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Design Disasters and Discontinued Duds: These Are the 30 Worst Cars of All Time


Peter Gariepy
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4 hours ago, John348 said:

2.2 Chrysler head gaskets were a big money maker on the side for me

Funny I never had to replace a head gasket in any of the 2.2's that our family owned. They did go through MAP sensors like popcorn though. I purchased these for the kids when they were learning to drive. They would get thrashed and still run. I would agree with you on head gaskets in the 2.5 and 2.6's. I believe both were Mitsubishi engines. 

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I think the author of the list is spot on, as far as it goes, but there a lot of earlier cars that are worse than most of the cars on the list. The Plymouth Cricket and Pontiac Aztek are easy picks. So is the Metropolitan and there are many reasons to include the Crosley.  But there are definitely worse cars than the Pinto, the Taurus and the Volare. 

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 Ford Pinto gas tank.

Mustang, Falcon, Mercury Comet, Fairlane intermediate size body. They all had the top of the fuel tank as part of the trunk floor and the same thing could happen to them if hit just right.

 

 M-30 Infiniti poor drivetrain??? The drivetrain and suspension was all 300ZX!

 

 Lincoln Versailles, yes, a takeoff of Granada (and Granada was a take off of Maverick) so what. Seville was a take off or should I say a starting point from NOVA. Lebaron was a take off from Aspen and Volare, so what.

Drive a Versailles and feel a quality ride - especially the 79 with the extended roof and rear quarter.

 

What does Moneywise know about cars????

 

 

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I think that's one of those click bait things that make you go through 30+ pages to read the list. I never really liked "worst of" lists, but I looked through this one for fun. Some cars that obviously didn't deserve to be on it:

 

- Edsel. I like them, and if nothing else the FE engine series is a very good thing that started with those cars.

- Nash Metropolitan. How can anyone not like these? No, they aren't highway cars, but why shouldn't early economy cars be of interest? They had a distinctive look...girls would say "cute." 

- BMW Isetta. I dreamed of having one of these when I was little. Simple things are always cool, in my book. The Isetta gets an A+ for originality.

- Chrysler TC. Nice looking car built by Maserati. I'd love to have one. Still affordable, too , I believe.

- Cadillac Allante. They have to be kidding...that was one of the nicest looking cars of it's era.

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On 12/4/2021 at 8:20 AM, MarkV said:

What no 81-83 imperial with the efi? (Which I love due to its oddity!) I have restored two to full running condition there are less than 20 left with the original efi. 

3922BFAA-67EC-4100-9327-7DEE2100609D.jpeg

There is absolutely no way to tell how many with efi still exist. Some may be hiding.

 

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8 hours ago, keiser31 said:

There is absolutely no way to tell how many with efi still exist. Some may be hiding.

 

Actually there is I have two databases including one that I started. There aren’t really any running ones ‘hiding’ as most were retrofitted or taken off the road due to issues with the efi. Most people do not have the access to parts or know how to repair them and 99% of the time retrofit with a carb or newer injection.

 

in the years I’ve been involved with this era there has only been one unknown running and driving imperial with efi that has popped up worldwide. 
 

these had a production number of around 7k combined all three model years and there are estimated to be under half left. Possibly as few as 1000. They had low trade in, once efi problems set in most were junked. Most of the carbed ones were beat to death as cheap beaters. 

Edited by MarkV (see edit history)
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Interesting reading for me as one who has never owned any of these cars and doubtfully ever will either. I did chase after a 1982 Imperial but lost out because the elderly man hadn't remembered that I was interested in the car. It's just as well that I didn't get it.

Edited by Buffalowed Bill (see edit history)
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I have not personally owned any of these cars, but the company I worked for in a different lifetime bought Pintos for the Engineering department, and Vegas for the Accounting department. The Accounting dept got an average of 30,000 miles before the maintenance exceeded the company maintenance/vehicle policy. The Engineering department averaged well over 150,000 for the Pintos before the maintenance limit was reached. We in Engineering had the choice to also purchase Vegas, and I suggested the use of the Pinto WITH the 2.0 engine.

 

I personally put maybe 80,000 on one of those Pintos, and it was one of the better handling American cars of its time. Handling characteristics saved me from a nasty accident, when I had to leave the road to avoid an oncoming idiot that thought he just had to pass near the top of a hill.

 

As for safety issues, a stopped Pinto was rear-ended by a sleeping semi driver at 70 MPH. The results for the Pinto (or any passenger vehicle) are quite predictable, but the public wanted blood.

 

As for the article, I have long avoided words such as "best", "worst", "first", "last", "biggest", "smallest", etc.; as they are a great starter for an argument.

 

Jon.

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2 hours ago, carbking said:

I have not personally owned any of these cars, but the company I worked for in a different lifetime bought Pintos for the Engineering department, and Vegas for the Accounting department. The Accounting dept got an average of 30,000 miles before the maintenance exceeded the company maintenance/vehicle policy. The Engineering department averaged well over 150,000 for the Pintos before the maintenance limit was reached. We in Engineering had the choice to also purchase Vegas, and I suggested the use of the Pinto WITH the 2.0 engine.

 

I personally put maybe 80,000 on one of those Pintos, and it was one of the better handling American cars of its time. Handling characteristics saved me from a nasty accident, when I had to leave the road to avoid an oncoming idiot that thought he just had to pass near the top of a hill.

 

As for safety issues, a stopped Pinto was rear-ended by a sleeping semi driver at 70 MPH. The results for the Pinto (or any passenger vehicle) are quite predictable, but the public wanted blood.

 

As for the article, I have long avoided words such as "best", "worst", "first", "last", "biggest", "smallest", etc.; as they are a great starter for an argument.

 

Jon.

I'm glad someone came to the defense of the Pinto. Always a little reluctant to give an opinion on anything that I have never owned so I abstained until someone was able to give something more definitive then I had.

 

During the early 80's a good friend, who is recently deceased, was given a 1974 Pinto by his parents when they bought a new car. My friend drove the car into the late 90's. The car was a garaged Pacific NW car so corrosion was of no particular issue. My friend made a career move to Southern California about 1983, and took the Pinto with him.

 

I had many opportunities to ride in and drive the Pinto, both before and after the move. IMO for what it was, and during the time when it came out, I found it to be a very capable car. It was certainly better then some of the other choices available at that time. I personally enjoyed the handling characteristics, because of it's rack and pinion steering.

 

As I said my friend drove the car for decades. I don't want to get into a cultural discussion, but Californians don't tend to wear their cars out, as much of the culture requires a new car to be seen as being successful. Several times during the 90's my friend was offered Pinto parts by strangers. As car guy he obliged and took them. He was also single and successful. Both of these conditions pushed him into selling the car, still all original and in serviceable condition. He said one time that with the spare parts that accumulated he had he could, almost literally, drive it forever. His epitaph for the Pinto was that when his driving the car came to say more about him then it did the car, it was time to cut ties with it. He was also able to unload all the spare parts as part of the deal, thus freeing up storage space. I guess I would say addition by subtraction.

Edited by Buffalowed Bill (see edit history)
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I did own a Run-No in the mid 80s. What a piece of junk. The car was given to me by my mother-in-law to spite me for what? The car had a plastic radiator, never seen one before I owned this. Dealer told me do not throw any more money at this car after trans and radiator. 

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19 hours ago, MarkV said:

Actually there is I have two databases including one that I started. There aren’t really any running ones ‘hiding’ as most were retrofitted or taken off the road due to issues with the efi. Most people do not have the access to parts or know how to repair them and 99% of the time retrofit with a carb or newer injection.

 

in the years I’ve been involved with this era there has only been one unknown running and driving imperial with efi that has popped up worldwide. 
 

these had a production number of around 7k combined all three model years and there are estimated to be under half left. Possibly as few as 1000. They had low trade in, once efi problems set in most were junked. Most of the carbed ones were beat to death as cheap beaters. 

Some of them had the 318 EFI's removed altogether and had 340 4 bbl hi perf. engine installed or 360 E58 hi perf's. That woke them up nicely.

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5 hours ago, Ed Luddy said:

Some of them had the 318 EFI's removed altogether and had 340 4 bbl hi perf. engine installed or 360 E58 hi perf's. That woke them up nicely.

The factory conversion was a two bbl along with a new gas tank, intake and fuel lines. Between parts and man hours it cost chrysler several thousand dollars per vehicle for the conversion. 

any engine replacements would have been aftermarket 

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6 hours ago, MarkV said:

The factory conversion was a two bbl along with a new gas tank, intake and fuel lines. Between parts and man hours it cost chrysler several thousand dollars per vehicle for the conversion. 

any engine replacements would have been aftermarket 

Yes. Mine has the factory conversion. A guy I know did the 340 replacement. Big difference in performance. I would do the same but, I'm too lazy and poor!

nov20crs 004.jpg

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On 12/2/2021 at 5:34 PM, John348 said:

I was surprised not K car on the list? or a Horizon?  2.2 Chrysler head gaskets were a big money maker on the side for me

My brother's first car was a Kcar. A Horizon replaced it. He'll never buy another Chrysler product ever again because of them. 

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