"This is my steering wheel. There aren't many like it, but this one is mine. Without me, it is useless. Without it, my car is useless." You'd think automakers would remember that creed when designing the big thing right in front of you, but alas, not always.
I'm going to go ahead and pose a ridiculous question. What matters more, how the interior looks, or how the exterior looks? Though you may disagree because you are a showoff and you like being wrong, I'm going to go ahead and say the interior. That is because I am selfish.
I like to think that most of the time I spend with a car is on the inside of it, driving it, rather than the outside of it, drooling while it sits in my garage and yet I do not dare push those pedals. And since I am the one looking at the interior, and everyone else is looking at the exterior, and I am clearly more important because otherwise why would I be driving my car, the interior is important.
You still following?
Don't worry if you're not. What I'm trying to say is this – the interior of the car is the most important design element of the entire thing, and doubly so for the big round thing that sits in front of you. The steering wheel.
And woe unto the poor designer that gets it wrong. These are the ten ugliest things ever to control the front tires.
The Lamborghini Diablo (or Devil, for those who haven't caught up on the mythology of Dora the Explorer) is a mean supercar for bad people. It's loud, it's uncomfortable, and when you step on the go pedal it sounds like Lucifer himself is gargling rocks behind your head. You'd expect the steering wheel that controlled all that to be a gnarled, wicked thing then, which would only hint at the massive power that lied within the vehicle. Instead, you got a staid, four-spoke affair with a big block in the middle to hold the airbag.
The wheel itself wasn't ugly, it just had nothing to do with the car. In fairness to Lamborghini, lots of manufacturers had trouble integrating airbags under the new federal mandate at the time, and they hadn't been bought by Audi yet. If the car had to skimp on its wheel just to stay alive, all is forgiven. That's why this wheel only makes number 10 on this list.
Suggested By: Barbarian772 Photo Credit: Lamborghini
Now that I have this image in my head, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to disassociate it. The stylists at GM must've had this image in their head as well, as they re-designed as soon as possible. Unfortunately the re-design just came from the parts bin, and was shared with the Chevy Malibu.
Renault seemed to be channeling its inner Citroen here, but the readers aren't sure it really worked. It's really a love-it-or-hate-it sort of thing, and I'm personally in the love-it camp. It's silly and ridiculous and doesn't take itself seriously at all, but the People Have Spoken.
I think it just looks boring in every single conceivable way, but TDIDriver feels worse:
The thing looks like a McD's toy gone wild.
Suggested By: TDIDriver, Photo Credit: GM
The GMC Syclone had a steering wheel that looked like it came off a truck, which I suppose is fine since the Syclone is a truck. The very similar-looking wheel from the 4th-generation Corvette, however, had no business coming off a truck.
Suggested By: lonestranger, Photo Credit: GM
What, you think the Jalopnik commentariat only picks on GM? Of the wheel that appeared on the 1984 Mercury Cougar, Dr. Strangegun added:
And lo, this was abhorrent to the gods of style.
Suggested By: Dr. Strangegun, Photo Credit: Ford
In the early 1990s Lotus was in a bad financial way just like Lamborghini. At least when Lamoborghini cut corners on the steering wheel, though, it looked like it made sense:
The GM one in the Lotus Esprit V8. Because it's big fat and bulky, with shoddy GM materials, and is dark gray which doesn't match the car's interior. It is out of place in the Esprit. Ugly.
Suggested By: Nytmare, Photo Credit: Lotus
The rest of the 2014 Mercedes S-Class is an absolute wonder. The steering wheel, though, has already been branded the "Creepy Clown."
When putting this one on in the factory, nobody seemed to realize they always put it on upside-down.
Suggested By: Zack Danger, Photo Credit: Dodge
Squared-off wheels make sense, if you're in a Formula One car, or in a Ferrari. When you're in an Austin Allegro that'll be lucky to get to 100 miles an hour? Well then it just looks just as proper as a squared-off wheel mounted anywhere else on the car.
Suggested By: Pretty much everybody, Photo Credit: John Robert Shepherd
Welcome to Answers of Last Weekend - our weekly Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous week's Question of the Weekend and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Topshot credit: Dragmaster Flash