10.) Chevrolet Uplander
GM was supposed to learn their lesson about not cheaping out their cars back in the ‘60s with the Corvair. They were supposed to learn their lesson again in the ‘80s with the domination of Japanese cars. And this was the best they could do in 2005? DRobin78:
My school had one of these to ferry people around in, had one of the cheapest interior and dashboards I’ve ever felt. they tried to make it soft touch so they had a layer of plastic covered in a thin layer of foam and then on top of that a layer of Leatherette/vinyl material. It was awful.
This thing had limited power from a crappy engine, and didn’t even have fold flat seats when that was the norm in all other minivans. The best part was the design was GM’s attempt to make a minivan that looks like an SUV, but instead, it looked like an SUV in drag.
Suggested By: Spaceman Spiff
9.) 1997-2003 Chevrolet Malibu
Everyone calls out the Cavalier as GM’s worst car of the ‘90s, but Ash78, Google Machine makes a case for its big brother.
The Cavalier at least knew its place in the world. Cheap and crappy from the factory. I had many friends (and one gf) with them in the 95-2002 era.
However, the 97-03 Malibu came onto the scene during probably the most competitive era of midsize sedans, but was woefully behind the competition in every way. I feel bad for everyone who had anything to do with it. It was like the Cavalier, but with the pretense of being a solid family sedan. Style, fit & finish, handling, and especially the 4-cyl engine were all horrid. Multiple rentals brought me to the conclusion that this was the worst car of the modern era, and a perfect symbol of GM’s focus on trucks and SUVs at the expense of everything else.
Prone to rust around right under the gas cap as well as the engine cradle, a fate that killed my brother’s car. The upside is that he only paid $1000 for his car to begin with.
Suggested By: Ash78, Google Machine
8.) 1978-80 Corvette C3
Don’t believe the tires, those were not good years. Only 180-90 horsepower from a 5.7l V8? You must be having a laugh.
Suggested By: PumpedSump
7.) 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Welcome the the 21st century! MKIV_GTI_Turbo:
This bad boy is an allegory for everything that was ever wrong with the American automotive industry: plastic fantastic, bloated FWD platform, hideous design and the shameless NASCAR tie in.
Suggested By: MKIV_GTI_Turbo
6.) 1987 Pontiac Le Mans
Nothing could hide the fact that the latest Pontiac was no more than an old Opel built in South Korea only to get rebadged and sold in the US. Imagine how the tooling must have looked at that point!
Suggested By: Zoom
5.) Chevrolet Chevette
Yes, you could hoon a Chevette. But it also self-destruct in 60,000 miles, or less. PapaVanTwee:
I had a 1983 Chevette Scooter as my first car. Only thing it had going for it was it was RWD, and mine had a stick. It didn’t handle well, it was noisey, I had to put in a stereo since it only came with an AM radio. The speakers I put in had to be put in pizza boxes, because there was no place else to put them. Eventually wound up crashing it into a pole in a snow/sleet storm.
Fortunately I was only going 25mph and I wasn’t hurt, but the car was totaled. May have been the happiest day of my life, after marriage, and the two kids being born.
Suggested By: Old-Busted-Hotness
4.) Any ‘82 with an Oldsmobile Diesel
Hey, they had 60% of the US diesel passenger car market at some point! themanwithsauce:
I’m not sure what all they were put in but the Cutlass diesel for sure was a train wreck in mobile form. The engine was appallingly awful and shook out all its internals, the car had the build quality of an ice cream sandwich in the sahara desert, and the fuel economy wasn’t all that much better than the gas motors due to the piss poor design.
The only thing good about the diesel 350s is they can be converted to gas engines and make good power and torque. But as a new car? These did serious damage not just to GM, but to diesels in general. You know all those old diesel stereotypes of clanking noises, sooty smoke, and no power? This car and engine. They were the perpetrators. Full stop - Worst car GM ever made. If you see the emblem below on a 70s or 80s GM car, run. Run far away. Change your address if you have to. Just don’t get near it.
Suggested By: themanwithsauce
3.) Chevrolet Vega
Quite possibly the most-hyped car of all time turned out to be a classically GM nickel-and-dimed turd. JSWilson64_g:
I had one, a ‘77, that I drove in high school in 1980-82. It was already totally thrashed from 3 years of mild daily use by the time I got to drive it. The interior plastic on those cars started breaking down almost before they left the factory. By 1980 our Vega had already lost both original interior door handles because the internal structures cracked and they pulled off the door. Also, the sun visors tended to drop into your lap at about 3 years of ownership. The sun played havoc on the awful vinyl seats, too. Every Vega in a junkyard around my hometown was stripped of any interior plastic bits in short order.
And that’s not even considering the awful engine, which was both anemic and unreliable. Or the suspension, the bushings of which were apparently made of toilet paper, based on the speed at which they broke down. Or the recirculating-ball steering that broke when the car was less than 3 years old and almost killed my stepmother. Or the brakes that failed and caused me to rear-end my buddy’s car in the school parking lot.
A truly awful car. And please, bear in mind, at about the time I began driving this car, my dad bought a new year-one Chevy Citation. That car was absolutely terrible, but the Vega went over that bar like Serge Bubka.
My dad had a ‘74 GT that didn’t make its 5th birthday before it was structurally unsound. Three of the six roof pillars actually broke loose...
Suggested By: Xedicon
2.) Cadillac Cimarron
Its color wasn’t the only shitty thing about this American luxury car. benlama1:
My father bought an 82 metallic shit brown with an orange leather interior, 1.4 liter and a 5 speed. He paid over 15k for that turd. He sold it 1990, for $400 with only 130k on it but with only one functional power window and most of the front end paint missing thanks to a sand storm outside of Lubbock and oh, a missing front lower bumper [sorry Dad]. I took a great deal of joy in 1990 showing him that he could buy new Cavalier with power windows and a V-6 for 11 grand.
Suggested By: willkinton247
1.) Chevrolet Citation
The much-famed “X-Body” cars were supposed to defeat the Japanese imports once and for all back at the start of the ‘80s. It gave you goose bumps because you’ve never seen quality like this before.
The X-Factor. Kill it with Chemical X.
Suggested By: Sean McLaughlin
Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
This story was originally published on May 16, 2014