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Stephen Lyons

"Worst Cars" list

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Stephen,

Chris Harvey I think first made that point in his book <span style="font-style: italic">TR for Triumph</span>, and everyone else has pretty much chimed in since. Graham Robson (<span style="font-style: italic">The Triumph TR's, The Works Triumphs, Triumph TR's, A Complete History, The Story of Triumph Sports Cars, Triumph Cars (From Tri-Car to Acclaim</span>) has written extensively on the same subject as well. It's rather a sore point among us LBC (Little British Car) fans! BL management was very "Triumph heavy" at it's formation, and that colored their decisions greatly.

One of the more humorous items discovered was that the TR7 was designed based on a sketch that a board member made of a potential next product. That sketch was followed faithfully, including the Buick-like S-curve embossed into the side of the car. The board member later admitted he was just drawing a cartoon of what was wanted, and didn't want nor like the now controversial S-curve! crazy.gif

It is forgotten today that Triumph outsold <span style="font-style: italic">and</span> out performed MG every year of their coexistence, so that coloring isn't entirely unforgivable. (A stock Pinto would out accelerate, top end, and out handle an MGB by the mid-1970's!) Never the less it's obvious that there should've been more thought put into BL's product decisions of the 1970's. The labor problem was obviously a serious miscalculation on <span style="font-style: italic">BOTH</span> sides, and makes a great counterpoint to the Toyota system of labor relations.

It was a sad squandering of an automotive legacy. frown.gif

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My sister has a TR-7 in her garage, she let me drive it once. I am just over 6 feet tall and could barely fit into the little car. While trying to drive the car through the streets of Long Island, I was almost in an accident due to the closeness of the break/clutch pedals. My feet were too big and I couldn't hit the break! I promply pulled the car over and made her drive for the rest of the trip.

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I am surprised that no one has added the early '80's Caddies equipped with the underpowered and hastily conceived 4100 engine, they would flatten a cam, shred a timing chain and warp a head at the slightest provocation.

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I hope it doesn't seem like I'm trying to trash the auto industry of the U.K.

Reviewing my list, it does seem fairly evenhanded in its international composition, which was not something I did consciously. The Koreans were spared, although now that I think about it, I might have listed the abominable Pontiac "LeMans" that was imported some years back. The Japanese suffered only from the Dishonorable Mention of the Subaru 360, which mostly was just plain unsuited to driving conditions in this country (don't know what Malcom Bricklin was thinking in bringing it over here). The West Germans got a pass, too, although they have had a few clunkers - the NSU Ro80 comes to mind on account of its durability problems, but one might tend to forgive that given the company's taking a chance by being at the leading edge of Wankel technology.

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My Mom and Dad had an '86 New Yorker, a real POJ. Thank Goodness for the extended warranty, although it seemed like every time something went wrong it was one of those "The warranty doen't cover this particular thing." The paint peeled off. It was plagued with engine trouble. The LED intstrument panel went out. Before the parts could come in, it ran hot, but Daddy didn't know it. Warped the head. Can't say they were all that bad, but this one was certainly a lemon. Didn't learn their lesson, though. Traded it in on Voyager. It wasn't much better. Couple that with the POJ Dodge Avenger my son owns...... Think I'll stay away from those Chrysler products. frown.gif

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I am surprised that no one has added the early '80's Caddies equipped with the underpowered and hastily conceived 4100 engine, they would flatten a cam, shred a timing chain and warp a head at the slightest provocation. </div></div>

Not to mention the 8-6-4 engine management debacle.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">how 'bout anything and I mean ANYTHING with a Lucas electrical system ? </div></div>

My Metropolitan has Lucas electrical in it. Your right, very finicky. As long as you keep all the grounds clean, they perform pretty good.

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Geeze, I really like some of the cars mentioned in this thread.

But on another note....

For the sake of automotive history maybe collectors ought to be making a real effort to obtain and preserve these unlikely objects of ones automotive affections.

Especially the ones that had a hard time making it off the showroom floor if they happened to be lucky enough to be sold, like the 72 Datsun pickup I bought new.

Yikes, that thing didn't make it 50 miles before I needed a tow truck to get it back to the dealership. Maybe I just got a lemon. I traded it in on a new Ford less than two month later.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

For the sake of automotive history maybe collectors ought to be making a real effort to obtain and preserve these unlikely objects of ones automotive affections.</div></div>

You raise a really good point. For all that were sold, how many Vegas have escaped the salvage yard? Aside from the Cosworth model, a very small percentage, I'm sure. For that matter, despite their vaunted durability, how many 60's & 70's vintage Japanese cars are still on the road? Remember the sharp little Toyota Corona hardtop circa 1969? Or the very cute Datsun 1200 coupe from around 1972? Both sold very well, especially out here in California, but I can't recall having seen a surviving example of either in years.

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I wanted to throw out one more question. Are there any vehicles being made today that may qualify for a future "worst" list? I realize that few (if any) cars presently manufactured have the overwhelming mechanical or workmanship problems that plagued some selections from 20 or 30 years ago, but under the "ill-conceived" criterion, there might be some candidates, based on unorthodox styling & design (a difficult thing to predict, whether this will later endear or alienate). How about the Pontiac Aztek? Future treasured collectible or discarded trash? The cartoonish Toyota Echo? The Honda Element?

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Oh you must mean the Honda "Uglement"....

and to think some people said the Aztek is ugly. (Yes it is)

In fact when you look up "ugly" in the Websters dictionary,

a picture of the "Uglement" is there.

It looks like they forgot to finish painting it...

among other things!

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> ....but under the "ill-conceived" criterion, there might be some candidates, based on unorthodox styling & design (a difficult thing to predict, whether this will later endear or alienate).</div></div>

Anything, and I mean <span style="font-style: italic">anything</span>, with "Hummer" embossed into it. speechless-smiley-029.gif No doubt. speechless-smiley-010.gif

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I forget exactly who it was.Willie Willock or Austie Clark who told me, "If there are few examples of a particular car left there is probably a very good reason for their disappearance".

A statement I wholeheartedly endorse...........

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">My list of icky cars might inculde the Chevy Cavalier, the Eagle Premiere, Dodge Dynasty, early Hyundais, Renault Dauphine, and Datsun B210. </div></div>

A friend e-mailed me to suggest a really bad car that no one had mentioned yet - the 70's vintage Monza (not the Corvair of the same name); he referred to it as "a Vega in drag."

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Stephen, A Monza? The perfect "first" car! Bought my oldest son one back in '89, $350.00 running. Great little car, didn't burn any oil, hardly any gas, but it hated soybean fields. Seems young son was demonstrating his driving skills on a back road and the bean field got in the way. <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> Drove the old beater home. I swear the wheels were wobbling. <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> We checked it over and everything still seemed to work. He always had a friend with him, the navigator. I told the boy he should go back to navigator school after the field excusion. Anyway, I get a phone call from navigator's Dad, wants to know when I'm going to buy my boy a decent car since the right door on the Monza had a tendency to open on hard left turns. <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> I say, "Hey, it's got seatbelts, besides, what fool would buy a newly licenced driver a newer decent car to run into beanfields with?" Nav's Dad wasn't happy, but he wasn't paying the bills. Actually he was in the Body Shop business! So, this is the lesson learned long ago by me putting young people on the highway.... Buy them the cheapest thing you can find that runs and pray they don't run over YOU before they learn how to drive. MONZA"S Forever!!!! <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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This model is a favorite in the four banger class at my local stock car track (quarter mile dirt).

There was also a Buick badged version of this car (the Skyhawk) & I'm not sure, but the Oldsmobile Starfire might also have been essentally the same.

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The Monza, Skyhawk, Starfire and the Pontiac Sunbird were all the same car. A 25 to 30 year old lightweight body that (with an ungodly amount of shoehorning) can fit a sbc. Yet you never see them. Ever. Hmmmmm.... speechless-smiley-034.gif

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A fellow near me has a 76 Monza Spyder. Beautiful car!

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The Monza, Skyhawk, Starfire and the Pontiac Sunbird were all the same car. </div></div>

I was aware that the Sunbird was also an H-body, but my recollection was that it did not so closely resemble the Monza as did the other two (Skyhawk & Starfire Firenza).

I would concede that from the standpoint of styling & aerodynamics, the Monza was ahead of its time, for sure.

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The Monza??

I remember back in 1980 my dad and I were at Hershey for the fall meet and we were camped out in the back of the truck in what is now the White Field. I can remember the one night we're sleeping in the back of the truck and heard a loud tire screeching and then a BANG!! We both woke up, to find a brand new Monza with the whole side smashed in that was hit by a pickup pulling into what is now the White Field. When the guy got out of the Monza he was yelling "you dumb S.O.B. this is a brand new car and I haven't been home with this yet!" Everytime I see a dark blue metallic Monza with the turbine style hubcaps painted in the body color, I still remember that night I got woke up while sleeping in the back, and waking up to see a brand new car with the whole side pushed in.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> I was aware that the Sunbird was also an H-body, but my recollection was that it did not so closely resemble the Monza as did the other two (Skyhawk & Starfire Firenza). </div></div>

Depends on which Monza you're talking about! (The non-Chevy version images here are from the Monza Clones Homepage.).

78whitesunbirdformula.jpg

Sunbird

80monza.jpg

Monza

rschruefers78blackfirenza.jpg

Firenza

77whiteBuickSkyhawk.jpg

Skyhawk

The Monza and Sunbird were additionally available as notchback coupes:

MarcoGigliosSunbird.jpg76PontiacSunbirdCoupe.gif

Sunbird

monza01.jpg

Monza

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Dave, The Blue notchback coupe was like my son's, except dark blue..faded to light. <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> The interior plastic door panels were deterioating(SIC) like termites had gotten to them. Can't imagine why we put up with cars like that in those days! Oh, yeh, mine was cheap, I forgot! <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Wayne

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