12 Cars with the Worst Designs in the Automotive History

The automobile industry has had a lot of ups and downs in its long and arduous history of vehicle designs. While we have come across some marvelous designs from reputed car manufacturers all over the world, there have been some disastrous models too that suffered commercial failure while also driving down the company’s name and fame. Here are our top picks of cars that should never have been built.

1982 Cadillac Cimarron

Cadillac is known primarily for its well-designed car models that have established the name of Cadillac as a leader in the car industry. However, the 1982 Cimarron was one car that Cadillac would probably want to be erased from its manufacturing history. Known to be just a refurbished version of the Chevrolet Cavalier, the Cimarron made very few sales and dragged down the Cadillac name which took a long time to recover.

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1974 Mustang II

The Mustang II suffered from a major design flaw that made the manufacturer stop the car’s production soon after its launch. The Mustang II had an oil tank built into the rear side of the car. This inexplicably complex design led to a significant security hazard as many cars burst into flames when they were rear-ended. A lesson well learned, any car designer in the world has never repeated this flaw.

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2003 Saturn Ion

Saturn’s Ion is probably one of the most uncomfortable cars ever to have been manufactured. With interiors designed like a toy story playground and a heavy plastic coating on the exterior, the Ion was one car model that did not find a lot of customers. Thankfully it was taken off the market soon after the Great Recession when its parent company General Motors axed Saturn.

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1958 Edsel Corsair

The Edsel Corsair by Ford was a monstrosity of a car and was one of the most hated cars of that decade. Ford spent more than 300 million in building this car and came up with something that was not just technologically weak but was also neither comfortable nor safe for driving. Add to it that sizeable ugly grill, and it became one car that everyone wanted to stay far away from.

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1981 DeLorean DMC-12

The 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 was probably the first car to be modeled after a spaceship. Invented by John Z. DeLorean, the car became popular after being featured in Back to the Future series. However, it was a big flop commercially owing to some safety and performance issues. For one, there was always the danger of getting trapped inside the car in case of an electrical failure. Moreover, would you believe that the car took more than 20 minutes just to reach a speed of 88kmph? There were also reports of the car leaking when wet.

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1957 Trabant T50

The 1957 Traband T50 was designed in a hurry and built by impoverished workers of East Germany who probably didn’t have the heart to build it anyway. The car’s body was made of Duroplast, a material which was essentially comprised of wood and copper fiber which was mixed with resin to give it a plastic-y look. The car’s horsepower readings were abysmally low, and there was a high chance of the side paneling falling off in high speeds. In spite of so many shortcomings, the car became quite popular at the time of its launch and even had a 10-year waiting list at one point.

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2001 Pontiac Aztec

The car was made popular by two TV shows. The first-ever season of Survivor gave away the Pontiac Aztec as the prize for the season winner. The second show was Breaking Bad where the Aztec was a regular feature as the main character’s vehicle of choice for his daily commute. In spite of these, the Aztec is still seen as the main reason for the demise of the Pontiac brand. Impractical design and zero reliability regarding the safety of passengers contributed to the Aztec’s market failure.

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1971 Chevrolet Vega

The Chevrolet Vega was another car model whose failure can be attributed to its poor design and quality of the material. Though the General Motors-owned brand did churn up some superb models in the later years, the Vega was one that led to a lot of disappointment among customers. The car’s bumper was of such poor design that it started gathering rust at the start of its first winter season. Moreover, the engine would also heat up after the car had run a few miles and after about 100 miles or so, the engine would lose the ability to retain oil which means that it couldn’t oil its pistons and tumblers.

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2002 PT Cruiser Convertible

The PT Cruiser was not necessarily a bad car as far as its quality and features were concerned. It gave a pretty decent performance even though it was far from what is considered top of the line. However, its looks were what led to its downfall. The car was neither designed for a race car look nor as a truck but somewhere in the middle which ultimately did not work in its favor. It was considered to be a big eyesore, and it quickly went off the streets for this reason alone.

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1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV

Lincoln has produced some of the most iconic car models that have come to be associated with the American way of living in every way. The 1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV, however, failed to make the cut. Severe performance issues led to its downfall, and it’s lower than average looks added nothing to its favor. The Mark IV was considered to be a big, ugly and slow car that had to struggle even to travel a short distance.

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2002 Citroen Pluriel

The main reason why the Citroen Pluriel failed to cast much of an impression with buyers was that of its outdated technology. Designed to be a convertible with a rollback hood, the Citroen Pluriel was one of the few cars of its time where the driver had to roll back the hood manually. Considering that other car models had automized roll back hoods, the Pluriel lagged behind its competitors in this aspect. It was just too much of a hassle for the driver to roll back the hood manually which is why this car’s sales tanked pretty quickly.

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1976 Chevy Chevette

The Chevette’s unpopularity is apparent just by looking at what a short time it remained in production. Lasting for less than a year since its day of launch, the Chevette did not find a lot of buyers and was soon put out of production. The abysmally low 51 horsepower made the Chevette one of the weakest cars of the century and impractical for any use. Plus, it made a deafening noise when it ran which was all the more reason for not buying it.

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