What's a good "bad car"?

(This could almost go in GQ, but it’s more of an opinion thing, so I’m puttin’ it here.)
I’m working on a short story with a theme of the artificial / fake / counterfeit / etc. and I need the name of a good cheap, ugly, laughable car, something that’s more of a toy than a “real” car. It only gets mentioned once in the story, but if I can work in one more theme related detail, so much the better. It has to be something that could be rented super-cheap, and it has to have a trunk. A silly name would be nice, too. :slight_smile: Other than that I’m wide open. I know absolutely nothing about cars and my half-assed internet research yielded nothing usable, so I’m turning to youse guys to see what you can suggest.

The first thing that popped into my head was a Gremlin, I’m sure if you could rent one, it would be super cheap.

Doesn’t somebody (Daihatsu?) make a sub-compact called a Charade? That could work, on lots of levels.

What about a Dolorean?

The OP specified cheap. Aren’t Doloreans collectors’ items?

Slackergirl nailed the obvious one–Gremlin.

I doubt there are still any around, but the Subaru 360 warrants ridicule and laughter. About thirty years ago, Subaru shipped bunches of them, not realizing that most Americans could barely fit into the jokey little things. Dealerships went broke and ended up selling the 360’s for pennies on the dollar. Entrepreneurs bought some of them for go-cart parks; if you crashed or rolled one of the 360’s on the track, no biggie.

I’d also suggest the Renault Dauphine (sp?). It’s not a particularly ugly car, IIRC, but it’s TINY and you’ll die laughing when you peek into the engine compartment. You could tuck the engine under one arm and steal it. I’ve seen dirtbikes with bigger engines. One of my high school buddies had one, and with two guys in the car, it took over a minute to get up to freeway speed.

Good suggestions above, but perhaps more appropriate for the '60’s-70’s period, as very few of the vehicles mentioned are likely to be found on the road today (except perhaps the Charade.)

Here’s a few more, mostly from the late-'70’s-early '80’s :

AMC Hornet
AMC Pacer
Chevy Chevette
Chevy Vega
Ford Pinto
early Hyundai Excel
The Yugo! (What’s the most useful feature on a Yugo? The rear window defogger; keeps your hands warm while you’re pushing it…)

Our poor benighted family has owned all of the above, except for a Yugo. The hands-down worst, however, was the Renault Dauphine my father bought brand new in ‘67. The clutch throwout bearing regularly disintegrated about every 5000 miles. The fourth time it went, the car sat inside my parents’ garage for about a year. It actually rusted away to the point where the hood fell off, WHILE SITTING INSIDE THE GARAGE. The car was scrapped with only 22,000 miles on the clock.

Thanks everybody! I think I’m going to go with a Chevette; anything with an “-ette” in the name sounds sufficiantly fruity & toy-like.

Thanks again! :slight_smile:


Dammit, who left the Geo Metro in the kitchen again? I almost tripped over the flippin thing. I told you kids to keep that damn thing OUTSIDE!!!

Geo Metro. 1989-present. 1.1 liter 3 cylinder. 2 door hatch, 4 door hatch, 2 door coupe, or 2 door convertible (!!!) available. Curb weight of approximately 35 lbs, dry. Made out of pressed aluminum foil and gum wrappers.


Lunatic13 said…

Annnnnnnnnd if you stick a penny in the back of it, you can get it to do wheelies!