What's the Dumbest Car You've Actually Purchased?

Illustration for article titled Whats the Dumbest Car Youve Actually Purchased?

We had so much fun with last Friday's What's the Dumbest Car You've Talked Yourself Out of QOTD that we're essentially going to rehash it. Only this time, the stakes are much higher as the shame factor just increased by a factor of ten. I don't have my usual personal anecdote to toss in this time, but I have a feeling that some most all of you will make up for my lack of shitbox buying experience. Don't let me down. Oh, and the image is to symbolize my Mother's Ford Falcon, which single-handedly stopped her side of the family from buying Fords for over 40 years now. Can you say multiple valve jobs before 40,000 miles?


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'91 Cavalier coupe, I4, 5sp. Purchased for $1000 in '97. It had obviously been in a front-end collision as the paint on the front half of the hood was definitely an amateur job. It tracked straight and there wasn't anything obviously wrong with the car, so I bought it.

It really wasn't such a bad car besides the obviousness of being an early '90s compact from GM. However, this particular example acquired a bad habit of stalling intermittently due a head gasket leak on the BACK side of the engine causing coolant to drip on the electronic ignition module. Until I was able to diagnose it properly, I just lived with it. But one of the ultimate side effects was that unburned fuel got into the exhaust and into the catalytic converter. I'll give 50 points to whomever guesses correctly on the outcome of that event. Hint: it wasn't kittens and rainbows.

Fixed both problems just to have an overheating issue crop up days later. I had the car back to the shop that fixed the head gasket and ignition module for the warranty repair but they stiffed me saying the overheating issue was unrelated. Unfortunately, I had to have it fixed so I ate the repair cost. That day I resigned myself to learn as much about cars as I could from that day forward.

Then I sold it to a friend of mine for $1000 in '99. He continued to have an overheating problem, but wound up having issues with the clutch about 5 months later, as well.

He donated it to some charity that hauled it off his driveway for free, never to return again.