What Was The Most Audacious Startup That Fizzled Out?

Illustration for article titled What Was The Most Audacious Startup That Fizzled Out?
Photo: DeLorean Motor Company

The electric vehicle craze has given us many startups whose ambition exceeded their staying power. But of course this phenomenon goes back a long way, well before EVs. Today, we’re asking you which one promised the most and delivered the least.


Let’s get the gimmes out of the way first. We all know about the DeLorean Motor Company, though less talked about were John DeLorean’s plans for other vehicles besides the stainless-steel one that looked neat and drove awfully. A sedan version of the DMC-12 was considered, as was a tiny off-roader and a bus.

Yugo also springs to mind, which wasn’t technically a startup because Zastava Automobiles, the car’s manufacturer, was building Ford trucks for the Yugoslavian army in the 1930s. But Malcolm Bricklin pulled the strings to import the Zastava Koral to the U.S., renaming it the Yugo GV. There’s something ambitious about promising to sell the cheapest new car on the market, particularly when the country you’re importing it from is in the throes of civil war.

As for the modern day? While the book hasn’t shut on Faraday Future yet — especially now that it’s gone public — the company has been staving off death for so long that it can’t be ignored in this conversation. Then again, we’ve seen other Chinese brands rise from certain collapse before, so maybe such a claim would be a bit presumptuous.

What do you think was the most audacious automotive startup to go up in smoke?

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. 2017 Fiesta ST. Wishes NASCAR was more like Daytona USA.


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