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What's Your Worst Car Ever?

edited September 2012 in General Discussion
Your Worst Car Ever? Tell us!

It's Worst Car Week here at Car Talk Plaza. After all the rust-buckets and heaps of scrap we've owned, we managed to narrow it down to just one each. Improbably, we realize… but we did it. Here they are!


Then we put the question to our indentured bloggers, and they had some horror stories too. Like…

The VW Squareback that made Jim Motavalli wonder if his grandma wanted him six feet under.

Or the Lotus Elan that narrowly avoided spontaneously combusting. With Jamie Kitman inside it.

Or the 1972 Fiat that left Tom Bodett unable to truly love cars.

Now, it's your turn! We want to hear from you. Tell us about your worst car ever. Did it burst into flames on your wedding night? Break in two on the way to college? Lose its brakes on the Blue Ridge Highway? Bring it on. We're ready for your stories!

Yours in worst car catharsis,

Tom and Ray Magliozzi


  • My 1972 Vega was my worst car ever. I traded it immediately after reinstalling the rear axle.....which slid out of the housing with the wheel attached when the retainer (C-clip) fell off.

    But, in truth, I LIKED that car. Too bad it was such an unreliable, downright damgerous, piece of junk.
  • Well... probably the 81 Chevy Citation. Second day after purchasing new, I close the drivers door and heard a loud bang. Discovered the entire window track/regulator assembly fell to the bottom of the door. Welding wasn't GM's forte, I guess.

    Within the first 500 miles, was the first of 3 transmission failures. Only car to ever make me walk.

    At around 2000 miles, was the first of 4 rear main seals. NEVER had to worry about the floorboards rotting out. There were constantly protected my fresh oil!

    Heres an interesting one. While on a road trip, I decided to go to a DIY car wash. As I was spraying the bugs off of the plastic "chrome" grille, I discovered I was actually washing the chrome off. I had a mostly white plastic grille when finished. People pay good money to customize a car. I just had to wash it!

    I lost track of the computer / fuel delivery problems. The car would surge from 45-55mph without the driver moving the accelerator pedal. Windshield wipers would start/stop on their own. Didn't they know I lived in Texas and it never rained!

    Purchased the car for just short of 10K. Two years later I traded to some poor Dodge dealer and got $2600 out of it. I felt it was a blessing!
  • My worst car was a 1963 Corvair Spyder. It was an okay car until you approached a curve at anything over 45mph. If you cleaned out the ditch. When it was raining.....30mph was sometimes a problem. My brother borrowed it and blew the engine on the interstate. He paid me back over the course of 2 years at about $25 a month.
  • Mine was also a Vega.

    Engine - Lousy design. Almost 100% would start burning oil before 100k miles. Most at before 50k miles. And there was a simple fix. Steel Sleeve the cylinder walls.

    Transmission - Premature failure on ALL of the transmissions in this vehicle. I had the 4-speed manual which I had to rebuild at 10k miles after I rebuilt the engine.

    Premature Rust - No inner fender wells. Dirt/salt and water had many places to pool on this car. Mine started rusting with 2 years of ownership.

    Again I'm with MB on this one. I actually liked the car. It was very stylish for it's time...and fun to drive.

  • Out of all the cars I have owen from rebuilt wrecks to customs. The 2001 4.0 V6 Ranger I had was by far the worse. Gas milage would go from 12 -18 (mostly 12). It was at the dealer for warranty work for this problem at least once a month. It had a miss at idle after it got 15000 miles on it. Never did get fixed. Trans make a whining noise if it 20 deg's or lower. It was a auto trans. Also it was starting to rust too. I had it a little over a year. I was able to walk away from it ( it was a lease ) The dealer was good friend and we called it a draw and I did not have do the lemon law. It cost me about $1000. in the end. I did get a deal from him on a full size used Chevy. So I don't feel to bad about it. We are sill friends.
  • edited September 2012
    A 1957 Plymouth by far. In 2.5 years at college the front torsion bars snapped, the wiper motor failed, I needed rings and valves, a rear spring snapped, and the floor rusted out so badly that the front seat fell through it. The windshield leaked prodigiously; I could have used wipers on the inside as well.

    One of these cars ( Fury Hardtop) was put in a time capsule by the city of Houston, and dug up in 2007. It was a completely rusted hulk, even though it had no miles on it.

    By contrast, there is a 1957 Chevy Bel Air parked in front of the Independence Hall in Malacca, Malaysia, which became independent from Britain that year. In spite of the tropical sea air, it stll looks great.
  • 1975 Fiat X19. Need I say more?
  • 1995 Ford Contour
  • A girlfriends 72 vega, fix after fix, until something went wrong with the aluminum block and killed the car for good.
  • My worst car? A 1986 Ford Temp. After 3,000 miles, the windshield wipers came on when the headlights were engaged. Okay for driving at night in the rain!
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