6/10/2013

Cars That Never Should Have Been Built








The Wall Street "Cheat Sheet" had a rather interesting article that discussed ten cars that should never have hit the road.  A couple I found surprising since they were built by Cadillac.  Their criticism goes from being too unstable to too costly to too unreliable.  The story gives a brief critique of each car and the manufacturer.  There was also talk why the cars could not sell.  Some were unmitigated disasters.  I was thinking of some other cars that should have made this list like the Ford Maverick.  I actually owned one ever so briefly. I admit I bought it used (original owner kept it only six months....hmmmm) which was my first mistake.  My second mistake was thinking this car would be dependable transportation.  That damn car wouldn't start the next morning after I bought it.  It was a battery.  I thought that was the end of it.  No such luck.  There was an electrical short that cost me $200 to fix.  That was only the beginning of a long process of problems with this car.  It could have been worse.  I almost bought a used Ford Pinto before I settled on the Maverick.  With that Ford Pinto in mind, let's look at three cars from that list.

Ford Pinto.  An epic disaster by the Ford Motor Company.  For example, Ford in their infinite wisdom, decided to put the fuel tank right behind the rear bumper. What could go wrong, right?  Could no one foretell what would possibly happen if that Pinto was rear-ended?  Amazing lack of foresight by a major automobile manufacturer.  This car also became the poster child for the American Automotive Manufacturers as to why Japan was cleaning our clocks with cheaper, safer and much more reliable cars in the 70s and 80s.  My brother was looking at a new 1972 Pinto back in late 1971.  He and the car salesman were going to take it for a test drive.  He slipped the transmission into reverse and CLUNK.   He later found out the entire transmission had to be replaced on that new Pinto.  Needless to say, he didn't buy a Pinto.

Ford Edsel.  When people think of the Edsel, they immediately think of a clunker of a car.  It actually was a fairly well-built car.  Sure, it was ugly as hell, got about 3 gallons to the mile (just joking....but the gas mileage was horrid) and was expensive.  The later is what really killed the Edsel.  It came out in 1958 with an expensive price tag when the USA was in middle of a recession.  Plus this was a time when Americans started showing more favoritism toward a smaller, fuel efficient vehicle. Some Edsels came to dealerships missing parts due to assemblers being tossed between Fords and Mercurys.  It all spelled disaster for the iconic Ford Edsel. 

Yugo.  The car that chewing gum and baling wire made famous.   Poorly made, it looked like cardboard boxes, glued together, on four wheels.  Sometimes parts actually fell off of it.....on test drives according to one salesman I know from that era.  The engine itself was a quirk of nature.  Sometimes it would not work for reasons even mechanics could not understand.  The electrical system was strictly for aesthetics since nothing electrical ever worked on a consistent basis.  One guy I knew that bought a Yugo, back in 1985, was going to use it as a work car.  That "work car" put him out of work since it "consistently" failed to start.  

There are seven more cars to look at in this article (linked above).  But, these are the three that stick out in my mind the most.  

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