What's The Worst Moment In Automotive History?

Illustration for article titled What's The Worst Moment In Automotive History?

The Carpocalypse certainly blows, but is it truly the lowest point in more than a century of carmaking? What's the worst moment in automotive history?


We'd have to say January 11, 1972, when Bill France, Jr. takes over NASCAR from his father. Though it's the beginning of the modern era, when the racing series would bloom to new heights, it was also the death of the "stock car" concept of racing. Fueled by Tobacco advertising and television coverage, the amount of money in the sport suddenly increased and thus the incentive to move away from true stock car racing. Prior to this era, innovations in NASCAR racing included one driver's in-floor trap door, which allowed him to check his tires while driving. Subsequently, innovation has been replaced by complex and boring attempts to circumvent certain regulations in the engineering realm.

In 1970, if someone went into a Plymouth dealership and bought a Plymouth Superbird they could be sure they were getting something quite similar to the championship car piloted by Richard Petty. In 1971, NASCAR all but outlawed the innovative "aero cars." In 1972, NASCAR cut back drastically on the number of races and innovation. By the time Richard Petty retired from "stock car" racing in 1991, the Grand Prix he was driving was so expensive and dissimilar from the actual Pontiac Grand Prix they might has well have called it the Pontiac Spaceship Endeavor.

What was once a philosophy of "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" started its slow evolution into "win on Sunday, who cares about Monday."

Got a better idea?

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If you could get a 1972 Charger like Petty's shown above, but the Rallye version with the 440 Magnum and it decent shape for $5k would you do it? That's my delimna.