Car designers have a specialized and very difficult job. They have to come up with ideas for vehicles that will make sense on the market and sell well. this can be as simple as redesigning the cargo areas of a vehicle be as dynamic as creating the front end of a super exotic sports car that will be the next top selling for a company. This job comes with a lot of trial and error that sometimes translates into sales and at other times means the vehicle won’t end up being well received at all, thus is the life of the car designer.
While most bad design ideas should be cancelled before they begin, some actually make it to the market and offer us at the very least an interesting look at some vehicles that seem to have features and builds that are different than what we are used to. When designs, even those that turn out wrong, are brought to market, many times the thought is not of getting rid of them right away. Instead many try and find ways to improve the design and see what can be done to make the vehicle be one that will have a positive response. Here are some designs that ended up badly, but maybe could have been improved upon.
Lincoln Blackwood – This was to be a luxury truck form Lincoln that had experienced success with the Navigator. Other than the limiting of options up front the cabin was just fine with plenty of room to fit up to six comfortably. It was the bed that ended up being the problem. The bed offered a hard tonneau cover that opened automatically, good so far, but the bed was carpeted, lined in stainless steel and made from plastic components, which is where this truck went wrong.
Cadillac Cimarron – The K car from Chrysler and the J car from GM were certainly the butts of jokes around the world at the time of this build, but the Cimarron took top honors for being a car that wasn’t needed. This car was basically a Chevrolet Cavalier that cost nearly twice as much as the Cavalier. It was the first four-cylinder Cadillac offered since 1914 and was loaded down with features, but overall it wasn’t a product that would do Cadillac justice. This was a prime example of what not to do and the fact that it’s better to build down from the higher models than to try and build up from the lower ones.
Chrysler TC by Maserati – The TC was the car that should have become a calling card for Chrysler as a comeback song. The company had experienced some of the worst builds in history in the 1970s and 1980s and was faced with so many warranty repairs that they needed a government loan to stay afloat. This car was contracted by Chrysler to be a two-seat convertible but ended up being built on the Dodge Daytona platform and even using the Chrysler 2.2-liter engine block instead of being a unique and exotic design.
Corvair – The Z platform design and the unibody of the Corvair were a huge part of the build and development of this car. This was supposed to be the car that would be an economy class model for the masses. Development for this car were new in many ways including using an independent rear suspension, an air-cooled flat six-cylinder engine and much more. The Corvair was supposed to be a development dream at an affordable price, but that affordable price never came and neither did the sales success that was expected because the Ford Falcon had been developed at the same time on a much less expensive build.
AMC Pacer – The Pacer was a wide-bodied small car that was just as large across as most luxury sedans but as short from the front to back as many imports. There was even a wagon version of this car and it was truly the last effort for AMC to try and turn things around after losing money consistently for years but it didn’t work. The design was not acceptable and even when put in wagon form which lengthened the body the Pacer was a weird looking car.
Chevrolet SSR – The early years after the dawn of the new millennium showed us many cars that could have easily been left on the drawing board. The SSR wasn’t a terrible vehicle overall, but as a blend between a car (a hot rod no less) and a truck this was a vehicle that would only be attractive to some buyers. The Super Sport Roadster had a seamless look to it and offered some good power from the V8 engine but not much more was redeeming regarding the SSR and it quickly became a vehicle we no longer wanted to see. To be fair it did have good sales initially and using the 300 horsepower Vortec engine made a huge difference, especially since an upgraded model could make 390 horsepower, but this vehicle would not be one that was kept around for long, mostly because it had no versatility to be a good truck as well.
Ford Thunderbird – This was a sound idea that has played well on many models in the past few years. The Thunderbird had been an awesome car in the early days of powerful vehicles. Ford had the right idea but when the version you bring is one that doesn’t have any look or design from the original version you see a car that was not meant to be. With a look that was too smooth and rounded and an engine that didn’t even reach 300 horsepower (280 was all you got from this V8) this car was unfortunately doomed to be done forever.
Yugo GV – This was a car that was doomed from the start. In no way can you look at the Yugo and think it was a good idea, but the car was imported to the US and sold. This car was the cheapest sold, which played well for a few years, but soon most owners saw exactly what this car was, cheap and bad. This car was the slowest, least powerful and lightest car on the market and eventually had to stop being sold because of the Yugoslav wars. The plant was demolished by a NATO airstrike and the fact these cars were more expensive to maintain than to buy made this a horrible model altogether.
Some of the poorly thought out cars on this list could certainly have been better. I could see the Thunderbird or the SSR being much better than they were or even the Blackwood could be a vehicle to make a good comeback. Others, like the Yugo and the TC should have never been made or sold, at least not in the form they were made.