Every now and then somebody builds a car that, quite frankly, they shouldn’t have; perhaps it was a model that simply never had a market, or maybe it was the wrong car for the time and place. Motor manufacturers rarely find it easy to admit mistakes, but sometimes they have no option.
Take the legendary Ford Edsel; in fact, that’s not quite right, as Edsel was supposed to be a stand-alone brand in the Ford family aimed at tackling rivals such as Pontiac and Dodge head on. It was – as above – very much the wrong car, at the wrong time. Not only was it plagued by quality issues, it was also hideously expensive to make, and was launched in the face of a major economic downturn. In short, the Edsel could never have made money, and should have been shelved at the design stage. We all learn from our mistakes.
Let’s hop over the pond for the next case: Aston Martin is a name revered in automobile circles across the world for its sublime high performance touring sports cars. Then there’s the Cygnet. The Aston Martin Cygnet is simply a tarted up Toyota iQ, a small city car with few redeeming features to begin with. Bedecked with luxury trimmings, an Aston Martin grille and badge, and a ridiculous price tag, it begs the simple question: why? The answer evades me.
Staying in Europe, let’s take a look at the wonderful Austin Allegro. This was a car that looked like a hatchback, but wasn’t. Perhaps if it had been a hatchback it might not have been so bad. Ugly, sluggish and behind the time, it somehow sold in decent numbers, yet suffered from the traditional abysmal build quality that British Leyland was so good at back in the 1970’s. Then there’s the sort of but not quite square steering wheel. Why try to reinvent the wheel? Hideous, that’s the word.
A quick trip back to the USA for our next pick, the Chrysler PT Cruiser. There’s just one word to describe this machine: silly. Very, very silly. OK, so it was meant to attract the retro crowd, those looking to relive their youth with a sort of custom but not really car. But it didn’t: it just looked very, very silly. Slow, cumbersome and with depreciation that was eye-watering, they be banned on the grounds of being ridiculous. I rest my case.
Finally – at least for now – we will look at a car that was simply wrong, on all counts, the Pontiac Aztek. Made famous as the car that the guy in Breaking Bad drove, this utterly hideous machine was just so bad it will probably attain classic status in the future. Let’s hope it doesn’t, for it is not worth it. An absolute disaster: if you should see one, kill it.
Perhaps you own one of the above – if so, we’re deeply sorry – or you have a disaster on wheels of your own to nominate. Go ahead, we’re open to suggestions!