Automotive making is a challenging, competitive industry. Car manufacturers constantly work on new, more sophisticated, more powerful prototypes. But not all ideas are good ideas… Although much hope was placed in the car models of this top 5, none of them had the expected success!
DeLorean DMC 12 (1981-1982)
A flat, heavy, stainless steel body, poor performances, striking and stylish yet pretty problematic gull-wing doors… the DeLorean DMC 12 marked our imagination forever by bringing Marty McFly back to the future. But the first and last model produced by the DeLorean Motors Company never really hit it off in real life.
Pontiac Aztek (2001-2005)
The Pontiac Aztek did not have any mechanical problems – it was a decent car. It’s biggest problem, though, was its ugliness. Considerable ugliness. Critics did not have sweet words on its design when it first came out. Ted Laturnus, from the AutoChannel, said “(…) to my eyes, this is one of the most plug-ugly vehicles ever to put rubber to pavement.” It even made Time Magazine’s Top 50 worst inventions, where it was called : “(…) the ugliest vehicle on the planet”.
The Amphicar (1961)
Inspired by the Nazi Schwimmwagen, the Ampicar was designed in 1961 and, as its name suggests, it could be driven both on firm ground and on water. The Amphicar, although audacious, never really conquered the public’s heart. Probably because it had one major flaw: It’s floor was not completely water proof! Instead of fixing this considerable problem, the Amphicar’s makers equipped it with a pump… Not quite reassuring!
Hyundai Excel (1985-1994)
The Korean maker has a strong reputation of liability, thanks to a great customer service and cars such as the popular Hyundai Elantra 2013 or the Hyundai Accent. But it has not always been the case for Hyundai. The Excel was the maker’s first American export… and it was a disaster. Despite a name that suggested excellence, the Hyundai Excel was nowhere near it and presented many serious problems that pissed the American drivers.
Ford Pinto (1971-1980)
The Ford Pinto is the car fail par excellence. Among various engineering mistakes made in its conception, the one truly worth mentioning is the emplacement of the gas tank: right underneath the rear bumper. In the case of a rear end collision, the risks of exploding were really high. Thanks to such features, the Pinto earned nicknames like “Death on wheels” or “Worst mistake in engineering history” and “Barbecue that sits four”. Interesting (and gloomy) fact: Despite the obvious risks that drivers were exposed to while driving the Pinto, Ford decided to keep manufacturing and selling it. Why? The company compared the cost of lawsuits and various fees in case of deathly accidents to the cost of modifying the Pinto’s design. The first option was less costly and more profitable, so Ford kept producing and selling the Pinto for nearly 10 years…
Mireille is a travel, music and theater enthusiast. She wrote for the stage and television, and is now working as a freelance blogger.