Note to Detroit . . .

by wjw on December 6, 2008

What with the Detroit Three lobbying Congress for a bailout and promising all sorts of new, fuel efficient cars for as long as they continue to need tax dollars— hey, promises have no fuel consumption at all!— anyway, in order to avoid repeating the errors of the past, perhaps the Big Three ought to check this list of the 50 worst cars of all time.


1913 Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo— “A 3,200-lb. motorcycle with training wheels, a V8 engine and enough copper tubing to provide every hillbilly in the Ozarks with a still . . . “

1933 Fuller Dymaxion— “one link in [Buckminster Fuller’s] vaguely totalitarian plan for the people to live in mass-produced houses deposited on the landscape by dirigibles . . . Deprived of wings, the Dymaxion was a three-wheel, ground-bound zeppelin . . . “

1956 Renault Dauphine— “It took the drivers at Road and Track 32 seconds to reach 60 mph, which would put the Dauphine at a severe disadvantage in any drag race involving farm equipment . . . “

1958 Lotus Elite— ” . . . was also a lovely little coupe, which made the moment when the suspension mounts punched through the stressed-skin monocoque all the more pathetic.”

The 1961 amphicar— “promised to revolutionize the act of drowning.”

The 1970 Triumph Stag— “a despicable, rotten-to-the-core mockery of a car . . . . The 3.0-liter Triumph V8 was a monumental failure, an engine that utterly refused to confine its combustion to the internal side . . . “

1975 Bricklin SV1— “the only Bricklin I ever sat in caught fire and burned to the axles.”

1978 Pacer— “You could actually see fumes of volatile petrochemicals out-gassing from the plastic dash.”

1982 Cadillac Cimmaron— “The horror. The horror. Everything that was wrong, venal, lazy and mendacious about GM in the 1980s was crystallized in this flagrant insult to the good name and fine customers of Cadillac.”

And forty-one more . . .

robp December 6, 2008 at 5:36 am

Most likely the big 3 have, in the words of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, studied their past mistakes “and can repeat them completely.”

Beggars who show up in separate private jets are not to be trusted. Yes, the government should bail out the auto industry. But they should take it from the idiots who fucked it up. And bill the charter boys for wasteful expenses.

Bail-out money should go directly to the employees, not to the greedy assholes who are about to lay them off.

Anonymous December 7, 2008 at 5:03 pm

The Dauphine was a dud? I’m shattered. Never owned one, but it was the car of one of my favorite “bande dessinée” heroes.
See the excellent wikipedia entry:

Ty December 8, 2008 at 9:16 pm

“Revolutionize the act of drowning,” made me snort coffee onto my keyboard.

dubjay December 8, 2008 at 11:09 pm

Jean-Daniel, it looks as if the Dauphine was Gil’s choice of vehicle when his agency was struggling. When he was able to upgrade, he got an R17.

According to Wikipedia, “the Dauphine’s legacy is largely dominated by its infamously poor performance and bad handling, as well as its poor reliability . . . In 2002, the auto enthusiasts’ radio show Car Talk named the Dauphine the 9th Worst Car Of The Millennium, calling it “truly unencumbered by the engineering process”

I remember when the Dauphine was introduced in the US. There was a quiz show that gave away a Dauphine as top prize— I still remember the stricken look on the face of the winner!

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