GREAT CARMAKERS THAT COMMITTED CRIMES AGAINST CAR HUMANITY
Some carmakers will go down in history for giving us some of the greatest four-wheeled machinery the world has ever seen. Here and now in 2017 carmakers are pitched against each other in a continuing game of one-upmanship when it comes to their latest and greatest products.
Things though have not always been this good; some carmakers have committed acts of such awfulness that they can only be described as crimes against car humanity everywhere.
ASTON MARTIN CYGNET
The best press shot I could find – because you can hardly see it
What’s to say really, it’s a Hotpoint washing machine with some Aston Martin badges and a bit of nice leather inside and not a whole lot else.
This horrid little car was essentially a Toyota iQ (read as Hotpoint) that looked like a washing machine from certain angles that couldn’t be improved in any way or form by sticking a load of fancy Aston Martin badges and trim to it. This £30,000 city-car was introduced in an attempt to pacify the emissions lawmakers. Unlike the V12 powered models, this tiny car took 11.5 seconds to get to 60mph, merely confirming that it was slow as well as being horrid to look at.
It’s a Volkswagen, end of…..
The 924 was introduced in 1976 and was the first road-going Porsche to be built with a front-engine, rear wheel drive layout. It was also the first Porsche to be offered with a fully automatic gearbox – after this rather inauspicious start, things got worse when Porsche enthusiasts branded the performance as ‘mediocre’ at best.
There are several reasons for all this mediocreness; firstly the car was developed as a project by Volkswagen who decided to kill it because they didn’t like sporty things. Porsche then bought the project to replace the 914. From here things got even worse as VW and Audi had already supplied most of the parts. The engine was Volkswagen’s own mated to an Audi 4-speed gearbox. Porsche later tried to fix the problem producing various still terrible versions with turbocharged motors producing up to 245hp to little avail amongst Porsche fans the world over.
MERCEDES A-CLASS (W168)
Should have turned this image portrait…..
The small A-Class was always going to be a tough pill to swallow for fans of the three-pointed star, the looks were controversial and a far step away from the large luxury cars that had previously come out of Stuttgart. Even more bizarre is that somehow its designer won Autocar Magazines ‘Designer of the Year’ in 1997 for quite possibly one of the ugliest cars ever to wear the famed badge.
The W168 will most famously be remembered though for being unable to complete the “elk test” performed by Swedish magazine Teknikens Varld. During the attempt, the car flipped over which cost Mercedes DM 300 million to suspend sales for the 3-month period it took to fix the car with various modifications.
A wide angle lense was used to capture this shot….
For reasons that will only ever be known to themselves, Lamborghini decided to unleash this monster upon the world, the 2,700kg LM002. Just 13 short years before the Italian design house was producing the stunning Miura – how this evolution happened we will never know.
The kindest thing you could say about the LM002 is that it has a presence, by that I mean it’s huge and slab sided and been hit by the ugly stick from every possible angle. To be blunt though, it has to be one of those ideas that should have never left the design department.
Originally conceived as a military vehicle, it was powered by Lambo’s own 5.2-litre V12 with a respectable 444bhp which resulted in a very un-Lambo like sprint to 60mph in sub 8 seconds.
BMW 3-SERIES COMPACT (E46)
Why BMW?, just why….
The BMW 3-Series Compact is one of those Marmite cars, as in you either love it or hate it. Let me put it this way for you, is it a good idea to take a rather smart looking E46 coupe, chop its bottom off and give it a front end facelift meaning that it looks rather odd and awkward from virtually every angle.
Not to mention the loss of back end makes it less practical and not as easy to live with. Why BMW did this we will never know – if you walked into a BMW dealer in the early 2000’s and asked them for a slightly worse version of a 3-Series coupe, chances are you ended up with one of these. BMW did eventually get the message after this generation and thankfully killed it off.
Terrible, just terrible….
In 2005 Ford revealed the magnificent rebirth of the GT to the world in a remake everyone had yearned after for many years – what they managed to hide from the world though was the fact that they were still making this horrid remake of the iconic Thunderbird.
Thankfully Ford killed of this retro-inspired thing of terribleness in mid-2005 never to be seen again.
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF R CONVERTIBLE
Let’s make it worse than the normal model and charge more money….
When handing out an award for ‘Making A Rubbish Version Of A Great Car’, Volkswagen will be in contention with the drop-top version of the Mk6 Golf R.
The roof was binned along with the all-wheel drive system, meaning that all 261bhp had to go through the front wheels. As you will all be aware the loss of the roof means that the floor has to be strengthened to stop the car flopping around – this meant that the R drop-top gained 45kg over its standard sibling, all this weight gain and loss of traction meant a 0-62 run of 6.4 seconds, a whole second behind the standard car.
One of the worst things about this car though is the price; £38,770 was the cost of entry, around £6k more than the faster, more nimble and better hard top version. It was such a bad seller for Volkswagen that they even chopped (excuse the pun!) £5k off the price to get sales moving.
HONOURABLE MENTION – TOYOTA PRIUS (ALL OF THEM)
Saved the worst for last…….
No list of awfulness would be complete without mentioning the horrid smugness-inducing thing known as the Prius. Introduced in 1997 where just a few short years before Toyota had given us the brilliance of the A80 Supra.
Confusion will forever reign about how they went from such brilliance to something that’s about as interesting as a postage stamp