Monday, August 27, 2012

The Ugliest Cars Ever Produced

   Every once in a while a motor company comes up with an idea for a vehicle so fresh, so new, so ground breaking it's bound to... fail - miserably, fall flat on it's face. This is a list of some of the ugliest vehicles that have ever seen the road.

The Ford Edsel was only produced from 1958 to 1960.  The Edsel never gained popularity with contemporary American car buyers and sold poorly. Consequently, the Ford Motor Company lost millions of dollars on the Edsel's development, manufacture and marketing. Historians have advanced several theories in an effort to explain the Edsel's failure. Popular culture often faults the car’s styling. Consumer Reports has alleged that poor workmanship was the Edsel's chief problem. Marketing experts hold the Edsel up as a supreme example of the corporate culture’s failure to understand American consumers. Business analysts cite the weak internal support for the product inside Ford’s executive offices. According to author and Edsel scholar Jan Deutsch, the Edsel was "the wrong car at the wrong time."

AMC Matador was a mid-size car that was built and sold by American Motors Corporation (AMC) from 1971 to 1978. The Matador came in two generations: 1971 to 1973 and a major redesign from 1974 to 1978. The second-generation four-door and station wagon models did not share the design of the coupe that was introduced in 1974. An article in 1991 entitled "Cool Cars Nobody Wants" describes the 1974-75 AMC Matadors as a collectable. Well-restored examples of Matador sedans can still be purchased for under $3,000, ads have been published asking over $10,000 for restored coupes.

The AMC Gremlin is a two-door subcompact car produced in the United States and Canada by the American Motors Corporation (AMC) between 1970 and 1978. It was an economy car by 1970s US standards. AMC executives apparently felt confident enough to not worry that the Gremlin name might have negative connotations. Time noted two definitions for gremlin: "Defined by Webster's as 'a small gnome held to be responsible for malfunction of equipment.' American Motors' definition: 'a pal to its friends and an ogre to its enemies.'" The Gremlin's body shape had not changed appreciably in its nine years of production, and other more advanced subcompacts, lighter in weight, with more doors, better interiors and front-wheel drive, had appeared on the market. Gremlin sales for the final year fell 52% to 22,104 units. By the time production ceased, a total of 671,475 Gremlins had been built. It has been said that scarcity makes any Gremlin in good condition worth preserving as a unique piece of automotive history. Original Gremlins with the V8 engine, X package models, Levi's trim, and also the 1978 GT versions, are the most sought-after and command higher prices.

The Yugo entered the United States by means of Malcolm Bricklin, who wanted to introduce a simple, low cost car to that market. In total 141,511 cars were sold in the United States from 1985 to 1991, with the most American units sold in a year peaking at 48,500 in 1987. 1991 sales were only 3,981 cars. In 1989, 31-year-old Leslie Ann Pluhar, driving a 1987 Yugo over the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan, died when her Yugo went over the bridge's 36-inch (910 mm) railing during 50 mph (80 km/h) winds. The incident was widely publicized, with the make of car prominently identified. Many retellings claimed that the car was physically lifted and blown off the bridge.

The Volkswagen Type 181 "Kurierwagen", popularly known in the the "Thing" in the US, was a small military vehicle produced by Volkswagen from 1968 to 1983. The popularity of VW-based dune buggies within the U.S. made executives think that a durable, fun, off-road-capable vehicle would become attractive to many buyers. VW could keep cost to a minimum and thus maximize profitability by using existing parts.

The AMC Pacer was a two-door compact automobile produced in the United States by the American Motors Corporation between 1975 and 1980. Its "jellybean" styling has made it an icon of the 1970s. Car and Driver dubbed it "The Flying Fishbowl". The unconventional styling, inadequate cargo space and relatively low performance from the six-cylinder engines were cited as factors in the Pacer's lack of success. Now old enough to be a "classic car", the Pacer has come to be regarded in some quarters as a 1970s design icon.[53] According to Business Week, the 1970s were "infamous for disco, Watergate and some of the ugliest cars ever."

The Subaru BRAT (an acronym for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) is a coupé utility version of the Subaru Leone, built from the late 1970s into the early 1990s. It was first introduced for the 1978 model year and followed the concept of the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero. Although the BRAT could fairly be called a truck, the plastic seats in the cargo bed allowed Subaru to classify the BRAT as a passenger car. This both left little cargo space, and it also caused a few fatalities in accidents. Passenger cars imported into the US were charged only a 2.5% tariff, compared to 25% on light trucks. President Ronald Reagan owned a 1978 BRAT until 1998, which he kept at his ranch near Santa Barbara, California.

The Ford LTD was a car produced by the Ford Motor Company in North America. A range of full-size cars wore various forms of the LTD nameplate from 1965 to 1991 in the United States. The LTD debuted as the highest trim level on the 1965 full-size Ford range under the name Galaxie 500 LTD and became its own series for the first time in 1966. From 1969 to 1970, the LTD shared top-of-the line trim pieces featuring a grille with hidden headlamps; these were shared with the Galaxie XL sport coupe and the Country Squire station wagon.

The second-generation Ford Mustang is a pony car that was manufactured by Ford Motor Company from 1973 until 1978. It was introduced in coupe and hatchback versions for the 1974 model year, in time for the 1973 oil crisis. The Mustang II had no common components with the preceding models and shared its platform with the subcompact-sized Ford Pinto. A review by Edmunds concluded: "As much as the Mustang II is despised today, Ford appreciated its success back then." "The Mustang II kept the pony car spirit alive in the face of those very rough times ... no small achievement and reason enough to respect Iacocca's little jewel."