Tag Archive | "bad cars"

The Worst Cars We’d Love To Own


It is impossible to list and describe all the terrible cars ever built without having an article the length of Doctor Zhivago and its less successful sequel: DZ2 – Lara‘s Revenge. Some cars are so dreadful or hopeless or terrifying that they should be blotted from the collective memory but others are so disastrously awful that they have, by some bizarre quirk, become desirable. Many people collect or own classic cars that have held their place in the pantheon of greatness and more often than not they are really expensive. So why not own cars that nobody else would touch with a bargepole? At least they’ll be cheap.

Reader – I give you the Zunndapp Janus (pictured in its prime). This is the only car that appears to be going in two directions at once and resembles a child‘s push-me-pull-you toy. Not only is it a monumentally stupid idea but, with that name, it sounds like an affliction of a delicate part of one’s anatomy. It was made in 1957 and is based on a prototype by the German manufacturer, Dornier. It sports a 14hp, 250cc engine and can manage 50mph but the real genius of this car is that the back seat faces rearwards affording your passengers the fun of watching a giant Mack truck bear down upon them. I really, really want this car.

As with any form of business, risks must sometimes be taken. It is a nice idea to name a car after the deceased son of the company’s founder but the Edsel Ford was a car too far. In the late 1950’s the American public were not noted for their taste in the automotive department but even they baulked at a vehicle which looks like the ceremonial barge of an eastern potentate. Try parking one at the supermarket!

Some cars can, however, achieve classic car status, despite a flaw that sent the buying public running in the opposite direction. The NSU Ro80 was and still is a great looking car and it ran on a Wankel engine. Now, Mazda have proved that rotary engine technology works but the NSU drank petrol faster than Rab C Nesbitt can down a wee swally. The rotor tips in the engine wore out constantly and engine rebuilds every 30k were commonplace – if you could find a UK mechanic who knew how to fix it.

Even Aston Martin caught an almost fatal cold with the ill-fated Lagonda. The design was and is astonishing and the dashboard would have done justice to the starship Enterprise but it was those very electronics that sounded the death knell. The first example was so bad as to be un-driveable and every one of the 645 built had problems. The other drawback was the stupendous price buyers had to pay for all that 1970’s technology that didn’t work. A shame.

DeLorean, Trabant, any Cadillac, the dreaded Yugo, the dull Ford Scorpio and many others have all gone down the pan in one way or another and yet, in some perverse way, they are all collectors cars. History will show there is place for any of them – under a tarpaulin.

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