The rear-engined, flat-six-powered Chevrolet Corvair may have been the most maligned car in history, but it wasn't nearly as bad as you might think considering the political flamewar it ignited. Now imagine one upfitted for V8 power and mid-engine stability.
Car design is pretty conservative and derivative. Sometimes, however, car styling crosses the line from 'referential' into 'total ripofff' territory.
It's no surprise that new cars often look like some older models, or that cheaper cars often emulate more expensive exotics. Why? Well, there's only so much design room to play with. All cars have their headlights, wheels, taillights and grills in pretty much the same places.
Having driven quite a few mid-70s Corollas (these cars were as commonplace during my early driving years as are second-gen Tauruses today), I have to say that they were painfully slow even by the tolerant standards of the Middle Malaise Era. However, they were also shockingly reliable by the era’s standards, which means that these cars were still plentiful on the street until well into the 1990s. Since few outside a hard core of fanatics have shown much interest in pre-AE86 Corollas, these cars get scrapped as soon as something expensive breaks and/or the Rust Monster’s bites get too large. Here’s a Deluxe liftback that I found in a Colorado self-serve yard a few weeks back.
Here we see three women crossing a busy multi-lane road cause a three-car pileup. This Russian dash cam video is a good lesson in maintaining a safe following distance, as well as not gawking at skirts.
It appears that no one was injured in the crashes and the ladies made it across the road safely.
Just the other day I passed a Volkswagen Eurovan Camper following a VW Routan also with some kind of camper mod that didn't say Westfalia on the top. It was right, but also not right at the same time. It might as well have been the Chrysler Town & Country three cars back wearing the Routan's pop-up tent hat.
The wait is almost over. The new Datsun is scheduled to be officially revealed in just a few hours when Nissan officially reveals the first of the cheap cars for emerging markets carrying a name that hasn't been used since the '80s.
We've all done embarrassing things, I'll be the first to admit that. Thankfully though, our embarrassments are easily untagged on Facebook or fade into memory, instead of lurking and rusting on the streets for the next few decades. Carmakers, unfortunately, don't have that luxury.
Now this list isn't cars that were bad in general, or poorly constructed. If that were the case, we'd be including whole swaths of British Leyland. This is about brands that should have known better, and cars that no one will speak of in polite company for decades to come. Many of these cars were built with good reason at the time, but that doesn't mean they should've been made.
In fact, the lesson taken from many of these cars is "desperation is no excuse."
Welcome to the Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage, a regular feature which aims to expand the notion of what a muscle car is, and to discover hidden treasures while doing so. General Motors Canada produced a few rather unique vehicles during the 60s, specifically for their customers who lived in the great white north. Full sized Pontiacs looked virtually the same as those built for the US, but were built on Chevrolet chassis and powered by Chevrolet engines. They had unique model names like Laurentian, and Parisienne. The Chevy II was built with different trim, a Pontiac-esque grill, and renamed the Acadian. However, the subject of this posting is the mid-sized offering called the Beaumont, and during muscle car period of 1964-1970, Pontiac offered a performance version of the Beaumont that offered something different. Introducing the Beaumont SD.
“This was a seriously great investment of my time. All I have to do was call the oldjunkcar.com hotline and the friendly staff lead me through the rest of the process. I got more for my car than I expected, and best of all, it was EASY!”