|GM's Vega, along with the Aztek and Ford's Edsel, are on lists of the 10 worst cars, but they have their loyalists.|
Let's begin with the Aztek, which Edmunds ranked as the worst car of all time, saying that not only was it ugly but also that it destroyed an 84-year-old brand. The Aztec was defended by two veterans of the automotive industry. Ed Ohlin, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, resident who is former head of U.S. product development for Toyota ( TM), said he sometimes sees an Aztek at the grocery store, and it doesn't look that bad to him. In fact, "as long as it is not in certain two-tones, it is not the worst-looking vehicle of all time and in fact many not in the car biz would not give it a second notice," Ohlin writes. "It looks like many other more modern crossovers, although the rear-window graphics do show a great lack of taste." As far as reliability, Ohlin writes, "my guess is that it was just average or slightly below Pontiac
Edsel is always controversial because, despite having earned a reputation as one of the worst mistakes ever, it had a lot of positives. Michael LaMoy, a retired real estate appraiser who lives in Menifee, Calif., has a soft spot for the car, perhaps because in 1962 he and his wife drove one from Vermont to California. "I've noticed over the years that the Edsel has been included in an increasing number of 'bad' lists," LaMoy writes. "It didn't used to be, back when the cars were in production, or for a few decades later, but there seems to be a 'repeat this story' thing now that very few people actually had experiences with an Edsel." "Bad design? There could be a case for that, due to the unusual body design. Bad marketing? Absolutely! But the car came in four models, spread over two series; the smaller two, Ranger and Pacer, were built on a Ford chassis and the larger two, Corsair and Citation, were built on a Mercury chassis, which was a few inches longer." "So, whatever the quality concerns, they were no worse and no better than those of Ford and Mercury, which were not afflicted with any more problems than any GM or Chrysler products of that era," he says.
Now it is time to discuss the Chevrolet Vega. Herb Goldman, a financial adviser from Hollywood, Fla., remembers his 1974 Vega fondly. "It had a four-speed transmission and a big, sporty stripe running the full length from hood to trunk," he writes. "I managed to drive it cross-country from New York to San Francisco -- I hit 95 on the Bonneville Salt Flats -- and I won't blame the car for me burning out the clutch on