By on April 22, 2019

Today’s QOTD requires those who respond to give away a bit of information about themselves — their age. Or, y’know, you could just grab a random year from the ether.

Whichever route you choose, our question is this: what is, in your opinion, the worst car on sale the year you were born?

It doesn’t have to be a new model, either. Your selection can be something that was on sale for ages by the time you landed on this earth, or it could be an all-new model. My selection is the latter.

The Chevrolet Citation, and the rest of the X-Car family, were supposed to be GM’s answer to the rising tide of front-drive import cars. Indeed, the company sold around 800,000 of the things, making it not just the hottest selling car that year, but also one of the most successful product launches in The General’s history. If GM could have kept up with demand, there is an argument to be made that they would have sold a million Citations.

Of course, anyone reading this site knows what happened next. With mechanical issues rearing their head, a lack of four-banger engines (GM thought most customers would select the V6), and tales of truly frightening build quality, sales fell off the proverbial cliff. By the time someone pulled the plug in ’85, only about 62,000 shoppers signed the note on one for its final model year.

My pick for the vehicular dud from the year of my birth is easy. What’s yours?

[Image: General Motors]

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94 Comments on “QOTD: Birthday Follies?...”


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Hmm. I’d have to say…the 1993 Chevrolet Lumina.

    There was all of that hype for the W-body platform, and all that money spent. Meanwhile, the Camry had just entered its best generation ever, the Accord and Maxima were objects of intense desirability, and the Taurus was still riding a high.

    But all GM had for its mainstream midsizer was *this* dog of a car, which sticks out even among its W-body platform mates for being absolutely awful.

    It certainly earns my vote.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Ah, the Lumina. I always thought the trunk was tacked on as an afterthought. My first wife’s brother and his wife bought a brand new ’93 Lumina four-door (in Neon Blue, according to Paintref.com). Not impressive at all.

      But, the Taurus/Sable twins were about to have their own issues with the optional 3.8 Essex V6 (mainly head gaskets).

  • avatar
    -Nate

    This oughta be interesting .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’m a boomer, I didn’t think there were any bad boomer cars, but I’ll have to pick my favorite horrible car that’s so bad it’s wonderful, the Trabant

  • avatar
    Hydromatic

    The 1985 Cadillac DeVille. First year of the shrunken downsized body. First year for FWD. Saddled with the HT4100 in transverse-mounted form. Basically a shell of its former self.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Hmmmm…. 1978? Nope, I’m pretty sure all the cars made in ’78 were winners.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Let’s go back to the year with a LOT of vehicle duds to choose from…1974.

    There’s the low-hanging fruit of the Ford Pinto and the Chevy Vega. I mean…c’mon, that’s too easy! One blew up if you sneezed on the rear bumper and the other came pre-rusted from the factory.

    But let’s find something a little more rare – something I recall seeing a clip on YouTube about. The Bricklin SV-1. America’s…err…Canada’s answer to a European sports car. Like DeLorean, it’s a case of what could have been. Instead, sky high prices, parts that fell off of the car, blistered fiberglass, and no reliability whatsoever shot this thing into a deep hole and it never recovered. It’s a case of where a little money and ambition combined with no business and quality sense doomed it from the beginning. Lessons not learned less than a decade later when everyone’s favorite time machine started production.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Not fair, ALL cars were horrible in 1974

    • 0 avatar
      BunkerMan

      I’m from 1974 as well. I can’t pick the Bricklin, since I’m from Saint John NB, where it was made.

      Yes it was a huge fiasco (both the car and for the government), but less than 3,000 were made over 2 years. I still see them at car shows, and honestly, I want one. They sure stand out in a crowd.

      For me, it’s the 1974 Thunderbird. It was heavy with a 460 emissions-choked engine, and was the most un-Thunderbird ever made. I’d rather have a Gremlin.

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        I admit – they still look attractive, especially in a Lamborghini-angular kind of way. But, man, it reads like they were barely held together with twine and chewing gum and a whole lotta prayers!

        Saint John, eh? Been through there a few times on the way to PEI – like Reversing Falls, but you have to admit the view (and smell) of that paper plant right by there kind of ruins the atmosphere. Still neat to see in person (the rush of water, not the paper plant!)

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I never liked the SV-1. Their solution to the impact-bumper rule was to create a front end that looked as though it were giving birth to another car.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Good thing Matthew posited the question as *anything* for sale in that year. I don’t think there’s a really good contender if we narrow it down to new-in-1974, not in the sense of all-new mainstream cars that sold well. The Bricklin was so far from mainstream I don’t think I’d seriously include it. The Pontiac Astre came out that year, but since it was just a rebadged Vega then I wouldn’t count it either.

      There were a few pretty good cars from that year- Jeep Cherokee and VW Golf (both commercially successful and still sold today in evolved, modern models), Volvo 240 (MY ’74 or MY ’75, depending on which side of the pond you lived, but for sale first in 1974). These three had their shortcomings but in hindsight they were very special, in a good way.

      But since this sub-thread is hashing out 1974, you’re gonna have to talk me out of the Vega.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Born mid-80’s, I’m tempted to say the original Hyundai Excel. I’m sure part of this is based on selling in greater numbers, but we got the Pony in Canada as well, and I’m certain I’ve seen more Ponys in the past few years (even if they were neither good nor loved), but I can’t think of the last time I saw an early Excel. Either way, the entire early Hyundai lineup was bad enough it took them 20 years to overcome that reputation.

    Of course, the Maserati Biturbo was also on sale at the same time…

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I’m not convinced Hyundai has overcome that early reputation, or that today’s Hyundais aren’t worse than early Hyundais, or not the worst cars on the market today.

      I’m more inclined to think early Hyundais got a bad rap from being beaten, banged up (and not re-finished) and abused/neglected like no other newer cars of the era.

      And I’m confident mid ’80s cars from Europe, especially French and Italian were far worse than early Hyundais, not to mention the infamous Yugo.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Anecdotal, but my parents had a ’90 Sonata, and I remember it having a couple minor breakdowns before it was written off at 5 years old (and they’ve always been pretty fastidious about maintenance). The best thing I can say about it is that it wasn’t worse than the Sunbird they had at the same time (an older, cheaper car).

        Also, as mentioned, I cant remember the last time I saw an Excel, which considering there’s the odd survivor Pony around, must say something (I’m just not sure what it says). I did consider the Yugo, but I don’t think we got those in Canada (although the Dacia or Skoda might qualify).

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Kaiser Henry J. Even Sears and Roebuck couldn’t sell ’em.

  • avatar
    arach

    How about I tell you the worst car and you guess when I was born… haha.

    AMC Renault Encore.

    yes, a car so bad that I forget it existed…. or maybe because you brown wagon lovers realized this was one of the worst hatch backs ever made.

    If 64 HP didn’t get you excited, I’m sure the alfa-level of reliability did it for you.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      In Europe, the Encore was called the Renault 11 and it was considered an upgrade from the Alliance, which they called the Renault 9. I had an Austrian car magazine where they drove a Renault 9 for 50,000 kilometers and then disassembled it to see what was worn. It was the most thoroughly worn-out piece of junk they’d ever performed durability testing on, and that’s saying something when it comes to European cars. Alliances were huge sellers in their early years. In the US, the Renault Alliance won all the accolades that are routinely bestowed on cars that become synonymous with unhappy customers. The AMC-Jeep-Ford dealer in my town moved them like pretty much no sedan sells today. You wouldn’t have known they were ever here by the ’90s.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        Very interesting share! thanks!

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        So it was a 3~4 year throw-away car.

        I remember a few, very few and not very many, used ones being for sale in a typical Auto Trader c1992-1993.

        I always thought the R9 and R11 were like the two final nails in AMC’s coffin.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          There was a guy on the Atlas F1 forum in the early 2000s who lived in Kenosha Wisconsin, where Alliances and Encores were made. His family had a number of them less than twenty years ago, which seemed amazing at the time. They had been part of the biggest recall to that point, where Chrysler had to find them all in junk yards and drop a heater-core and a note saying not to return the car to the road without replacing the heater-core on the driver seat. The Renaults had a habit of scalding operators before they all stopped running and by the time Chrysler accepted responsibility for cars built before they bought AMC from Renault, the cars were junked by the NHTSA made them go through the motions of fixing them anyway.

  • avatar
    DEVILLE88

    I’m afraid i can’t participate as all the cars of 1961 are fair to excellent

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      My father’s Corvair disagreed.

      • 0 avatar
        DEVILLE88

        MY 1964 Corvair would disagree with you. other than an issue with the flywheel………..the car was excellent. (had the car in 1977)and of course it was a car that needed to be driven differently than your average car at that or anytime. The corvairs were well pakaged beautiful cars that like the Citation above…………….GM played stupid and cheap on.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I’d say ’89 was a pretty good year, a lot of cars I like a lot, nothing truly obviously horrid, Pontiac Lemans came out in ’88 but even that car I respect in a weird/nostalgic way.

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      Two off of the top of my head: Yugo GV and Subaru Justy. Otherwise known as the “You’ve won a CAR!!!” on late-1980’s game shows that the “winners” probably never took ownership of. Others have already mentioned the Hyundai Excel, which, for around $5000, would dissolve in your driveway free of charge.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I also remember the Mitsubishi Précis. Wasn’t that a rebadged Excel?

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          The Korean built, re-badged Mitsu Precis doesn’t have the Excel’s bad reputation, since you had to pay more for it. That’s the only difference.

          It’s too easy to assume the cheapest is the worst (except for Yugo). Meanwhile every transmission shop in town had a Taurus on a lift (and probably a couple more on the lot).

          But I remember one radio station “giveaway” awarded 5 Yugos, yes five of them to each “winner”.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Radio Host: “Thanks for calling in, Caller #79! Guess what? You won, and we’re going to send you 5 Yugos!”

            Caller #79: “Don’t you threaten me!”

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “Radio Host: “Thanks for calling in, Caller #79! Guess what? You won, and we’re going to send you 5 Yugos!”

            Caller #79: “Don’t you threaten me!””

            Ha! I’m gonna remember that one-liner.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Justys were actually well built neat little things. Oh and I was convinced I had to come up with worst car that was INTRODUCED in 1989, hence I missed the Yugo which yes I suppose is an easy pick. I’ve also heard though that a lot of their reputation came by way of people not using the factory specified premium grade of gas (who buying the cheapest car in the US would?!) and a short 40k mile timing belt interval that was likewise often ignored.

        • 0 avatar
          theflyersfan

          gtem – catching up on the thread when I read your follow-up. Premium gas in a Yugo??? Really? On a good day, you got what, 30 functional horsepower, and that’s if all of the hamsters made it to their exercise wheel that morning.
          I guess the old joke about the gas in the tank being worth more than the car really rings true here!
          40,000 mile timing belt. Only the finest Yugoslavian rubber bands are used there! I think they stood a better chance with a pair of old pantyhose tied together to make a belt.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      1989 Saabs were horrific. We had to rewire some of them before delivery. The interiors had to come out, and they weren’t made out of good enough plastics to go back together without lots of replacement parts and fasteners. They would get towed back from test drives. Nobody wanted to walk too close to them in the showroom, for fear of being held responsible for their failures.

      1989 Oldsmobiles needed a couple of hours of PDI to make sure there weren’t any terminal assembly issues or missing fluids. They were decent cars once any sabotage was corrected though.

      1989 Subarus rusted if they didn’t sell in their first fall on the lot. Not the bodies so much, but we had ‘new’ Loyale wagons with perforated tailpipes from being test driven in the winter and then sitting on the lot for five months.

      1989 Japanese Mitsubishis were fine. They didn’t have good brakes, but they didn’t break.

      1989 Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge stuff was risky. The first Cummins pickups were a big deal. The Plymouth Laser Turbo was the fastest car in the dealer group, and everyone took a turn abusing the heck out of it. The minivans were pretty sound if you could find one with a three-speed TF instead of Ultradrive. For some reason the minivans were screwed together in a manner that was visibly superior to all the cars and trucks that weren’t made by Diamond-Star or Mitsubishi. You did not want to wander into the Chrysler-Subaru service area waiting room lest you be accosted by miserable customers.

      1989 Hondas had limited suspension travel and no other flaws. All the dealer group execs drove teal or black Accord SEi sedans and coupes instead of the Saabs or Oldsmobiles that they could have. Nobody in the business even mentioned Subaru ownership.

  • avatar

    I was born in 1945. I have yet to find a new model introduced that year.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    1974, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. The fact that several iconic muscle cars were past their prime and wouldn’t see suitable successors for years if ever is awfulness in itself. I’m going with the Mustang II. A cultural icon and arguably THE embodiment of a truly American car reduced to a dumpier looking reskin of a car that was even lower in the pecking order. Tragic.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The Citation? Yikes. I was in the showroom of one of the local Chevy dealers on the launch day for the Citation. Production started on April 19, but I’m pretty sure the launch day was in May (May 10th?).

    Two were on the showroom floor, and the only one I really remember was a three-door in the just-as-ugly-as-you-can-imagine “Lime Green” (according to Paintref.com) with the Iron Duke four and four-speed manual.

    Being born in 1960, I imagine I’m supposed to say Chevy Corvair, but having owned one, and still being a member of the local club, I wouldn’t say Corvair.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Being named Motor Trend’s 1980 “Car of the Year” made it worse for all of us. You can’t tell me there wasn’t tons of payola and cocaine being floated around that board room.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Not only that, but from what I understand, the X-body cars were right in the heyday of automakers sending “ringers” to the press fleets. These were hand-built cars that had been given all of the same quality control as a Rolls-Royce, and as such, exhibited quality that the automakers had no possibility (or intention) of meeting on the production units. They also would sometimes come with different tuning and tires you wouldn’t see on production examples.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    1970. Was that the first year of the Pinto? Or did the GM-FoMoCo-AMC trifecta (Pinto, Vega and Gremlin) all debut in 1971?

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    Being born during the 1965 model year, I’ll go with the Opel Kadett.

  • avatar
    BoogerROTN

    1971 heralded my introduction to the world as well as that of the Ford Pinto.

    And yes, we did have one (’78, red, sweet ride).

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Same here. I believe my father had a Pinto as a company car at some point. He claimed the transmission actually FELL out of the car one day. Like the mounts failed and the entire transmission just dropped to the ground. He called his office (from a pay phone, remember those?) and told them where to shove it. A few years later when my brother was born we got a Ford Granada. The 70s were a really BAD time for cars. Amazing considering 5 years earlier the Mustang came out, so things went downhill quickly.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        The revised Dart/Valiant, which is held up as an example of a simple, great car from the early 1970s, also had a reputation for the front end rust and the torsion bars suddenly, and without warning, giving out. (If you thoroughly oil sprayed the bottom of those cars every year then they’d last over a decade, but if you didn’t then they wouldn’t.) So even the great cars of the time had their critical weaknesses.

        Remember needing a new exhaust system about every three years? Yeah, that was a pain too but just the way it was- and we hated it. Pepperidge Farms remembers…

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          My 1988 BMW 325’s exhaust pipe rusted out under warranty and was replaced. I don’t think it made it three years. The replacement one was getting loud but still not rusting when I sold the car in 2007. Incidentally, the original engine only lasted something like five to eight thousand miles before the torque-to-yield head-bolts failed and killed it. The dealer-rebuild worked like a champ for the next 150,000 miles.

          You must have lived somewhere with serious salt use if you had Valiants rusting to pieces. We had a 1971. It was no Toyota in terms of reliability or finish quality, but the only suspension parts to cause concern were the ball joints. The cars that had torsion bar-related rust issues in more than isolated cases were 1957 models. My grandparents lived in Williamstown Massachusetts. There were lots of popular cars that rusted away fast enough to make sure that people always had car payments, but I was still seeing Dusters and Darts on the road in the mid-’80s.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            @ToddAtlasF1- yes, the environment (road salt) made all the difference. Still, it affected some cars more than others, good ones and bad ones.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    I have 2 perfect ones because I was born at the very end of 1970……. both the Pinto and the Vega were being made, but 71 was the first official model year.

  • avatar
    TR4

    1955: Nash/Austin Metropolitan.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Fitting as my birthday is tomorrow.

    And, I’ll be 37, so the worst car from the year I was born would be the 1982 Ford Thunderbird. Thankfully it all got good again (mostly, as in aside from the 3.8L) the next year.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    1956.
    For me it was the Renault Dauphine.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Conceived in the Summer of Love, born in the riots of 1968. A lousy year for assassinations, but a fantastic year for cars, especially Detroit. The new ‘Vette was awesome, the Camaro was awesome, the Mustang was awesome. Even lame cars were awesome in 1968.
    The only cars that might fit this query are imports- maybe the first North American Subaru?

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Were the Tempo and Corsica a thing in 1988?

    I have vague recollection of my parents’ white Tempo from 1992, but it may have been a 1990s model. Mom has told me of her Corsica which required 3 engines (1 from factory and 2 replacements within 6k miles).

  • avatar
    mikey

    I never really cared for the looks of a 53 Ford .

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    1964 NSU Prinz.

  • avatar

    Well THIS is easy. I was born in 1957 and the stories of the ’57 Plymouth are legendary – along with the rest of the ChryCo line that year.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I agree with bullnuke it would be the Henry J. That was the end of Kaiser except the Jeep brand has lived on thru other manufacturers.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’d have to go with either the 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser or Hudson Hornet.

  • avatar
    scott25

    The Yugo was still being sold in 1990, and in Europe Renault, Fiat, Alfa and Lancia had all sorts of garbage on sale, and the notorious Polski Fiat assembly line was still running. Otherwise, in terms of domestic, it’s hard to go against the Corsica.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    David M-You forgot the Studebaker Scotsman from 1957 thru 1959 that would be the absolute worst car from that time period except the Renault Dauphine.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    Maybe it’s just a bad brain day, but I can’t think of any bad cars from 1966. Maybe some British imports but nothing domestic.

  • avatar
    James2

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_Valiant_(AP6)

    Probably a decent car, but it reminds me of the car my sixth grade teacher drove –and I hated her guts.

  • avatar
    210delray

    It was a long time ago, but I’d say the Henry J. They originally didn’t even have trunk lids — you had to stash your bags behind the back seat.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    1961 Studebaker Hawk (the ultimate uglification of the beautiful Loewy coupe), or the 1961 Plymouth (a bridge way too far for Exner styling excess). Both were good cars mechanically, but ugly to a fault.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    In 1947, the sliderule had just come off the top secret list where it had been used along with copycat updated Babbage computing engines to design the atomic bomb. So cars were designed by draftsmen on linen sheets in much the same fashion the Titanic had been in 1910. The hard way.

    Good 1947 cars? None I can remember. They were all bad. When I became a little nerd of a car nut by 1959, there were no ’40s cars about except for a ’50 Chrysler a local bigwig owned and only drove to church on Sundays in high gear Fluid Drive – his daughter was in my class – va va voom! The rest of those hokey old cars had gone to meet their maker in the great Iron Oxide Dustbowl in the Sky. By 1962, the only older cars still whuffling around were ’53 Dodges, their fenders flapping in the breeze sporting multicolored sheetmetal, the occasional ’54 Ford bulging at its rusty seams, and that’s it. ’56 onwards quite a few, although the ’57 and ’58 Chryslers had already gone to meet their makers – utter trash those were which even Allpar acknowledges. Oh, and a striking ’50 Pontiac Torpedo Back my classmate in high school had resurrected from the local dump with hundreds of hours of labor and several gallons of Blue Lightning hand-brushed paintwork. He managed to buff that up to quite a shine! It snuffled about OK, although in those days mufflers lasted about one winter, so he became an expert at rigging up rusty parts to semi do the job.

    I never saw a ’47 anything on its own wheels, so presume they were all pretty darn lousy cars. Rust in the Maritimes of Canada and Detroit iron did not mix. For long. The rust always won. Drum brakes that stuck on when least expected, mmm, mmm. Six volt electrics with skinny wires, no start in winter plus giving that special orange glow from headlights good for 25 mph on a clear night. And that peculiar smell cars got from using mohair upholstery – it’s a special kind of unique mustiness once smelled never forgotten – and I’ve tried.

    They don’t make ’em like they used to. Thank God.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “what is, in your opinion, the worst car on sale the year you were born?”

    All of them? Being born into the nadir of the Baby Bust means choosing from some combination of early rust, ugly design, sloppy assembly, and fragile parts.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I wouldn’t say that all the post war cars were terrible. Not a fair comparison to compare vehicles of the past to those of the present especially with all the advances in safety, efficiency, and pretreating of metals that make them better at resisting rust. The cars of that era were easy to work on and were not that expensive to buy and maintain. That doesn’t mean that I long for the days of a 1947 Chevy or Ford but I think the real question that this article is asking is which vehicle was the worst of the year you were born. For me that would be the 1952 Henry J and that is not to say it was the worst car ever made (it was made to be the lowest priced car on the market) but it stands out as a cheaply built car that for $200 more during that time you could have bought a new Chevy 150 or Ford Custom.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    A lot of truths here about post WWII autos but remember also that things were *very* different then .

    A 1947 Crosley or a VW Beetle were crude little things yes, noisy and vibrated a lot but, the VW unlike the Crosley could be run hard for decades unless it was used anywhere salt .

    What was considered a “good car” then was wildly different than in 1957, 1967, 1987 and so on .

    Me, I’d be fine with a 1947 Chevy business coupe or a LaSalle Coupe, it’d run fine and last forever, be cheap to operate too even now .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree Nate.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Thank you Jeff ;

      Once in a while being old is useful .

      I’ve owned both a Chevy Vega and a Citation, both _could_ have been wonderful cars, GM’s idiotic co$t cutting destroyed any chance either one had .

      I need to get busy on the blown engine (connecting rod through the block in the Panamint Valley) on my old 1959 DeLuxe VW Beetle ~ the last time I drove it I felt like it was 1972 again, in a good way, not that I felt young, I was just happy to be buzzing along in a clapped out almost trouble free car like I did all through the Malaise Era…..

      To – day’s kids have it FAR too easy, no wonder they’re not even getting driver’s licenses .

      If I catch _ONE_MORE_ of you goddamn kids on my lawn……

      -Nate
      (Geezer who recently had to push a dead 42 Y.O. Motocycle five + miles home in the heat, good thing it was a lightweight single, then too I was pondering ‘oh crap, this is *exactly* what I did FORTY YEARS AGO ‘)

  • avatar
    The454General

    Far and away the Chevy Vega.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    There were no bad cars in 1946. And get off my lawn……!

  • avatar

    That Chevrolet Citation looks pretty good. I can understand why it was so popular. I would be tempted to buy one if lived in USA. Alas I had to fight for government distributed Lada. Which mechanically would be even worse I guess.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I was born in ’76, so I can name any number of domestic cars and hit a bullseye. On that note, I’ll go with one of the worst cars I’ve ever personally ridden in, which was a 1976 Pontiac Sunbird. Worked with a guy around the summer of ’96 who had one, given to him by his dad as his first car. It rattled, the doors sagged, and it reeked of gasoline whether running or not. The interior lights were dim to the point of non-existance at night. A true death trap of a car.

    By comparison, my first car, a 1978 Le Baron, was a paragon of motoring opulence and safety, but by 1996 I’d already given that up for ’93 Taurus (though it already had 150,000 miles on it).

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I was born in late 1960 when the 61 models were introduced. I can’t think of a bad American car of the time. The all new compact Valiant and Lancer were introduced by Chrysler in 60 and the innovative Corvair was also entering its 2nd year of production.
    The imported Renault Dauphine and Simca 1000 have to take the award for the worst though the Simca Aronde was still ok.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      I don’t think I’ve ever owned a Lancer and everyone knows hoe much I love the MoPar ‘A’ bodies but the Lancers were considered terrible cars when new, I’d ask “? WHY ?” but the grumpy adults just said ‘shaddap kid’ instead of explaining why .

      In the 1970’s and 1980’s all MoPar ‘A’ bodies were perpetual Road Roaches (TM) ~ they were often battered and FUGLY, rusted mostly away but ran, and ran and…..

      I bet the Lancer hate was just the odd styling cues, we made much fun of the “toilet seat” deck lid .

      -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Actually the Lancer had better more contemporary styling cues, full width horizontal grill. Also it didn’t have the “toilet seat” deck lid that was on the 60-61 Valiant which was ditched by 62 before the nice clean 63 restyling. The Lancer name was ditched and replaced with the Dart which was previously on the full sizers.

  • avatar
    lowreyldjd

    Sadly, one of the most beautiful cars of all time was introduced in my birth year, but was a rolling disaster: Studebaker Starliner.

  • avatar
    Old Scold

    1962 Edsel

    Improved from the front that gave it its reputation but google the back? WTF? Tri-Fins?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Nate–How about an article on your 69 Beetle with pictures, that would be an great read. As for kids having it far too easy I was grateful to have access to my dad’s 62 Chevy II 300 Roman Red sedan which I agreed to perform all the maintenance on and to keep clean and waxed. Learned a few things on that old Chevy and I always kept it clean, shinny, and running like a top (you could see your reflections in the red paint). To this day I take care of all my vehicles that way even my 99 S-10 with original paint which I bought new 20 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      Well Jeff ;

      #1 it’s a _’59_, one of the most drab looking and least valuable Beetles ever…..

      #2, it’s a roach, the only reason it wasn’t crushed for scrap is because it was abandoned underneath a tree near the beach, it looks like the junk it is although being a VW Beetle making it run and drive/stop perfectly is dead easy unless you Hot Rod it, I drive ’em _far_ too hard to Hot Rod much .

      I could write long boring @$$ books about old VW’s that I doubt anyone would bother reading past the first few pages .

      When I get this one running again I’d be willing to have an article written about it but really ~ there are thousands of nice ones out there, this isn’t one trust me .

      BTW : I was in the North Las Vegas Pick-A-Part junkyard to – day and not a single VW Beetle, new or old, to be seen, no air coollds at all =8-(

      No Mercedes W123’s either .

      EDIT : I love the first generation Chevy II’s and have owned quite a few, all were i6 powered of course .

      I envy you having had a Roman Red one .

      -Nate

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