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Quintessential Mid 90's Loser Cars

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,092
edited March 7 in Geo
OK, here's a strange request from an old college friend who's a writer. He's working on a script and he called me to try and come up with a car from the mid 90's that just the mere mention of brings to mind thoughts like "loser, you're still driving THAT?" etc. Not necessarily an ugly car, but one that if you were, say, instant messaging with someone you were trying to impress, and they asked, "What do you drive?" and you said X, they would immediately sign off.

I figure more than a few people here will have a few nominees :P

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Comments

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,357
    Metro and Aspire are obvious choices. The period Excel models don't exactly bring up visions of success either, along with the Daewoo line (late 90s I know) - especially the Lanos - both of which are virtually extinct today.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,445
    Are we talking cars made in the mid-90s or ones that would be around then?

    Heck, you still get a Yugo in that time frame.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,092
    Cars that were made in the mid 90's... something you would ridicule someone for driving TODAY :P

    And he's looking for something that instantly brings an image to the mind of the general population, not just an "enthusiast"

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  • fezofezo Posts: 9,445
    OK. That's what I thought but I was holding out for that Yugo....

    Give me a bit here...
  • And to clarify the question even more, or more likely, just add to the obfuscation, think of what would be the mid 90s version of the AMC Pacer or Gremlin. Cars which just by name immediately evoke an image and an eye roll, especially if it was being driven today.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    Yeah, my first thought was of an AMC Pacer, but of course it wasn't a 90s car.

    Anyone remember the VERY cheap and quick-to-fall-apart Mercury Capri convertible?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,165
    They were actually pretty well-received at first, and popular for awhile, but the early ones were very troublesome. They tended to shed their paint pretty quickly, especially in that bluish-purple color that seemed all the rage.

    In later years, I started to associate the Neon with financial catastrophe, mainly because I knew a few people who fell on money problems, and it seemed like they'd always end up wtih a Neon! And, I gotta admit, at one point when I was still under water from a bad marriage, one night my '68 Dart died on me while on a pizza delivery run, and I got so fed up with it I asked my grandmother that night if she'd co-sign for me on a loan for a new Neon!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,209
    ...but I'm thinking of the Honda Passport which was really an Isuzu Rodeo in disguise and the Mazda Navajo which was really a Ford Explorer in diguise. I don't know if they're losers but they are pretenders.

    How about that weird space ship-looking Mercury Cougar? I'd throw in the Ford Probe which was an effeminate alternative to the Mustang.

    One I definitely nominate is the Cadillac Catera. Bland design that looks like a Lumina, questionable reliability, and a super-stupid marketing campaign.

    I didn't care much for those "two-door Lumina" Monte Carlos of the time.

    Don't know if I call them losers, but Infiniti had a pretty confused identity back then while Lexus whipped its butt. J30, M30, G20?
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    The Metro LSI was a dog back in the day, but you have one now, getting 40+ MPG, you look less like a Loozar and more like a smart dude.

    :)
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,209
    I remember an attractive but stuck-up rich girl who would exclaim, "I don't date peons in Neons!" I'm not sure the Neon was a loser car, but it had the perception of being a car driven by losers, at least around here. Insecure males who drove these cars would, and still, highly modify them to try to shed that "loser" image. I believe there was at least one factory Neon that delivered decent performance. It might've been one of the later models.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,165
    The Metro LSI was a dog back in the day, but you have one now, getting 40+ MPG, you look less like a Loozar and more like a smart dude.

    Too bad I didn't know that my credit was whack...cuz now I'm drivin' off the lot in this cheap sub-com-pact!

    Sorry, but I think Freecreditreport.com took away whatever little bit of dignity the Metro might have ever had.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,209
    I was shopping for a new car, which one's me,
    A cool convertible or an SUV?
    Too bad I didn't know my credit was whack,
    So I'm driving off the lot in a used subcompact!
    F-R-E-E, that spells "free"
    Credit Report dot com, baby!
    Saw their ads on my TV -
    Thought about goin', but was too lazy!
    So instead of rollin' fly and lookin' phat,
    My legs are stickin' to the vinyl and my posse's getting laughed at!
    F-R-E-E, that spells "free"
    Credit Report dot com, baby!
  • I think Dwights character on that show give the 90's TransAm a negative image.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    Gotta say those two would be at the top of my list! They were available until 95.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • A Neon, a Geo, a Cavalier, or a Tempo. Anything Korean. You might also consider a Camero or Firebird, (especially if you still sport that mullet).
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,165
    Oh yeah, definitely a Tempo. My stepdad bought a 1984, the first model year, and I thought it was a loser car even then!
  • Conan used to mock the Taurus SHO, even did a segment on it.

    The Tercel might fall into this catagory though. An awkward name to boot.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    ROTFLMAO!

    You sure got that right about the Metro. Of course, it didn't exactly have cachet to being with! :-P

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    Did they still sell the Tempo in the 90s? When did it get replaced by the Contour?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,357
    The Tempo sedan soldiered on until MY 1994, IIRC...but I think the coupe died off a few years earlier.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,165
    The Tempo's last year was 1994, and I think the Contour came out in 1995. For being a small-ish car, the Tempo wasn't even very economical. The 1994 with a 2.3 4-cyl and automatic was rated at 22/27. Now it was just a 3-speed automatic, but still, that's pathetic! My 2000 Intrepid is rated at 20/29! The 5-speed Tempo was rated at 24/33, which I guess isn't too bad for the time.

    In the later years, you could get a 3.0 V-6 in the Tempo. I think it was just the 140 hp pushrod "Vulcan" from the Taurus (and Ranger?), but I guess in something like a Tempo it was pretty quick. And they offered it with a stick, where it was rated at 21/28. Automatic was 20/23, again, stuck with a 3-speed. Oddly, in a bigger, heavier Taurus it was rated 20/29, but the Taurus had a 4-speed automatic.

    I wonder what would be considered a bigger embarrassment to drive nowadays...a Corsica or a Tempo? I traditionally tend to prefer GM over Ford, but this one's a hard call!
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,445
    So far I'm with you on the Tempo, the Geo Metro and teh Cavalier. Certainly anything Korean at that point.

    By the mid-90s you were just starting into that point where it was difficult to buy an awful car but folks here are certainly proving it wasn't quite there yet.
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    The Tempo may be our winner.... they were pretty pathetic

    image

    BUT:
    Another contender, in my mind, would be the Saturn SL-1- a geeky sort of loser. Particularly if the guy keeps talking about how wonderful it is and how friendly those Saturn people are! Maybe even goes to the Saturn Family picnic....alone, and likes to bang on the plastic doors to show people how tough they are.

    image
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,357
    I think a hubcapped Tempo coupe would even take honors from the sedan...but that would be an 80s car.

    Early Saturns and often their owners are especially geeky. Cars for people who hate cars, as I have always said.

    I think another part of all this is condition - one of these cars that the owner neglects is a lot more loserfied than a nice example. A hubcapless trashed Neon or Geo is hard to beat when it comes to a bad image.
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    Who could fail to admire the man who shows up in a Buick Skylark!

    image

    And I was never quite sure what to think of somebody who was single who drove one of the "Dustbusters"!

    image

    However, it's too bad that he can't driver a car that's about 10 or 12 years old.... because then he could drive the Ultimate IMHO Loser Car -

    The AMC Rambler Matador Barcelona!

    image

    Boss, my eyes! my eyes!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,357
    George Costanza drove one of those Skylarks...enough said :shades:
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,445
    My neighbor has one of those dustbuster vans to this day. In fact she's on her second.

    In her defense her ex bought the first one and she just kept driving it until it died at which point her ex's dad and stepmother gave her the second one. Any prort in a storm I guess.
  • toomanyfumestoomanyfumes S.E. Wisconsin Posts: 905
    My sister-in-law had one of those crappy Pontiac LeMans. Weren't those made by Daewoo or something? That had to help GM's reputation. :lemon:
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,165
    Oh lord, I forgot all about those little LeManses! Yeah, they were made by Daewoo. As the owner of a '76 LeMans, and someone who has wanted a '76-77 since he was a little kid, I actually find those little Daewoo things to be offensive! :mad:

    If they'd called it something else, I probably wouldnt've have even given the car a second thought. But dragging a time-honored name through the mud like that, is just too much!
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,445
    Yeah, the least they could have done would have been to call it a Tempest....
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