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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

6 of the Most Unloved and Unwanted American-Made Classic Cars

We can’t say that we actually hate any vehicle ever made in America, however there a some less-desirable models out there.  Whether it is bad styling, poor performance or serious safety issues, there are some cars that probably should have never seen the light of day.

Here are six of the most unloved and unwanted American made classic cars ever produced…


OK, maybe we should have only named 5 classic cars that are unloved and unwanted.  We often see Edsels at car shows and some are done up really nice.  And overall it isn’t a terrible car other than being a gas guzzler.  The reason this car became a disappointment is due to Ford’s marketing team.  When they were introducing this car to the public, they made it out to be the car of the future, but it was far from it.  Available in 18 different models, the Edsel was actually way overpriced and riddled with reliability issues.  At the time, many consumers thought it was just plain ugly as well.  Probably why it was only produced from 1958-1960.


Here is a vehicle that is often blamed for the near extinction of General Motors.  While there were a number of factors for GM’s near bankruptcy, the Chevy Vega is the poster child.  The Vega was built using ultra-thin sheet metal that quickly turned it into a rust bucket.  The engines were notorious for overheating and always breaking down.  Rumor has it that the car was so bad that even salvage yards had “No Vega” signs to let people know they wouldn’t pull any parts before crushing them.


Ford took a big chance to re-introduce one of the most loved and iconic cars in American history.  The beloved pony was back but this time it was a more fuel-efficient car Americans were searching for during the oil crisis of 1973-74.  What it made up for in fuel efficiency it drastically lacked in build quality and performance.  Some people still love them, but we would steer clear of collecting one.


There have been numerous polls and surveys around the automotive community and the Pacer often tops the list for ugliest car.  It isn’t hard to see why with its unconventional looks.  People often referred to it as a fishbowl with wheels.  And I dare ya to get inside one of those buckets of junk under the hot summer sun.  All that glass turns the inside cabin into a scorch-zone like sunrays through a magnifying glass.


While the Corvair is considered by many to be an attractive car, the problem lies in its design.  This car has so many design flaws including a few that could kill you!  The swing-axle suspension and lack of an anti-sway bar cause some serious handling issues.  Not to mention all the handling issues being enhanced by the rear engine placement.  Another major safety issue were the frail hinges that coupled the hood to the frame of the car.  The hinges would break, and the hood could come flying off while driving.  And let’s not forget to mention the single piece steering column that could easily spear you in a head on collision.  The Corvair is certainly the star of the infamous book by Ralph Nader, Unsafe at Any Speed.  Chapter 1 of that book is fittingly titled “The Sporty Corvair-The One-Car Accident”.


The old adage says, “If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”.  If we lived by those words, then we would have nothing to say about the Ford Pinto.  The fact of the matter is however that the Ford Pinto is the most hideous death trap that has ever been made.  There were many credible accusations that if the car was rear-ended, the doors would jam shut trapping passengers in the car.  Add to it a gas tank that could explode upon impact and well, you know the rest.  The car was quickly coined as “the barbecue that seats four”.  To make things worse, Ford quickly realized the massive flaw in the car’s design and did a cost analysis on whether to go forward with a costly recall of nearly 11 million vehicles or just pay lawsuits to those people and families that suffered injury or death in Pinto related crash fires.  When this news was leaked to the public, it was pretty much all she wrote for the Ford and the disastrous Pinto.

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