Pontiac Aztec

Designs That Didn’t Make It

In Chevrolet, Chrysler, Concept, Make, Plymouth, Pontiac, Style by Nathan Ehinger

Sometimes car companies will release what they have themselves convinced is a great choice in a new concept without listening to what other experts or even the general public is telling them. At other times they might actually see some initial success and good reaction to a particular build but don’t offer the next step to take the vehicle to the next level of being one that more will want to buy and enjoy for many years.

If history has taught us anything it’s the function is much more important than the design of a vehicle. Here are several cars that we all know but didn’t quite earn the success manufacturers expected either due to design flaws or function shortcomings.

Plymouth Prowler

Plymouth Prowler

While this car was meant to be a nod to the roadsters of old but offer updated features and state-of- the-art technology it never really made the cut as one that attracted a large crowd. Whether the lack of power or the fact the materials used just seemed to be too cheap caused this car to not make a long run the Prowler could have been a great car to offer nostalgia and excitement had the automaker simply put some effort into it.

Chevrolet SSR

Chevrolet SSR

This thing was so ugly it was interesting. I remember seeing these on the street and wondering “what was Chevrolet thinking”. Built on a Trailblazer Chassis the SSR was ok underneath, but was so unappealing to look at it just didn’t have what it takes. Once again this was a model that appeared to be made from the cheapest materials available and offered no real improvements when the next model year came around making it an easy target for dismantling.

Pontiac Solstice

Pontiac Solstice

The Solstice came in with excitement and looked like a great choice for those looking for an exciting roadster to compete with the Miata. The only problem in this car was everything underneath. The shell is attractive enough and the tight seating can be overlooked if the performance is where it needs to be, but it never was for this car. This car needed to have a better engine and more refined handling to even look at the Miata and it was never introduced as such. The Solstice ended up being a car that could have, should have, and would have, but never was.

PT Cruiser

PT Cruiser

The PT Cruiser was very popular during its run and had a very interesting following, but instead of cutting off the run the PT Cruiser kept being offered with very minimal changes making it a short run car that went way too long for anyone to take it seriously. The look alone tells you it’s only going to be around a short while and this car should have been transformed or offered in a few different body styles but never quite reached that level of success.

Chevrolet HHR

Chevrolet HHR

Meant to compete with the PT Cruiser, and did for most of the run, the HHR was simply a bulkier and uglier version of the PT Cruiser in which the two seemed to be in the ugly car competition against each other. As a niche car the HHR made a run that was really too long for the shortcomings it offered and lack of sales success it experienced along the way. Instead of introducing bot the HHR and SSR at the same time Chevrolet would have been better off starting with just the HHR to gauge success in this environment. Only then might they have saved themselves the embarrassment of two complete failures.

Pontiac Aztec

Pontiac Aztec

This was certainly an interesting idea and if Pontiac had not been on the verge of being completely dissolved the Aztec might have been able to be developed into something really cool, but as it was this small and useless SUV did not make a great choice for any owner. With too many features that didn’t work properly and very little offering for the off road experience the Aztec went extinct quickly as the name suggests. Why this vehicle was built with body and features for the outdoors but not enough performance features to actually make it along the trails is still a mystery.

Looking at some vehicles that didn’t quite make it gives us a chance to see what the automakers might have been searching to create or where they could have taken these models had they allowed them longer and more successful runs, but unfortunately they never got to that point in the development. These vehicles also offer us a look at what some of the manufacturers chose to try and unfortunately fail, but failure is all part of success and some of the vehicles we see offered today are a direct result of what they learned from the shortcomings of these five and others.