Great Blunders in Auto Aesthetics

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I may not drive a car or have a driver’s license for that matter. But this doesn’t mean that I can’t talk about cars, particularly auto aesthetics. Sure cars were made to get us from point A to point B, but that doesn’t stop people from wanting one that matches their style. Since the time when rich people wanted fancy cars to show off their wealth, it wasn’t long until the ordinary folk wanted their own cars to fit their style as well. Some of these have become icons of their era like the muscle cars of the 1950s. I can go on and on about the great looking cars out there. But I know you’d be bored to tears and tell me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So instead I’ll do a post on some of the biggest automobile eyesores to ever grace the road. Some might just fire for function but not effect. Some might’ve seen good ideas at the time and their designs just haven’t aged well. While others, well, make you want to scratch your head and wonder what the hell they were thinking when it was being design. Nevertheless, at any rate, I hope you enjoy these ugly cars for your reading pleasure.

  1. Volkswagen Thing
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Because calling it the Volkswagen Cardboard Box Convertible wouldn’t fly and the guys at Volkswagen couldn’t think of any good ideas for names. Seriously, when a car is called, “Thing” it kind of shows that the automaker doesn’t think much of it.

2. Tatra T603

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Made in Czechoslovakia between the 1950s and 1970s, this was said to be “Communism’s Finest Car” that was driven by officials and factory owners. Nevertheless, why it’s designed like the kind of sedan a Batman villain would be too embarrassed to drive, I have no idea.

3. Nissan S Cargo

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In France, escargot is a snail dish that’s considered a delicacy. This is a retro style commercial van that was sold from 1989-1992 to carry small cargo. Not sure if it got the job done in terms of hauling stuff. But in France, I can bet that this car surely lived up to its name at any rate.

4. 1957 Multipla Marinella

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The kind of car that resembles a cross between a retro looking minivan and a golf cart. Seems more appropriate for driving around an amusement park or the links than going to work.

5. Bond Bug

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While it certainly looks like a bug without a doubt, but I don’t think it’s a car I’d see James Bond driving by any stretch of the imagination. Or anyone else during the 1970s when this car was made. And your parents thought the AMC Gremlin was hideous.

6. Trabant

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The East German answer to the Volkswagen Beetle, this seemed to combine the beetle’s design with a something the Joker might drive. Nevertheless, to say it was a failure in East Germany is an understatement.

7. AMC Pacer

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When it came out in 1975, it was the toast of the automotive press as it was called, “futuristic,” “bold,” and “unique.” Keep in mind that they viewed the same thing about polyester pants.

8. Pontiac Aztek

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Best known as the Walter White’s signature ride in Breaking Bad when he’s a teacher and not a meth cook. Keep in mind, people tend to make fun of Walter White for his minivan that seems like a Gobot mutant meets a space shuttle. Possibly designed by a front team and a back team who never spoke to each other.

9. AMC Gremlin

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With the Pacer and the Ford Pinto, it’s the epitome of bad 1970s car design. Almost makes you want to apologize to those small creatures who caused problems in WWII planes.

10. Nissan Cube

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I can guess where it got its name due to its geometric design. Nevertheless, you tend to wonder whether this is it or the box it came in.

11. Ashton Martin Lagonda

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Yes, a 1970s luxury car that boasts the elegance on the road akin to a funeral home. The kind of car that’s expensive enough for James Bond to drive yet, one nobody would miss if it happens to explode.

12. Subaru BRAT

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Keep in mind that “BRAT” is an acronym for Bi-Lateral Recreational All-Terrain Transporter. Still, the name is pretty appropriate for this obvious Japanese ripoff of a Ford El Camino. And it wasn’t sold in Japan either.

13. Corbin Sparrow

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Sure it’s a compact vehicle that runs on electric that was made in 1999. However, when I see it, I tend to think of it as the latest thing in clown car technology. And a car even clowns would be too embarrassed to drive.

14. Ford Pinto

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One of the big auto eyesores of the 1970s, it was about as bad to drive in one as it looked. Let’s just say you were lucky that it didn’t explode in a rear end collision, which gave it a shady reputation.

15. Citroen 2CV

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No, it’s not an antique PT Crusier, but good guess. Still, this is a French car that was in production from its postwar years to the 1990s. Nevertheless, it’s not much to look at but was a rather dependable car. Was also known to be used by hippies during the 1960s.

16. Lotus Europa

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Or what you get when you cross a hearse with a 1970s Batmobile. Seriously, that’s what it looks like.

17. Mohs Ostentatiene Opera Sedan

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This is a strange car and a rather expensive and hideous one, too. Only one of these was ever built. Still, it included a refrigerator, a butane furnace, and a TV. And you could order to have it customized with Ming Dynasty style rugs.

18. Bricklin SV-1 (Safety Vehicle 1)

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Seems to look a bit like a Delorean but uglier. Didn’t come equipped with a lighter or ashtray because as the sales brochure said, “We don’t think smoking while driving is safe; we don’t want you dropping a hot cigarette in your lap and driving our beautiful car into a tree.” But their 99 lb doors were known to come crashing down when the support struts failed. Talk about skewed safety priorities.

19. Toyota Yaris Verso

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From the Telegraph: “The Yaris Verso might well have its loyal followers, but there’s no denying that this little car, which is a cross between a supermini and a van, is a challenge to behold. Useful, yes, attractive, no.”

20. Fiat Multipla

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For many, this is new age car appears to be made on another planet. But it was actually made in Italy, believe it or not. Can fit 6 in 2 rows.

21. Ssangyong Rodius

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It’s a minivan from South Korea. Yes, it’s rear end is a monstrosity to behold. Nevertheless, doesn’t surprise me why this is a less known company than Huyndai.

22. Ford Fairlane

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A muscle car from the 1950s which seems to resemble a retro convertible Batmobile. Not that Batman would drive one anyway. Kind of disappointed that it doesn’t have rocket blasters. That would’ve been cool.

23. Lincoln Continental Mark VI

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From RMF: “The car’s mishmash of seemingly random “retro” styling elements included non-functional fender air extractors, barely functional “porthole” windows, fins, a trunk-mounted spare and worst of all, that weird vinyl top that rises far above the sedan’s roofline in a very awkward center section. With the 1960s-era Continental one of the most beautiful cars of all time, what the heck happened?”

24. Davis D-2 Divan

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When I hear the name, I imagine a rather cool car you’d see James Bond or Batman drive. And then you see this rolling toasting piece of crap that resembles those 25 cent plastic rides for kids outside certain retail stores. And I’m being generous.

25. Jeep Compass

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Hmm…guess this is what you get when you mate a Jeep with a minivan. And I hate to be honest but that union didn’t turn out well. Because that is one ugly ass baby.

26. Sebring-Vanguard Citicar

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This car is just a combination of a golf cart and a tent. Made in the 1970s it was one of the first electric cars in the world. But I’m sure nobody would want to waylay an energy crisis with that thing.

27. Plymouth Prowler

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Guess this is the perfect car for any Batman villain to drive. And as far as the color scheme goes, Harley Quinn comes to mind.

28. Ford Scorptio

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Has a sleek sedan design as well as a face of a big mouthed frog. Wonder why it doesn’t eat the bugs that come veering toward its windshield.

29. Citroen Ami

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France may be known for its fashion. But this nightmare seems to be part car and part giant insect. Also, the top doesn’t look great either.

30. Lamborghini Veneno

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As Edmunds’ John Pearley Huffman wrote, “Every supercar cliché and every bad idea Lamborghini ever had, stuffed into one overpriced show car. It’s the worst thing out of Italy since fascism.” Besides, $41 million is a high priced to pay for a life sized Hot Wheels.

31. Suzuki X-90

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Supposed to combine the features of the Japanese economy car to the American pickup truck. As you see from its appearance, it didn’t turn out so well.

32. Nissan Juke

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Bulbous headlights sure make this car resemble some freaky 4 eyed monster. Wouldn’t want to see that at night.

33. Chrysler PT Cruiser

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Thank you, Chrysler, you have finally come up with a car that’s suitable for the Joker to drive in. I’m sure he will either love it or want to blow it up. Maybe both.

34. Lada Kalina

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Made in Russia, this auto eyesore is part SUV and part robomonster. Not sure if it runs on gas or human flesh.

35. Chevy City Express

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Now this is a rather sleek car design, for a windowless van your parents never told you to get into. Guess General Motors is bringing the latest in creeper car technology. If you see someone in your neighborhood driving one, check if they’re a registered sex offender.

36. Kia Amanti

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From Your Car Is Ugly: “They had clearly intended to make a car that had class and style, since it’s the most expensive Kia. Instead, it looks like an adorable elementary school art project which got way out of hand.”

37. Tata Nano

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Made in India and said to be the cheapest car in the world at $2,500. However, driving this jelly bean car will make onlookers less likely to take you seriously. Nevertheless, while it was India’s attempt for their Volkswagen Beetle, it’s now starting to become the country’s equivalent of the Ford Pinto.

38. Toyota Scion IQ

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Think of it as having the features of a jelly bean and a bulldozer combined into one sedan. The fact that it’s in a bright chartreuse only makes it worse.

39. Subaru Baja

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It’s the kind of auto that can’t decide whether it wants to be a car or a truck. Might be fitting for an African Safari. But that’s a huge maybe.

40. Skoda Roomster

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I guess this is the kind of car suitable for the American soccer mom who also makes a living as a funeral director. Then again, I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard of Skoda before or whether it’s even sold in the US.

41. Lamborghini LM002

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I guess Lamborghini was trying to cater to the Hummer and Land Rover crowd at one point. Because it sure looks like it since it resembles an army vehicle like a overloaded jeep or a tank. Also called “the Rambo Lambo” for obvious reasons.

42. Toyota Van

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From Odometer: “This van looks just like something Clark Griswold would drive on one of his many dysfunctional family road trips. That’s not a compliment!”

43. Mini Paceman

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If the Volkswagen Beetle is called “the Bug,” the Mini Paceman can be called, “the Cockroach.” Another car more suitable for a Batman villain like the Penguin.

44. Daimler SP250 (Dart)

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When I see this muscle car, I tend to imagine a brightly colored big mouthed fish from the deep. Or a car well fitting for the Creature of the Black Lagoon. I’m not sure which.

45. Ford Edsel

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Resembling a really ugly fish with pursed lips, the Ford Edsel was released in 1958 and named after Henry Ford’s son. However, it would later become one of the biggest auto flops in history that its name is now synonymous for failure.

46. Reliant Regal

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This 3 wheeler was produced in the UK between 1953-1973 and could be driven on a motorcycle license. Nevertheless, despite the name, it neither looks reliant nor regal at all.

47. Chevy Avalanche

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This car is supposed to be a combination of the pickup truck and an SUV. Either way, many would say that this is an insult to an actual avalanche.

48. Honda Element

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Because something like the “Honda Elephant” wouldn’t fly. Seems to be the product of a union between an SUV and a U-Haul.

49. Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet

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This was supposed to be a convertible approach to an SUV. Still, for cars that serve no purpose, they could’ve made it look pretty like the old muscle cars. Instead, it just looks idiotic. Was pulled after selling less than 1,000.

50. Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Camper

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From Rant Cars: “If you gave money to the PBS pledge drive, listened to John Denver, referred to hostels as “hotels”, and thought Birkenstocks count as dress shoes — this was the vehicle for you. The rest of us knew that it was a confused, mixed up, error from start to finish. The roof popped up for no apparent reason and the camping hookups did no good in suburban university towns. Who really wanted a car that looked like a suppository?”

51. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

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For a car that’s called “Sprinter” it looks like a rather bulky, scaled down RV. You’d think Mercedes-Benz would make a better looking car than this monstrosity.

52. Isuzu VehiCROSS

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Now when you hear the name, you’d assume it was the coolest car ever built. Then you see this wretched thing that resembles a brightly covered termite and are so disappointed that all you can do is stare.

53. Chevrolet SSR

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This car was supposed to appeal toward people who liked classic cars and wanted a truck or a roadster. To me, its short run is unsurprising since it resembles the kind of car that’s driven by a cartoon character.

54. Yugo GV

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Made in the former Yugoslavia and released in the US in 1986 at the low price of $3,990, the Yugo was marketed as basic, reliable, transportation in the tradition of the VW Beetle and the Ford Model T. However, it was one of the most unreliable cars ever built that it was nicknamed the “Yugo Pushing” for how often it left owners stranded. And it has become the prime example of the shitbox economy car. Its looks aren’t worth writing home about either.

55. Mitsuoka Orochi

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From Gearheads: “While the Mitsuoka Orochi does have a touch of uniqueness to it, it is overall one of the ugliest rigs ever built. It’s tiny grille looks like a miniature whale’s mouth and its headlights look like they were inspired by Sloth from Goonies. The silhouette of the Orochi isn’t bad at all. Actually, it is kinda supercar-like. Once you get to the back end, however, the obscene curves return to ruin it.” Also, seems to be painted by someone on acid.

56. Plymouth Fury

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When the Plymouth Fury was being made, the designers were kidnapped by aliens and forced to design it to their specifications. This was the result.

57. Packard Hawk

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Because calling it the “Packard Catfish” wouldn’t have gone so well. And for an osprey, it looks delicious. Only 588 were sold in 1958. And after that, Packard was gone.

58. Ferrari California

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Oh, my God, this bug eyed convertible appears to have come to life. And it looks like it’s meant for a children’s show. Guess the people of California aren’t impressed.

59. Ferrari Enzo

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Yet, another life sized and overpriced Hot Wheels car. Others may say it resembles a permanently baffled cod. Not paying $650,000 for this monstrosity.

60. Datsun F10

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From a standpoint, its bug eyed headlights tend to make it the Peter Lorre of the auto world. Would later be known by the even less appropriate moniker the Nissan Cherry.

61. 1971 Mercury Cougar

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To call it thus is just an insult to cougars. But this is a car from the 1970s with a monstrous grill. Perhaps a cougar attack might improve its looks.

62. Mercedes-Benz G-Class

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Man, Mercedes sure does make a lot of fancy looking Humvees. Wait a minute, it’s for civilian use at $135,000? Yikes.

63. Ford Mustang II

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You know how some movies have shitty sequels? Well, in the car world, the Ford Mustang II was this in the 1970s. Basically consists of a Ford Pinto with a mustang emblem on the grill.

64. Buick Electra 225

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From Edmunds: “All the 1950s styling clichés fight each other to the death on a relentlessly tasteless car. You could slice ham with those tail fins.” Sort of resembles some 1950s Batmobile.

65. Mercury Turnpike Cruiser

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From Edmunds: “It features a ridiculous front bumper, radio antennas shooting forward from the roof, silly side trim and a rear window that goes down. What’s not to love/hate?” Kind of unsightly if you ask me.

66. Subaru 360

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From Edmunds: “It looks sort of like concrete that’s been left to harden in a wheelbarrow, only less comfortable.” One of the first Japanese cars sold in the States, it didn’t go well.

67. Hummer H2

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I’ve seen these and in that color. And let me say, the world would be a better place if we wipe that car off the face of the earth. Seriously, it’s an unreliable atrocity as well as a notorious gas guzzler. What more can you say?

68. Aurora

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Designed by a Catholic priest with construction partially funded by his parishioners, this car was made to be the ultimate safety vehicle. Still, its sea ray design made its debut a disaster that the designer ended up in financial trouble and was forced to leave his order. Unsurprisingly.

69. Buick Limited

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Described by a critic as, “Dreadful styling, high thirst, gargantuan size, and barge-like handling: There’s no bigger or flashier example of the best and worst in late-50s American cars.”

70. Mitsubishi i-MiEV

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From Edmunds: “An egg that can’t be cracked open and scrambled for breakfast. Exactly the misery module we feared we’d end up driving in the future.”

71. Jaguar XJ-S

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– From Edmunds: “Successor to the lovely E-Type, the XJ-S is Jag’s version of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Massive flying buttress roof concludes in huge taillights that together look like red plastic salad tongs.” At least the Chevrolet Monte Carlo was cheaper.

72. Subaru B9 Tribeca

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From Edmunds: “Subaru’s legendary oddness, swollen up in size and then cursed by a Venusian nose and a Martian tail.” This car was incredibly offensive to the eyes and wasn’t on the market for long.

73. Oldsmobile Dynamic 88

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Sure is dynamic all right as you’d see in 1950s muscle cars. But it sure looks like a monstrous beast you wouldn’t want to mess with on the road.

74. Overland OctoAuto

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Designed by the guy who invented the muffler, this 1911 car’s main feature is having 8 wheels for a smoother ride. In reality, all 8 wheels on a car gets you are more tire changes and being the joke of the neighborhood.

75. Fiat S76

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Called “the Beast of Turin” this 1912 steampunk gas guzzler was built specifically to beat a land speed record by Blitzen Benz. Possibly one of the largest Fiats ever built.

76. Sbarro Autobau

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This is a concept car that was based on a spacecraft someone’s kid designed with Legos. It’ll probably never go into production. But serves as a warning that just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

77. Ferrari Conciso

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According to one critic, “A collaboration between Ferrari and a posse of clowns tripping on LSD.” Makes sense.

78. Fiat Aquila

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Another concept car that probably has never been produced. Resembles some kind of transport from another world designed by an alien with poor taste in cars.

79. 2008 Lexus SC-400

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Lexus is known to make nice cars. But this one seems to be made out of an overturned bathtub made into a convertible. Not a pretty sight by any stretch of the imagination.

80. Oldsmobile Omega

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From Wheels.Ca: “Much like the X-90 (which could be a code name for a new member to the X-Men), the Omega also had a kickass name. Sadly, that was the only kickass thing about it. Manufactured for only decade, each update looked uglier and uglier; it eventually resembled a brick cosplaying as a car. The grill was so hideous that it looked like a cheese grater on steroids. There was a rumor that stated once you got behind the wheel, you instantly aged 15 years and developed arthritis. It’s fitting that Oldsmobile was the manufacturer of the Omega.”

81. Scion XB

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It’s a cross between a U-Haul and a snow plow truck in minivan form. To onlookers, it’s horrendous as can be.

82. Peel P50 Trident

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A 3-wheeled small car made in the 1960s. This one is light, compact, and fuel efficient. Unfortunately, it won’t get you laid.

83. Scion Hako

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Another concept that was probably never put into production. Mostly it’s because it resembles a mini 18 wheeler.

84. Ford Taurus

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A bug-eyed flying saucer on wheels. Except that it doesn’t fly which is disappointing.

85. Brutsch Mopetta

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From Listoid: “Words cannot describe the shame one feels when seen driving this ‘thing.’” On the bright side, it’s guaranteed to prevent teen pregnancy.

86. Toyota FJ Cruiser

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Guess this is Toyota’s answer to the Hummer. Possibly more fuel efficient but sure to make people think any male owner is trying to compensate for something.

87. Bufori Geneva

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It’s a high class luxury vehicle made in Australia that’s suitable for the up and coming supervillain with wads of cash. I’m talking to you, Lex Luthor.

88. Lightburn Zeta

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From Bloomberg: “This Australian car was designed by a maker of cement mixers and washing machines, but that might be obvious. There are two grilles, both in a fence-like pattern, with protruding headlights on either side.” Looks like something’s that straight out of Dr. Seuss.

89. Talbot Matra Rancho

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A British made car, it was one of the first SUVS. But to me, it’s what you get when you cross a pickup truck with a rusty Popemobile. No offense, your holiness.

90. Nissan Leaf

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From Rant Cars: “The nature-friendly Leaf is all electric, and like other things found in nature, looks like it has eyes on top of its head. It sure makes a statement though – nobody will ever mistake it for a lowly gasoline car.”

91. Marcos Mantis

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From About Autos: “This four-seat British sports “car” appears to have been designed by three different people, at three different times, all suffering from three completely different emotional disorders. It’s as if someone discovered a scrap-heap of bad design ideas and decided to assemble them as some sort of Christmas party joke, which was then discovered by a mentally deficient middle manager who put the resulting mess into production.”

92. Rolls Royce Camargue

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From Edmunds: “Pininfarina proves that with a little provocation it can design a clumsy and ridiculous coupe. It’s a Rolls-Royce that looks like a Fiat.” Said to be one of the most expensive cars at the time. But money can’t always buy taste.

93. Reva Electric Car

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Sure it runs on electric, but it’s said to be Top Gear’s “Worst Car of the Year.” Still, kind of resembles a car you’d see on a children’s show.

94. Weber Sportscar Faster One

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From Jalopnik: “What can you say about the Weber Faster One that hasn’t already been explained to a court-appointed psychiatrist at the war crimes trail for the designers behind the Swiss monstrosity? Though fast, wicked fast, the Faster One looks like an angry Frenchman whose head has been bashed in and has taken revenge on the world that has made him an outcast. Hide the children when this car is around.”

95. Cadillac Escalade

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It’s supposed to be a SUV luxury vehicle. But its looks rank about as high as its resale value.

96. Tata Magic Iris

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When I see this, I think about a sci-fi robot on wheels. Nevertheless, why they named it after a magical flower is beyond me. But that’s India for you.

97. Ford Ka Series 1

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From Bt: “It looked like the face of a Hello Kitty character but without the ‘cute’. And the front of the new one looks like it’s shouting obscenities at you. Horrible.”

98. Messerschmitt KR200

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I think this might be the ugly stepsister of the Volkswagen Beetle. And it shows.

99. BMW Isetta

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Small, compact, and fuel efficient. Nevertheless, resembles the Volkswagen Beetle without its charm and pizazz. And is probably more expensive, too.

100. Chevy Chevette

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From Marooned: “let’s see… ugly headlight assembly borrowed from the Pacer? Check. Odd, “melted” looking rear hatchback? Check. Crappy whitewalls and economy hubcaps? Check. This is one ‘Vette you don’t want Prince to sing about…”

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2 responses to “Great Blunders in Auto Aesthetics

  1. Wow- what a variety of cars. Some look way worse than others! My husband complains that cars look all the same these days. Sometimes being creative doesn’t quite work out!

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