There are some cars that are so bad they take a bat to your face every time you see them. Blindingly terrible cars. You know what? We love them. These are Jalopnik readers' favorites.
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Cars don't operate on a binary scale of good and bad. Let's imagine the scale of good to bad cars as a rev counter. Picture that the higher the revs, the worse the car. Well, these cars are so bad, it's like the needle wrapped all the way around to the end of the dial and crossed back into the zone of good cars.
Of course, here are tons of cars that were represented as terrible, but were actually just awesome and misunderstood. These cars may be bad, but they also have a glimmer of goodness in them. The Aston Martin Lagonda, the Dodge Omni GLHS, the Corvair, the DeLorean —- these cars are remembered as being shitty, but compare to the shitboxes we have lined up, they're fantastic.
Still, with only ten slots on this list, we left off a ton of genuinely terrible, totally lovable cars. Feel free to scream how Suzuki was robbed or whatever in Kinja below.
Photo Credit: American Motors
The general rule of thumb is simple: two wheels in the front and one in the back equals babe magnet donut-making hoonmachine. One wheel in front and two in the back equals the laughing stock of the car world.
The thing is, if you see one and it hasn't crashed in the last twenty feet, you're obviously looking at the world's greatest driver. Instantly cool.
Surprisingly, the midengined minivan was an engineering dead end. For all of the inherent shittiness of the Previa, they make amazing drift cars, mostly because everyone is amazed someone is going sideways in such a huge turd.
No, we still have no idea how GM had money to build a folding hardtop pickup truck yet they had no money to make the Cobalt a competitive car. Still, for all of its ugliness and impracticality, the SSR always warms your heart. How can you really hate its LS2 V8 with a manual transmission and rear wheel drive?
Suggested By: RazoE, Photo Credit: Chevrolet
Take one old Fiat, add Soviet-era build quality and presto! You have the Yugo. This car will still pull all kinds of hipster tail, hoping to get a ride in perhaps the most universally recognized shitbox in America.
When it comes to Soviet cars, the Yugo was a goddamn dreamboat compared to the Trabi. The car was made out of Duroplast, which was like Bakelite, but made out of cotton waste thrown out by other Soviet factories.
From its hard plastic shell to its loud, slow, gas-sucking two-stroke engine, the Trabi is so bad that everyone loves the car now. "Haha," laughs everyone in former East Germany, "remember when we all had to drive those pieces of shit? Let's paint them giraffe print and then go rallying or something."
It was genuinely difficult to pick a single American Motors car to put on this list. The whole company was on such a vigorous race to the bottom in the ‘70s and ‘80s. There was the Eagle Kammback, which put Jeep four-wheel drive under a lifted compact car with the back end cut off, but that was actually good compared to the Gremlin, which didn't even have four-wheel drive.
The shittiest of all was probably the Pacer, which was supposed to have a Wankel rotary engine, but ended up with an amazingly heavy, old straight six shoved up front. The Pacer was supposed to be a fun, light economy car, but with that anchor up front, it was pig on gas and terrible to drive. But just look at it! Righteous!
Oh that? That's only the finest fake wood. Yeah.
Remember the CRX? The reliable, economical, fun-to-drive hatchback from Honda? Yeah, this is the car that Ford built to compete against it. The EXP had all of the thundering 70 horsepower of its base Ford Escort, but with the added high-performance potential of an extra 200 pounds of weird aerodynamic bodywork. Of course it has its own (expired) fan club.
You have to be a bad person to really hate a ‘70s America land yacht. Yes they made ten horsepower from their eight-liter V8s. Yes they rusted if you sneezed near them. Yes they had all the firmness and reliability of a French general in 1940.
But they were like couches with wheels on them. Actually, with all their velour, they were more like rolling Reno brothels. These cars sucked donkey balls, but they have style, and class, and they're so bad that the rest of the world cuts you some slack.
The plastic whale that sunk Pontiac is unquestionably terrible, but it is so universally recognized for its awfulness, anyone who drives one gets this kind of heroic aura. If you can put up with that face and the reputation of the modern day Edsel, just so you can drive a reasonably spacious old crossover, you're good in our book.