 was iffy but 3800 powered Lucerne mops the floor with the current Buick 4 banger offerings. But you probably think an expensive ride with anemic power is somehow preferable to an true executive car with balls under the hood and economy to match.

        MSRP
        Lacrosse $30,170/2.4 I4
        Regal $27,055/2.4 I4

        2.4 I4: 182hp @ 6700 rpm and 172 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4900 rpm

    • 0 avatar
      Wacko

      I find the Aztec is actually very nice compared to this POS.

    • 0 avatar
      SuperACG

      After reading all these replies, YES! I thought the exact same thing! This is what the Aztek came from.

      And I’m intrigued by the Rodius…maybe with Murilee’s help, I could import one? :P

      (in brown, with the diesel)

  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    Meh. Still looks at least 20 times better than a Pontiac Aztek and about 10 times better than the Nissan Juke.

  • avatar
    dejal1

    I’d blame it on Chuck Jordan, but he retired from GM in 1992.

    Even if this looked good, nothing says family car like a 2 door with a ton of glass.

    Small kids, hot sun, good times.

    Can’t even begin to guess how heavy and expensive that back hatch is.

    The best family car I’ve ever driven was my sisters all black Chevy Surburban with dark tinted windows, 4WD. Every kid was a mile away from each other. Looked like something the Secret Service would own. Crummy gas mileage, but I liked it. The fact that it was previously used as a funeral homes pickup vehicle didn’t hurt.

  • avatar
    Battlehawk

    I can’t be the only one who immediately thought of The Homer

  • avatar

    The dash does not offend me, but it belongs in something that does not resemble a stool sample with wheels.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Didn’t this reach production as the Enclave years ago?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I know you are trying to bait people, but even you would acknowledge the Enclave has been a sales success and quite a few people like the way it looks. I really think an Acura fan needs to be careful throwing stones about when talking about design (ZDX anyone).

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        Acura still has fans?

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Chocolatedeath – yes they do and they make some good cars. Their styling (not 14 years ago but more recently) has plenty of detractors.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        No baiting involved. Paint it decay grey instead of Chinese copper and it would be exactly what I’d expect the Enclave concept to have looked like. It just needs the usual toning down for cheap production through easier body stamping and it is there.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The Enclave concept was the Centieme. This seems closer to a proto-Rendezvous.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The proportions, the rear fenders, and the crease running along the sides of the doors all made it to the Enclave. Ill admit that the nose is more Rendezvous.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        The Encore has been a screaming success, and looks great inside and out, both “versions” of it.

      • 0 avatar
        texan01

        I see strong influence to the Rendezvous in the rear quarter window shape and side window shape

        I know this, my parents have an 04 Rendezvous (the ‘bus). I still think that car is a rolling cartoon car, but it does what they want just fine, and I don’t hardly have to do anything to it except change the oil in it.

        The Enclave is much better looking, better performing, and has usable luggage space behind the 3rd row.

        This is a concept car, and as a result a product of its time.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        http://www.buick.com/encore-luxury-crossover-suv.html

        I had to look it up to see what tuffjuff was talking about. All I can say is that the Encore is worse than this orange circus wagon or any of its obvious derivatives. Thanks for the laugh, GM!

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    The Rodius is now available with a diesel and 6-speed manual. Looks are irrelevant when you can buy a diesel stick minivan. :D

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    I’m speechless. But I do have a keyboard. I see elements of classic Buick, AMC Pacer, Dodge Charger. I can’t figure out where the front fender backset comes from. Massively fugly.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    Wow! That’s pretty bad. It’s like one the first gen Z4’s parents spent too much time at Fukushima Daiichi post tsunami. Did Chris Bangle ever moonlight at GM?

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Lady’s and Gentlemen, I present to you…. the Homer:
    http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/The_Homer

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I can’t look at that glass hatch without trauma.
    Once, when I was young and flexible, I stuffed myself sideways into the back of a Gremlin for a road trip.
    Lobstered on one side, tender whitey on the other.

  • avatar
    Hank

    Two thoughts immediately crossed my mind:

    1. I’m surprised Omar Qaddafi and Saddam didn’t get in a fight over this hideous monstrosity.

    2. It’s like a custom hearse for the designer of the Aztek.

    Bonus: Liberace meets National Lampoon Vacation.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It kind of looks like a Vel Satis that melted.

    And I like the Vel Satis. I don’t like this.

  • avatar
    dejal1

    The wood reminds me of Scandinavian design.

    GM should have forced this on SAAB.

    SAAB would have prospered with this.

  • avatar
    thirty-three

    I wouldn’t say that it is the worst car ever. It might drive very nicely. But damn is it ugly!

  • avatar
    philadlj

    It hasn’t aged well, I’ll give it that…but back when it bowed in ’98, while it wasn’t a looker, it was pretty futuristic-looking. I particularly like how the name is spelled out in the same letters as the fine Sci-Fi series Farscape – and it would fit right in on that show!

  • avatar

    1) Have you seen the Buick Rainier?

    2) Dude: Rageous. GIS it.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    All it needs now is a gigantic, glowing, rubber looking Godzilla to eat it.

  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    Personally, I find it less offensive than the Encore.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    i will go against the tide here and say that i like the styling. reminds me of a hot wheels concept. the c pillar has some lexus in it.

    remember it is just a concept. a chance for designers to fool around. the huge glass hatch means that almost no engineer was consulted.

  • avatar
    srogers

    I won’t go as far as redwagon and say that I like it, but I’m not hating it.
    The front is too bulbous for my liking, but otherwise I find it acceptable -considering that it is a concept car. I like the fastback/hatchback thing and the interior is also cool.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    It wouldn’t be too bad if the hatch ran flush with the sheetmetal rather than bulging out like an Aztek. The WWI fighter plane interior never had a chance at production.

    PS: I don’t want to go all political/moral here, but the partial-birth abortion reference is over the top, even as hyperbole. Surely a less inflammatory illustration would suffice.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Introducing the 1998 Wagon Queen Family Truckster!

    Now all it needs are black steel wheels and graffiti reading “HONKY LIPS” spray-painted on the side.

    Here’s the sales pitch; ‘http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTaTitRENDM’

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    The 1990s were a pretty bad period for GM concept cars in general, everything was bulbous curves and loud citrus colors. At the time, I’m sure the reaction to this car, while maybe not favorable, was at least not unfavorable – it just hasn’t aged well at all.

    The interior actually isn’t that bad though, just looks like it belongs in a different car entirely.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    what the Hell….whoever designed this “thing” must have overdosed
    on something really dreadful while drawing on the Pacer, the Cube, the Element and the Aztek for inspiration. To say the Signia makes the Aztek look good is an understatement, The person(s) who designed this thing should never be allowed near an automotive styling center again. Never.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    How is it that I’ve never seen this abomination? Once again, TTAC has my thanks (i think . . .)

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    I think you guys are all just mad that they aren’t offering it as a manual transmission. After all it is a station wagon….sort of.

    I’d have thought your pro-wagon reflex would have overcome your GM gag reflex….

    But I do love the reversed left-handed 3-wood shifter. Call it the Phil Mikelson edition!

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    No better way to get the ol’ click count up than bringing out a GM styling excercise and throwin’ it in front of the B&B….like raw meat in front of school of sharks.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    This is an early April Fool’s joke, right? It CAN’T be serious???

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I strongly oppose discrimination in the workplace. But even I wouldn’t have hired blind people to design the exterior of a car.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    It looks like a suppository, the shifter was stolen from Arnold Palmer’s walk-in and the speedo is the Predator’s ashtray. This car was designed over an entire month of Fridays.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    I’ll take it! Relax guys. It’s just a concept/showcar. I’d be amazed that it runs. This should me sold off and put in a museum to show how bad GM could be. There’s tons from every manu. that are either weird or just too far out to even have components that make it into production.

  • avatar

    Inspired by those new-fangled gym shoes the younguns are wearing nowadays.

  • avatar
    Viquitor

    What bugs me the possibility that they were actually considering this as a design direction back then. No wonder GM went the way of the bankrupcy.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    After seeing this, no wonder that Americans hate hatchbacks!

  • avatar
    JMII

    My eyes… they BURN! My god this is horrible on a whole new level: Aztec + Pacer + SSR

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Is this another one of those “This is your brain on drugs” things again? Man, someone ate the wrong mushrooms before they penned that.

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    It’s certainly overstyled, like many concept cars of that era (or just in general,) but I kinda like the shape and overall direction the design was going for. It’s still not as bad as the Aztek/Rendevous cousins.

  • avatar
    play3rtwo

    Nope, not the Scion XB, still not the ugliest car ever.

    not even the Nissan Cube.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    The rear half looks like some of the AMC Pacer concepts from the 70s. They drew up plans for a mini-van and station wagon. The SW had a clam shell type opening roof.
    As to the interior, it’s…um…unique.

  • avatar
    FPF422

    LMAO It’s so ugly and bizarre that I want it! Same interior but with a white paint job… Please :P

  • avatar
    Volts On Fire

    I have to think there were more than a few people who saw this abomination, and thought to themselves “that’s it — this company will be dead inside of 10 years!”

    Lo, if not for federal interference…

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    George Barris lives! And has apparently started smoking crack.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The Aztec was never as horrific looking as the Rendezvous with it’s Billy Bass mouth grill and awkward glass rear that looks like a full hatch but is not.

    From looking at this late 90’s concept it’s too bad Buick did not take a cue from the great looking wagons in it’s past. 64-67 and 68-72 Special in particular the glass roof version that was Buick’s Vista Cruiser. Also the 71-76 Estate Wagon with the unique clam shell tailgate.

  • avatar
    redav

    I’m pretty sure Homer already designed this thing.

  • avatar
    jayzwhiterabbit

    How is this possibly relevant? Sure, take a 15 year old STYLING EXERCISE, based on a totally defunct platform/car, and throw it in GM’s face. Do the editors even know what a styling exercise is? It’s intended to be outrageous, to be overdone, in order to possibly find one tiny element of design that could be used in a real car.

    More and more evidence that this is just another GM bashing site.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    For as ugly as this thing is, it accurately predicted two now-standard elements of 2010’s car design: The tendency toward tall cars, and the parabolic roofline, with the upper window lines being a continuous curve in side view.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      I see a few other eerily “futuristic” elements: what looks to be an iDrive-style round control next to the shifter, the “floating stack” (i.e. all Volvos since the second-generation S40/C70 – usually silver there, but could be had in wood), and the steering wheel that vaguely resembles that of the aforementioned Volvos.

    • 0 avatar
      jayzwhiterabbit

      And you notice the oval door handles? Most GM cars from 1998 onward for about 7 years had those doorhandles. Also, it is reminiscent of the Buick Rendezvous, which was an ugly duckling from the start. Same as a Pontiac Atzec, which is one of the worst designs of all time. But, really, if the front end of this thing were re-worked with a smaller grill and long, wide headlights, it wouldn’t look nearly so bad.

      I think the actual production vehicle, the Buick Enclave, is one of the most beautiful cars (SUVs) on the road. Has a great interior, too. Along with a great drivetrain. I really like the new Buicks, in fact I think it has some of the best-looking cars with some of the nicest interiors out there. I’m happy to see Buick making great cars again.

      Look at my past posts: I’m no GM fanboi. I’m just fair about my criticism.

  • avatar
    Marko

    It’s ugly, but at least it never made it to the roads.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    How could all of you haters hate this?!!! This is a bold, new SUV for unique individueies like me!

    Sarcasm aside this things just ugly, why must every SAVMAVSUVCUV take its cues from a boiled marshmellow?

    Pick up a ruler and start using straight lines again designers.

  • avatar

    As bad as this thing looks, they actually “stole” one of my ideas. I’ve often wished that someone would make an aftermarket replacement for the rear hatch on hatchback cars that wold extend it out into a full wagon. Sort of like that Nissan Pulsar(?) from a bunch of years ago. I would love to have a nicely designed extended hatch for my 2dr MkIV Golf that would turn it into a mini-wagon.

    As for the rest of the Buick, take a sledgehammer to it then burn the rest.

  • avatar
    violinjim

    I dig it. Really do. Of course there is some impractical things like all that glass in the rear but I drive an HHR so I guess this thing is kind of up my alley. See what makes it to production.

    Jim

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    When I lived in Las Vegas we had ‘multiple activity vehicles,’ they were Winnebagos filled with hookers.

  • avatar
    JimothyLite

    Design by (clown) committee.

  • avatar
    sunridge place

    OMG…the new guy on TTAC found an ugly concept car that came out 14 years ago??

    No way!!! That’s not possible!

    http://pinktentacle.com/2010/09/photos-50-years-of-japanese-concept-cars/

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Like the Buck Rogers wood dash . Weird back dutch – door treatment and all that wood makes me think of a bad retro look update of the pre-WWII Chrysler Town and Country . Couple of months ago I was at an estate sale and bought a quirky die-cast ( done by Maisto ) of a hideous Buick concept car , a 2001 Buick Bengal . Had to have been done by the same ” designer ” . It’s a roadster, same bulbous look with a lot of awful updates of forties Buicks ( same portholes in same location, very similiar rear end / tail light treatment , similiar but even uglier grill .

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    I try to avoid making SNL references,because SNL is usually about as funny as this vehicle could be called designed.But the little tinkly piano riff intro from a Leonard Pinth Garnell skit came to mind immediately upon viewing this styling exercise. As Mr. Pinth Garnell would exclaim,”Bravo!…”Astoundingly Bad!…Yes! Yes! Repellent!…Truly A Stylistic Embarrassment!…Utterly Ridiculous!”

  • avatar
    rnc

    No this apparently was just a concept, GM actually built, put into mass production, tooled factories, etc. the worst looking car in the world…..wait for it…..The Aztec.

    I remember when they introduced it, I thought at first it might be a joke and that the real car would come up thru the floor as the lets see how much un-matching plastic and aesthetics we can shove on something and push it out the door car descended

  • avatar
    Glen.H

    I had forgotten all about this concept over the last fifteen years. And now I can’t unsee it again. Thanks a lot, guys.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Uh…TTAC…thanks for showing me this…this…thing at 7:30 am on a Thursday morning.

    This makes my coffee taste not so good…

    Thanks a lot.

  • avatar
    shaker

    The second version of this spent half the time in the oven… and became the HHR.

    I especially like the “9-iron” gear selector, and the 1930’s Atwater-Kent “console radio” dash.

    http://classicradiogallery.com/wood_a-l.html

    For those who think that the green jacket they give to the Masters champion is “high-style”, this car is for you!

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I like it, reminds me of the Olds Supreme Fastback from the 80’s. Put me down for one, will ya?

  • avatar
    Mr Butterfly

    I’m not a fan of infantile bashing of a really (I mean REALLY) old concept car as a replacement for actual readable content on TTAC. Please, do go out and review some cars instead.

    But having said that, I can’t help but comment on the steering wheel-mounted buttons that apparently came off a type-writer.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Has anyone seen the Buick Encore? It’s not quite the fail this is, but its not too far off.

  • avatar
    4-off-the-floor

    This “car” makes the late PONTIAC Asstek look good.

  • avatar
    econobiker

    I bet even Joe Bortz wants this concept car crushed…

  • avatar
    markholli

    Is this a very ugly car? Yes. Is it the ugliest car? No. That title belongs to the Kia Amanti, which was scientifically proven to be the ugliest car that ever made it into production.

    Can’t argue with science.

  • avatar
    Garak

    The 1998 Fiat Multipla was much worse, and it was an actually produced car too.

  • avatar
    Advo

    Yes, but will it sell well in China? That’s the main thing cause we know it won’t over here.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    It’s strange, but I kinda like the looks of this car. It has a kind of retro-wagon feel. Put LATCH, a 40mpg diesel in it, and out a class I trailer hitch on it and you have a sale!

    I like it a lot more than the Buick Rondevous, which has got to be a fully baked, productionified and deweirdified design by the same crew. On the other hand, the Rondevous is supposed to be a minivan that isn’t a minivan, which I think is a little silly.

    On the other hand, the Rondevous is a great value on the used market. My neighbor with three kids and an extended family that spends a lot of time on her lawn bought one, and I respect that she probably got a comfortable car that meets her needs for next to nothing. I don’t see why the original owner bought it, but my neighbor found herself one hell of a deal!

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Looks like a cat taking a shit.


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