What's The Greatest Unreliable Car?

Illustration for article titled What's The Greatest Unreliable Car?

Last week's Found Around The Dist, Er, New York City feature highlighting a Lancia Beta generally sparked two kinds of responses from you folks: what an awesome car it is, and what a miserably unreliable piece of crap it is.


I don't doubt that the Beta was a lot of fun to drive. With enough TLC and mechanic skills, it's probably great to own today as long as you know what you're in for. But I can't say I would have wanted one of these rustbuckets back when they were new.

A car can be great even if it's finicky. So here's our question this week: What's the greatest unreliable car?

I'm not asking what car is most unreliable, but what car is best to drive when it actually works AND carries a track record of not working all that often.

The Beta is a great answer. I'd also nominate the old Saab 900 Turbos, because those a ton of fun but they're known to be a pain in the ass.

But for my final answer I'd go with just about any older Audi. I'm sometimes amazed at how cheaply you can get, say, a well-equipped A6 or an A8 from the mid-to-late 1990s now. That's because all of them are time bombs just waiting to go off. Same goes for the ones from the 80s, unfortunately.


How about you guys? What's the most glorious piece of crap on four wheels?

Photo credit dave_7



Anything ever owned by me.

Currently? A 1991 Audi 80 quattro 10v, ironically enough. Go figure I'd own the very same kind of car you picked. But it truly is a great car when it runs. Amazingly fun car to drive, great driving dynamics, beautiful steering feel, a wonderful manual transmission, that iconic slant-5 engine and Audi's legendary quattro AWD system with an electronically locking rear differential. As good as it is in the dry, it's even better in the rain and snow and it's downright blissful on a back dirt or gravel road. It's easily the best driver's car I've ever owned.

Current status: Not running. Obviously. Because it's mine.

(Though, I will say this: 90% of the problems with the older Audi's is the Bosch K-Jetronic CIS fuel injection system. Invest a grand in upgrading it to an 034 motorsports EFI system and they immediately become as reliable as a Camry without all the suckage.)