Looking for a wild ride? Hopefully it’s not in one of these cars.
While some car designs are classic, others are more like a blight on automobile manufacturers’ permanent records.
From cars that served as accidental flame-throwers to futuristic cars that perhaps should have been left in the past, these five failed automobiles are cautionary tales within the automotive industry.
Chevrolet SSR (2003–2006)
Ah, the SSR (short for “Super Sport Roadster”). This ill-fated auto makes you wonder: Who dreamed up a convertible hardtop pickup truck that looks like a cartoon vehicle and thought it was a great idea?
Not only was this vehicle strange-looking, but apparently only Boomers were willing to shell out $40,000 for the SSR — the average age of an owner is 67. In spite of efforts to revamp the design, the SSR never took off, and it was eventually taken out of Chevy’s inventory.
DeLorean DMC-12 (1981–1983)
In one regard, the DeLorean was a massive success. After all, how many cars have a lasting legacy like this one, thanks to its role in the classic 1980s movie “Back to the Future”?
While it is iconic, the DeLorean DMC-12 was not a commercial success.
Perhaps part of the problem was that they made a last-minute switch in production. Originally, production was going to be done in Puerto Rico, but then in the final hour it was switched to the U.K. thanks to a cut-rate cost that the company couldn’t resist.
But the cheap labor was in fact cheap. The cars were poorly made and didn’t have much pep. Things were already looking dismal for the DeLorean, but when the car’s creator was arrested for drug-related charges, production ceased.
Ford Edsel (1958-1960)
The Edsel offers a great example of the adage “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
When the Ford Edsel came out, Henry Ford II was pretty confident it was going to be a great success. He even named it after his son Edsel. There was a year of teasing advertising leading up to its release. Once the car was released, though, the public did not welcome it with open arms.
It tried to be a revolutionary car, but it missed the mark. People thought it was weird-looking, overpriced, and not worthy of the hype. They also thought it had a weird name.
After all was said and done, the Edsel cost Ford a staggering $350 million when you figure in production, development, and advertising. To this day, it’s seen as a famous symbol of corporate failure.
Ford Pinto (1971-1980)
Don’t forget your fire extinguisher! In the 1970s, it was a race to release the most inexpensive car on the market. This was the age of the Gremlin, the Vega … and the Ford Pinto.
Many of these cars had issues, but the Pinto’s problems turned out to be deadly.
You see, the gas tank was located near the car’s rear axle. In the case of a rear collision, it offered zero protection. That is to say, if you were hit from behind, the gas tank might turn into an accidental flame thrower.
As you might imagine, lawsuits ensued, and the car was put to rest in 1980.
Yugo GV (1985-1992)
This car is often called “the worst car in history.”
At the time it was introduced, the Yugo was the cheapest car in America. It seemed like it had some good things going for it. It was cheap, was gas efficient, and it cost only $3,990.
It was also unattractive, poorly built, and didn’t perform very well. It stalled often, the brakes failed, and the doors had a nasty habit of becoming loose.
It remained in the U.S. only until 1992, but it remained in production in Kosovo until 2008. Even after the company was bombed in the 1990s during a raid in Kosovo, it was rebuilt, but production ceased soon after as the car was taken over by the Fiat.