The 12 Worst Cars Ever Made, Ranked In Order

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Not every vehicle created, produced, and sold to the general public is successful. Automobile manufacturers have an equal chance of making a failure as a successful one.

There have been many actual duds throughout the history of the car, whether it’s an unattractive design, subpar engineering, or just an old lemon that drives off buyers. Many are now notorious and will permanently be etched in the public’s memory.

Overland OctoAuto (1911)

Photo by Monstera Production

Milton Reeves appeared to have an inferior vision and a rigid skull. Although the basic design of the vehicle was primarily resolved in the first ten years of the 1900s, especially with regard to the four wheels, Reeves believed that at least six or even eight wheels would result in a more comfortable ride.

Reeves constructed the OctoAuto by welding certain parts onto a 1910 Overland and adding two extra axles and four more gun cart-style wheels. He proudly displayed it during the first Indianapolis 500. Like its moniker, which belonged in a Marvel Comics, the automobile was quite the monster, standing over 20 feet long.

Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo (1913)

Photo by Amina Filkins

The Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo was a ridiculous motorcycle that weighed 3,200 pounds and had training wheels, a V8 engine, and enough copper tubing to outfit every hillbilly in the Ozarks with a still. James Scripps-Booth, an auto engineer and the heir to the Scripps publishing fortune, experimented with it independently without any formal training. With its 37-inch wooden wheels supporting its significant weight, the Bi-Autogo was a two-wheeled vehicle.

The driver might lower the little wheels on the outriggers to steady the car and prevent it from toppling over at moderate speeds. This isn’t an instance of the benefit of hindsight; even in 1913, it was clear that this was a stupid concept. You may say the Bi-Autogo is the start of even more incredible stupidity, but it does have the historical distinction of being the first car ever to be constructed in Detroit with a V8 engine.

Briggs and Stratton Flyer (1920)

Photo by Nikolina

The automobile had evolved from a crude experiment by 1920. Automobile manufacturers like Voisin, Rolls-Royce, Cadillac, and Hispano-Suiza were producing powerful and opulent vehicles that embodied the technological advancements of their day. And then there was this, the Flyer, essentially a park seat with a motor mounted on a bicycle.

No windshield, no bodywork, and no suspension. It was a five-wheeler, with the little 2-hp Briggs and Stratton engine acting as an outboard motor-like traction wheel on the rear, similar to a boat. The Flyer stands for something we’ll see on this list: the desire to create the cheapest, most basic car imaginable.

Oldsmobile Diesel

photo by Jose

Since the same engine was utilized throughout the lineup and destroyed the automobile, this item covers a variety of vehicles. Automakers faced several challenges in the 1970s, including new safety and pollution laws, a fuel crisis, and an inflation-driven recession.

Oldsmobile decided to use its engineers to create a new diesel engine, even though GM had a division building sturdy and dependable heavy trucks for decades (via Motor Biscuit). The company developed V6 and V8 engines that were available for the 1978 model year. The V8 was a novel design, despite the widespread misconception that it was essentially a tiny gas block converted to diesel; nonetheless, it did have some proportions in common with its gas siblings.

Bricklin SV1

Photo by Monstera Production

The 1975 Bricklin SV1 automobile is comparable to a terrible DeLorean DMC-12, but it lacks a memorable film like Back to the Future to compensate for its awful image. The slick-talking businessman Malcolm Bricklin created the SV1, dubbed the “car of the future” because of its 100-pound gullwing doors, which resembled those on the DeLorean.

The abbreviation SV1, marketed as “a safer car of the future” at auto exhibitions, stands for “Safety Vehicle 1.” But the vehicle’s body, which is entirely composed of plastic—the same plastic used in Playschool furniture found in Kindergarten classrooms throughout the nation—doesn’t appear to fit the concept of safety. Additional safety measures included detachable bumpers and the elimination of the ashtrays and lighters from

Lamborghini LM002 (1986)

Photo by volodymyr melnyk via canva

This V12-powered monster dune buggy makes the list—or at least mine—because of its horrible customer base. Lamborghini marketed the “Rambo Lambo,” a civilian version of a military vehicle, to Saudi Arabia and Libya, among other democratic nations. Pampered young Saudi sheiks wishing to examine their oil field holdings from the other side of the dunes were drawn to the opulent LM002.

The U.S. military joyfully demolished Uday Hussein, the son of Saddam, during a 2004 “test” to mimic the effects of a vehicle bomb. The LM002 is the precursor to the Hummer H2, another massive and superfluous SUV that exudes blatant disregard for human decency. Continue reading.

Plymouth Prowler (1997)

Image provided by: Alex Green

With the advent of sophisticated new computer tools by the mid-1990s, automobile designers could take on high-zoot. These low-volume projects previously would never have paid for their creation. Among these projects was The Prowler. With its open-wheel front end and low-slung hotrod fuselage, the Prowler resembled a dry-lake speedster from the twenty-first century, if not outright copied from Chip Foose’s retro-roadster design.

However, they neglected to include a hotrod. Chrysler installed a 3.5-liter V6 standard under the hood to keep prices down, producing a respectable 250 horsepower. Because the Prowler lacked a manual gearbox, applying the hot rubber stripes was nearly impossible. That led to a flimsy little jerk of a car that made a lot of threats but delivered very little.

Fiat Multipla (1998)

Photo by Kampus Production

Fiat has a long-standing honorific named “Multipla.” Based on the Fiat 600, the business produced a cute microvan in the 1950s and 1960s. When the Multipla first debuted in 1998, it was anything but cute. The Multipla resembled an irradiated tadpole with its odd high-beam lenses located at the base of the windshield, near the bottom of the A-pillars.

It was everything on dwarf-sized wheels, with a large, glass cabin in the rear and this strange proboscis out front. While it operated well when I hired one in Europe, the sight of it was heartbreaking.

Pontiac Aztek (2001)

Photo by Gary Barnes

The day GM debuted the Pontiac Aztek, I was in the Detroit auto show audience, and I will never forget the gasps from the crowd. Heaven forbids! If this automobile had a Swastika tattoo on its forehead, it would have been significantly disliked immediately. Later interviews with GM designers revealed that the previously rugged and cool-looking Aztek design had been fussed over, trimmed down, and generally compromised to the point that it was reduced to a vast, plastic-clad mess. These designers, for the sake of civility, will remain anonymous. A typical instance of narrative collapse.

One of the fundamental laws of automobile design is broken by Aztek: people want cars that resemble them. Dogs scream at the Aztek because of its deformed appearance and extra nostrils; churches use it as a bell-ringing device (compare., Fiat Multipla). Regretfully, underneath all that unsightliness, there was a functional and proficient crossing.

Hummer H2 (2003)

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

It’s difficult to imagine a worse car at a worse moment. The Hummer H2 sent all the wrong messages when it was first introduced, just after 9/11, an event whose causes were intertwined with America’s insatiable oil consumption. The H2 was a vindictive, reactive car meant to respond to ideas that perhaps we shouldn’t all be commuting in tanks that only get 10 miles per gallon.

The reaction from the green niks was predictable. In Southern California, a dealership selling Hummers was set on fire. For GM, who was crushing and repossessing the few EV1 electric cars at the time, the H2 was also a PR disaster. All of this added to GM’s growing reputation as the Dick Cheney of automakers.

Chevy SSR (2004)

photo by Epicurious

Astonishingly, GM failed to draw lessons from the Plymouth Prowler incident, mainly because GM and Chrysler share a town. GM commissioned the Chevy SSR, a hotrod pickup truck with composite body panels and a sleek convertible top, to channel some vintage glamour.

Unfortunately, the SSR’s chassis and mechanicals were taken from GM’s corporate midsize SUV development, which means that the apparent performance vehicle is underpowered, overweight, and blatantly indolent. Chevy increased its SSR in the following years, but its reputation faded.

Chevrolet Vega

Image credit: George Dolgikh/

In the early 1970s, American automakers were all about little vehicles. The Vega was Chevrolet’s attempt to cater to this particular market niche. It was a cute, sporty little car with much promise when it first came out. Despite being sluggish, the Vega has excellent looks and is enjoyable to drive. Chevrolet sold 277,700 of them in its first year of availability because buyers snatched them up immediately.

Regretfully, issues with the vehicles appeared immediately for Chevrolet. Popular Mechanics stated that rust was a significant issue and that front fenders would require replacement after a few seasons in the bitterly cold Northeastern winters. Rust was an uncommon problem that even owners on the arid West Coast had to deal with. Additionally, improper cooling of the cooling system resulted in head gasket failures and warped cylinders, which ultimately caused the engine to fail.

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