By on February 8, 2017

Saab 9000

Maybe it’s not reliable, or sucks down fuel like it’s going out of style. Maybe it’s prone to tipping over, catching fire, or having spiders live in it. Or perhaps parts availability is such that the mere thought of owning and driving the thing causes undue stress.

But you just can’t help yourself.

Today I ask: What lousy vehicle do you covet despite the ways it would inevitably ruin your life?

It struck me the other day that sometimes a certain car has appeal beyond the normal, rational, I can just use this as transportation considerations. You thought I was going to wax poetic now about the beautiful Saab 9000 above, didn’t you? Well, too bad. The beautiful 9000 is not my choice for irrational desire. That’d be this:

Land Rover Discovery II

The generation two Land Rover Discovery wins the Lousy Vehicle I Love award. Specifically, the later ones from 2003-2004, which are the last two years of the model’s run. You can spot them by their upgraded front fascia like you see above. (And yes, I am aware that’s a right-hand drive example there.)

I’ve always loved the derpy styling, the awkward and boxy proportions, and the bump in the roof for stadium-style seating. It’s not very practical for normal driving, it’s low on power and yet very thirsty, the dated interior trim is destined to fall off, and the electrics usually grow their own intelligence. It doesn’t handle well, parts aren’t cheap, some mechanics won’t touch it, and those many glass panels in the roof tend to act like stylish colanders.

And I just don’t care. I love it anyway.

The second-generation Disco has a charm that only a terrible British product can achieve.

Tell me about all the stuff you secretly love, but just keep it about cars, okay?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

293 Comments on “QOTD: Which Lousy Car Do You Love?...”


  • avatar
    d4rksabre

    Easy: DeLorean DMC-12

    I love these stupid things. It’s probably a product of my age. I watched Back to the Future non-stop when I was a kid. I am absolutely DYING to have one of the tuned up ones with a better engine, suspension, etc.

    We all know they suck. But I’ll be damned if I care.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    Hi, my name is Adam, and I love lousy cars.

    I miss my N-Body Oldsmobile. By all modern standards it is terrible and bad, but I still miss it. I even miss the head lights that wouldn’t turn off in the dark when I was trying to sneak home after a night or partying. Thank you General Motors.

  • avatar
    pdieten

    An SJ-body Jeep Cherokee. SJs were the preferred vehicles around the farm when I was a kid.

    And I’d love to be able to drive my first car again. It was a 3.0L V6 1982 Buick Century.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I love me some Saab 9000. Specifically the later, smoother ones with better wheels and more power. 9000 Aero is a GOAT.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      I know it. Those three-spokes. Mmm.

    • 0 avatar
      DrSandman

      Saabs in general are bad but can be very very good. Kind of like the ideal wife.

      My two cars are both represented on this list: a Saab Aero and a Jeep Liberty. Frankly, they compliment one another: when the Saab breaks or is cantankerous, the Jeep welcomes me back and smooths out those potholes with 70-series tires. When you just need to make a long highway slog disappear quickly and comfortably, the Saab is ideal. (Bring tools, and a spare DIC, throttle body, and coolant bypass valve, however.)

  • avatar
    KW1

    2005 Jeep Liberty. Meets four of five of your requirements (No spiders yet), but can power through some potholes like you wouldn’t believe. Easy/cheap to work on and a fun to drive truckster (anywhere but the freeway, rollover city).

    • 0 avatar
      tylanner

      Call me crazy but I am all about that Jeep Liberty right now…..I think they gain value anytime a new Nissan Juke-esque CUV hits the market…and they come with a six-speed stick….

      I fancy buying a base V6 manual and toughening it up a bit…

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        Definitely forgot the Liberty in my answer to last week’s “dated” question, plus their position as the official SUV of white trash makes it hard to describe a Liberty as anything other than “sad”

        • 0 avatar
          dchturbo

          They are definitely the preferred SUV of white trash. I love that you said that.

          • 0 avatar
            John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

            Its super happy fun to make fun of white people, since talking that way about any other race is unacceptable.

            Its great that the white race has come around to bring commonly and publicly treated in a disrespectful, hateful and downright racist manner, don’t you think? Serves us right since we were all slave owners and/or SS officers. ;)

            I’m a proud black guy, says the African American.
            I’m a proud to be Native, says the Native American.
            I’m a proud to be from Mexico, said the Mexican-American man.
            I’m proud to be of where I come from, too, said the Hispanic man.
            I’m proud of my heritage as well, said the white racist man.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Stop making sense.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            John I’m all fine and dandy to stereotype car buying demographics, I mean we describe the patterns we see. And you’re right, some people turn around and get offended when stereotypes of other racial groups (non-white) get brought up. Thankfully I think TTAC is much better than others as a whole at being pretty open to these discussions, Crab Spirits stories are gold, and it would be a real shame if some race-card pullers ruined the fun for everyone.

          • 0 avatar
            quaquaqua

            John, I’ll make things simple, as years of obsessing over 90s Fords has left your brain withered and feeble.

            There’s a difference between being proud of being white and being proud of your heritage (say Italian, Irish, Polish, etc. etc. etc.) as it’s something that sets you apart. Saying “I’m proud to be white” in a predominantly white country is pointless. It’s like saying you’re proud to be heterosexual or to have brown hair. And furthermore, well, saying you’re proud to be white is exactly what white supremacists say, so I guess you can be angry at them for taking the term.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      No kidding on the freeway. I drove one of the last Liberties as a rental in Houston and it was the single modern car I’ve ever driven that felt unhappiest on the freeway. Wandery, bouncy, tippy. I kept it at 70 in the right lane, which is, well, not how I usually drive in Houston.

      • 0 avatar
        SP

        The only rental car I remember returning to the agency mid-rental was a Jeep Liberty. Why would you have a knobby-tired Liberty in a generic rental fleet? Not a good highway car by any means. I swapped that for an Impreza, which drove great, but leaked a large amount of oil, so I had to exchange it for a G6. Meh. Maybe I should have stuck with the Liberty.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    I had a 97 Grand Am for a few months as it transitioned from my father to my brother.

    It was boring and epitomized much of what was wrong with GM.

    However, it was surprisingly fuel efficient with the V6 and auto (mid/hi 20s) AND in all the time it was in my family, nothing broke.

    Gotta love a car like that…

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    3rd gen Mitsubishi Montero (fullsize one with IRS).

    A departure from the tried and true BOF+solid rear axle formula that made the gen II such a favorite globally. More parts to worry about, the front ends are not as long lived as the older t-bar based gen IIs, the 5spd autos are more finicky than the older Aisin 4spds.

    Not many sold here, parts are expensive, most used ones have been thoroughly put through the ringer by now. A 4Runner or GX470 (or even a Pathfinder) are a overall much more rational choice for a used Japanese SUV of that era.

    But man the gen III Montero just feels special to drive. Massive upright windshield with a super low belt line, I think they look fantastic on the outside. A multi-mode transfer case that allows for a full-time 4H mode for stable highway driving, although the US market missed out on the rear locker option (rear LSD optional on 01-02s IIRC).

    Seeing a lot of gen IIIs (although gen II and Hyundai Galloper II derivative were the runaway favorite down there) down in Costa Rica just reignited my desire for a Montero of my own.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I cannot wait for Norm to remind us that his Saab 9000 could haul a 12,000 lb. trailer from 0-60 in 3 seconds, on a figure 8 at 1.2-g, uphill with 5 people and their luggage inside. All while getting 40MPG.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Porsche 993. Guaranteed collectible because it was the last of the air cooled 911s. A bargain 15 years ago, they now cost a fortune. And they have always been expensive to maintain.

  • avatar
    r129

    My dream car is a 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme International Series coupe with the trouble-prone 3.4 liter “Twin Dual Cam” V6 and rare 5-speed manual transmission. It would be equipped with quad leather bucket seats and heads-up display. I doubt that such a car actually exists, but if it does, it is almost guaranteed to be nothing but trouble. Still, if I ever found one, I would have to buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      SqueakyVue

      I actually had one of these with the getrag 5 speed. No leather or heads up but I loved that car. The 3.4 was a money eater but still very torquey long after it turned 200k. The only car I loved more was my modded 1998 regal GS. Not only could the smaller pulleys supercharger blow the doors off an LS1 but the interior comfort rivaled most luxaty cars.

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    G-body Riviera with the supercharged 3800

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    E39 5 series. I’d have a 540i wagon in the driveway in a heartbeat if it weren’t for the subpar reliability and high repair costs.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    1974 Dodge D-100 Club Cab pickup truck:
    Underpowered.
    Rusted out.
    Leaked.
    Lousy fuel mileage.

    BUT:
    Homey.
    Folksy.
    Capable.
    Reliable.

    Gad, I loved that thing, and regret having given it away after 225,000 miles and 22 years!
    Now I wish it was back :(

    ====================

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I too love Land Rovers and Range Rovers but would never touch one unless I could afford to do like a certain blogger/automotive journalist and buy a comprehensive lifetime warranty to go with it.

    My “lousy car” soft spot is an Jaguar XJ sedan built from 1968 to 2009. From a “keeping it on the road” perspective the older ones might be easier to handle (if all else fails, V8 swap) but also had a tendency to rust given what I’ve seen for sale. The newer ones have lots more failure points with all the computers and body control modules etc…

    Dat Body Doh…

    Make mine a Vanden Plas.

  • avatar

    Jaguar XJ-S. God help me!

    Something about the long hood and those buttresses just looks right. And if I could make the V12 snarl like a Tom Walkinshaw Group A car, I’d be in heaven.

    …until it caught fire or met with an electrical fault.

    The Porsche 928 and Lotus Esprit also make this list.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Yea, the 928 is in my top 5 for this question.

    • 0 avatar
      low_compression

      Spot on. I’d go for the drop top.

      I’ve tried to talk myself into it like this: Buy a V12 XJ-S on craiglist. When it inevitably breaks down, pull the engine and you have a great starting point for an aluminum V12 coffee table.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      The XJS is complete crap, and I love it. Especially the later ones with revised front and rear fascia, and dark lenses.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      My dad has owned both the XJ-S and the 928. The tl;dr synopsis: don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        MeJ

        @CarRamrod
        I love the 928 and would own one if I knew it wouldn’t cost a fortune to maintain.
        I’m curious if you have some specifics about what was bad about your dad’s 928. (Year, maintenance cost, repairs, etc.)
        Thanks.

        • 0 avatar
          Car Ramrod

          It’s reaching back a ways, but I’ll try. His was a 1984 S automatic which he owned from about 1997 to 2000. The car had some electrical gremlins which involved intermittent ignition failure and issues with instrument cluster lighting. Tearing appart the dash was necessary to remedy the issues. Suspension needed an overhaul, which seems fair on a car of that age, but the parts were quite expensive. I believe it also leaked oil and the interior was pretty creaky. There’s probably more that I don’t recall.

          When it ran, it sounded great and made a pretty good highway cruiser. I was never a fan of the seating position (too low).

          • 0 avatar
            MeJ

            @Car Ramrod
            Thanks for the reply. I suspected it would be bad, but ouch! I`ll pass.
            I guess the 928 will always be a “never-was” for me.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Gen2 Corvair sedan. People like the coupes, but the four-door does it for me, wacky drivetrain and all.

    And I’ll throw in the smart car. I don’t think it’s lousy, but everyone else does.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Maserati Quattroporte from 2003 to 2012. I’ve actually researched it and I *could* do it, but I really shouldn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Oh God no.

      Are there any left that don’t have aftermarket rims of questionable origin?

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      I’m with you ajla. I warned my wife about 10 years ago that when a Quattroporte depreciates to the point where its just an old used car that one might show up in our driveway. Last night I found an 07 online with 36,000 miles for $25,900. It’s an automatic so no clutch replacements every 20,000 miles like the duoselect and its got a clean Carfax that shows regular maintenance but no crazy extra repairs. Still can’t pull the trigger. Yet.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        25,9? Pfft. Try 18 out the door next time, friend (assuming base model).

        MY07 Maserati Quattroporte “Sedan”

        12/01/16 Manheim Palm Beach Regular $21,800 24,986 Above White 8G A Yes
        11/15/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $14,500 28,346 Avg White 8G A Yes
        02/07/17 Manheim Ohio Regular $16,400 31,679 Avg Black 8G A Yes
        12/22/16 Manheim Southern California Regular $12,250 52,658 Avg Blue 8G A Yes
        10/20/16 Manheim Riverside Regular $17,500 52,983 Avg Blue 8G A Yes
        12/30/16 Manheim Fort Lauderdale Regular $13,000 71,324 Avg 8G A Yes

        MY07 Maserati Quattroporte “Executive GT”

        08/25/16 Manheim Palm Beach Regular $19,000 32,410 Avg Silver 8G A Yes
        12/01/16 Manheim Riverside Regular $19,000 44,926 Avg Gray 8G A Yes
        08/11/16 Manheim Detroit Lease $22,100 48,805 Above Burgundy 8G A Yes
        06/30/16 Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth Regular $21,500 52,613 Above Black 8G A Yes
        09/01/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Regular $15,750 71,992 Avg Black 8G A Yes
        01/23/17 Manheim California Regular $10,600 86,220 Below Black 8CY A Yes

        MY07 Maserati Quattroporte “Sport GT”

        12/02/16 Manheim Nevada Regular $22,000 27,367 Above Black 8G A Yes
        01/03/17 Manheim Fort Lauderdale Regular $18,000 36,658 Avg Burgundy 8G A Yes
        12/09/16 Manheim Nevada Regular $17,250 51,504 Avg Red 8G A Yes
        11/18/16 Manheim Nevada Regular $18,000 57,364 Avg Black 8G A Yes
        12/13/16 Manheim Orlando Regular $13,400 70,767 Avg 8G A Yes
        01/04/17 Manheim New Jersey Regular $11,800 92,888 Below Gray 8G A Yes

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Well a Fiat x-19 would have to be it for me, I had a 124 spyder so I understand the getting parts was a bitch pre Al Gore’s invention but at least that had a back seat for a cooler or set of golf clubs but the targa top x-19 did not even have that, oh well , smaller cooler in the front seat and screw the golf course, to the beach it is.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Air cooled VW Beetle. Preferably a 1962 in red.

    1976 Pucci edition Mark IV.

    1959 Cadillac.

    C3 Corvette. Preferably 1968 – 1971 or 1975 – 1977.

    Have to agree with Principal Dan re the Jaguar Sedans.

    Possibly a TR8?

  • avatar
    brettc

    Probably a B4 (96 to 97) Passat TDI wagon. I’ve always wanted one but since they’re now at least 20 years old, I’ll have to just dream about one.

    • 0 avatar
      TCragg

      Since I owned one of these, I can say that by the standards of the day (late ’90s), this wasn’t really a lousy car. The seats were fantastic, it was huge inside, had great visibility, handled sharply (not to mention that by early diesel standards, it was a rocket), and had a huge fuel tank. Not much broke on it either, other than the typical N95 valve issues, intake coking due to a poor EGR design, and the typical mid-90s VW window regulators. Of course, if you viewed the car outside of the VW-fan lens, it was overpriced, underpowered, had no glovebox or front cupholders, and ran on trucker fuel. I sold mine in 2005 with just shy of 500,000 km on it. I kind of wish I had kept it.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      I have the sedan version – drivetrain is great, handling awesome, but body electrics can be maddening.

      If you truly are interested in one of these, there is a place in Bellingham, WA (north of Seattle) that completely refurbishes them (with the price reflecting that). Check out nicecarstdi(dot)com

      • 0 avatar
        never_follow

        Good lord, I thought I was a bit nuts. Those B4 guys are certifiable! And quite close, too. I wonder if it’s them posting random B4 stuff on CL from time to time. If so, I think I might just swing by and take a look at what must be a ridiculous shop.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    London Taxi! Any TX. Oh, so very yes!

  • avatar
    e30gator

    I don’t know if they’re “lousy cars” but a Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 OR a Porsche 928 are both objects of lust that I would love to have falling apart in my driveway if my bank account resembled a bottomless pit of money….and I had a good therapist. And patience.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 – good choice.

      That would probably be “fun” to find parts for at this point. I wonder how many alignment shops would be able to do the 4 wheel steering properly as well.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      Have you ever driven a Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4? I did twice when looking to replace my cars, and both times I felt that, while quite fast, it just felt heavy and ponderous. The first time (in ’91) I got a Supra Turbo instead, and the second time (in ’02)I got an Audi TT.

      So I guess you are right, these are cars we like that are not really that good.

      Personally, I liked the looks of the AWD version of the Dodge Stealth better, with the rear spoiler near the back window, and the taillights that wrapped over to the top surface of the hatch lid.

      • 0 avatar

        I drove several VR4s – they were all fantastic. You’re right, they were heavy and compared to a 300ZX, Supra or RX-7 they were ponderous. But the AWD and power was addictive. Rev it to 5,000 and drop the clutch – it was the closest thing I can imagine to a catapult launch off an aircraft carrier.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    BMW 8 series. All of the pitfalls of similar era BMWs without the practicality. Apparently they aren’t even fun to drive. Still want one. Make mine a V12 with a stick, because I can’t think of another car that offered that combo. Saw one at Mecum a couple years ago for $16K, it’s a good thing I was broke at the time. Mmmm…

    • 0 avatar

      I saw a white 850i for sale a few years ago for around $16K. Very clean, with the original cell phone still in the console and only 76K miles. Good thing I have kids that couldn’t fit in the back seat – I might have traded my daily driver for it.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      So pretty. Really one of the best designs of the ’90s.

      You can see how fragile they are just by looking at pictures, though — there’s always broken and/or discolored trim even on the very most cherry examples.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      I agree that the 8 Series was quite beautiful, but when I looked at the interior, it just looked like a “doctor’s car.” Luxurious, but not very sporty. I suspected it would not really be a fun car to drive.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’ll go right back to my ’59 Impala; one of the most beautiful cars ever made, but inherently unsafe as the wings in back combined with the shape of the nose tended to take weight off the nose at speed. And watching IIHS videos of a ’59 Biscayne crashed against a much more modern equivalent shows it wasn’t all that solid in a collision, either.

    That said, I simply don’t care. The ’59 would be a trophy car for me–one for weekend cruising and impromptu car shows. I’ve always coveted them over any other car.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    1981 Camaro Z-28 in red, Borg-Warner transmission, T-Top. Yes, it weighed more than a smallish asteroid. Yes, it needed thousands of dollars of aftermarket parts to make it faster and handle better. Yes, the clutch had a 50 pound spring and a 2-foot throw (that matched the shifter, I suppose). Yes, it leaked every fluid it contained from every possible location, and doing maintenance on it was like solving a Rubik’s cube made of razor blades.

    But when summer came and the T-top went in the trunk, the sheer fun of bombing down the highway and hearing your 6-year old daughter yell “Make the doors open, Daddy!” because the sound of the engine with the induction wide open just made you happy…priceless.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Never owned it but wanted one(okay two) of the last gen 9-5. One for show and the other for parts..lol…I drove one once and it was great. The interior was first class IMO and it was big on the inside and small on the outside IMO.

    However cars that I have owned that were lousy and I loved them were as follows
    01 Olds Aurora V6..great engine/tranny combo…lousy build quality. Door handles falling off in my hand, all four window motors stopped working, geezz..

    09 Olds Intrigue…everything that happened to the Aurora happened to the Intrigue. I loved both. They felt strong and decent MPG (averaged about 31 from Washington NC to Charlotte every time) and ok room. And man were they pretty to look at..

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Can we throw every late model Olds into this pile? They may have been typical late ’90s/early ’00s GM, but they sure did look pretty. I wouldn’t say no to any Aurora, as long as it’s a V8.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      heh – my old man took his then-almost-new ’99 Aurora on a road trip from Michigan to Washington. Out in the Dakotas, my mom rolled down the window all the way to get some air. And it wouldn’t go back up. None of the windows would.

      So they had to park it over night at a hotel, drive to a dealer, get it fixed, etc – all on a car with under 9k miles on it.

      He still – amazingly – has that Aurora. It now has 135k miles on it. I borrowed that car recently while my Mini was in the shop. It still feels pretty good on the highway but the suspension does feel a little ragged out. Also a 4-speed transmission these days feels positively quaint.

    • 0 avatar
      Carfan94

      The second generation Aurora is my pick. The fact that so many people chose the extremely ugly and bulbous lasabre over the vastly more attractive aurora makes me sad.

      and I assume you mean 1999 Intrigue not 09.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    A Renault 4CV for me. Rude, crude and slow but, in my fading mind, a damn cool ride that would bring smiles to my face driving it. Typically French and weird. Saw my first one more than 50 years ago new in a Springfield, Ohio, Renault dealer showroom when my sister was buying her first new car, a ’61 black Dauphine. We took a trip through the service department and I saw an engine in a 4CV with the head off – pistons the size of tomato paste cans. I later had a ’61 Renault Dauphine Gordini – my personal 4-4-2 (four speed, four cylinder and 2 horn tones) – that was equally weird and French but really did then and still do want a 4CV.

  • avatar
    Ianw33

    For some reason, i have always had a soft spot of semi-crappy cars that have a big personality.

    My favorite car i have owned was a 2004 SRT-4.

    I think the most recent car that overall is kind of sub-par,but i can’t help but smile every time i drive one or hear one growl by is the Fiat 500 Abarth.

    • 0 avatar
      Ianw33

      I also like the most recent DTS for some reason. Super comfortable. Yes i know it has a questionable V8. Yes i know it has a questionable auto trans. YES i know it has sub-par build quality…..and is FWD. But man….they eat up highway miles like a champ

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        IanW, good choice, I own an’09 DTS and absolutely love it. The Northstar V-8 has been bullet proof for me as has the trans. I think the build quality is fine. Yes, it eats up highway miles in quiet comfort at about 29-30MPG. Best road car I have ever owned in 60 years of driving.

        I also own a 2015 Chrysler 300 and there is absolutely no comparison. The handling is better on the 300 but that’s about all and it’s AWD.

  • avatar
    AVT

    Previous generation body on frame dodhe durango. Theirs a reason you do not see many (they have all rusted or experienced some permanent expensive mechanical issue). However, from a used price analysis as an occasional tow vehicle 9k towing capacity, it’s a great beater bargin.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      One of my co-workers just traded his in with over 450,000kms on it. The 3rd row of seats had never been used. The 2nd row used maybe a few dozen times. He Krowned it twice a year, washed it twice a week, hand waxed it about 6 times a year.

      Had replaced just about every mechanical part. However when the rebuilt transmission died 2 months after its warranty expired, he traded it for a new Durango.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      You’re right, those Durangos rust like no other. Scary bad visible rust, although who knows as long as the frame stays intact along with body mounts, you’re good to go! My former coworker down in Mexico bought one (a rust free one), his dream car.

      I much prefer the looks of the gen 1 Durango. SXT in Silver/Slate two tone with the offroad package beefy tires and skid plates please! Similar to the older Explorers, fast wearing front suspensions, smattering of transmission problems, and rust prone. But cheap and easy to work on, and quite rugged.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        I had an unusual drive to work this morning. Saw two gen 1 Durangos. It had been a while since I saw ANY.

        Also a GranTurismo cabriolet.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I was going to comment that I don’t see many rusty Durangos but then here in the Desert we get 10 in of precipitation per year and they use much more sandy-grit than road salt during the winter.

          Family down the street from the school has a fairly pristine first gen in red but then has an odd fleet. Durango 4×4, Excursion 4×4, and Flex.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          They’re still regulars around here in working class neighborhoods (in rusty worn out condition typically). Gen 2s are also surprisingly popular, there are three in the parking lot here at work, including a Chrysler Aspen variant.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I think the first-gen Durango is the official poor white people SUV of Washington state. Not coincidentally, we don’t get rust here.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I swear there are more Aspen’s on the road now (around here) than when they were in production. The district owns one (the Transportation Director who ordered it with taxpayer money was later fired) and I’d be surprised if it has 50,000 miles on it. Given the scandal surrounding it no one wants to be seen in it.

            Wait till that sucker comes up in a fleet auction.

  • avatar
    FThorn

    Fiero GT
    AMC Eagle S/X4

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Recently I’ve been saying that so far, my 2.5 yrs new to me ’10 Focus is the best crappy car of the crappy cars I’ve owned. Some things are lousy (styling, plastics, old platform) but other things are surprising (features, MPG, reliability, relative comfort, pleather).

    A lousy car that I love but don’t own is the Spirit/Acclaim sedan in its last few MYs.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    My lousy car was the 1975 Plymouth Duster 360 that I owned in the late ’70s and early ’80s. It was poorly built, noisy, hard-riding, not particularly comfortable, very rust-prone, decidedly twitchy above 80 mph, and crude-feeling. But the car was quite fast in a straight line for the deep Malaise era and it was pretty reliable mechanically. It was fun while it lasted but I was not sorry to see it go.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Corey uses the picture of the “good” pre-GM Saab for lousy car… lawls.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    A special find for Corey:

    (mint Q45 inside)

    indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/5951028753.html

  • avatar
    Zackman

    This question is an easy one for me: Our old 1992 Chrysler Le Baron convertible. 2.5L, non-turbo.

    We bought it in May, 1999 with 103,000 miles on the clock and it blew up in September, 2007 at 148,00 miles.

    This was a beautiful car. Bright red with black new convertible top, white boot cover, white seats and door panel inserts and charcoal everything else. Everything worked, including the headlight doors. The A/C was iffy, but only because I didn’t want to spend the coin to fix it.

    I think the cylinder head had cracks in it, because it constantly would run hot and the gauge would suddenly go down only to repeat the process over and over. After a head gasket replacement, it still did it.

    Many issues with that car, too many to mention here, but it was a fun vehicle for us in the years we had it. We received many compliments about it because I kept it looking sharp.

    I seriously considered keeping the car and completely restoring it because it was a classy looking car, but after spending as much as we did over the years, the law of diminishing returns was broken so many times I should have done time!

    • 0 avatar

      I had a red ’91 with the Mitsu sourced 3-liter V6. Loved the looks of it and the engine was solid but the transmission was the weak link.

      I’d love to have it back or one of the ’84-86 models, or even a Chrysler TC by Maserati.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Allante
    Chrysler LH (gen 2)
    Q45 (gen 1)
    XJ6 (X300 or earlier)
    C70 (gen 1)

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Last time I saw a gen 1 C70, it was at the side of I-275. The wheel had fallen off.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Exactly.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Must have been the east side, because I didn’t pass it unless I was napping (happens frequently).

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          Well it was on a Saturday, headed west, just past Forest Fair Mall exit.

          • 0 avatar
            Zackman

            That explains that. I do my best not to go anywhere that requires traversing any part of my commute on weekends. After 7 more weeks, I won’t care.

            Your first comment about the C70 is reassuring because we came close to buying one before we bought my Impala. Good move on my part!

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I actually saw a pristine later (ice blue) C70 this weekend. My sister was looking at a house and I went along. They had a new high trim Traverse, a very nice C70, and whatever else was in the garage that they took with them that day.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The gen 2 is much improved and thus commands higher resale (although is a hardtop with no real trunk). Run from the gen 1 (97-05), unless free (and even then iffy).

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Ah, Allante…back when I was selling Chevys in the mid-90s, we took an early-90s one in on trade. It had the Northstar engine. It sat on the lot for about nine months, and was still there when I moved out of town.

      It was darn nice on a summer day, though.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    Are first gen GMT330 Blazers/Jimmys/Bravadas considered lousy vehicles? If so, I like those too.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      The Bravada with that AWD system definitely should qualify.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      In the same vein, I really like 2nd gen Explorers. Not without their achilles heels (weak front ends, questionable 5r55e transmissions, questionable 4.0L SOHC motors, questionable auto-4wd tcases, somewhat rust prone bodies) but despite that laundry list they are real workhorses. Cheap to buy, cheap to maintain. They just keep on trucking, even with the front wheels cocked out with insane negative camber from terminally worn balljoints.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        I dig those Expos too. They have pieces that break, but everything is cheap to fix.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I have a thing for the last BOF IRS Explorers/Mountaineer/Aviator. Every time I pass one or one passes me I look for the V8 badge and 4×4 or AWD badge.

          Completely unloved, fixed the rollover issues, but the ones I see for sale are used up, interior trashed, or 2wd.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            The final Explorers seem to have excised the transmission demons in the V6 trucks, although if I had to guess I’d say the 4.0L chain tensioner issue remained. I’ve heard generally positive things, once again wheel bearings seem short lived, and there was a problem with radiators being inadequately isolated electrically, leading to premature corrosion by way of electrolysis (some people had 3 or 4 radiators installed within a few years). I spent about 15 hours on a road trip to IL in one in the summer of 2007. Comfortable, quiet and decent mpg (20 displayed going 75-80mph most of the way). Also interesting to note that they’ve got some surprisingly good resale.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          We had a USDA truck that we took out to the field almost every day back when I was an undergraduate, a base XLS (?) with styled steel wheels, a vinyl interior, but with the 4.0L SOHC, auto-4wd, and 5spd auto. Very powerful feeling, I’ve read that they underrated that motor at 205hp to keep it from stepping on the toes of the 5.0L V8 on the spec sheet. It started to have shift flare issues going 2->3 upshift at like 55k miles. My understanding is that it is a relatively simple solenoid issue. The timing chain tensioner issue on the SOHC variant of the Cologne 4.0L seems to be quite hit or miss. Some make it to 200k, others crap out by 100k. Engine-out job to replace the rear-plastic tensioner cassette (bastardized motor has timing chains running both in front and rear of motor by way of jackshaft).

          The staggering amount of “jellybean” Explorers I saw down in central Mexico (as well as in the ghetto) in various states of repair but still running solidifies their place in my mind as solid beaters.

          The 3rd gen is a complete disaster by comparison IMO. All the motor/trans/suspension issues of the 2nd gen, but now with short lived wheel bearings and rear diffs. Opting for the 4.6L V8+4R70 trans on the 3rd gen helps mitigate some of the risk.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          I really like the final Mountaineer. I think that’s a very tidy design. But I know they break.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “I really like 2nd gen Explorers”

        Yeah, I’ve got a soft spot for those as well. They are so far past their prime now that it isn’t funny, though. I would have had to indulge that nearly a decade ago because it has been years since I’ve seen one that doesn’t look universally tired, with a squatting back end.

        They look so crude now but they were quite the yuppie mobile back in the day. A high school friend had wealthy real estate parents. His dad drove a gleaming Jag XJ. His mom a 2nd-gen Eddie Bauer Explorer. Amusing, really. A closed-bed Ranger with cheap leather and a trendy pale green paint job was sufficiently aspirational to proudly park beside a full-size Jaguar in your McMansion’s garage.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I graduated from a very wealthy high school in 1994. The two vehicles that every single student in my high school desperately wanted were an Eddie Bauer Explorer and a Grand Cherokee Limited. Man, Detroit had a marketing racket going with that first batch of mass-market SUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Funny that those two models (2g explorer and ZJ GC) are now the dominant workhorses south of the border. Earning their keep and being used as intended after slacking off as mall crawlers in their first lives. Of course many perished in C4C.

      • 0 avatar

        Same here, though I had a 95 Explorer for 14 years, and 250 of its 350,000 miles. Loved it, warts and all. it was fairly reliable, but yeah, ate two transmissions, a couple radiators, heater cores, some head gaskets, had to have the heads milled flat again, and it only went through one set of balljoints.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “and it only went through one set of balljoints.”

          Must be those smooth southern roads :)

          Supposedly Moog had re-engineered the control arms to be longer lasting, so if you put a set of those on and hit the zerks with some grease every once in a while maybe that helped longevity of the second pair.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “two transmissions, a couple radiators, heater cores, some head gaskets, had to have the heads milled flat again”

          That is not what I think of as “fairly reliable”…

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Over 350k, yeah it’s not great, but again the low cost of parts and the fact that any old shop can work on it mitigates things. I also wonder whether the first headgasket job was done incorrectly (without checking for head warpage) that lead to repeating of the task. Likewise I’d be willing to bet that second heater core replacement was prompted by replacing an inferior aftermarket part.

            My coworker has an old ’00 Explorer V8 that made it to 180k before the 4R70 gave up the ghost. $800 for a good used transmission installed and it’ll be back in action. I think the only other serious work its needed is (as expected) some front end suspension work.

            So yeah not stellar reliability, but the cheap and generally easy nature of repairs makes it a reasonable long term ownership proposition (IMO).

  • avatar

    This is easy for me, Ford Contour/Mercury Mystique. I owned two Contours and one Mystique, all wth the V6 and auto trans. Yes, they practically lived at the dealer, but when they weren’t broke I found them extremely satisfying to drive. Yeah, I’d do it all over again…

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      I almost bought a 2000 Mystique for the wifey. Test drove twice, liked it in every way. Sat down to negotiate but couldn’t get together with the dealer. They let me walk for $200.00. I went 2 miles down the highway and bought a 2000 Accord SE…….which my son now owns and drives at 265,000 miles.

  • avatar

    I’ll add the Chrysler TC by Maserati and the Maserati Bi-Turbo Spyder. I might be able to justify a TC just for it’s history and oddity. But the Bi-Turbo is the king of “ran when parked” cars on Craigslist.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      I’ll admit to coming close to buying each of these in the past few years–the ’87 Biturbo was a fuel injected convertible 5 speed that was remarkably clean and actually did run.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Citroen SM. The perfect combination: expensive like the Maserati its engine comes from, unreliable and prone to rusting like only an early ’70s Citroen can deliver, absurdly huge for its cramped inside and tiny boot (but plenty of unused space under the hood!), not really that fast, not really great-handling either, very competent at guzzling gas, not even perfect to look at (unlike the DS) — but dang, what a ride, what a statement! They call it “La Grande Complication”, but also “Sa Majesté”. I could never afford one, but man, I want one.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Jeep Grand and normal Cherokee, particularly the XJ.

    Notoriously unreliable, but when fully functional great to drive off and on road, with the live front axle.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      The XJ is an infinitely more expensive used car, which makes sense given that the ZJ Grand Cherokee is full of disposable parts. I sold mine at the 7yr/110k mark, and the interior was ripping and crumbling in weird places (door cards, steering wheel, carpet). Factor in the self-destructing quadra trac 4×4 system and it’s enough to make you run screaming

  • avatar
    scott25

    It’s harder for me to think of a car that isn’t lousy that I love. My ultimate dream car has always been a 82-83 Rampage, others on the list are a Subaru XT Coupe, SVX or BRAT, AMC Pacer, Gremlin, or Eagle, Porsche 928 (which has become a common answer), Plymouth Arrow (preferably with some ridiculous decal package, Suzuki X90, Toronado Trofeo or a Reatta, late 70s Datsun 200sx or any number of “classic” JDM garbage. I can guarantee I will own at least 3-5 of these in my lifetime and will regret all of them.

    When it comes to one I have owned, the Scion xD will always be in my heart purely for sentimental reasons even though literally no one else enjoyed them.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Jaguar X-type, which is embarrassing. I know it’s heavy and not that great to drive and sucks a lot of fuel through slow Duratec engines and doesn’t really have any heritage or lineage outside the sheet metal, but I just love the way it evokes the classic XJ in a tidier package. An old-school blunt faced dash with a big unapologetic slab of (fake?) wood running across. Nothing is trying to take down the Germans here, it is trying to be an old stately Jag even if it truly isn’t.

    AWD wagon please, in dark grey. Here’s one, only $6K, what could possibly go wrong?

    https://tinyurl.com/hkdgoxt

    For off-road capable vehicles I fully agree with Corey on the facelifted Discovery. Loved the way those Discos looked as a kid and still do.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Lol, if you’re going to Jaguar, do it properly. Do not BHPH Jaguar!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Back when I started in the mortgage biz (early 2000s), I worked with an account manager who was an absolute, raging b*tch. How bad was she? She wrote me a personal check for $100 as a Christmas bonus, which I signed over to United Way. I kept a blackmail file on her in case she tried to blackmail me and get me fired. When she left the company, she went over to Countrywide and quit in a couple of weeks; the guy who had once been her boss said it was because they didn’t have parking for her broom at the new office.

      And she drove an X-type. It ran like s**t.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    I enjoy and appreciate the 2010 Jeep Patriot we own – was a dealer demo we purchase in early 2011 with 930 miles on it. The much derided, by auto journos and bloggers, but good selling CUV has met and continues to meet our needs for a daily commuter with room for 4 and cargo space, great visibility and with the back seats down fantastic cargo room. The Patriot has been good on gas, very reliable, required minimal repairs and is overall a good vehicle.

    I also can say only good things about the first car I ever owned, a 1986 Sprint Plus! Yes is was a econo box with a small engine and a 3 speed automatic which meant it didn’t get up and go very fast. HOWEVER, suprisingly comfortable for its size, road well, was fantastic on gas, was very reliable (well until the timing belt broke and the zero clearance engine ate itself at 145000 miles) and really was the perfect car for someone who needed a car and didn’t have a lot of money to do it. I really cannot say anything negative about the Sprint……except I really really wanted the turbo version and couldn’t afford one at the time!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Citroen SM. My dad had one, and for the 40% of the time it ran, it was glorious.

    • 0 avatar
      vaujot

      I understand “SM” stands as an acronym for Sadomasochism.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        In actuality, no one knows why this car was named “SM” – the theory is that it stands for “Sport Maserati,” in honor of the Maserati engine.

        But, yeah, “SM” is an apt monicker for the car. And if you take the “e” out of Citroen, you have the French word for “lemon.”

        Can’t make that stuff up.

    • 0 avatar
      gmialumnus

      For Ermel above too, SM for me as well. Had a gray-market one, originally Italian, for a few years. It had the moving headlights. Total garbage, reliability-wise, mostly due to our friends at Lucas. But what a unique car–
      multi-ride heights, could run on three wheels, luxo ride but flat cornering. Sure turned heads.

      I’d add XKE, Bricklin, Studebaker Commander Starlight.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Wow, a *GRAY MARKET* SM. Damn, son, that’s ballsy.

        I grew up in the “rich part” of St. Louis in the ’70s, and everyone there drove Caddies, Lincolns, and such. My dad used to flip out the neighbors by making his SM raise and lower itself using the hydraulic suspension. And then the neighbors would flip him out by getting into their Coupe DeVilles, and actually succeeding in starting them up.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      Wow Mike my dad had one too. He bought a used ’72 in ’74 to replace his BMW 2002. He used to freak out first time passengers by taking a set of really bumpy railroad tracks at about sixty so they could experience the suspension and amazing ride.

      If there had been an internet back then he might have been tipped off about the timing chain issues that were so common to these cars. But it was OK because my parents bought a more reliable second car in the summer of ’74: a Fiat X1/9.

  • avatar
    Thorshammer_gp

    Even though it’s symptomatic of just about everything wrong with ’80s GM, I’d love to have a 1988 Fiero GT. Especially if it were converted to the Church of 3800…

  • avatar
    SavageATL

    Eagle Premier/Renault Medallion/Renault LeCar/Citroen DS/XM/CX.

    The Premier was an amazingly comfortable, roomy, and stylish sedan which had some verve and handled well. Chrysler’s LH sedans borrowed a lot from it. They didn’t sell well at all due to Renault’s reputation, poor build quality/reliability and Chrysler’s general lack of interest.

    I would still like a LeCar even though I knew they were awful. I like the sunroof and they were kinda cute when they were around.

    The Citroens are cool although I’m sure that they are impossible to find someone to repair them. Thankfully my current addiction to ’80’s GM RWD products keeps my driveway so full that I cannot possibly manage another car. The temptation is strong though.

  • avatar
    karlbonde

    #1 for me would be the Alfa Romeo GTV-6 or Alfa Romeo Milano Quadrifoglio Verde.

    I also like the Disco II, Porsche 944 & 928, Maserati Quattroporte (circa 200x), Saab 9-5 Aero, Audi Allroad (circa 200x), and Volvo V70R.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    SAAB 900 Turbo convertible from the 90’s

  • avatar
    vaujot

    Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider.

  • avatar
    AdamVIP

    I still love a lot of the 90s and early 2000s GM stuff.

    Mainly the last gen Riviera and my favorite the Grand Prix. Not the last gen Grand Prix cause those are ugly but the 2nd to last cause those were sexy.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    I’d love to rock a high-test Sebring Limited 2.7 and fit it with the R/T and GTS manual transmission

    Maybe the standard 2.4/auto– the Sebring was a pretty little thing and the interior was nice and plush. Great riding cars, as well.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      You should be forever banned from commenting on this site. That motor (the one with a 7 in it)should never be mentioned.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        “Sebring was a pretty little thing and the interior was nice and plush.”

        The interior was cheap Mitsubishi Galant switches, covered in poor quality ruched leather. TREAT YOSELF.

        • 0 avatar
          iNeon

          No reason to be obtuse– nor to make fun of Mitsubishi.

          I ought to have been clearer in my choice of Sebring– The convertible/sedan (Cirrus) are based on the Chrysler architecture and are the ones of which I was speaking.

          They’re very nicely-styled, comfortable-riding vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        My Niece has 173k on her 2.7l 2006 Stratus! Ain’t scared yet.

        She calls him Stevie, and she loves him dearly– having flipped a 2004 2.4l model (Sally) previous to this one.

        The previous versions were much nicer– the 1995-2000 models had such nice styling and those soft seats! I love a soft seat.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      My uncle seems to be captivated my poorly-perceived Chrysler products as well. His most-recent acquisition is an older Chrysler Pacifica, white with black leather. He’s had a few Wranglers, a couple of WJ Grand Cherokees, a slew of second-gen Sebring convertibles, a third-gen Sebring sedan, I think a Voyager at some point…and now the Pacifica.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The W220 S-Class.

    It came from the very worst period for Mercedes reliability and build quality, it’s less imposing than any other S-Class, and it has interior styling that hasn’t aged all that well (although better than most other products of its vintage).

    But I love the shape, it has one of Benz’s better V8s in S500 form, and I even like the fact that it’s not quite as COMMANDING as the other S-Classes — it’s less conspicuous and its size is a bit more practical.

  • avatar
    ColoradoFX4

    I have a weird obsession with Fords from the ’80s, the more obscure the better. Two of my especially strong interest are the objectively terrible Topaz, but in rare and sporty(!) XR5 trim (3.0-liter Vulcan and 5-speed manual in coupe body style), and while I love all forms of Taurii, the ’86-’87 Taurus MT-5 wagon is especially tempting. Yes, I know it’s dog slow with the 88hp 2.5, but a stick wagon Taurus!

  • avatar
    nlinesk8s

    I’ll go recent with mine; Mini Cooper S, ’07-’10. Leak oil from every orifice, have a fondness for destroying timing chains and spark plugs, and oil consumption of a worn out 1960’s v8. But damn, are they a hoot to drive.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    Lincoln Versailles
    Lincoln Mark vi
    77-78 Buick Riviera
    81 Chrysler Imperial Frank Sinatra Edition(and FYI he was one of the greatest pop singers of all time)
    BMW 550i Gran Turismo

  • avatar
    St.George

    My first car, purchased by saving up odd job/lawn mowing/dog walking money.

    A 1966 SWB Series 2a Land Rover. Terrible on fuel, slow and noisy to drive but with the sort of character and old British car ‘smell’ that you can’t get any more.

    The best 600 Pounds that I ever spent!

  • avatar
    Mn12Fanatic

    Definitely the Omni/Rampage/Horizon/Scamp. They were pretty terrible quality wise, turned to rust as if they were never painted, and pretty much all but disappeared by the mid 90’s. We had a 79 “High Efficiency” model with the 1.7 VW engine and the 4 speed. It would wallow around corners like a drunk sailor.. But yet, I would still love to have one more than anything.

  • avatar
    Chan

    After a B5 Passat robbed my family of well over $10k in maintenance and repairs over 11 years, I still sort of want one.

    It rode like a more expensive car, and impressed everyone–when it worked.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    JK Wrangler. Goes 20 miles to a gallon and can barely last 200k miles, also ratty, noisy and slow, no cornering ability whatsoever – it not only sways but also squats like mad. But it’s surprisingly good in snow and sand once you air it down to 15 psi (on Duratracs). Better than a Forester by a long shot, I’m sorry to say. I keep looking for a better car and just can’t find anything on the market. Grand Cherokee and 4Runner are nice, but too big, and anything else is just pathetically under-performing off road. FCA are about to replace it with a more modern vehicle for 2018, I’m concerned that it may get too wide.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I’m going to win this here contest by stating that I would love to have a pre-5 mph bumper Chevrolet Vega. Preferably a GT, and preferably a hatch, though I would take any body style in a pinch. As close to stock (or as unmolested) as possible.

    • 0 avatar
      GS 455

      I fondly remember my sister’s Pontiac Astre hatchback (the Vega’s Canadian cousin). She bought it used for $200 and it got her through university. It burned oil so badly that we kept 2 sets of spark plugs, one set would soak in a jar of gas and we’d switch them every week. Next my father drove it for a couple of years and he then sold it for $100. The guy drove it a few years and then gave it to his son. Best little cockroach car ever.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      I have to agree. I have a sweet spot for the Vega. My fave was the Kammback. I think of the Vega Kammback as the spiritual and stylistic predecessor to the 1984 breadbox Honda Civic hatchback.

      I also love the Vega-related 1975 and 76 Monza Towne Coupe.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The 2003 and 2004 Discovery II also got the 4.6-liter V8 instead of the 4.0-liter, which was the last and largest mainstream iteration of the classic Rover V8, itself based on the original Buick “215” 3.5-liter V8 (there was a bored-out 5.0-liter option sold to boutique automakers, like TVR and Bowler). Land Rover also used the 4.6-liter engine in the Range Rover from 2001-2002 before switching to BMW engines for the new-for-2003 “L322” version. But why are the 2001-2002 Discovery models particularly bad?

    As for me, you guys know how much I like the ’95-’99 Buick Riviera. The last 200 of the ’99s, which were numbered “Silver Arrow” units, have to be some of the most overrated limited-edition cars on earth, but I’d totally buy one, just because.

    • 0 avatar
      GS 455

      Fun fact. In 1964 the Buick aluminum block 215 V8 morphed into the iron block 300 cu in V8 that retained the aluminum heads and intake. In 65 it got iron heads and then in 66-67 it was enlarged to 340 cu in. These engines were used in Buick Specials, Skylarks and the LeSabre.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I did not know that! Such humble beginnings. The celebrated Buick 3.8-liter “3800” engine that ended up in a host of transverse-FWD GM products from the 80s-00s (and also the Firebird, briefly)…is also a descendant of the 215. That’s why it’s a 90-degree V6.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      I am a fan of the last Riviera as well.

  • avatar
    5280thinair

    Current: Fiat 500. A poor match to be driving alongside behemoth SUVs, too small to be practical, rated poorly for quality, and an Italian design built in a Chrysler factory in Mexico. It would be a terrible car for me but I keep looking at them.

    Older: Mk II VW GTI. Had one bought used with a lot of miles on it. Sunroof leaked. Weather barrier in the doors gave up and so mold started growing in the car. Started leaking gasoline from under-body fuel pump. Outside door releases were problematic. Ridiculously easy to break into. Not as light as the first generation cars. Speedometer problems. Raised the inside rear wheel when cornered hard. I still miss the car because it was so chuckabke and the hatchback design could swallow huge amounts of stuff. I even brought a sizable snowblower home in it.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The Fiat 500, even the base Pop model, is a blast to drive. Get the C (cabriolet) and enjoy top-down goodness as you cruise the Tail of the Dragon. Only reason I traded mine off is that I needed a replacement for my Jeep Wrangler and simply didn’t need three vehicles (have to keep my Ranger a while longer as nobody makes a pickup truck as small as •I• want it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Having driven all of them, I think the Mk. III (a revamped version of the Mk. II) was definitely the worst Golf platform, and the GTI was no exception. I myself had a ’97 Mk. III Jetta GLX VR6 (same 2.8-liter 12V VR6 as the contemporary GTI), and even with new motor mounts and hardware, the engine felt like it wanted to shoot forth from the front of the car.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    Olds 350 diesel.

  • avatar
    vaujot

    I’ll add another one: Lancia Thema 8.32

    An underpowered BMW M5 competitor with a modified sweet-sounding Ferrari V8 and Poltrona Frau interior. I do not think it was ever sold in America.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Alfa 164.

  • avatar
    raph

    Well according to NCAP I drive one of the lousiest cars on the road! So I’m going with S550 Mustang, especially in GT350 trim.

  • avatar
    threeer

    1st gen smart car (bonus if it is the brabus variant). Slow? Yep. Dodgy trans? (Yep…although when I test drove one I managed to figure the best way to accelerate easily enough). Relatively poor fuel economy for what it is? Yep. But do I still giggle like a school girl when I see one on the road? Absolutely.

  • avatar
    Marko

    Suzuki Grand Vitara, 2006-2012: unibody, but a “true” SUV with a true 4WD system and off-road capability when everyone was going to CUVs. Literally a Japanese Jeep (Cherokee)! I would rather have one than a new *yawn* Nissan Rogue.

    Aztek: Go ahead, hate on it, but it was ahead of its time.

    Saturn SL: crude but somehow appealing for its minimalism.

    Subaru XT: couldn’t be confused with anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Grand Vitara was well liked by the off road publications of the day.

      When they reviewed one the summary was usually “Wow this sucker is much more capable than we expected!”

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      The only alternative to GV was Pathfinder (and LR3, if you want to count that).

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        If we’re just listing off IRS SUVs, there’s quite a few more than that, and FWIW the LR3 has a seperate chassis.

        Regarding the latest generation of Grand Vitaras, they started off strong, but the final cars lost the low range gearset in the transfer case, and in general got a ‘dumbed down’ AWD setup.

        I personally am partial to the older BOF Vitaras, particularly the stretched XL7. Their lower center of gravity compared to many other larger SUVs give them rather unexpectedly competent on road handling, likewise the longer wheelbase smoothes out the ride and gives extra directional stability. With the 5spd manual, they are a legitimate hoot to drive in a weird mixture of trucky shifter+clutch and bombproof suspension, with tight non-tippy handling.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    A lot of Land Rover and Jaguar requests.

    I will go with a 90’s vintage Morgan Plus 8 through the final year made for the states, 2003. Fun and unique car that are a special kind of sh!t. My dad had an 80’s Plus 8′ guess the year…You got all of the benefits of Land Rover or Jaguar in terms of Lucas electric, Rover small block that leaks every fluid from day one and then add in the special sauce that is Morgan with each piece of sheet metal being hand made to fit your car all wrapped in a package that was hand assembled by a bunch of guys in Malvern England who I am fairly sure are not afraid to get a pint with lunch.

  • avatar
    SP

    Current model Ford Focus hatchback. Good looking, a hoot to drive, great MPG, decent utility. Self-destructing automatic (DCT) transmission. Terrible, ugly, distracting instrument panel.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Do I have to pick just one? I’ve owned so many.

    Oddly, I find myself pining for my Yugo GV. I had one as a commuter when I lived in Atlanta. With a good set of Hankooks on it, she ran pretty well up and down the highway. Fuel mileage in the mid-40’s if I kept it under 80 MPH.

    Of course, I should count my good fortune, as the car had all of the strength of a wet Kleenex box in any kind of collision. I saw the aftermaths of several of them in accidents. Definitely not pretty.

    Still, as an urban buzz bomb that I could autocross cheaply, why not?

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    79-82 Lancia Beta Zagato-So wrong yet so right. The Lampredi DOHC is its saving grace. Later models with FI are more reliable.

    A Vega/Astre hatch or Kammback. One with a decent body. Just replace or rebuild the 140ci aluminum motor.

    1st generation GM N-body Grand Am, Calais with the Quad-4 and the 5-speed.

    95-06 Chrysler Sebring Convertible with the auto stick or manual. Nicely styled. Why was it’s replacement so wrong?

    Land Rover Discovery Series II-So rugged yet so fragile.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      The longer they’re around, the better the 2007-2010 Sebrings look to me.

      They were terrible when first released, but seeing them in parking lots lately– I’ve really grown to appreciate the deco styling theme of the interior–with the tortoiseshell trim, they’re super pretty!

  • avatar

    There’s so many! I have knack for loving, and even owning, some pretty bad cars. Some of my favorites are;

    -The 1990-1996 GM APV vans- They were daringly styled, innovative with the plastic panels, remote sliding door, hidden radio antenna, and seem pretty robust.
    -1988 Ford Falcon EA- Despite awful quality and a clunky three speed automatic, I love the clean, Euro look of these
    -Ford Aspire- Yes, it’s slow and tinny. But adorable, and has the best quality velour cloth seats I’ve ever seen in any car
    -Current Mitsubishi Mirage- The honest-to-goodness engineering and simplicity of this car is such a refreshing change nowadays. They’re also comfortable and kinda fun to drive. I’m so glad these are selling well
    -Chevrolet Aveo- I’ve owned two of these, and both are very roomy, quiet on the road, and I like the chunky, Italdesign styling. Both have been reliable and solid
    -1991-1994 Ford Explorer- They ride rough, guzzle gas, and were unrefined, even back then. But they’re so cool, ride high, and my 1992 has been as solid as a tank (granted mine only has 65k miles)

  • avatar
    Panther Platform

    Lincoln Mark VIII. The quintessential 90s car. Took my 1998 to 186,000 miles and then gave up the ghost. Everything that typically goes wrong with this car went wrong with mine. I had a love/hate relationship with it, but I still think it was one of the most beautiful cars of all time.

  • avatar
    sensiblebuyer

    Got a soft spot (lousy spot?) for the Mercury Grand Marquis/Ford Crown Victoria. Favorite must be second and fourth generation. Gotta get my hands on one of those sometime. Lousy yet elegance galore

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    My 2004 Intrepid and 1997 Concorde (both formerly owned) are cars that most of the public seems to loathe. The fact is neither of them ever gave me any issue. Both were gently used examples that were meticulously maintained, so that may be why. I put 120k+ miles combined on both of those vehicles with nothing happening outside of routine maintenance. These cars are timeless, comfortable and have been a great ownership experience for me.

    The only reason I don’t have them any more is because the Concorde was sideswiped while parked along a busy street. The Intrepid (which replaced the Concorde) was replaced simply because I liked the 200 so well and I thought that it was best to buy one slightly used with very low miles.

    My 2013 200 is *another* car that everyone loathes, including my wife, who won’t touch anything that’s not an import (actually, she just says it’s “okay”…whatever…). I guess I am a sucker for so-called “crappy” Chryslers…

    While the LH cars are somewhat deserving of the notoriety (with the 2.7 fiasco, transmission problems and the various nitpicky, non-serious issues), the 200 is a very dependable vehicle. When I bring it in for maintenance at the dealer, the mechanics all say that the 200/Avenger/Sebring virtually never see a major or catastrophic issue. It checks all my boxes for comfort, reliabity, efficiency, looks and feel. I couldn’t be happier. I actually think just about any 2017-era car would be a downgrade.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      ” I actually think just about any 2017-era car would be a downgrade.”

      You should drive a few and find out! I don’t doubt that the final pre-Dart platform 200s are pretty reliable cars, but jeez claiming that it’s an upgrade over just about any current midsizer…questionable.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        I want to like the 2011-2014 200/Avenger, but– put your feet down in that footwell and just try to get comfortable.

        It can’t be done. The floorpan has strange angles and protrusions that disallow any comfortable foot placement.

        No amount of $12k/300hp or analogue clock can overcome that ugly fact. Its what put me in a Dart.

  • avatar

    1972 austin mini 1000 in dark blue. fabulous in a canook blizzard.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Lancia Stratos.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • speedlaw: Practical EV ownership requires dedicated parking space with power hookup. In the suburbs or rural areas,...
  • downunder: or they go the ammonia- hydrogen route. Convert the hydrogen in the vehicle. then you are only pumping...
  • ttacgreg: The huge corporate logo in the grille….really, Honda? Have you no shame? If for whatever reasons I...
  • mcs: @indi500fan: So true about Tesla drivers! Another car brand like that is Subaru. It’s either a senior...
  • Oberkanone: “We do not have an affordable car. That’s something we will have in the future. But we’ve got to get the...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber