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Lemon Cars: Which "lemon" did you own that really was a GREAT car for you?

Just wondering if anyone owned a car that was supposedly not a great car but turned out to be one of the best you ever owned …

Thanks for sharing.

I had a boss that put a Chevette on the street with a “For Sale” sign on it,people were fighting over it.

BMW 318i’s (E-30’s) were not lemons but I never saw a car generate more “buyers remorse”

I owned a 1975 AMC Pacer X. I bought the car used in 1976 and I think most of the problems were worked out when I got the car. I thought the car was very stable on the road and the visibility was great. My first wife really wanted a Pacer. We had a 2 year old at the time and it was great to put him in a child seat in the back since the right side door was very wide–wider than the left door.

The car I drive most of the time now is a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander. It does its job for me hauling musicians and instruments–I’ve carried two tympani, a string bass, two French horns and several non-folding music stands at one time. I know that Consumer Reports gives it a low rating and suggests a poor repair record, but I’ve had very little trouble. It does the job I want it to do.

my 73 and 72 Vega’s were Lemon…There were so many problems with that vehicle I couldn’t keep track…

76 Dodge Aspen…Just about as bad as the Vega.

84 GMC S-15…Great truck until it reached 85k miles…then it just fell apart.

Started buying Asian vehicles after that…No more Lemons.

Never owned a lemon that was a great car. The worst car, bar none, was a 1957 Pymouth 6; it literally fell apart in my hands, including the drivier’s seat falling through the floor. I bought the car used after the warrany expired, so I basically ran it into the ground. Even the windshield wiper motor burned out on me.

One car that was fun to drive was my 1976 Ford Granada Cuope with a 351 Windsor V8 and bucket seats. It had a number of problems, but did not put me into poorhouse. We sold it at 108,000 miles, when the body started rusting out. My wife had fun racing sports cars from the traffic light because the enormous torque of the engine in a very light car.

Looks aside, nothing ever wrong with my '75 AMC Gremlin…stop laughing now. :)))

My girlfriend and I made it to Florida and back to Ill in her yellow gremlin, on savings in our coin jars, Any car can be a lemon, I remember one study correlating cars made on mondays and fridays as the ones needing most repairs. I do not have medical or mechanical work done on those days to this day.

Can’t say as I’ve ever owned a Lemon, and I’ve owned just about everything in the book. In spite of the bad rap British cars get I’ve owned a couple of those and they were pretty reliable. (Sunbeam Alpine and Morris Minors.)

Old domestic cars also get a bad rap (have to overhaul them every 60k miles, pure bunk) and I’ve never owned a bad one.
Out in CA many years ago I was about to move back to OK and I purchased a 1960 Chrysler New Yorker (big tail fin job) with a 413. I bought that car (125k miles) from an outlaw motorcycle club member for 10 bucks and drove it back to OK and around for a while with zero problems before eventually giving it away to a guy who needed a car badly. I actually miss that big old tank.

I have an uncle who once told me that the first thing you did when looking at a car was figure out from the date code or something which day of the week it was built on, and you stay away from Mon & Fri. Stuff of urban legend?

Take any car with a moderately difficult to diagnois concern, couple it with a “poor” service advisor and a “difficult or problematic” owner and you can create was is technicaly considered a “lemon” (repeated attempts to fix the same problem,or combination of problems)

My dad had a car with a bad smell, it ended up someone had left their lunch inside the door, Urban legend for sure!

Remember the Firestone / Ford Explorer tire recall-p.r.nightmare ?
Nothing wrong with Firestone wilderness a/t !
Nothing wrong with Explorer 4-doors !
So what was the big issue for everyone else ? 1) not knowing how to control an suv with a flat, and 2 ) 26 freekin psi in the tires !

For Ford to suggest, and Firestone to agree to only 26 psi is the amazing factor in all of that.

I always ( from absolute day one with my special ordered Explorer ) aired my 'stones at 32-34 psi and NEVER had problems. Wore out the first set and bought a second set prior to the recall. Tires so good that I rarely ever needed 4x4, Good tread and good rubber composition.
Learned to grasp the steering wheel solidly if a tire flat ( right rear once after hitting debris in road ) and have ME steer the truck, not let the flat tire steer the truck.

That tire recall situation was horrendous p.r. for both Firestone and Ford but I never, never, never, had any issues.

Worst: 81 Pontiac Firebird–doors wouldn’t shut right, demonic electrical system, cheap build.

Best “lemon” A 1980 Chrysler New Yorker I bought in 1993 for $275. It had 125,000 miles on it. Was owned by the father of a guy I worked with, and had been setting for over a year without running. I put a battery in it and started it up. Other than an alternator and replacing the timing chain (only time it ever quit running and that was after a long road trip–it broke in front of my gf’s house) I had it till 1999 and it never let me down. The A/C even worked. Finally sold it to a junkyard for $100–it was rusty and the tranny was about shot.

I only owned it one year but a late 80’s Peugeot 505 turbo. My grandparents gave it to me. A tree fell on it and did it in.

Everyone said French cars were junk but it was not true of that cool car.

71 Pinto 80,000mi in michigan rust holes witch were common up there.
Drove it 1 yr sold it bought it back and took it out one night and spent 3 hrs trying to blow it up, 60mph shift into first and let out clutch, wind it out to 60mph in 2nd time and time again and it would not blow up!
Pintos had the best seats and they worked great in old jeeps and dune buggies.
The old motors remind me of datsun 280z motors good torque high reving.


Yeah there was something wrong with the Explorer. It had absolutely nothing to do with drivers not knowing how to drive an SUV with a flat.

The problem wasn’t due to flat tires, but with the tread separating and folding over. That caused the Explorer to rock side to side. At some speed, the rocking reached a harmonic and flipped the rig over. The drivers that panicked and locked up the brakes, didn’t flip.

1961 Fiat Cabrolet. It was a lemon’s lemon. In the year and a half I owned it, I only managed to put on about 7k miles for all the down time, mostly with the engine. I replaced the head gasket over a dozen times, put a rod through the side of the block, broke a piston, cracked a head in half, burned a few valves etc.

Why was it a good car for me, I was young and I learned more about cars from that thing than I could have ever have learned for any number of books or auto repair classes. At one time I had the body sitting on four concrete block with only the transmission and the control arms attached. Everything else was in the garage and I had to fix every bit of it because no one else would work on it.

I once had a Vega GT. Those were awful cars, but I loved mine. Nothing failed on it while I owned it. I sold it at 40k miles because I did not need it. The next owner probably regretted buying it.

i had a '99 VW Turbo Beetle,and no…it was not a great car by any stretch:)i was ONE DAY away from getting it legally ‘lemoned’(29days in the shop,total!)i traded it in for an '04 VW R32(it’s a keeper,and not even remotely lemon-y :slight_smile: )

A couple of 1987 Plymouth Horizons. The automatic one with air conditioning had zero power but never quit or overheated. The stripped down model got 42 MPG on the highway on two 3,000 mile trips and did 15,000 miles in five months once.