Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The best at being the worst........

Time magazine has published another one of those lists that some people love, others..... hate. They must have had a lot of hair-pulling, heated debates and attempts to keep a straight face with this list though.

They began with the birth of the automoble and searched till present day to find what they believe are the 50 absolutely "worst" cars ever built. Some of their choices you may fully agree with, others, you may disagree with their choice but either way, it was interesting to think of some of them in my mind and then look to see if they made the final cut.

I was surprized right at the beginning of the list there was the 1909 Ford Model T and not surprized at all to see a 1911 Overland Octoauto. I may be a woman but even I know, eight wheels only means eight times as much trouble down the road. The 1933 Fuller Dymaxion does in fact look much like a grounded zeppelin. It's large levered arm carrying the rear wheel and allowing to act like the tail wheel on a plane, evidently led to fatal results.

The next three I just had to keep on my favorites list as possible muscle cars for a nursing home. The 1949 Crosley Hotshot, which had won the "index of performance" honor at the Six Hours at Sebring in 1950. That award goes to the vehicle that has the best speed for it's displacement, a "huge" dual overhead cam, .75-liter 4 cylinder engine that ran the course at 52 mph. Also in this group is the 1956 Renault Dauphine, which was originally called the ........... say it isn't so..... Corvette. This car took a blistering 32 seconds to reach 60 mph and would have radically changed history if they had kept the original name. The last of the speedy trio would be the 1958 Zunndapp Janus, with a 14 hp engine and a top speed of 50 mph, probably only down very steep hills. The unique, push-me-pull-you look featured a rear facing bench seat in the back, evidently so that your passengers could watch their own impending death.

The next couple of decades I spotted some of the old favorites: the 1970 AMC Gremlin, the 1971 "flaming fireball" Ford Pinto, the 1976 Chevy Chevette and the 1978 AMC Pacer. There also was that cute little 1961 Corvair, a rear engine sporty car that leaked oil like the Valdeze, had a steering column capable of fully impaling the driver according to Ralph Nadar and tended to gas you out of the front seat or fatally spin out. There was the decidely "outer-space" looking 1966 Peel Trident that at 4 feet long was either a tiny car or oversized kids toy, capable of roasting a person alive under it's plexiglass bubble.

Another of those "cute" sports models was the 1975 Triumph TR7, a quite horribly built car that usually short cicuited everything out in it's short lifetime. The owner had to pamper the carburetor, deal with broken timing chains, leaky sunroofs, oil and water pumps that would suck not pump and those flip-up headlights that usually stayed hidden. I know the joys a TR7 can bring, after it sucks water instead of pumping it and then blows the headgasket and warps the head.

A few of my choices for the later years, cars that aren't too faded in memory: the 1980 Corvette 305 "California ", where they replaced the engine to conform to California standards, with a pathetic 305 V8 that produced only 180 hp. Ferrari didn't have a good year then either, with it's 1980 Mondial 8 that was inexpensive to purchase, not inexpensive to constantly replace all the burning wires and failed systems.

Lastly, who can forget the 1981 De Lorean DMC-12, the 1985 Yugo GV and the 1997 Plymouth Prowler? It was difficult for me to choose just a few of my favorite "worst" cars and I was only using their list of 50, I can't imagine how they worked their way through all the various cars built since 1889.

For the complete list of 50 worst cars by Time magazine, go here:

No comments: