Let me get this straight first; almost every single car in this list IS actually awesome.
Hell, I’ve personally owned three of them! (No, I am not telling you which three…) Yet none of them really deserve the blind reverence that has be lavished upon them since their launch. Especially the Hummer, which is just utter crap…
10. Dodge Viper
Originally conceived to be a modern interpretation of the iconic Shelby Cobra, the end result was somewhat, umm, bloated. The American mantra of “bigger is better” was unfortunately applied liberally here, without anyone actually realising that this doesn’t really apply to sports cars. The combination of a small car with a big engine always equates to “fast”, but the Viper wasn’t a small car, so in this case the combination became a big, heavy car with a huge engine. A huge TRUCK engine. Add to that the fact that most of the suspension was sourced from the Dodge Dakota pickup and you’ve basically got a truck wrapped in a scaled up sports car body…
9. Citroen 2CV
Ah, personality ― the last desperate refuge of ugly single people and crap cars. And in the case of the 2CV ugly, crap cars. Originally designed so that French peasants could drive to the market at 60 km/h across muddy unpaved roads with up to100kg of stuff in the back, the 2CV was developed before World War 2 and during the German occupation of France Citroen management decided to hide the prototypes from the Nazis, fearing some military application. What possible military application a “car” with a 6.5kW, 375cc, air cooled engine could possibly have escapes most right-thinking people, but then what possible use a “car” with a 6.5kW, 375cc, air cooled engine could possibly be on the road also escapes most right-thinking people, and yet they still sold nine million of ‘em…
8. Porsche 911
Okay, they’re great cars now, but that is only through sheer Teutonic pig-headedness regarding the utter refusal to put the engine somewhere sensible. Some may say that it is through the refining of the rear-engine concept, advances in suspension technology and the addition of sophisticated electronic stability systems that has tamed the 911’s tendency to launch itself backwards into the scenery, but it is probably simply the fact that they persisted with it for so long that the laws of physics simply gave up and buggered off to bother someone else.
7. Peugeot 205 GTi
Yes, it was a revolutionary car at the time. But that’s the key phrase ― “at the time”. Now it’s a small, cramped, noisy, uncomfortable, unreliable ball of death waiting to happen. Safety systems consist of, well… nothing really, and its remarkable ability to swap ends under virtually no provocation in the wet is sphincter-clenching fun for all the family. That said, it is still huge fun to drive, that is until it breaks down (which it will) or you hit anything bigger than it. Which is just about everything else on the road.
The Mini falls into the same basket as the 205 GTi ― a great, revolutionary car, an icon for its time and still great fun in small bursts, but the wooly-headed, rose-tinted nostalgia that surrounds it conveniently forgets several key points ― mainly, it too is noisy, cramped, uncomfortable and unsafe. And it is also British… The Mini is remarkably simple to work on, which is just as well, as owners will probably spend more time sticking bits back on it than driving it, and you can always tell a fellow Mini owner by the abrasions on their knuckles from trying to do anything in the engine bay. Imagine if the Germans had made it ― it would be much safer, go much harder, not break down, be hideously expensive and have nowhere near as much character… oh, wait…
5. Triumph Stag
The Stag was a great looking car that was assembled by a group of skilled artisans who cared deeply about the final result of their labours, and took great pains to ensure every detail was absolutely perfect on every single component their capable and accomplished hands lovingly caressed. Bollocks it was.
Lashed together with sticky tape and wishful thinking between smoko breaks, the Stag was another great idea that was royally buggered by British car industry obstinacy and internal rivalries, and became a shining example of the quality and craftsmanship that led to its lingering demise. Those looks and a thumping V8 tucked under the bonnet promised great things, and it would have delivered too if it had been put together by people who gave a toss, but it was put together by British Leyland. So there you go.
4. Mitusbishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru Impreza WRX
A hard-won reputation earned on the gravel roads of the WRC has been all but obliterated by the hordes of Japanese import WRXs and Evo’s that flooded into the country and were bought by dickheads who instantly lower them to buggery and slap on drainpipe-sized exhausts that make them sound like a donkey farting through a trumpet. Based on bland, base-model econoboxes that only your grandmother would drive, the irony is that the sort of people who buy these cars wouldn’t be seen dead in granny’s car, unless, of course, it was festooned with ridiculous, tacked-on wings and scoops. Which fortunately they are.
The Governator is to blame. Mr. Schwarzenneger was the first “civilian” to buy a road-going Hummer, inspiring the idiotic idea that the world really needed a huge, lumbering waste of resources with less room inside than a vehicle half its size. Eventually someone realised the H1 was actually a piece of crap, and a “smaller” model was released, the H2, which was nothing more than a cynical marketing exercise on wheels. Usually 22-inch chrome wheels, which only added to its spectacular pointlessness. Now with the advent of the cheaper, smaller but still bigger than a house, H3 even more wannabe gansta-rappers can afford to flaunt their lack of taste and intelligence in the most spectacular fashion imaginable. Thanks a lot Arnold, this is almost as bad as Batman and Robin…
2. Volkswagen Beetle
The brainchild of car nut, brutal dictator and all-round party guy A. Hitler, the rattly, noisy, slow Beetle was, rather ironically, adopted in later years by peace-loving “alternative” types who mistook its spartan, low budget utilitarianism for “individualism” and “character” rather than “cheap” and “crap”, which is what it actually was. The automotive equivalent of a cockroach, the Beetle’s sole saving grace is the fact that they are almost impossible to kill, and if, somehow, someone should manage to deliver a mortal blow, it is only a matter of time before some other sad, misguided individual reassembles the twelve moving parts that it contains and gets it rattling and farting along again…
The only thing worse than an MGB is the type of person who buys one. Flat caps, pipes and a distracted stare when driving it that tells you that, deep down, they know they have made a terrible, terrible mistake in spending a fortune on the restoration of a car that was pointless, old technology when it was launched, and was bolted together by a lazy, belligerent workforce that only bothered turning up in the morning to smoke, eat lunch and go on strike, when for the same money they could have bought an MX5 that doesn’t leak, actually starts every time and goes around corners properly. Damn.