20 Worst Cars of All Time

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What makes a car bad? Is it the car with the worst exterior styling? The most dreadful interior? The most uncomfortable ride? The least reliable/most poorly made? Or is it a dismal combination of all these factors? For our purposes, the worst car in the world is not only the vehicle that incorporates the most of these negative traits, but also more importantly, has no redeeming qualities of what makes a car great whatsoever.

Over the years, car designers and manufacturers have produced many vehicles which unfortunately have rolled out into dealerships and, even more unfortunately, purchased from those dealerships. There is a large sample of particularly bad vehicles to choose from. The late 1960's - early 2000's offered up the majority of the nominations in making this list.

A few weeks ago, TheStreet put out its list of the 10 Worst Cars of All Time.  After some amicable feedback from readers, we have decided to dig even deeper and extend the list to 20.

However, there could only be 20 named to this prestigious list of ill repute. We have scoured the internet in order to put together the worst of the worst. We referred to three lists as our main sources: Edmunds.com's "100 Worst Cars of All Time," TIME's "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time," and "The Worst Car in the History of the World" episode of Top Gear (the U.K. version of course). From these three, we whittled down and strung together an ultimate list of 20.

What follows is the list of the 20 worst cars of all time...

 

 

20th-worst: 1978 AMC Pacer

Referred to by many as a "fishbowl on wheels," the AMC Pacer became a car that kids would ask their parents to park a block away from school so as not to be seen in.

Adding to the car's strange shape, the passenger side door was four inches longer than the driver side door.

Sales of the AMC quickly dwindled, and the car was phased out after only five years.

19th-worst: 1957 Trabant P50

East Germany's answer to the Volkswagen Beetle.

"Trabants smoked like an Iraqi oil fire, when they ran at all, and often lacked even the most basic of amenities, like brake lights or turn signals," according to Time.

18th-worst: 2011 Aston Martin Cygnet

A Toyota iQ with the Toyota badges stripped off and the Aston Martin badges put on, and a MSRP of around $50,000.

Price tag aside, the main reason why the Cygnet finds itself on this list is because the primary reason it was made was not to be a quality car.  Aston Martin made the fuel efficient city car in order to comply with the European Union's imposed fleet average emissions regulations that took effect in 2012.

Aston Martin stopped production of Cygnet after just over two years of the car's existence.

17th-worst: 1971 Chevy Vega

The Vega's aluminum engine guzzled motor oil like it was its job.  John DeLorean, who was the head of Chevrolet at the time, famously wrote in his book that he knew it was a bad sign when the Vega literally fell apart eight miles into a test run.

16th-worst: 2005 PT Cruiser Convertible

Colloquially nicknamed the "PT Loser," I cannot imagine many things worse than being seen driving one of these eye sores. Oh wait, yes I can, if it came in a convertible version.

15th-worst: 1995 Suzuki X90

After looking at this car, it may not be a surprise to anyone that Suzuki no longer produces cars in the U.S.  Not only does the car look near exactly the same going forward as it does going backwards, it is almost as if the manufactures simply forgot the middle part of the car.

14th-worst: 1982 Cadillac Cimarron

In attempt to compete with BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the successful premium small cars market of the early 1980's, GM took a Chevrolet Cavalier--another sorry car--souped it up with tacky fabrics and accessories, threw Cadillac badges on it and called it a Cimarron.

"Everything that was wrong, venal, lazy and mendacious about GM in the 1980s was crystallized in this flagrant insult to the good name and fine customers of Cadillac," said Time.

13th-worst: 1955 BMW Isetta

This 12-hp, single-cylinder, three-wheeled city car might possibly be the most embarrassing German car ever produced.  The Isetta came without a reverse gear and only had only one door, which was situated at the front.  This meant that if one were to squeeze into a tight parking space nose-in, the occupants could neither exit the vehicle, nor back out of the spot, further extenuating the already embarrassing experience of being seen in this car.

12th-worst: 2003 Saturn Ion

The Ion was so poorly made and bland that not only was it a major factor leading to the demise of Saturn, but also it still haunts owners to this day.  In February 2014, General Motors announced a massive recall of 2.6 million vehicles to fix faulty ignition switches. This recall included every Saturn Ion ever made.  

11th-worst: 1971 Ford Pinto

Any car that tended to unaccountably erupt into flames during low-speed rear-end collisions deserves a spot on the list amongst the worst cars off all-time.

To make matters worse, Ford decided-in its infamous cost-benefit analysis of the situation that became known as the Ford Pinto Memo-that paying off the cost of settlements for the victims ($50 million) was more financially beneficial than recalling and reinforcing the car's rear ends ($121 million).

10th-worst: 1972 Lincoln Continental Mark IV

We may have figured out the origins of the phrase "hunk of junk" without rummaging through the depths of the internet.

The fifth generation version of once a proud American luxury vehicle, the Lincoln Continental Mark IV is ugly, slow, lumbering, graceless, and just plain boring. It looks like something Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians would drive if she simply stopped caring.

"I think when they were designing this car, no one, in any meeting, used the word 'precision,'" BBC's Top Gear presenter and motoring journalist Jeremy Clarkson said.

9th-worst: Reliant Robin

One of more unique and interesting vehicles on this list, considering it only had three wheels.

But it wasn't that it had three wheels, it was where those three wheels were positioned: two in the back, one up front. This made the car incredibly unstable, especially around turns that exceeded 25 miles per hour or angles of 45°. Despite its ridiculousness and impracticality, the car uniqueness caused it to gain somewhat of a cult following.

In fact, many people enjoy this car, as long as you don't take it seriously.

8th-worst: 1974 Ford Mustang II

The Ford Mustang - Chevrolet Camaro rivalry is quite possibly the most heated rivalry in the automotive world. But even the most diehard and bias Mustang fanatic would admit the 1974 Mustang II was garbage, and a car that shamed Mustang and its otherwise tremendous line of American muscle cars.

7th-worst: 1978 FSO Polonez

The FSO Polonez is considered by many to be one of the most undependable, unstylish cars ever made.

Here's what Jeremy Clarkson had to say about the Polonez: "Built by communists out of steel so thin you could use it as a neck curtain, it is as reliable and long lasting as a pensioner's erection."

"I can only assume that here, [the stylist] was experimenting with trying to design a car after consuming four liters of absinthe."

Need I say more?

6th-worst: 2003 Citroen Pluriel

Other than the fact that it looks like something that would be dispensed out of a gumball machine, the car is painfully impractical.

Not only do you have to manually disassemble the roof which is exhaustively time-consuming, it takes a LEGO instruction manual in order to piece it back together. Even worse, once you have finally taken the roof apart, the pieces cannot fit in the car, making the entire experience feel like a cruel joke.

5th-worst: 2009 BMW X6

What the hell is this thing?  Dubbed by Top Gear's Jeremey Clarkson as "The Stupidest Car in the World," the BMW X6 doesn't serve a purpose.

It is car designed to look and ride like a sedan and, at the same time, boast a tall driving position and grit of an off-roader.  However, BMW's self-acclaimed SAV, or "sports activity vehicle," can't do either properly.

As a car, the BMW X6 is nowhere near as bad as some of the other vehicles on this list, but when you consider what it costs (2003 MSRP of $55,900) and what you are expecting from BMW, it's worse.

4th-worst: 2002 Lexus SC 430

Coming in at number four is the 2002 Lexus SC 430.  Being a Lexus, it is not the build quality or interior that disappoint.

However, it is what the brand brings you to expect.  With its original $61,055 MSRP price tag and higher maintenance costs, consumers rightly expect something extraordinary.  What Lexus delivers, however, is a car with an attempt at a "sporty" look with a power plant delivering a measly 300 BPH, not nearly enough for a the weight this Lexus drags around.

2nd-worst: 2001 Pontiac Aztek

No, sorry Breaking Bad fanatics. Protagonist Walter White does not make the Pontiac Aztek cool. An argument can be made that Walter White cannot really make anything "cool," but that's a separate discussion. But perhaps it is fitting that a character depicting no little to no redeeming qualities, drives a car depicting little to no redeeming qualities.

Apart from its recent crappy celebrity, this car is shamefully ironic. The front of the Aztek almost looks as if GM built an SUV, but then decided to scalp the hood of a Pontiac Grand Prix, fix it atop the Aztek like baseball cap and say, "voila!"

2nd-worst: 1985 Yugo GV

Much like the FSO Polonez and the Trabant, the Yugo is another communist-produced car; this time from Yugoslavia. 

The Yugo was introduced in the U.S. in 1985 with a $3,990 price tag, but its dreadful build quality and reputation quickly made it a prime example of the cliche: "you get what you pay for."

In its review of the Yugo, Consumer Reports, called the car "hard to recommend at any price" and concluded that "you'd be better off buying a good used car than a new Yugo."

If that's not enough, the Yugo is the only non-U.S. manufactured car to make the Hagerty Insurance "Most Questionable Cars" list.

The Worst Car of All Time: 1989 Eagle Premier

You may look at this car and think to yourself, "that's not that bad." But what it is that makes this car particular terrible, it's what it is not.

When you get into this car, you feel nothing. There is nothing special or unique about the Eagle Premier. It is almost as if the designer took his four-year old kid's crayon drawing of car and decided to model the Eagle Premier after it. It has no style. It is not fast. It's not at all "luxurious" despite it being branded as a luxury car. It doesn't have particularly good gas mileage. It is the most underwhelming car in the world. Even with the nine other dreadful options on this list, at least they have a story to tell; something unique about them.

This car looks like the generic silhouette of a vehicle in which you would spot only on a 25-year old poster that has been hanging in tired DMV, generic and apathetic in nature, faded and defeated from years of exposure to florescent lighting and the restless complaints of impatient souls.

It is a symbol of sheer indifference and nothingness.

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