What's The Most Controversial Car Of All Time?

Illustration for article titled What's The Most Controversial Car Of All Time?

I was astounded to learn the backstory behind the original Volkswagen Beetle GSR, that it was decried as a dangerous hoonmobile for its garish paint and performance enhancements. That certainly wasn't the first time a car caused a big stink.


Every now and then, a car will come out that causes the government, safety watchdogs, the media, parents, scolds, and even rival automakers to shoot steam out of their ears.

So that's our question of the day: What's the most controversial car of all time?

I'll have to take the most obvious contender out of the running and go with the Chevrolet Corvair, America's answer to Volkswagen and Porsche that was denounced as being unsafe at any speed. The Corvair changed the way we look at auto safety forever, even if those in the know realize it probably wasn't any worse than its contemporaries.

Your turn. What's the most controversial car out there?


Patrick George

Another good example is the BMW 2002 Turbo, as pointed out to me by reader TFritch. With racy graphics and its status as the first European production car with a turbocharger, it was also decried as a hooligan's car, according to PistonHeads:

The 2002 Turbo is a trouble-maker, its history littered with controversy and outrage, and partly because of this just 1672 were ever made. Firstly BMW thought it wise to for its press cars to have '2002' and 'turbo' written in reverse script on the front spoiler so that the car in front would know exactly what had suddenly appeared behind.

But journalists had a field day with this, saying the German firm was irresponsible and ultimately this forced it to drop the script. It didn't mean the dealers couldn't sell the decals to Turbo buyers, so most ended up with it anyway.

Isn't that fascinating? Hard to imagine the horsepower-mongering Germans getting upset about stuff like this today.