now, I don't want to hear any excuses.
We all have our moments of weakness,
and they don't bear justification
here. Simply put, there really ARE
no excuses for what is to follow:
I think of these as car manufacturers
mistakes, their moments of weakness.
If you have been unlucky enough to
be the owner of one or more of these
cars, then find a nice bag for your
head, or lie about it. I appeared
in a newsletter with a bag over MY
head, perched on the hood of an 85
Golf. The bag on my head was not to
hide my shame at having been associated
with - and actually LIKING - said
Golf, it was to spare the Golf the
humiliation of being associated with
ME. With my clever Mr. Bubblehead
disguise, I'm sure no one even remotely
suspected that it was me on that hood,
till now. And, that is why you won't
find the Golf on the list that follows:
it's too fine an automobile to be
included. Besides, it's a VW (although
there is one Volkswagen listed, for
what should be obvious reasons) and
we all know VWs don't embarrass their
will find one key component linking
all the cars listed below: they are
all cheap. The VolksWoman Theory of
Cost-Effectiveness dictates that the
more expensive a vehicle is, the better
looking it is. This does not hold
true for a few examples, one of which
springs instantly to mind when you
think about ugly cars. The Chevrolet
Caprice is this car. I'm sure the
Caprice costs a goodly sum, and the
design engineers for this car gave
no thought whatsoever to how appealing
it should look. But, by and large,
The VolksWoman List of No Excuse Vehicles
consists of nothing but cheap, questionably
built, boring little vehicles. In
the interest of good public relations,
let me add right here that I am a
big fan of saving money. I am also
a big fan of small cars. You can save
money and have a small car though,
without resorting to driving boxy
little commuter pods. A nicely maintained
(or restored) Bug will give you the
same service as any of those listed
below, plus you won't have to apologize
for driving it. So, without further
ado, let us begin.� My list,
in no particular order, starts with:
BUILT BY HYUNDAI
I have nothing against Korea. I'm
sure they manufacture some fine stuff
there. Budget-priced eyeglass frames
come to mind. I don't want my car
looking or feeling like it was built
from the same material as my eyeglasses,
though. And, I don't care if it DOES
get 72mpg, its still a HYUNDAI. I
refuse to drive something with a name
that sounds like my cat trying to
clear a hairball from her throat.
Sorry, its just a little THING I have.
This was another car for which there
simply cannot be any excuse. I can't
imagine, for the life of me, why this
car was built (although it got a bit
less ugly as time went on). Impossible
to tell front from rear, I wonder
how you know which end steers? I make
an exception in this list, for the
GEO METRO CONVERTIBLE
from a few years ago, which was so
hideous that it qualifies as totally,
utterly cool. Coming in gross neon
colors, with a soft top that looked
as if it were sewn by a 4-year-old,
it was really nifty. Reminds me a
lot of the Nash Metropolitan, high
on my list of Wantables.
Made before Datsun decided it was
really Nissan, the ghastly B-210 looked
as if its rear end had been caught
in the machinery on the way out of
the assembly line. Smashed flat on
top, and sticking out in the rear,
it was a car that even Datsun apparently
couldn't love: they quit making it
soon after it came out.
Oh, the poor little Kadett. I put
it in the list in this spot because
it reminds me so much of the B210.
Does anyone remember any other kind
of Opel (besides the GT)? I had a
boyfriend once with a Kadett - it
was green and looked like a pickle.
Do I need to explain further?
GRANADA, TEMPO, and FAIRMONT
Any VolksWoman list of gross vehicles
includes at least one Ford. The Granada
was the white-bread version of the
boring sedan: boxy and utterly unremarkable.
The Tempo, when it first came out,
was bad enough, but now it has mutated
into something looking a lot like
a chrysalis - I'm horrified to think
what might hatch out of this thing.
The Fairmont? Anybody remember these?
Yeah, I thought not.
Poor Chrysler, they thought they had
to do the Ford Fairmont one better
and came up with something they called
the K-Car. It was probably named after
Iacocca's favorite dog or something.
- OMNI and COLT
Now, these two epitomize cheap cars.
Any high schooler could easily afford
to go right out and buy either of
these, brand new. Of course, they
don't - their parents buy them Camaros
and Mustangs and Dad drives the Omni.
The measly doors on these remind me
of a ride at Disneyland.
Every students dream, and one of my
recurring nightmares. Hondas aren't
cheap any more, so why do they make
them LOOK that way? BORRRRRRING. Not
to be confused with that really cool
and sporty CRX, which Honda cleverly
decided to eliminate in favor of the
ever-so-popular Civic del Sol. YEAH
RIGHT. So popular that they quit making
it 2 years into production.
TERCEL and COROLLA
Long staples of Toyota's ultra-frugal
line, I continue to wonder why they
are so popular. Their owners will
say its because they run flawlessly,
forever. That is precisely my point:
I'd hate this car so much I would
take it out and shoot it, just to
get rid of the thing. Like nearly
all Toyotas everywhere, they are impossible
to kill. Now there's a scary thought.
PACER and GREMLIN
Body built by the design-impaired
team at American Motors. Enough said.
PROTEGE and 323
I thought the rotary engine Mazda's
were pretty unique. That's another
word for odd. And, being odd, they
were cool. But the Protege and the
323 are merely more metal on wheels.
Nothing remarkable about them except
the fact that they are foreign and
get good gas mileage. If you can stand
to be seen in them.
See previous comments about Pacer
and Gremlin, except disregard the
part about who designed it.
PINTO and CHEVROLET VEGA
I gave these two their own category,
instead of including them with former
Chevy and Ford nominees, because they
are so closely linked. I don't know
which came first, but let's say it
was the Pinto. Chevy saw this and
must have thought they wanted a piece
of that ugly, useless, cheap little
car market and came out with the Vega.
I've heard the Cosworth Cam Vega engine
is pretty hot. But I ask you: would
you buy a car because it had a hot
cam in it??
Don't remind me this was supposed
to be the biggest-selling small car
in the US. I don't care. It's GROSS.
I will reluctantly admit that its
design has slowly crept upwards in
recent years, becoming slightly more
tolerable but it doesn't excuse what
it is: CHEAP. Every newlywed couple
with a baby on the way buys an Escort.
The poor kid.
I have to list this as quite possibly,
the premier example of cheap, embarrassing
cars. Not only is it a Toyota-wannabe,
its boring and ugly too. It's the
automotive equivalent to the Home
Shopping Network. YAWN.
You have probably noticed that I have
not listed pickups here. I did that
on purpose, because trucks are never
cheap or cheesy, unless you are talking
about the Brat. This wasn't a REAL
truck, just half a cheap car, with
two plastic seats in the open bed
(can you believe that one??). I'm
sure it would have struggled to carry
a 50-pound bag of dog food home, it
was so useless.
I am ending my list with the mention
of the Fox because I hate to put ANY
VW on here and thought it best to
hide it at the bottom. But, to be
true to my sense of duty in supplying
you with honest information, I must.
The Fox was Volkswagen's stroke. It
wasn’t a stroke of genius, just
a stroke. I think VW felt left out
of the ugly useless car market and
decided to build one of their own.
The Fox was about as boxy as it got,
with the wagon looking much like a
Dasher, except without the style.
surely hope I have not offended anyone
with this list - my intention was
only to enlighten and open some eyes.
I also understand that, with limited
finances, sometimes it becomes necessary
to close the eyes in order to buy
the ugly car. The first Bug owners
probably felt this way - wasn't the
Bug touted as one of the ugliest cars
ever built when it first came out?
But the difference between the Bug
and all my dubious nominees is that
the Bug is now a classic, and destined
for great things merely by virtue
of its VW heritage. I doubt you could
say that about any of those on my
list. Still, if you own, drive, and
enjoy an Omni, then who I am to take
your fun away from you? Just make
the roads safer for the rest of us
and cut EYE HOLES in that bag you
wear over your head, OK?