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Yugo. Are they the worst car of all time?



  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I hadn't considered that possibility ;-).

    If you knew what kind of iron I was used to...I think I was driving a '69 Judge then. I don't think I'd graduated to the '62 Impala with 4.11s yet.

    A neighbor used to have an SM in her garage, gold like the one I drove, and I was tempted. Fortunately I realized I didn't have the time or money to be on a first-time basis with an exotic car mechanic.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    1. Trabant. This East German car with the pressboard body would make a great wheelbarrow if it had another tailpipe! It ran on weedwhacker fuel and gave out almost as much emmissions as a 1920s steel plant.

    2. Yugo. This is the disposable razor of cars. I looked up the trade-in value for a 1987 Yugo GV on Kelley just for amusement and it came up as "SALVAGE." Another site listed a fair price for the Yugo as $37.00. I can go out and buy four Yugos right now with what's in my wallet!

    3. Chevrolet Vega. Did you ever see a car with the A-pillars rusted through that wasn't sitting in a junkyard for 30 years?

    4. Ford Pinto. I never seen the exploding fuel tank phenomenom, but they rusted just as bad as a Vega. My aunt got a new 1972 Pinto after graduating nursing school. Within two years the front fenders were so rusted they needed to be replaced. Until then, they were sloppily patched with sheetmetal and pop rivets.

    5. VW Dasher. Should have been called the Trasher.

    6. The "Cadillac?!?" Cimmaron. Even the dealers had a cynical attitude toward this car. When I went shopping for a Cadillac, the salesman, in reference to the Cimmaron, told me, "I won't even waste your time showing you that car!"

    7. Ford EXP. My brother and I would joke that EXP stood for "Extensively Plastic." Ford had a lot of chutzpah to call this ugly mediocre vehicle a sports car.

    8. 1980-82 Ford Thunderbird. This Fairmont-based 'Bird was the car at the lowest point in its history. My Dad had one of these and the gutless 252 V-8 would probably have a hard time propelling an Echo if it were around today.

    9. 1980s Pontiac LeMans: Belive this car was built by either Daewoo or Kia. If you thought early-mid '90s Kias were bad, they are Lexuses compared to this mechanical marvel.

    10. 1968-86 British Leyland products - the "Scions of Lucas" - hardly a flattering term.

    Surprises: My best friend had a 1980 Chevrolet Citation from high school through college, graduate school and the first two years of his marriage. This car lasted twelves years and ran up an amazing 195,000 miles!

    My mother had a 1987 Dodge Omni and this homely little car could go anywhere and hold up well even under the most adverse conditions. It was very economical and cheap and easy to service and repair.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    Zaphorozhets... Used an engine designed to be used to START Tank Engines.

    Nuff said? Ugh...

    Oh, and the Plymouth Cricket was really a Hillman Avenger.

    And the Lada SHifty? That's probably a Niva. little Golf-Sized SUV. Supposedly very durable and capable and cheap. Well-Respected even by those who appreciate them for what they are in Western Europe.

    Ugly, Noisy, Rough, Slow..etc.. But so is a Land Rover and they're amazingly good for what they are.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,461
    You mean early Land Rovers I presume....the tarted-up dolls they make now have got to be among the worst SUVs ever built. I know they are pretty good in the rough, even in their foo-foo finery, but man, what a cow to drive (we call cars like this pigs, but the French call them La Vache). My friend's '97 Range Rover sucked up gas like a teenager in the refrigerator, performed like a 36 hp VW and got stuck in snow more often than any of us would care to remember. And you get all this for only $40K!

    Yes, NIVA, that's it! I heard they were quite okay in a crude, brutal sort of way.

    Boy, lemko has got his dogs down pat! Great list for the scrapyard!

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  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    I wasn't sure whether the Cricket was a reworked Marina or something else, but knew it was from England for Chrysler.
    I had a Citation as well and loved it, but it had been totally thrashed and wrecked and repaired at some point.Not as bad as everyone says especially when you consider how long the X based A bodies they spawned lasted:Olds Ciera and Buick Century 1982 to 1996.
    Britain's "Car" magazine reported what was in leaked documents from Rover re: the new "Highlander" and how horrible it was even BEFORE it was introduced. Please, I'm not certain of the name so correct me about it, but the vehicle was a new low for them and inside the Company it was well known....and then they hit the roads......[I don't know what it's called here, but Discovery, Freelander]and THIS while under BMW's supervision, part of the reason they realized there was nothing more they could do but empty their wallets.
    Hey, don't bag on the Cimarron...remember: It was the Cadillac Escalade of Cavaliers!
  • mpevznermpevzner Posts: 41
    UAZ = Ufimskiy Avtomobilniy Zavod
    They used to build 4x4 jeeps and minivans. Both cars were powered by I4 2.5l pushrod engine with a carburator. The jeep had good off-road capabilities (after all it was a military piece of equipment) but the build quality was worse than that of a yugo. This was a "single use" piece of equpment, just like most of the russian military equipment is. According to the russian military doctrine, the average life expectancy of a tank in the "intensive combat" is 15 minutes. Why bother building durable stuff?
    As for the "NIVA" - it had good offroad capabilities. Russian roads are BAD, some people say that there are no roads there. The NIVA was noisy, slow and as reliable as any other eastern block car. British cops in the countryside used them a lot in the eighties. It was so inexpensive that they would simply buy a new one after 20-40K.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    The Plymouth Cricket was a Hillman Hunter.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,461
    You'd go hungry hunting in that car.

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  • paulo3paulo3 Posts: 113
    Both these Chrysler products ended up looking like swiss cheese after two years. Remember those rust holes on the top of each front fender.

    These twins were very problematic except for the slant 6 engine. The slant 6 engine held up but the rest of the car rusted away.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,043
    Okay, I'm kind of a Chrysler-hugger, so I'm going to try defending those two! I'm pretty sure it was only the first two years, 1976-77 that were really rust-prone. The later models were pretty sturdy. My grandmother's cousin bought a '79 Volare wagon, two tone black over silver. That thing still looked brand-new in 1996 when she sold it. And it spent most of its life outside! I think the biggest problems she had were carb/choke problems. And I know that thing couldn't have gone its whole life without needing an alternator or starter!

    I almost bought a '79 Volare coupe with a 360 4-bbl a few years ago. At the time I was driving a '68 Dart with a 318 2-bbl. Sad thing is, the Dart handled better, accelerated faster, and got better gas mileage! Chrysler might've been better off just keeping the Dart/Valiant instead of replacing them with the Aspen/Volare. Wait, I said I was going to defend those two didn't I? Oops ;-) Still, I think a '78-80 Aspen/Volare would be a better choice than a Granada/Monarch or Nova/Phoenix/Omega/Skylark. The sheetmetal was thicker, and those 225's and 318's were just about indestructible.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,461
    You'll have a hard time defending mediocrity however. Volare wasn't a very good effort for a car company.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,043
    ....ya gotta love those transverse-mounted torsion bars! I think that was another problem the earlier-model F-bodies had...those things would crack, or they'd break where they joined the sub frame, or something like that. I could be wrong, but I think those torsion bars make it impossible, or at least extremely difficult, to get a big block in the engine bay.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    Any of the domestic first attempts to make small cars - all the way through the middle 80's were unbelievably bad. How about an 80 mercury lynx??? The car was a crime against humanity.

    Yugo true story - a friend of mine (really a friend - not me) had a Yugo that vibrated horribly over 40 mph. It was not wheel balance, or other typical suspects. It was explained to him that the stock tires were not exactly round. They were a bid off - causing a very interesting ride.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,461
    Hey, for that cheap price you want round tires too?

    It must be hard, actually, to make a square tire.

    This is why I always thought that truly bad cars are underappreciated. It takes just as much effort to make something totally bad as it does to make it decently. So we have to give Yugo credit a great effort, albeit in a totally perverse direction.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    What's that annual award given to progressive American companies? Maybe we need an award for the underachievers as well. There's a great publicity vehicle for someone in the automotive press who can afford to alienate advertisers.

    I'm just guessing but I think a poorly-engineered car or tire is usually due to lack of talent and resources, and ignorance of or disregard for the fundamentals. Poor job performance, in other words. Come to think of it, maybe there's no need to celebrate something so common.

    Bad styling seems to come from design by committee. Usually a GM committee.
  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    The phrase "worst car" always causes me to think of Lucas electrical components. I attempted to look up Lucas and found only one reference which was an auto electric outfit in New Zealand - and they specialize in Bosch electrics. Can anyone tell me what became of Lucas, the British manufacturer of electrical equipment?
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    A few have mentioned the Citation:here's my story.My first car purchase was a new 1981 Citation 4door,automatic 4-cylinder.I keep it for twelve years,putting on 92,000 miles.Eventhough now it seems to be a joke car,overall,i was very happy with mine.I had to replace the auto trans at about 52,000,which is really unacceptble.If I had known better,I would have tried to have Chevy pay part of the bill.The paint flaked badly on the hatch-really poor point.
    Car seems typical of GM products.I felt it was really an excellent design,and was what a lot of people wanted back then.I had just come out of a 1971 Torino my father handed down to me in 1977.I did like a fairly big car.I raced bicycles back then,and either car would haul two bikes inside.It was ALMOST as roomy as the Torino,and got twice the milage.It was a shoddy car,but it was roomy,comfortable,quiet,and very economical.
    It was exceedingly practical-too bad it wasn't made better.It could have been an American Accord.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,461
    Lucas is now, I believe, Lucas Aerospace, (or maybe a spin-off of the old company) and they make components for Boeing, so watch what you say in airports.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,814
    And what a frightening thought!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, when you're in the air you can't just pull over and fiddle with the connections.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,043
    ...One mile in every 5 on interstates is straight for a reason, so I guess you can kind of pull off and fiddle with the electronics. If there's an interstate in close range and you're not crashing and burning too fast!
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    One mile in every five is straight because, in order for the US gov't to constitutionally build a interstate highway system (roads are the states' jobs), they had to make it for national defense, so we have a straight mile every five to land our fighters and bombers on in case we ever get invaded. As for Lucas electronics, from what I can tell, many Jag owners complain more about Bosch components rebadged as Lucas than they do about components actually made by Lucas!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,461
    I like the idea of fighter jets landing on freeways. We could cut down traffic by attrition (smash 'em faster than Detroit can build 'em).

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  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    And Lucas/TRW? Oh, no. Sorry I asked.

    But thanks, dpwestlake, the "Prince of Darkness" fact sheet was what I needed to forget the frightening thoughts of Lucas allied with Boeing or TRW.
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Posts: 207
    Ever been in a Lada? even in third world countries their value fluctuates depending on how much gas is in the tank.
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    Sure, they break all the time, but they were a lot easier to fix than Japanese cars, and parts were readily available... unless the other guy had his car locked up for the night.
  • I just got through reading the posts from #1 to #58 and I can't believe that BOTH satisfied Citation owners have found their way on to Edmunds.
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    Would be the Plymouth K car that our company had as a company car during the late 80's. It was really slapped together in the crudest way. I remember tearing a shirt sleeve on the ragged edge of the trim on the driver's door one day. We had a ton of trouble with that car as it fell apart.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,043
    a 1981 Reliant, for something like $600.00, back in late '89. At the time he was driving an '80 Chevy pickup with a 350, and he just wanted something better on fuel. I think it lasted about a month, and then he sold it to a wholesaler for about $200.00. Sad thing was, the guy who sold him the Reliant also had a '66 Catalina for sale, for about the same price. Wish my uncle had picked that one, instead ;-)
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