Like a gorilla with no face, a car without any features is very disturbing. We expect cars to come with chrome, trimmings and other adornments, and when not there, a vehicle just doesn't look right. According to Jalopnik readers, these ten vehicular impersonations of a blank canvas are the most barren, unadorned automobiles of all time.
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10.) The F.A.L. Car
Suggested By: Batshitbox
What it's missing: A name.
In 1909, when it first went on sale, this car was only advertised with the address of its factory at Department C, 19 North May Street, Chicago. Presumably you'd buy a car and then give it a name yourself, like Charles, or Reginald, or Oliver, or whatever.
Photo Credit: F.A.L. Motor Co.
9.) The CODA
Suggested By: punksmurph
What it's missing: Any distinguishing feature whatsoever.
The Los Angeles-headquartered Coda Automotive is busily readying these Chinese-built sedans for sale in the US, but it looks like they forgot to make a budget for styling and didn't really design a car at all.
The twist is that the CODA is actually based on the Hafei Saibao, which was styled by none other than legendary Italian design house Pininfarina. I guess you can't pen Ferraris and Lancia Floridas every day.
Photo Credit: Coda Automotive
8.) Land Speed Record cars
Suggested By: Patrick Frawley
What it's missing: Any obstruction into the clean airflow around a car.
When you take aerodynamic principles to the extreme, you get the absolutely featureless, completely unadorned shapes of land speed record cars like the all-electric "Buckeye Bullet," which was built by Ohio State students and broke the world record for electric vehicles at 302.9mph in 2009.
That's not to say that these LSR cars are boring in any way, or that they're not bizarre-looking, head-turning, absolutely awesome machines, but in the strictest sense they're the most bare vehicles on this list.
Photo Credit: Ohio State University Center for Auto Research
7.) ZAZ- 968M
Suggested By: Jose85
What it's missing: The somewhat famous Soviet ZAZ-966 and -968, seen here with Vladimir Putin, were easily recognized by their prominent air intakes on the side of the trunk, feeding air to the rear-mounted, air-cooled 1.2 liter engine.
Their successor, the ZAZ-968M, built from 1979 to 1994, lost those flashy side intakes, leaving nothing but a grill-less, featureless lump of a car. It didn't have any chrome, the interior was nothing but black plastic, and was about as basic looking a car can get.
Photo Credit: sludgegulper
6.) The Maruti 800
Suggested By: mloeffler52
What it's missing: It's actually a challenge to describe this Indian-built citycar from Suzuki's partner brand in the Subcontinent, Maruti-Suzuki. Back in 1984, they took an already bland Suzuki Alto and removed most of its already exciting and scintillating styling details.
They ended up with something that looks like any and every hatchback built since the dawn of time. It is as general as small cars go. They still build them, and their popularity only adds to their ambiguity.
Photo Credit: Sanjoy Ghosh
5.) A Lada
Suggested By: Mark the Canadian
What it's missing: You can trust the Soviets to make a featureless car. The Lada Riva, which you see here, is a particularly representative example of the breed.
It has rectangles for headlights, a blank rectangle for a grill, and the whole thing is just like three rectangular box-shaped sections of car stuck together. You can trace the roots of the Riva back to the Fiat 124, introduced in 1966, but by the time the first Riva rolled out of the AvtoVAZ factory in 1980, every semblance of style had been stripped from its interior and exterior.
You can still buy them new today and now they even come with side mirrors. Such opulence!
Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove
4.) Chevrolet Cavalier
Suggested By: Jonee
What it's missing: During tail end of the Cold War, America took the fight to the Ruskies even in their established institution of producing the most utterly nondescript automobiles imaginable. GM in particular tried hard to sandblast any semblance of styling off of their cars.
The first-generation Cavalier was probably the most indeterminately box-shaped transportation pod of all, outdoing such breathtakingly eccentric vehicles as the Pontiac 6000 and the Oldsmobile Cutlass.
Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove
3.) The Velorex
Suggested By: Tavor
What it's missing: Full fenders, integrated headlights, sheetmetal, a roof, and a fourth wheel.
Unlike the flagrantly ostentatious minimalism of sports cars like Ariel Atoms or Se7en clones, the Velorex is just as simple as a car could be: a motorcycle-engined three wheeler with a cloth body.
The thing is, the Czechoslovakian Velorex points out that you if you keep removing the flourishes of more ordinary cars, you end up with something that's even weirder than cars that purposely try to look strange. You end up with the car of choice for freak-out acid gypsy rock bands, and that's not plain at all.
Photo Credit: Ian Page-Echols
Suggested By: 061063063067
What it's missing: Designed by French-Vietnamese designer Quasar Khanh, the Quasar-Unipower was a big Plexiglas box on wheels. They only built them in 1967 and '68, but they're about as Sixties as a car can be.
Wider than they were long and taller than they were wide, the Quasar-Unipower only attracted fifteen customers, most of whom were French. Apparently they liked baring it all in the most uniquely unadorned car of all time.
Photo Credit: CarStyling.ru
1.) Chrysler's K-cars
Suggested By: Cheeseslap
What it's missing: Chrysler was in the dumps in the late 1970s, with their bread-and-butter cars getting recalled by the hundreds-of-thousands and everything else in their lineup was big, thirsty, and just languishing on the lots.
The company managed to get its act together and turn the front-wheel-drive expertise of its foreign sub-brands like Simca and build a modern, fuel-efficient car not long after America experienced a second oil crisis in 1979.
Presumably playing it safe on the exterior while they tried out something new with the mechanics of the car, Chrylser saddled the Plymouth Reliant, the Dodge Aries, and about a thousand other cars to be built of the K-platform all through the 1980s with the most dull, unobtrusive, completely conservative styling the world has ever seen.
Photo Credit: Tomas