Top Ten Questionable Designs

The results are in! Nearly 2500 Hagerty clients responded to our e-mail requesting nominations for “The Most Questionable Car Designs of All Time.” Citing poor styling and likening its design to a “pregnant roller skate” or “fish bowl on wheels,” you’ve chosen the AMC Pacer as the most dubious design in automotive history.

The timing of the Most Questionable Designs poll coincides with what is likely the most famous collector vehicle event, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 19th, a celebration of the world’s rarest and most beautiful automobiles. While the vehicles on this list aren’t likely to win any awards soon, some are paradoxically coveted and revered among select segments of the car collector community.

Here’s the list of “The Most Questionable Car Designs of All Time”:

  1. AMC Pacer – The Pacer’s interesting styling prompted one respondent to wonder “I’d like to know what planet the designers were from.”
  2. Yugo – Mechanical flaws and poor quality put the Yugo near the top. “My Yugo improved my mechanic skills greatly,” said one respondent. “Somedays I miss that car, but then I remember the bad ride, poor brakes, no guts and bad interior.”
  3. Ford Pinto – The majority of respondents cited a notorious design flaw that caused explosions in rear-end collisions. “Underpowered, cheap plastic, bodies prone to rust and, oh yeah, they blow up too,” said one.
  4. Pontiac Aztek – The unique styling of the latest model on the list prompted its addition, according to most respondents. “There must have been a front-end design team and a rear-end design team. And the two teams never spoke to each other,” said one.
  5. Chevrolet Vega – Poor design, construction and mechanical failure were the main reasons behind its inclusion. “There seemed to be a competition between the engineering and assembly teams as to who could be the bigger screw-up,” claimed one respondent.
  6. AMC Gremlin – Commenting on its styling, one person called it “the most hideously ill-proportioned car of all time.”
  7. Chevrolet Corvair – For most, it was mechanics rather than appearance at issue. “Reliability and safety mostly, as it wasn’t that bad looking,” was the reasoning of one respondent.
  8. AMC Matador – Design was the main reason behind the Matador’s inclusion. “Even as a kid in the ’70s, I recall it being particularly offensive to the eye, from its bug-eye headlamps, through the overly thick landau roof, ending with a droopy decklid and taillamps that appear sourced from a boat trailer,” said one respondent.
  9. Edsel – A notorious design and marketing failure, one respondent said the Edsel “equals the standard by which all other automotive brand failures have been judged (and ridiculed) for fifty years.”
  10. Chevrolet Chevette – Mechanical unreliability was the reasoning of most who voted for the Chevette. “When the car went into any type of water puddle it would suck water into the engine. They fell apart after 40k miles,” said one.
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