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My worst car ever!

ubbermotorubbermotor Posts: 307
There is a lot of talk on these posts about terrible cars. But was it the worst car you've personally ever owned/driven? More of a topic for CCB's than the guys that have owned 4 Honda's in their whole life.

My own;

The worst car I've ever owned was a 1981 Ford Escort GLX. In fairness the car never left me stranded, however, the engine and transmission are about the only parts that didn't completely working at one point or another. Power everything changed to non-fuctional (doors, seats, windows, rear-defrost, cruise, etc...). In addition to an electrical system that just turned of sections of the car on its own (yes I checked the fuses), mechanical parts rotted off the thing at a rate that would amaze even someone that has owned an orignial Scout.

Worst Driven;

My mothers 1978 Toyota Celica GT. This car left me stranded everytime (I'm not exagerating) I drove it. Belts, pumps, fouled plugs, whatever, the car seemed to know when I was exactly 3 miles from the nearest phone.


  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    reminds me of a car I shared with my college roommate way back when - a '79 Corolla 2-door, 3-speed automatic. We NEVER fixed anything that broke on that car, but just kept driving it. Never did any maintenance, we were seriously cheap.

    As a result that thing was not the most reliable car ever! From tires that blew because they were bald to no-starts because of dead batteries or flooding, it was a pain in the neck. A pain in the neck we brought on ourselves of course. At the end it was running with no thermostat because the radiator was basically shot, and wouldn't shift out of first gear for the first ten minutes of every drive (yet we continued to drive it without fixing it - we were cheap I tell you, cheap!). We had screwed up all the vacuum controls trying to fix them because it wouldn't idle most of the time, and just when it would have gone down anyway by flunking the smog test harder than any car in history, the engine finally died at 249K.

    I still miss that car. After it stopped idling properly, we would drive it around with one foot on the gas to keep it from stalling, and one on the brake when we needed to stop. Needless to say, that didn't do anything good for stopping distances, or brake longevity. We drove it around metal-on-metal for a while before the screeching began to bother us too much and we used one of those $49.95 coupons at Firestone to get new brake pads. Oh, those were the days...


    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    but for absolute worst, I'd say it's a tie. Between my '82 Cutlass Supreme and my '88 LeBaron turbo coupe. The '82 Cutlass is the only car I've ever owned that blew both its tranny and its engine, and it was pretty much shot around 72K miles when the engine tried to commit suicide. The LeBaron lasted longer, until around 90,000 miles before the real problems began, and was finally put out of its misery around 115-120K miles, but a lot more money got sunk into that thing than the Cutlass.

    I bought the Cutlass for $800 back in the summer of 1993, with 61,000 miles on it. Almost immediately the tranny started acting up. The shop said they could get it more or less working for around $150-200, but that they couldn't guarantee the problem wouldn't come back. Or they could rebuild it for around $675. Well, silly me, I thought I'd have that car forever, so I blew the money on the rebuild. After that it wasn't too bad. I think I had to put a new battery in it. And new front brakes, a tuneup, and valve cover gaskets. And new tires. Then around 72K miles, one morning when I started it up it sounded like crap and the oil pressure light never went off, so I shut it off immediately. One of my buddies helped me change the oil pump gears, which at least got the oil pressure up, but the engine was literally shredding itself apart on the inside. I finally sold it around 73-74,000 miles, for $400.

    The LeBaron, I bought from my uncle around the 75000 mile mark, in 1995, for $2000. He had put some money into it, with electronics and other stuff, before he sold it to us. Around 90,000 miles, I put a new timing belt in, and also had the front axle shafts or something else expensive like that replaced. Then I got divorced and gave it to the ex. Between 90K and the 115-120K when it finally called it quits, it got a new radiator. Also had the a/c compressor die, power antenna break, turbo fry, O2 sensor burn up, and head warp/head gasket blow. The ex found somebody to put a used head and new gasket on for around $750, but it didn't run right. So I talked her into letting me take it to my mechanic. He hooked up all the hoses and wires on top of the engine so it almost ran right, but he also did a compression check. Two cylinders were almost non-existent, and the other two were really low. And that's when we found out the turbo was blown.

    Well, the ex-wife ended up selling it back to me for something like $100, because she wanted a ticket to go see Faith No More at the 9:30 club or something like that. It actually made the trip under its own power to my grandma's house. There, I pulled the radio out of it with the hopes of putting it in my '79 Newport, but never got around to it. I tried to see if the alloys would fit my Dart, but they were off just a little, a metric bolt pattern that equated to something like 3.937", compared to the Dart's 4.0", so they were close, but not quite there.

    I got around $700 for that one, when I sold it for parts.

    Now, in defense of both of the cars, well, the Cutlass WAS 11 years old when I bought it, and I only paid $800 for it. Even though it only had 61,000 miles on it, God only knows how well it had been maintained. It was in great shape though, interior almost looked new. The paint was faded on the hood, roof, and trunk though.

    As for the LeBaron, it had gotten stolen a few times. Only car I've ever had titled in my name that's been stolen. My ex-wife used to hang with the wrong crowd, and I guess that car just got a lot of visibility. And while I'd like to think that the joyriders would have treated the car with the same care that I did, somehow I doubt it!
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    definitely the Citation. It was built in 1979 and I got it from my Grandma in 1993. It had an easy life as a Grandma car, but by then the outside trim was falling off, the hard foam (or whatever) interior panels were dissolving, it didn't idle right, it would sometimes cut off completely when you lifted the throttle, the AC didn't work, the tires dry-rotted and peeled off their tread at speed, the fuel pump broke, the switch for the electric radiator fan failed, one of the front brake hoses collapsed and chewed up a rotor and two sets of pads, the transmission was gradually wheezing itself to death and finally puked its guts all over the exhaust manifold one day. It barely made it to 80,000 miles and off to the junkyard it went.

    It was everything I expected from a domestic car built in the last three decades of the 20th century.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    I sold my 1969 Chevy Biscayne to a local mechanic. Biggest auto mistake I ever made.

    About a year later, I decided I needed a car to impress the co-eds. So I bought a Renault Sedan (forgot the model).

    What a joke. The car had a manual throttle. No matter where you set it, if the day was cold or wet enough (and at Champaign there were plenty of both) it would not start. The car also had a water cooled carburetor, making it very prone to overheating.

    It was undepowered. The pleather interior smelled weird. It shifted poorly. While it got good mileage, the gas guage was so off I never knew how much fuel it had.

    One day, it simply died. I sold it for scrap.

    How Renault went on to buy Nissan must be one of the world's great mysteries.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    I purchased a new 1981 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Brougham Diesel, four door, Sandstone exterior with burgundy clothe interior and matching Sandstone vinyl top. I had just received my Real Estate license and wanted a nice car to tote potential clients around.

    The car was pretty good the first year but soon the problems started. The car would not start leaving me stranded and eventually started burning a good bit of oil. Most diesels had a grayish smoke coming out the exhaust mine started to turn grayish blue.... not a good thing. The trunk lid tension holders would not hold the lid up and had to be replaced out of warranty. The climate system burned up and had to be replaced. The front end would not stay aligned so the tires didn't last long. When driving on the interstate, the front windows couldn't be lowered because the pressure would not let them go back up in the track, they would stick outside the track and I was afraid they would shatter.

    At about 37,000 miles (out of warranty) the fuel injection went out when I was out of town. I had to limp about a hundred miles to the next town to find a GM dealership to fix the problem. I swore I would never buy another GM product and to this day, I never have! :sick:

    When the car turned 48,000 miles I decided to trade for a 1984 Peugeot 505 STI, black with mink leather. My older sister decided she wanted my car because it did look like brand new, it was just a piece of crap.

    I sold it to her for what the dealer was going to give me on trade. She had it for several months and then the motor blew up on her while driving on the interstate. I have a feeling she didn't have the oil level checked as it loved a quart every 1,000 miles. I told her everything wrong with the car but she wanted it.

    GM ended up paying for half of the engine rebuild, then she traded it for a year old 1983 Cadillac Sedan Deville which was a wonderful car.

    I'm not surprised that GM is in the mess they are in, the fat cats at the top are very slow to learn. :confuse:

    Mark :surprise:
    2010 Land Rover LR4, 2013 Honda CR-V, 2009 Bentley GTC, 1990 MB 500SL, 2001 MB S500, 2007 Lincoln TC, 1964 RR Silver Cloud III, 1995 MB E320 Cab., 2015 Prevost Liberty Coach
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    At first I thought this would be easy. 1978 datsun B210 automatic. We got it from my sister in law when she bought her Escort, another car that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But the B210 ran Ok it just never ran good. But as I thought about it I think VW made the three worst cars I ever owned. yes I fell for they are getting better three times. I had a 66 Bug that was easy to fix but needed fixing all the time. I had a 71 or 72 Ghia that could be fun to drive but always needed fixing. And we had a 78 Beetle. Good fuel mileage and always needed fixing. Only the later Beetles weren't as easy to fix as the older ones. I don't think VW will ever burn me again. But I am a slow learner. ;)
  • gussguss Posts: 1,181
    Mark156, you need to get a copy of this month's Car & Driver.They bought a Old's 88 diesel(yes they found one still running) and raced it cross country against 2 other diesels.

    They had about as much luck with theirs as you did with yours. :sick:
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    ....1984 Z28. That car spent more time at the dealership than with me. I hated that car with a passion!
  • danf5danf5 Posts: 38
    1967 Sunbeam Alpine.

    In the two years we owned it, Chrysler paid the dealer more for warranty work than we'd paid for the car. But when it went it was a nice little car.

    The thought of it puts me in mind of a long discussion on the merits of used Lotus Elans in the letters section of MotorSport. The essence of the comments was that when Elans went they went very well, but that the typical owner would spend more time under his car than in it.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Thanks guss, I get that magazine monthly, so I'll check it out!

    2010 Land Rover LR4, 2013 Honda CR-V, 2009 Bentley GTC, 1990 MB 500SL, 2001 MB S500, 2007 Lincoln TC, 1964 RR Silver Cloud III, 1995 MB E320 Cab., 2015 Prevost Liberty Coach
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,782
    was a Volvo 122S. But it wasn't the car's fault. It had been lovingly maintained by its former owner, who was utterly incompetent. As an example, he had wanted to change the brake shoes in the rear and had mistakenly bought front shoes. He got them in by installing them upside down.

    Eventually the local Volvo dealer offered me the amount of trade in that would normally be reserved for a normal Volvo (the new models were due and he was clearing his inventory out). I jumped at it, and left the old beast in the (presumably) competent hands of the dealer's mechanics. I had been looking forward to seeing it after their work was done, so I asked about it a few times when I was in the area and didn't see it on the used car lot. At the point where the service manager opined that 'With any luck it is at the bottom of Lake Washington', I stopped asking.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,911
    Hahahhahhaa... now that's honesty for you! :P
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    would be my '82 Mazda GLC Sport. Looked good on paper, but drove like crap.

    If my family's cars were to be included, it would be a toss-up between my father's (who's never been known to invest much money in his cars) 1976 Buick Skylark V6, and his bare-bone Pontiac Acadia ('79, '80? I forget). The thing didn't come with a glovebox door as standard equipment! :sick:
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    I like the Truck alot, but I should of had it checked out by a good mechanic before I baught it.
    (Lesson learn I guess) Even the Radio quits working during cold weather. :confuse: Trust me it sux. No Mike and Mike or Savage :surprise:

  • potemkinpotemkin Posts: 196
    1973 MG Midget.

    Bought it in 1980. Lived down to its reputation for problems.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    I have the same experience as boaz47.

    My first car, a 1974 Datsun B210 auto....we went everywhere with it. It can only reach 75 mph on a steep downhill. It sometimes would die...and need 1 or 2 hours before we could start her up. Once 5 of us got stuck in front of Tustin Marine Base for 1 hour, but got to see the then new Hornet up close. Later on we used clothes hanger wire to fix a fusible link short circuit...and even rebuilt the broken solenoid in the alternator by ourselves. Fond memories from the breakdowns..... :sick:

    next up was the 1984 Mercury Lynx ( ford excort clone that cost more) . The 1.9 liter engine could not make it up the hills of SF...though a Civic 1980 with smaller engine could do it with no problem. ON top of that...the Ford engineer decided to put the light switch control at one's left knee level. More than a few people spent more than 10 minutes looking for the switch on a dark night. What kind of ergonomic engineer was paid to think up that fiasco ?????? I think a 12 year old can tell them it is the wrong place to put an important switch......

    NOT a nice car...
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Now this is getting a little "twilight-zone" like. :D

    My first brand new car was a bright yellow 1978 Datsun B210GX Hatchback 4-speed manual. I opted for the 4-speed instead of the 5-speed manual, since the 4-speed ran on regular "leaded" gas instead of that newfangled "unleaded" stuff.

    The car ran reasonably well, and mine had a top speed of about 92. I ran out of a downhill stretch of highway before I broke triple digits. I managed to get 99,200 miles out of that car before it got towed away to the junk heap. I'm sure it would have made 120k, but the last 3 years it was playing back-up to my 1984 Toyota Supra.

    But one good memory remains - not only with me but my friends from the late 70's and early 80's. I had a fraternity brother of mine hook up a Nakamichi cassette deck (AC/DC), Fosgate Pre-amp and apmlifier, and pre-owned Rogers studio speakers in the back hatch. After summer softball games, we'd drive the car to the shores of Lake Erie, pop the hatch and have a mobile sound stage for some very memorable beach parties / bonfires. I can honestly say that nearly 30 years later, nothing by Levinson, Bose, JBL or anyone else comes close to that $4,200 Datsun B210GX, with it's $1,500 (1979 dollars) home quality system.

    The car / stereo even had a cameo appearance on a local TV station that did a 30 minute special on "The summer of '79". The car is a good 200 feet in the distance, but you would swear that you're standing next to Manfred Mann on stage doing "Spirits in the Night".

    Now I think I know why I want to trade my Seal Grey 911 S Cabriolet for a Speed Yellow one! ;)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,600
    Just a poorly made, tinny little piece of garbage in all respects.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    LOL,......Hello habitat :

    yes....a little twilight zone for sure.... :)

    YOu got a new one yellow ? You lucky dog...mine was a army green used one...perfect for military duty. Mine was a auto also....

    And you got to 92 mph ? YOu lucky dog ! Mine went 75 mph on a steep downhill....only .

    And you got a Nakamichi ! Mine was only a Sanyo..$99 dollar special, that took me 3 hours to install...and once the car got broken into and the burglar could not get the stereo was such a tight fit.....

    Another time ( again, this out of twilight zone) , it got broken into again.....the burglar saw the poor shape of the car *(and ugly army green) probably felt pity that there is a sorry guy worse off than him...and instead of stealling anything, he left me a gift as condolences....

    :confuse: :blush:

    And you have a 911 now ? You lucky dog !! But I agree with your temptation for a yellow one....

    I was waxing the green Datsun one evening, when a lady walked past..and said " that is the ugliest colored car I ever saw....I was deflated as a blown tire... :cry:

    Like you said....fond memories....we took that B210 all the way to Tijuana with a group of college friends...and once even crammed 9 ....NINE ! people into the car and drove them around the campus....

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,600
    You must be from my neck of the woods. We used to drive to Tijuana and have our car interiors redone for a fraction of what the local shops were charging.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    San Francisco would drive to TJ in the old days for interior work. Except for the aforementioned B210. Even at a discount it wasn't worth getting anything fixed to make it look better. Mine was the ugly Purple/brown looking color they thought looked like burgundy. I sold it to a woman with the promise that her son would never get a speeding ticket with the car.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    this is an AWFUL lot of rapping on the little B210, of which I have fond memories from a friend of mine.

    You know, it was supposed to be a gas-sipping, cheap, reliable little commuter car, and I think it filled that role very well compared to most of the cars in its class in those days. Remember, it was one of the first cars designed after the federal speed limit was lowered to 55 - I think it even had a little circle around the '55' on the speedo, right? It wasn't designed to be speedy, or luxurious, and it certainly lived in an age when all cars rusted a lot more than they do now, and Japanese cars more than most in the snow belt.

    I remember the west coast's biggest Nissan dealership, Studio City Nissan in the L.A. area, was just being born around that time and they used to sell bucketfuls of that B210, it was their most popular model for a while. It was how they got their start! Those were the days when no Datsun came with A/C from the factory, and they would add it at the dealership, adding close to $1000 to the price of the car (a heck of a lot in those days) for A/C systems that were NOTORIOUSLY bad and would quit after a few short years.

    Wow, nostalgic memories of my L.A. days - there's a first! :-P

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    My first new car that I bought at age 20 was a 1979 Datsun 210 hatchback (first year the letter "B" was dropped). It was white with blue plaid clothe and I had air conditioning. I didn't buy a factory radio and had a better one installed from a stereo shop. I bought the four speed manual because the five speed used unleaded fuel (as mentioned in a previous post). My 210 was a good little car. I remember the first time that I filled it up at an Exxon station, regular was .65 a gallon and I filled it with 10 gallons; a whole $6.50 filled it up! Boy, were those the days!

    To swerve back on topic, I sold the '79 Datsun 210 to my Dad and bought my dreaded 1981 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Brougham Diesel! YUK!!! What a total piece of crap. :sick:

    2010 Land Rover LR4, 2013 Honda CR-V, 2009 Bentley GTC, 1990 MB 500SL, 2001 MB S500, 2007 Lincoln TC, 1964 RR Silver Cloud III, 1995 MB E320 Cab., 2015 Prevost Liberty Coach
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,911
    I was waxing the green Datsun one evening, when a lady walked past..and said " that is the ugliest colored car I ever saw....I was deflated as a blown tire...

    Ahahahahhaa..... you want to hear deflated? Hahah. That reminds me of the night back in summer of 1998 I drove a friend of mine, Dave, to the movie theater in my '69 Ford Econoline. This thing used to be a school bus back in the '70s, so it is school bus yellow, with some primered spots when I was doing minor body work back in the mid '90s. Now, those old vans are not natural beauties to start, but this one certainly is an "aquired taste." Anyway, we were meeting this gal with whom Dave was quite taken. She was late arriving, so after parking right in front of the entrance we headed in and waited for her. She parked about three spaces down from us (though she did not know I owned it). After the movie, we all walked out and loitered in front of my van. After a few minutes of talking and us noticing her glancing around uneasily the whole time, she quickly walked about 30 feet away and ushered us to come over. She apologized, and said, "That van is SOOOOO ugly! I feel like I'm going to get mugged standing near it!" Hahha.... ouch. I burst out laughing and said, "Oh, well, that's my van so you are safe, but you'd agree that it needs a paint job?" She said, "Paint job? Uh, well, why bother?" Hahaha.... I was just glad it was he who was taken and not me! It made that pill much easier to swallow. :blush:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • slick8slick8 Posts: 1
    I've been trying to reseach the best and worst SUV's because I am thinking about buying one can anyone help me?
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    It depends on what you want to do with it. A Hyundai Tucson rides nicely on the highway and can tackle light off-road duty, but if you want to haul a horse trailer you'll need a Suburban or Excursion.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,911
    How large of a horse trailer are you talking?! A Tahoe/Expedition/Armada/etc will tote a good size trailer around! Certainly a 2-horse with ease. :surprise:

    Yep... SUV is a big category... have you narrowed it down to any subset, size group, etc?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ubbermotorubbermotor Posts: 307
    Are you looking at an SUV as an off-roader (Wrangler, Xterra, etc...), Wagon (Pacifica) statis symbol (Escalade, Hummer), a boat and crew hauler (suburban), or just a tall family sedan (Nissan Murano)? There are a lot of options for alot of uses.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,751
    Well not withstanding my friend Nippons forgiving nature my Purple/brown B-210 was a ugly duck. And we still had it when we first moved to the mountains. Not that selling it was an easy task. I had it in the paper for months and not one person called. Finally I dropped the price to $300.00 bucks and sold it to a woman for her kids first car. You couldn't pass a trash truck going up hill with that car. And I am not alone I see because it is still remembered my many so it must have left an impression. It is like when I was a kid and we could buy a used Metropolitan for $50 or $100 and drive it till it quit then just leave it for the city to impound and haul away only to buy another because they weren't worth fixing. Today we would call that littering but I ran with a pretty insensitive crowd.

    The Van story reminds me of why I just don't like the Scion xB. I am sure it does everything it was designed to do but it has a lock on ugly. It is not one bit less ugly that the van you described. But I am sure that van filled its designed task in life as well.

    But wait, one of my beast friends did have a car that was as bad as the B-210. In fact it was worse, he got a LeCar. We should invade France over that one car seeing it as a weapon of mass destruction that destroyed any reputation the french automakers had in the US to begin with.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,911
    Well, I agree that the xB is a boxy little bugger... but as ugly as my van?!?


    Are you sure? ;)

    Honestly, I have not ever owned a car I would consider unreliable enough to be "my worst car ever." But, we did have a Dodge? Colt (a little red 4-seater coupe) that must have been a 70-something car for a while in the mid-80s. My father had received it in trade for a 1/2 of a steer. We only had it for a year or two, so I'd guess it must have had some sort of a problem that warranted him dumping it. It never stranded me, though!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
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