Menu

The Worst Cars Sold in America Ever

When people think of worst cars, then often imagine something like a Pontiac Aztek, which while a little odd looking, was actually a good vehicle. Overinflated pricing had more to do with its demise than its looks, performance or functionality. Now let’s look at some cars that are true dogs. No, make that dogs with fleas.

Explorer_Sport_Wallpaper_Ad_by_ParkerGibson

1991 – 2000 Ford Explorer

Ford had a real problem on its hands. It was replacing its short wheelbase rollover prone Bronco II with a new, longer wheelbase SUV, the Ford Explorer. The problem was, the Explorer didn’t solve the rollover problem. Instead Ford lowered the tire pressures on the Explorer for more grip, against Firestone’s advice, and when the lawsuits rolled in, Ford pointed the finger at Firestone.

FIVER Yugo 3

 

1985-1992 Yugo

The butt of every comedians’ car joke, the Yugo was a Fiat 127 that was lightly modified and built in what was then Communist Yugoslavia. Quality control was an enormous issue, not just inside the plant but from suppliers as well. Further its super low price attracted car buyers who couldn’t afford to follow the maintenance schedule, causing unnecessary mechanical breakdowns and pretty much killing off the Yugo.

sterling_825_sl_1

1987 Sterling 825

It’s almost like the set-up to a joke: What do you get when the British build a Honda? We found out when the Sterling sedan, based on an Acura platform, was imported by Rover from their plant in England. While initial reaction and sales were good, soon complaints of intermittent electrics. thin paint, poorly fitted interior trim, and early corrosion drove Sterling from the US in just a few years.

1971 Chevrolet Vega (Cdn)-04-05

1971 – 1977 Chevrolet Vega

Although rushed to the market, the Chevrolet Vega was actually a pretty good car, at least when brand new. And GM did sort out many of the problems after a few years od production, but it was too late, consumer weren’t interested in conducting R&D on their dime. Problems included piston scuffing due to the use of a linerless aluminum block (which has since been perfected), the expansion rate differential  between the aluminum block and cast iron head that leaked engine oil into the cylinders, rushed paint jobs, and selective rustproofing that left significant areas prone to corrosion, among others.

20549_renault-fuego-turbo-usa-advert-1982-flickr-photo-sharing

Renault Fuego

The Fuego soon developed a reputation for unreliable electronics and overheating issues, which led to head gasket failures if ignored for any length of time. The problem was likely compounded by a poor spare parts availability, a situation that only worsened after Renault’s departure from the U.S. in 1986. A recall for a potential steering wheel failure certainly didn’t boost consumer confidence

1981 Cadillac Ad-04

1981 Cadillac L62 V-8-6-4 Engine

In an effort to meet new fuel economy standards, Cadillac developed the L62 V8-6-4 engine on the reliable Cadillac big block for the 1981 model year. Unfortunately, the concept was ahead of the technology.  The main issue was that the Engine Control Module simply lacked the sophistication to reliably manage the cylinder activation/deactivation under all load conditions. The outcome was that many of these engines simply had the function disabled by dealers, restoring the engines to standard V-8 operation.

chevy-ads-1966-1967-3

1965 – 1969 Chevrolet V-8

Chevrolet cars and light trucks with V-8 engines from model years 1965 – 1969 were prone to the motor mounts snapping.  When that occurred engine torque caused the engine to rise up in the engine bay, pulling open the accelerator linkage. This then caused even more upward movement of the engine, and more opening of the accelerator, back and forth until until the engine’s rise is interrupted by the hood. Even more frighteningly, the engine’s upward movement pulled out the power brake booster vacuum hose, eliminating all power assist to the brakes.

oscar-mayer-wienermobile-front-side-view

The Wurst American Car Ever

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

 

 

Categories: Gear Grinding

Chris Riley

About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.