What Was The Worst Model Year?

Illustration for article titled What Was The Worst Model Year?

There was a surprising amount of consensus around the best model years, but what about those years of fail? What was the worst model year?


In looking over the choices from yesterday there's a clear pattern emerging. Years of crap are followed by a period of excellence acted upon by external events. The War. The Depression. The Energy Crisis. The Carpocalypse. If it's true those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it, let's remind everyone of what happens when car companies take their eyes off the ball.

It's hard to pick one year from the 1970s to embody everything bad about the era, but if we're going to put our finger one year it'll be 1974, which is the pivot between the bloated excess of the early 1970s and the start of the Malaise Era. If you want to put your finger on it, the Mustang II is the embodiment of automotive engineering's failure. In order to counteract the bloated mess the Mustang became, Ford essentially repurposed a Pinto into a Mustang. It's also, arguably, the worst year for the Thunderbird, Caprice, Charger, Malibu (until modern times) and Camaro. Seriously, the mid-1980s couldn't come quickly enough.


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Rob Emslie

I'd have to go with 1894. There was limited selection of models, most of the cars built were French, and both the steering wheel and brakes had yet to be invented. The muscle car was 70 years away, and Enzo Ferrari wouldn't be born for another four years.

The roads were unpaved and you needed to dodge horse shit on most of them, which may have lead to the invention of the steering wheel and brakes. It was truly an automotive wasteland. Yes, 1894, that model year sucked balls.