What Bad Car Deserves More Respect?

Illustration for article titled What Bad Car Deserves More Respect?

Not all bad cars are bad. They might be dull, slow, and soul-crushing to drive, but if they get people to work on time, they do an honorable job, right?

That's the thinking of CalzoneGolem when we saw a Cavalier die when its owner careened off a cliff.

All the Cavalier hate is really unnecessary. The sheer amount of them still on the roads shows how durable they are. It is clear they can suffer a lot of abuse and still soldier on.

Sometimes people don't get that cars aren't built just for track days. These are cheap and pretty rugged and reliable transportation.

So, it doesn't have magnetic dampers or a sport button. It will deliver it's owners to work or the bottom of a cliff in relative comfort. Sometimes that's all a person needs in a car.


Acidboogle wasn't so sure.

Yes, but the sheer amount of them still on the roads that are rusted to shit with busted suspension, doors that don't work, with windows that don't open, and body panels that are 5 different colors, and are missing a muffler shows how awful they are.

CalzoneGolem countered that it all isn't the car's fault.

I'd say that's more a symptom of being owned by the cheapest fuckers on the planet.


DrivenToInsanity, however, has had some Cavalier experience, and he's not falling in line with this honorable rhetoric.

Actually it is necessary. I've driven probably over a hundred cars in my life due to rentals, other situations, and having owned multiple cars, usually at the same time. Cars I actually hated, in spite the fact I love driving in general, driving anything that has wheels, I can count on my hand. Mind you, "hate" is a strong word for me, it means I despised, so we're talking cars where if walking was an option I'd have hoofed it. On that really short list is a Cavalier, which I somehow wound up with one as a rental. It was for week but I took it back to the rental counter only after 24 hours with it, my god that thing sucked, and it felt like I'd be safer on my motorcycle in LA friday rushhour on NyQuil than in that thing. I mean, the interior, build quality, everything about it. As others point out, just because there's many of them doesn't make them suck, just like the Corsica and other Chevy econoboxes, just total shite. And I'm not necessarily a Chevy hater, I've had a [bitchin] Camaro, owned K20 Pickup, they do some things well, economy cars at least in my experience are not one of them.


TechWeasel was less kind.

No. Just no. As someone who has unwillingly maintained a '97 Cavalier for a friend, I can tell you there is nothing about these cars that is good. It takes a special team of assholes to design a car that can't have the oil filter changed without pulling the VSS connector, snaking your arm up to the elbow between the frame and body, and dumping dirty oil on the exhaust flex coupler. I've changed six fuel injectors in that inline-four POS, and I will drive it off a cliff before I try to change the spark plug wires again, seeing as how the coil is mounted on THE BACK OF THE FUCKING BLOCK where it's impossible to reach.

Everyone responsible for the design of that car should watch their family, pets, and plants die in a fire before doing the same themselves.


And so the debate went on and on. My personal feelings on the Cavalier is that I want to turn one into a bitchin' rally car, but the Cav isn't really at the heart of the issue.

The real question is what 'bad' cars deserve a bit more respect, for providing safety, economy, power, or whatever else in an affordable, undesirable package? I can think of a few cars with five points on their engine covers that might qualify.


Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

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NEON! Most people that have experienced the Neon, have only had an automatic. Try a 5-speed.. or better yet, an ACR model :)