Your crappiest car? (a poll and place for lamentation)

My worst car was a 1977 Triumph TR7.
The sun roof was stuck half open.
The key broke off in the ignition and I needed to start it with a screwdriver.
The windshield wipper fell off in the middle of a heavy rainstorm.
It had no reverse, if I needed to back up the passanger had to get out and push.
If I drove over 70 km/h the radio would quit.

1986 Subaru GL, a four-door sedan. It had no brakes, so we put new ones on, and they broke almost immediately, so we fixed them, and the fixed ones broke in a different way. The upholstery in the back seat smelled like death. The heater did not work (and this was back when I lived in New York), nor did the air conditioner, nor did the cigarette lighter for me to plug things into. The engine made strange noises and lurched occasionally, the fuel filter was partly clogged, and it ended its career as my vehicle with a spectacular fireworks display, as the engine literally caught fire one day as I was driving to work.

Luckily, the thing only cost me $50.

1978 Datsun 510. I can’t really call it a crappy car - I took it everywhere, from Anza-Borrego to the Trinity Alps and damn near everything inbetween and it never gave out on me. Could turn on a dime too, which I’ve learned to appreciate since.

However by the time I got rid of it in '95 it had:

  1. One working windshield wiper
  2. No functional heater or air conditioner
  3. A large hole rusted/punched through the outer part of the passenger-side door
  4. Two more holes drilled into the bottom of the front doors, put there by me to drain out the water that accumulated in the doors when it rained.
  5. One ( of four ) functioning window.
  6. Numerous other smaller ticks and quirks, including a truly atrocious faded and peeling green paint job.

I got $200 in trade-in and think I got the better part of the deal.

  • Tamerlane

I guess my worst car was a VW bug. I bought it at a used car lot on Boundary road, largely on the basis of its “cool” custom chrome “bare foot” gas-pedal and skull stickshift. (I was seventeen, okay?)

Anyway, I had a pal with a tow-truck, and I arranged to have him take it from the lot to my house in New Westminster, since it seemed easier than insuring it for a day and getting someone to drive it. (I had just got my learner’s permit.)

When we went to tow it, I finally noticed that the undercarriage was held together by an inch-thick piece of plywood which was cut to fit and held in place with numerous bolts, some of which protruded between and three and four inches toward the surface of the road.

Although I’d signed the papers and all, and the car was mine, the deal was undone after some lengthy, earnest consultation with the salesguy, and I arranged to buy another, slightly less astonishingly low-priced, Volkswagon. This we towed first to my friend’s place, which was very close to the lot, and then went to some other buddies’ place in South Burnaby for a few beers.

After we’d been there for a while, and amused everyone with the tale of the lemon I’d narrowly avoiding buying, one of the housemates came home with the good news that he’d just bought the greatest car. “A nice blue bug. And wait’ll you see the neat little gas pedal it has!”

We all laughed like ether-fiends while we asked him if he had, by any chance, looked under his new car.

Holy crap! The fella that ended up with the plywood-mobile went by the name Bicycle Repair Man, back in the day, and he was the sysop of a C64-based BBS called The Crunchy Frog.

I just impulsively googled for it, and found a link to some collaborative fiction from the board that I had long forgotten about: Trenchcoats & Cutthroats (“Thomas Covenant” is the 1986 version of “Larry Mudd” – I was a vampire slayer way before Buffy.)


A few years back I ‘inherited’ a 1980 Ford Pinto from my grandparents. On one hand, this was a car, and I got it right when I got my license! :smiley: But on this other hand, this was the most UN-SEXY car I had ever seen in my life. I knew from that day forward I was never going to get laid driving a car like that. In fact, that Pinto cursed me, because I haven’t gotten laid since!

The car was hideous. Shit brown, plastic molding that was coming off in several places. AM radio, no power anything. Pain in the ass to steer. The whole thing sounded like it was going to fall apart when I took it on the highway. Many things on it broke, flat tire, timing belt blew, starter motor/gear broke. My ‘free’ car wound up costing in excess of $1,000 in repairs, not to mention the cost of gas, which the car guzzled like a hobo guzzles hooch.

I had the Pinto for a year, and despite all its setbacks, it served me well. It provided a means of transportation when I got a summer job; it was the only way I’d be able to commute to Santa Cruz every day. (Though driving on Highway 17 in that car is SCARY! :eek: )

You know Adam Sander’s song “Ode to my car”? I swear he was talking about my Pinto :mad:

A 1982 Volkswagon Vanagon.

That POS cost me more money than any thing else.

It had a motor blown out before I bought it. Then I blew a motor out of it. My brother in law bought it and replaced the motor, and blew it out and had another put it.

Then I, being a complete tool, bought it back from him.

4 months later, I blew out every seal in that motor and belched black and grey smoke into the air.

Eventually, after painful encounter with an unethical garage and an unfeeling credit card company, I abandoned it in Santa Barbara.

Good riddence!

'85 Chevy Sprint that had been totalled and bought back from the insurance company. This was in '95. It had been hand painted at least 3 different shades of red. It smelled like The Comic Book Guy and stale menthals. Carberated 3cyl with a NASTY oil leak. Took about a quart a week. One day it died on the way home from work because the air filter was to clogged with oil. I bought it for 500$, flogged the shit out of it for over a year and sold it for 350$. Best automobile investment for me ever.

Several years later, I purchased the a car that took all the good qualities of that car and got rid of a few of the bad. A '89 Subaru Justy. Still a carbed 3cyl and tiny. On the fly 4wd (not AWD) and about 6 more HP, so a total of 52 now. But instead of an oil leak, I got bad eletrical system, so the headlights would only work with the highbeams on. I still look for these cars all the time, but they are never for sale. Best winter car ever. I flogged the shit out of it to.

1971 Ford Pinto. This was in 1994. Do I really need to give more details?

Well, the handles to roll up the window tended to come off, couldnt accelerate worth beans, no air conditioning (this when I lived in a place that regularly got above 105 in summer), sounded like it was falling apart if you drove faster than 55, and in addition to that little Pinto quirk of being in danger of exploding if it ever got rear ended, the brakes liked to stop working from time to time. No real reason, they just liked to have little rests.

Had a great stereo system, though.

1985 Mustang.

They used some freak cheap pseudo-rubber/plastic as seals on the doors/windows/AC/Heater.

Which broke down under sunlight.

And the water came pouring in!

It was always moist in the damned thing.

I unloaded it during a drought, to a wholesale used car dealer.

For some who missed it, a thread on the subject from a few years ago:

Many moons ago as a spotty and semi-destitute youth I bought a Russian mada Lada…God has never forgiven me and neither has my wife!!

I had a 1986(?) Buick Century for my first car. For those that don’t remember, this was from the time period that all GM cars looked exactly the same. My car looked identical to and Olds Cutlass Ciera. It had a brown and gold exterior and a gold interior. It stank of vanilla air freshener, to the point where I would leave the windows cracked open in winter.

We went to a few used car lots and found this thing for about $2000. Somehow my dad haggled a full one month warranty out of the guy as well as a reduction in price from what he originally wanted. This turned out to be very important later on.

After I had it for about three weeks, it started making noises. It also didn’t have much pickup. Granted, the GM six cylinder cars of this time period weren’t very powerful but this was still too much. I took it to a mechanic who told me that two of the cylinder weren’t working, and that there was a host of other problems to be found. Dad and I went to the dealership that night and my dad talked to them for a while. They gave me a loaner car, while they tried to fix the problem.

What happened is that they gave up after a while and declared the car to be beyond salvage. They gave me a full refund and let me use the loaner car while I looked for a better car.

198? Sunbirdy style car…I called it the Red Wonder, cos it was red, and it was a wonder it ever moved. I needed a car as I was starting uni, and my dad got me this POS.

It was less than 3 years old when I got it, but the original owner had had a rural paper route, and there was over 100,000 miles on it when I got it! That poor car was worn out.

To get it down my drive, I had to start and stall 6 or 7 times just to get enough momentum to get to the road.

It would NOT go above 25 mph until it had been running at least 5 - 10 minutes, and I had to turn onto a busy 4-lane highway filled with early morning commuters and truck traffic – more than once I had to simply drive off the road to keep from getting hit.

The windscreen wipers did. not. work. Ever. I used to dread rainy days, cos I could not convince my dad that they did not work. I would either try to make a go of it, or just stay home and miss classes or beg someone for a lift.

I finally came home one day after the car inexplicably went from the speed limit (45mph) to no more than 10 mph, not matter what I did – this again on the busy road , at rush hour – my normal 15 minute commute took about an hour. I was very popular with the other drivers. I was a timid wee mouse around my dad, but that was the day I came into the house and said I had had enough – my brother, who was visiting, took this car out (he is a professional mechanic), and came back white as a sheet – he went the next day to a dealership and helped me to buy a new car.

Ms Boods, my first car was a 197? red Sunbird! What a piece of junk - it lasted maybe a year before I finally convinced my father it was incredibly unreliable. The only redeeming factor of the car was that I learned how to drive a stickshift.

Blonde - yikes! Believe me, I sympathise – just writing my post I found myself gritting my teeth and going all tense on memory alone!

Bad, bad flashbacks – I once went out with a friend in this car, pulled on to the main road with what would have been plenty of time in a normal car, only to have her screaming in terror as a large semi-truck came bearing down on us (I managed to pull off the road as he simply could not stop).

The Red Wonder was an automatic, but it might as well have been a pedal car, you know, like the Flintstones…

To this day I still marvel when the windscreen wipers work in my current car!

1982 Nissan Sentra. Nearly indestructible; it kept going for an annoyingly long time after I had decided to try to kill it with neglect. I put 80,000 miles on it in three years without changing the oil, and it still got about 35 miles per gallon.

Toward the end the radio didn’t work, it had no A/C, and it wouldn’t go into reverse so I had to be very careful where I parked. Eventually, about ten years ago, I abandoned it downtown. It racked up tickets for a week and then got towed, and the city agreed to keep the car and we could call it even.

Funny, just as I was typing this, I got an intense flashback of the distinctive (but not unpleasant) smell of the interior of that car.

My worst (and short-lived) car was a volksie Rabbit. I bought it from a used-car dealer. Apparently they hadn’t hooked up the cooling system, because 5 miles on the interstate home and the engine siezed up. I had to replace the engine. two months after getting the car back with the new engine, I was broadsided coming out of a parking lot and the car was totalled.


Obviously (from these posts) the late 70’s and early 80’s were an abysmal time for auto manufacturers in general.

I’ve owned a number of cars and almost every one was a Chevy. The only exception to that was a 1982 Olds Cutlas Cierra. It might hav been alright except that it was this super rare production model that sported a Buick 3.0L V6 instead of the standard Olds V6 (2.8L?). Anyway, it was the only car that ever left me stranded by the side of the highway. The thing was a peice of crap. Underpowered and poor milage amd things kept falling off of it. I sold it to a newphew for $1 and he turned around and got a $500 trade-in on the shitbox.

Had a Celebrity too. 1986. It wasn’t the prettiest car but no matter how bad I treated it, it treated me real well.

Best car? My 1970 Chevy Greengrier Station wagon. It was the Canadian version of the Nomad Wagon. Aqua, straight 6, AM radio, black VINYL seats. I could fit the whole neighborhood in it. The last wreck sent it to the crusher :frowning:

No fears – modern cars are awful, too – I had to hire a car recently, and [even though I booked weeks in advance so I could get a sub compact, grrr] received an Alero – crikey, what a rotten car!

I had to drive all interstates in it, and one does not poke along on the Baltimore Beltway – but if I went past 60 mph, I could actually watch the fuel gauge going down…turn on the ac, ditto. The week before I had borrowed a Somona to make the same trip, and drove about 250 miles on 1/2 tank of gas – same trip, better driving conditions in the Alero, and I had to stop 2x for gasoline. I’ve surprised I didn’t have to put the petrol in the tank with a spoon.

In college in the early eighties I had a 1968 Impala. Went to Oregon State where it rains a lot. Anyway, the ventilation in the car was all out of whack such that it would maintain a substantial amount of water and mildew inside the car.

Under the right conditions, when it warmed up after being damp, it would actually rain inside the car. Smelled bad too.

Needless to say, it wasn’t a great date car.