Cars have always had the ability to capture our imagination. In North America, our lives are centered around our vehicles and we generally can’t imagine living without them.
Sure, most major cities have public transit, but it just isn’t quite the same. There’s something about the freedom of being able to hop in your own car and go for a drive anywhere you like that we can’t live without.
There are also some cars that have captured our imagination for all the wrong reasons. Some of them feature major design flaws and others were simply stylistic nightmares – in some cases, you have to wonder what on earth the engineers were thinking of. Here are the five biggest car flops of all time.
The Ford Pinto
The Ford Pinto is one of the most notorious vehicles to ever grace the roads in North America. This vehicle gained its notoriety in the 70’s with a major design flaw – it had this awkward tendency of blowing up when it was rear-ended. As it turned out there was a problem with the fuel tank which caused this and apparently some folks at Ford knew all about it. This left the public very skeptical and even after Ford had fixed the problem the car was never able to recover.
The Ford Edsel
The biggest problem with the Ford Edsel was that it was simply a bit of an eyesore. It had a huge grill which most people thought was very unattractive and considering the amount of hype that went into the launch of this car people were extremely disappointed when they finally got to see it.
Another major issue with this car was that it was an automatic car with buttons on the steering wheel for switching gears. People could not get used to this at all and half the time when they went to beep their horn they ended up accidentally switching gears. It was a design flaw that definitely makes you scratch your head.
When the Yugo was introduced to the North American market it was viewed with a little bit of skepticism. This was a vehicle attempting to make its mark in the capitalist West imported from the communist Yugoslavia – it wasn’t a very good fit at all. It was certainly attractive for its price tag, which was well under any North American model, but it was mechanically unreliable and was doomed to failure. Not to mention it was a pretty ugly vehicle.
The Pontiac Fiero
The Pontiac Fiero was not a bad looking vehicle and it was greeted with a lot of anticipation when it was first launched in the 80s. Unfortunately, its internal design flaws soon dampened any enthusiasm that people had for this car. This car was plagued with engine problems, it had a poor suspension, and it was prone to combust during collisions much like the Pinto before it.
The Pontiac Aztec
The Aztec didn’t have any major design flaws to speak of, but it flopped nonetheless. Mechanically it was average, but it was its exterior that really made it stand out – in a bad way. This vehicle was one of the most awkward looking things to ever grace the roads.
It’s hard to describe it other than to say it looked like the designers had one thing in mind and then changed their minds halfway through. The end result was one of the ugliest designs for vehicle ever produced. Sales for this vehicle never got off the ground and it was only in production for a few years.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of automobile flops by any means – there are dozens more. It’s amazing to think that any of these vehicles ever got off the design floor, but they did and now they’re part of automotive history.
It would be nice to think that the era of terrible vehicles like this is behind us, but I’ve no doubt we’ll see some terrible mistakes in the future as well.