What's our current pick for Worst Car Ever?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

When you want to use a throw-away example of a really BAD car, you always say "my brother's '63 Dodge Dart." In your serious opinion (if you have such), is that really the worst car ever? How about those little Chevys with the motor in the rear? Those AMC Pacers that were as wide as they were long? Those little Fords which exploded if hit in the rear by a grocery shopping cart? I'd be interested in your considered opinion.

TOM: Great question, Dee. I think we'll need to split our awards into categories, because there are many different dimensions of "bad." You've got aesthetics, performance, comfort, and reliability, just to name a few.

RAY: Let's start with aesthetics. When you talk about the ugliest cars ever made, you can't avoid the three initials A.M.C. American Motors made the Pacer, the Hornet, the Gremlin, the Concord, and the list goes on....and on. Each of these designs had to pass a homeliness test before they let it out the door. In fact, I'm convinced that A.M.C. had industrial espionage agents going through the waste baskets at Ford and GM to steal the designs they threw away. Then A.M.C. would sit on them for ten years and let them ferment.

TOM: My vote for the worst performing car of all time would have to go to the VW Diesel Rabbit. Talk about a dog! There were generally two presidential elections held in the time it took this car to go from 0-60.

RAY: VW also takes home a trophy in the discomfort category. In particular, the nod goes to the old, air-cooled, Volkswagen Microbus. Not only have I ridden camels that made my butt less sore, but you could never get enough heat in the winter. And because the passenger compartment was so big, your body heat would never make a difference. In the Microbus, you'd need a family of panting St. Bernards with to keep the temperature above freezing.

TOM And finally, we get to our most competitive category, reliability. Our winner has to be Fiat. You've heard of the high school equivalency diploma, right? Well, owning a Fiat gave you a mechanical equivalency degree. When you went to apply for a mechanic's job, they said "where have you worked before." And if you said "I owned a Fiat," they said "Great. When can you start?"

RAY: And as for the '63 Dodge Dart, to set the record straight, it was not a terrible car for its time. It's my brother's car in PARTICULAR that is an unmitigated piece of junk.

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