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Cars That Have Disappointed

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,883
    Seems a shame to waste all that Solstice tooling. The press reviews on the car were pretty favorable weren't they?

    Chevy needs to work on its "rental car" image.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,971
    I was rooting for the Solstice, although I thought the front end regrettable. It would be nice if Chevy picked it up.

    I never cared for the Solstice front-end, either. Not really ugly, but just too cute and "playful", I guess...like a pug puppy that's about ready to pounce. I preferred the Saturn Sky. Its front-end was a lot more cluttered, but I found it attractive.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    Another major deficiency of the Solstice and the Sky is that they have no luggage space, or virtually none. There's no space for even a weekend get-away, unless the passenger were willing to suffer with a small folding back between his/her legs and the seat bottom. That's inexcusable, considering that the Miata is smaller than the Solstice/Sky, and does have a small trunk.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    The Solstice looks like something you'd order out of the Good Vibrations catalog, then pop a pair of AA batteries in once it arrived.

    The Sky borrowed its styling from the Opel Speedster, which is probably why it was picked to be the second Opel Speedster and the Daewoo version (if that ever got built).
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    I have a 2006 toyota hybrid highlander that is a few miles out of warranty ,talk about the expensive repairs exceeding vehicle value,my car would be worth 9,000 dlsis it was running ,the hybrid coponen fried and the dealer wants 14,000 dls to fix,i have a 2006 toyota hh sitting in front of my house worth 0,i paid 49,000 dls for this car new ,have been having problems since 5,000 mls and the service manager tells me they weren't meant to go past 100,000 mls,could you believe this,now what do i do,don't buy a hybrid ,they are deasth traps and expensive,very very crazy very expensive to fix,theis hunk of defectivejunk died on the fwy doing 70 mph almost lost my life,because when the hybrid components goes,no warning to light goes on,it just stops ,no power steering no brakes,almost hit a semi truck attempting to get it off the road.pass the word,someone is going to get killed ,toyotaadvertises them to be reliable,yea yea,let them ask me,i saw my lifeflash before my eyes when it died
  • sdasda Posts: 308
    edited November 2010
    What great promise that had. Unlike other diesels at the time, this one was very easy to live with. No long waits for the glow plugs to warm, no extra levers to push/pull to start, etc. My dad had a 79 Eldorado diesel. Beautiful two tone brown, kind of a copper brown on the sides, and dark metallic brown on upper body, roof, hood, trunk. It was the 125hp engine before it was reduced to 105hp. Really ran strong. Good mpg too. 20 around town, about 30mpg on the road. Dad loved it. Except...he couldn't keep it out of the shop. You could count on the head gaskets failing about every 15000 mi. It used oil like a Vega. Battery replacement was frequent, alternator, starter. Never had trouble with the fuel system like so many people had. From what I've learned since, if GM had done placed an effective water separator in the fuel line, many of the problems that plagued that engine wouldn't have. At 105k, dad gave up and trade it on a Mercury Grand Marquis. He got $1500 trade, $4000 less than had it been a gasoline Eldo. Had I had the resources, I would have bot it and put in a decent Olds 350. Just graduated from college, and no $$.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    edited January 2011
    Not many disappointments, or have the complaints been expressed in other discussions?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,971
    I've heard the Olds 350 Diesel is a great engine to convert to gasoline and to build up. It has a beefier block than the regular gasoline 350, so it lends itself well to hopping up. The problem, is that it simply wasn't beefed-up enough to convert to a Diesel.

    I remember in 8th grade, I was in a carpool with several other families, because I went to a private school and the bus didn't come out our way. One of the other parents had an early 80's LeSabre Estate wagon with the Diesel. At the time she loved it, but this was also in the 1983-84 timeframe, and the car was still fairly new. I remember her saying it would get 30 mpg on the highway.

    IIRC, the 105 hp 1980-85 hp Diesel was a big improvement over the 125 hp version. It still had enough issues to continue the bad reputation, though.

    I wonder if getting 105,000 miles out of one of those Diesels should be considered a badge of honor?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    Olds also converted a GM V6 gasoline engine to diesel, and offered it in the Cutlass Ciera. That engine might have also been available in other GM intermediates. I understand it was more reliable than the V8 diesel, but that might not be saying much. I remember asking the owner of one of these V6s, who happened to be refueling next to me, about his experience with that engine, and his response was positive. As I recall, that car had over 60,000 miles on it.

    For any of you who may be interested, there was once a discussion on the Oldsmobile V6 diesel in Edmunds. You may be able to find it in the archives.
  • omarmanomarman Posts: 705
    That Eldorado sounds nice. Your dad's '79 was basically the same E body used by the Toronado and Riviera until around 1985. In the 80s I had a girlfriend who drove an all white Toronado with white leather and the gas V8. It wasn't the kind of car which I would have shopped for, but wow, once you spent time with it there was nothing else like it!

    That Olds diesel ruined the rep of so many GM cars across the board - including high profit upscale models. Imagine if the wankel engine had actually found a home at GM in the 70s. Similar brand-crushing results, I suppose!

    I've heard those early Olds 350 D engines shared one particular nasty development with the later improved DX versions: 10 head bolts per side. Whenever GMs Detroit Diesel designed the 6.2 diesel it had something like 17 bolts per side! It has since been replaced in GM civilian trucks, but I've read that engine is still being produced for some military vehicles. But that was a solid, diesel engine design from the start instead of a modified gas engine.

    If only GM had taken that path for it's diesel cars back then.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,971
    I had totally forgotten until just now, but I have an acquaintance who has a bustleback Seville with the Diesel. Hp, you saw his car briefly at the Rockville show, as he was leaving. Probably heard it before you saw it, though!

    My friend loves the thing, and says it's great, but he took it to some place called the "Diesel Doctor", and had a lot of work done on it.

    I always thought it was a shame Olds didn't make a gasoline version of that 4.3/262 V-6, which was their 350 with two cylinders removed. The Olds block was a bit lighter than the Chevy block, and Olds engines tended to have a bit more torque than Chevy engines of similar displacement. Or at least, the 307 had more torque than the 305.

    Those V-6 Diesels also went in the FWD C-bodies, I believe for 1985 only, and there was a year or two, I believe, they offered them in the RWD intermediate G-body. It was really too under-powered to go in the big RWD cars though.
  • wevkwevk Posts: 179
    I recall reading that another source of problems with this engine was sloppy production tolerances. Apparently that's a problem in a high compression diesel.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    edited February 2011
    From most of the comments on the "I spotted A ----" discussion, the Marlin qualifies as a disappointment. But how about the Avanti? It was loved my some, admired by many, and remained in production, in various iterations, long after Studerbaker went under. Yet it never sold well. It wasn't really a success, but was it a disappointment? I think it had some of the qualities of both. Did the Avanti have the potential to save Studebaker, if, say, it had been brilliantly marketed, or did its plastic body and style confine it to a niche market?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,883
    I don't think the Avanti could have saved Studebaker. I don't think God could have saved Studebaker.

    The Avanti was expensive, was not by any means accepted as attractive by everyone (more of a case where the auto press liked it more than the public, which happens more often than you'd think) and for the $$$, rather under-equipped compared to its competition.

    Basically the problem with the Avanti was a microcosm of the problem with Studebaker. Unlike Rambler, they simply could not compete on price with the Big Three---not even close. For a lot less money, you could buy a GM every bit as good, or better.

    When the Corvette first came out, it was also low production and a sales failure---but GM had the resources to quickly fashion it into a winner. Studebaker simply did not have the horsepower to correct Avanti's content and marketing problems.

    It's no co-incidence that every attempt to reproduce the car also failed. How many votes does a car need before it accepts the public's results?

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    I've seen some awful interpretations of the Avanti following Studebaker's demise. The worst was an Avanti based on a late GM F-body. Fit and finish was awful and the car's styling was really awkward. It looked as if somebody tried to graft an Avanti front and rear onto a 2000 Camaro.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited February 2011
    The first post-Studebaker owner of the Avanti, Nate Altman and his family, built the car for nearly twenty years. The company was sold only after Nate, and later his brother, died. I'm not sure that could be considered a failure. It was a 'kit' car...and sold as such, around 200 a year. I truly cannot remember anything else even remotely like it, business-wise.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,883
    Oh yeah, there was the Gatsby, the Tiffany....there were lots of low-production kit cars (or they would build it for you) that dragged on for years and years. But they were always two steps away from the cliff at any given point in time.

    The only real success in reproducing a defunct production car was the various types of AC Cobra kits.

    One reason for that is that they are often better than the original. Can't say that for the various Avanti rebirths.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I think comparing the Gatsby and Tiffany to the Avanti II is somewhat of a joke. There is no other car that was a regular part of a manufacturer's lineup that was discontinued, then picked up by an independent builder and with the exception of engine and some minor tweaks, were built with the same chassis and interior parts, largely, as the original, for two decades. After that, a revised chassis was used but the styling remained so very close to the original, right up until the 1991. Sales were high enough to enable the manufacturers to add a convertible and four-door sedan. I could only liken this to somebody continuing to build the Corvette or Mustang if Chevy or Ford discontinued it...not a 'boutique' car like a Clenet or whatever.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,883
    Sure, most of the AC Cobra builders did that, and in aluminum, too (some of them). In fact, some of the reproductions are so good you have to *really* look at them to spot the fakes.

    I wouldn't diss the Gatsby of Tiffany or Clenet too much, as they will bring double the money of an Avanti II. So their owners do have some bragging rights, even though the cars sort of horrify me.

    The Avanti II was the answer to a question that nobody asked, it seems.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    You seem unable to address the fact that for twenty years, the builders subsequent to Studebaker made a profit on the car. This, to me, is utterly amazing...while keeping up with safety standards.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,883
    edited February 2011
    it's just a little asterisk in automotive history to me.

    I think of the Avanti II as a hobby well done, not as a serious manufacturer, and basically an automotive dead end. Sort of like those many types of Ford Model A manufacturers. Some of those guys went a decade or more.

    The Avanti should have been retired as a champion, not dragged along for another 20 years or whatever.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    edited February 2011
    I noticed you correctly used a lower case "c" in champion, when referring to this Studebaker.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited February 2011
    I always thought it was utterly amazing that the Newman and Altman families were able to get financing in South Bend to continue to build the Avanti, shortly after the huge collapse of Studebaker in the United States, and that Studebaker allowed it to be built. I mean, Avanti II's were being built while Studebaker was still assembling in Canada. It was built in an original Studebaker building, with Studebaker former employees, and they subsequently hired on Gene Hardig, Stude's former VP of Engineering, after his tasks of shutting down South Bend Engineering for Studebaker and engineering the use of GM engines in the '65 and '66 Canadian-built Studebakers were complete.

    Nate Altman, the "ringleader", was a Packard dealer who didn't sell Studebakers until '59. He has been oft-quoted that he loved the Avanti so much, he couldn't stand to see it go away. He approached Morris Markin, president of Checker, about building the Avanti and Markin said "how do you expect me to sell such an ugly car?" This p*ssed off Altman who said later in an interview, "Can you believe he said that? He builds the Checker Marathon!" Hence, he decided to build the Avanti himself.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,883
    edited February 2011
    it may have been amazing, but it wasn't so smart. And I hope no one starts building Checkers again either.

    I mean, look at the Avanti II or a hypothetical replica Checker from a purely pragmatic point of view. These are very old-fashioned cars. Very few people want to spend new-car money on a replica throwback to the 1960s. They either want the latest and greatest, or they want the *real thing*.

    The pragmatism really stands out when you consider that they could have bought a real Avanti for the price of the fake one!

    I mean, now really. Is there a better recipe for failure?

    Madness is not uncommon when men become intoxicated with the allure of automobiles.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,971
    I mean, look at the Avanti II or a hypothetical replica Checker from a purely pragmatic point of view. These are very old-fashioned cars. Very few people want to spend new-car money on a replica throwback to the 1960s. They either want the latest and greatest, or they want the *real thing*.

    I remember around 1990, there was a company that took old 60's GM intermediate convertibles, refurbished them, upgraded them to disc brakes and dual master cylinders, put in a good sound system, and replaced the engine with a generic Chevy 350, which I think was the 200 hp TBI unit, and a 4-speed automatic (THM700R4 I think) They'd also put musclecar badges on them, so that Tempest convertible now sported GTO badges, the Chevelle became an SS, the Cutlass a 4-4-2, etc.

    I think they sold them for around $25,000. Actually, for something that combines a lot of the advantages with a new car with the style and charm of an old car, it doesn't seem like a huge amount...although that $25K is probably more like $40K+ today. And I think they even had a 1 year/12,000 mile powertrain warranty.

    However, the venture wasn't too successful, and I don't think it lasted long. Overwhelmingly, people either wanted their new cars to be truly NEW, or if they wanted an older car, they wanted the real thing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,883
    Perhaps it was an idea before its time. Nowadays, people are upgrading classic cars. These are ofen called "pro touring" cars, and they make a lot of sense.

    The marketplace in America is fickle and it is very saturated. Brand loyalty hardly exists anymore.

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