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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A red and white 1978 AMC Pacer, one of the worst condition vehicles in history, is in a field.

Top 10 Worst Condition Vehicles Still Driving Around Today

Believe it or not, not every vehicle is cut from the same cloth. Just because something went into production doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good car. With over a century’s worth of automobiles to look at, the industry has had its fair share of faux pas. In this article, we will take a look at the top 10 worst condition vehicles that you may still see driving around town.

10. GM EV1

Back in 1997, General Motors made headlines with the announcement of their full-electric vehicle known as the GM EV1. Built to fall in line with California’s zero-emissions-vehicle mandate, the EV1 promised to be a fun, exhilarating, and reliable car for city folks. Using lead-acid batteries to replace the piston-powered gasoline engine, this vehicle was full of hopes and dreams.

That is hopes and dreams that GM couldn’t deliver on. This tiny, ultra-lightweight model only had room for two people. Even with an upgraded nickel-hydride battery later on, it simply couldn’t provide enough range or power to do much of anything. It certainly was not what consumers were hoping for. It was also insanely expensive to manufacture, which ended up resulting in its cancellation.

9. Plymouth Prowler

It seems like 1997 wasn’t a very good year for more than one automaker. Plymouth’s unveiling of the 1997 Prowler didn’t go over very well. Inspired by the iconic designs of retro roadsters, this model featured a signature one-wheel front end and a hotrod-style fuselage.

With a 3.5-liter V6 engine rumbling under the hood, it could generate 250 hp. The problem was that it did not come with a manual transmission. Technically, it wasn’t a hotrod and couldn’t deliver the robust acceleration that people expected. This disappointing realization led to the Prowler fading off into oblivion.

8. BMW 7-Series

Fast-forward to 2002 and you will find the BMW 7-Series on our list. While this luxury automaker is well-known for its sophisticated and expensive fleet, the 7-Series was not one of this company’s best moments.

Although it was a fast and beautiful vehicle, the 7-Series had two main problems that consumers just couldn’t look past. The first issue was iDrive. This joystick controller was situated on the center console and featured a rotary dial. Its purpose was to control various vehicle settings from climate to music to navigation. It was not user-friendly. In fact, it was very difficult to figure out and left drivers annoyed and agitated. To make matters worse BMW completely ignored these valid complaints and reaffirmed that the system was flawless. The second issue was the strange back-end styling featured known as the Bangle Bustle. People simply didn’t like the look.

7. Hummer H2

It was difficult to not rank this vehicle closer to number one, but the Hummer H2 is one of the worst vehicles that you’ll still see on the roads. Released in 2003, this gas-guzzling, military-style SUV was way too big to ever be considered practical for civilian drivers. The only reason it’s not higher on our list is that it delivered exactly what it promised.

Produced by GM, this monstrosity had an estimated fuel economy set at 10 mpg. People all across America united in hatred for this impractical beast. In fact, it was fueled so much hatred that a Hummer dealership in Los Angeles was firebombed by activists. About 20 brand new Hummers were set ablaze, and a total of 50 vehicles were damaged. Remember the terrible EV1 that we just mentioned? Well, about this time, GM was crushing these petite eco-friendly cars and turning them into scrap metal. So, that didn’t help the publicity for the Hummer H2 either.

6. Chevrolet SSR

Sitting under the umbrella of General Motors, Chevrolet made a massive slip-up in 2004 with the introduction of the SSR. Trying to get in on the retro-inspired hotrod craze, Chevy didn’t take any notes from the Plymouth Prowler catastrophe.

The SSR was a hotrod truck with a convertible top. Take a moment to imagine how ridiculous that sounds. Taking the chassis and mechanical elements from GM’s mid-size SUV lineup, this truck looked good from the outside, but it performed poorly. While you might see one once in a blue moon, let’s hope Chevy learned the valuable lesson of Plymouth. You can’t mass produce a hotrod.

5. DeLorean DMC-12

For the top 5 worst condition vehicles, we are going to take a step or two back in time. Do you remember the popular DeLorean DMC-12? Are you surprised it’s on our list? Don’t be! This overpriced vehicle was overweight and underpowered. For a vehicle with such a sporty look, it’s 2.8-liter V6 engine was extremely disappointing for fans.

Since this model came out in 1981, it has been seen in numerous films and television shows. If you drive around the backroads of the countryside, you’ll probably see one sitting in a junkyard. With a little elbow grease, you could make one of these rut buckets drivable, but be careful not to go over 88 mph.

4. Cadillac Fleetwood V-8-6-4

Here’s a mouthful for you! Also introduced in 1981, the Cadillac Fleetwood V-8-6-4 was GM’s first attempt at cylinder deactivation or variable displacement. While this type of fuel-saving technology works great in newer vehicles today, it simply wasn’t compatible with the engines in the 80s. It caused the cars to make loud noises, jerk, buck, and even stall on the road. Not to mention, this model was quite an eyesore.

3. Ferrari Mondial 8

With a name like Ferrari, one might think there’s no way the Mondial 8 could be one of the worst cars. Alas, it’s number three on our list. Aside from being an overweight coupe, it featured a severely underpowered engine that only put out 214 hp. There are sedans that push out more power than that these days. For a Ferrari, a number like that is simply unacceptable.

On top of the weak performance, system failures were frequent and often left a lingering odor of burnt wires. Needless to say, this model acted more like an off-brand Ferrari than something that would actually come from the Italian automaker.

2. Corvette 305 “California”

With a V8 engine under the hood that only put out 180 hp, the 1980 Corvette 305 “California” was a black mark on this iconic car’s history. Equipped with a torque-sapping 3-speed automatic transmission, this wannabe sports car couldn’t even succeed with a burnout. Mopeds today have more giddy-up than this sad set of wheels.

You can still see these old Corvettes driving around small towns or sitting in junkyards. Such a sad sight for such a legendary name.

1. AMC Pacer

Coming in at number one is the 1978 AMC Pacer. If you argued that this was literally the worst vehicle of all time, we would wholeheartedly agree. This two-door compact model came in the world’s ugliest colors and featured upholstery that only Woodstock attendees would love. The body style was called the jellybean due to its pinched off shape, and square headlight housing with rounded edges just added to the bizarre look.

Although you’ll typically see them overgrown with grass, these cars can still be found trucking along. And if you’re wondering if it had air conditioning, it didn’t.

… and one more video just because the Ford Pinto deserves a not-so-honorable mention:

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