Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ugliest automobiles of past 50 years

Considering how many new cars are rolled out every year, it's no surprise that a few might be just plain homely. There's a chance that certain styles might become fashionable with a dash of retro hip. (Well, maybe not from the 1970s.) But for the most part, the following cars will never be anything but design duds.


1. Chevrolet El Camino
Introduced: 1959
The front end of a car and the back end of a pickup—convenient but unsightly. The El Camino went through several redesigns, each worse than the one before. This 1982 model seemed to be wearing dental braces, and the chrome accents over its wheel housing only draw the eye to mystifying hub caps.


2. Citroën Ami
Introduced: 1961
Design: Flaminio Bertoni
This car has fenders that drop below the tire line and a top that extends from the back like a porch roof. Add some oddly shaped windows and dot-sized brake lights for a uniquely strange-looking vehicle.


3. Lightburn Zeta
Introduced: 1963
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.


4. Wartburg 353
Introduced: 1965
Can you find one thing you like about this East German car?

Wikimedia/Sven Storbeck

5. Volkswagen Thing
Introduced: 1969
This is the design philosophy of the Thing: Take the basics of the Beetle—an engine, powertrain, and seats—and plop them in an unfinished metal box. There's no front grille, the bumper is an afterthought, and nobody bothered to round the fenders.


6. AMC Gremlin
Introduced: 1970
Design: Richard A. Teague
Introduced on April Fool's Day, the Gremlin was ugly, but it's had its fans. Still, that doesn't excuse the abruptly angled back end, saucer hubcaps, and aborted rear windows. It also came in some nasty colors, like the brown-copper concoction seen here.

Wikimedia/Mikel Ortega

7. Bond Bug
Introduced: 1970
Design: Ogle Design
No, it has nothing to do with James Bond, and yes, it was legally driven on real roads. The Bug defies car design language with three wheels, a boat-like bottom, and zip windows.


8. Ford Pinto
Introduced: 1970
Design: Robert Eidschun
The Pinto doesn't seem so bad—that is, until you remember how sexy Fords from the 1960s were. The design devolved into hexagonal headlight housings, a grille that's only a few inches tall yet wide enough to become the car's focal point, and a rear end that apparently melted from the roof.


9. Ford Mustang II
Introduced: 1973
Somehow, Ford transformed the classic first-generation Mustang into this. Gone are the sleek lines, side intakes, and close-to-the-road profile. Instead, the Mustang II looks like many cars of the '70s: bloated, heavy, bland, and forgettable.

Wikimedia/Thomas Doerfer

10. Bricklin SV1
Introduced: 1974
This ride has a well-earned reputation for being a complete mechanical clunker—and it looked like one, too. The front end is squared like an awful dress shoe, is wider than the driver's cabin, and rises high before sloping down dramatically, giving it a front-heavy, unstable appearance.

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