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Worst car you've ever driven

pdplot

Yoda
Bronze
Offline
Ha. ha! Many laughs here. I almost forgot. Another Fiat story. Fishing buddy and I took our dream trip to Moosehead Lake in Maine around 1960. I borrowed my dad's Fiat 1100 TV - 4-speed column shift. Had one bad habit. After driving for two hours or so, it would come to a shuddering halt. Look under the hood and the fuel filter was clogged with red sand. Clean out the filter and it would run good for a while, then the sand would hit again and you would stumble and stop. That trip to Maine was a story in itself. We caught salmon all right - the biggest was just under 6", and some brook trout about the same size. Guide told us the lake was fished out.
 

Madflyer

Jedi Warrior
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After reading all the commits' If I had to choose a Fiat a K car or a bicycle the bicycle would be it. And a ten speed so I could always be in the wrong gear. Madflyer
 

pdplot

Yoda
Bronze
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Worst car I ever drove in was a Chevy Vega - the car that redefined the word depreciation. Couple we know had one. He was a loyal Chevy man for many years, going back to his 1947 Chevy in high school. We sat in the back seat going into NYC to the Met Opera. It banged and crashed over the bumps, the engine was noisy and worst of all, it rusted out after a couple of years. He was so disgusted he gave up on the brand and today, he has a 1991 Mustang and a Camry hybrid. And this guy could afford any car that's out there. Any car.
 

DavidApp

Yoda
Gold
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Has to be the Citroen DS.
Only had the car for a few months and it left me by the road side on several occasions. The engine is mounted in such a way that the coil and distributer get soaked any time you hit a puddle in the road.

David
 

George_H

Jedi Trainee
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Worst was a Aries K car wagon. Bought new when the kids where little. At least it was cheap. My sister had a chevy 2 nova, I think a 64? Small 6 with a 2 speed autobox. The car was SCARY slow.
 

Roger

Luke Skywalker
Bronze
Offline
Beyond a shadow of doubt my 1955 Standard 10 was the worst of all cars. I only kept it about 3 months and traded it in for a 1959 Hillman Minx, a much, much better car that I kept for almost 3 years.
 

John Turney

Yoda
Silver
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Worse car I ever drove was a rental Rambler sedan. The brake bias was so bad it would try to spin at moderate speeds.
 

pdplot

Yoda
Bronze
Offline
I'm not through yet. I traded my Lea-Francis MG even up for a new Renault 4 CV in the Fall of 1955. It was dog slow, rubbery 3-speed floor shift and a bad habit of the tiny gas pedal sticking to the floor in cold weather. You had to hook it up with your toe while the engine raced. The paint looked like watercolors and one snowy night enroute to a poker game, I took my foot off the gas in the middle of a turn and spun around, ending up on someone's lawn. June 1956, I traded it for a 1952 MG TD Mark II. No end of trouble with that one - wiper motor quit in the middle of a downpour as they frequently did, master cylinder let go (ever change one of those in a TD?(Like crawling into your own coffin), tach drive reduction gear broke (they all did), someone had installed a Ford Holley carburetor (I replaced with two SUs) and the engine-turned dashboard blinded me when the sun hit it. I traded that car in on a new TR 3 after 6 months. The most dangerous car? Two stand out, both American. Five months after I was married, I rented a Nash/American Motors in Miami to show my new bride Key West. On the overseas highway, the steering was so vague that the car wandered from side to side and I was afraid of a head-on collision. You didn't drive that car, you aimed it. Finally, I drove a friend's Buick Riviera - one of the early ones - back from a ski trip to Vermont. It also wandered and had vague steering. he got a newer one and I drove that one too - it was much better and a very plush car.
 

AngliaGT

Yoda
Silver
Offline
We were at Portland International Raceway (1982?) I was racing my '79 Ford Fiesta,
in the SCCA Showroom Stock,Class C.In practice,the engine lost power more & more,and
finally quit.
Another Fiesta racer,Shannon Pence,loaned me his trailer,& another guy loaned me
his wife's Chevy Monza,which had been wrecked,& rebuilt.Another guy offered to let me
keep the car at his place,about 15 miles away - a place I'd never been before.He wrote
down the instructions on a piece of paper.The trip went like this......
Took the offramp to the overpass.Went to read the instructions,but then found out
that the dome light didn't work.Stopped & turned the engine off,as the parking brake didn't
work,got out & read the instructions in the light from the headlights.I also noticed that the
trailer hitch was tweaked to one side,making it look like the trailer was passing me.
When I got back to the race track,I thanked the Monza owner,but was really happy
to return it to him!
Rhe story about the return trip when we went to pick up the Fiesta & get it home was
equally interesting.
 

Bayless

Obi Wan
Silver
Offline
Years ago I had a computer client that had an office in Houston and they needed some work done on site. SWMBO (my office manager) got me a Southwest ticket and rented a "mid-size" car at the airport. I got there about 8:30 pm on a "beautiful" August evening. Turned out the mid-size car was a tiny Subaru wagon. Mid-size is really based on price rather than size, they said. Hobby airport is on the far southeast side of town and my customer was on the southwest freeway, far southwest side of town, probably 20 or 30 miles IIRC. The only way to get there was the freeway system. It is a challenge getting on a Houston freeway even with a fast car, which the Subaru definitely was not. The thing would just barely pull itself and the air conditioner at the same time. It had no chance of doing both while trying to merge into 80 mph bumper-to-bumper traffic. My only chance was to turn off the A/C and that is not a pleasant condition, even at 8:30 pm in Houston in August, the humidity never drops below 100% and the temperature pretty well matches it. Needless to say, we had a discussion about travel arrangements when I got home.
 

mikephillips

Luke Skywalker
Offline
Years ago, 73 VW Beetle. Would rain inside the car when it was raining or really humid outside since it would condense all along the roof. Leaked too, ended up drilling holes in the floorpan to let the water out when after being parked in a storm it had a couple inches of water standing in the front, ( was parked facing slightly downhill..). Outsides of the hot air ducts were rusted off so no heat in the cold weather. And the steering was somewhat “vague” to be polite. Guy I knew then who rebuilt Beetles told me that it was just the steering design, that if rebuilt it would be back the same way in 20k or so miles. And oil changes?? Had no drain plug, but a 3 inch or so bolted on plate you loosened and let it run out around the edges. Only German car I used for any length of time, had a strong dislike, the polite term, for it…
 

pdplot

Yoda
Bronze
Offline
I had two Beetles, one bought new in 1959, the other, used, in 1964. Both sunroofs. Coil burned out in one and little or no heat in the wintertime. As the ad said at the time "Air Does Not Boil. Air Does Not Freeze". Yeah, but air in winter doesn't keep you warm either.
 

vette

Darth Vader
Silver
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I had a 1960 Opel. You might think that would fit the description as my worst car but actually it was pretty good as far as reliability. But wasn’t much on fit and finish. But the worse thing I ever drove was a 1965 Ford Econoline Van. It swayed all over the place, couldn’t carry its own weight let alone cargo, had electrical problems and worse of all it would go into a death wobble in the front end if u hit a pothole. Then there were a few other vehicles that come to mind. At one point I worked for a company that had delivery routes. One of the earliest vehicles that they had around for the deliveries was a ‘76 or ‘77 Plymouth Valiant. You couldn’t beat that car to death and let me tell u many of the route people tried to. That slant 6 never gave up. Then they bought an AMC Eagle. That could fit as the worse and the route people did beat that one to death. They were AWD. One day one of the guys pulled into the lot and jumped out shouting for me to come over to see something. Then he opened the back door and pulled one of the driveshafts from the back seat. Later the company bought one of the first Ford Escapes. It had a 4 cyl engine. That thing was so underpowered that you were afraid to pull out into traffic, it was dangerous.
 

mikephillips

Luke Skywalker
Offline
When I was in college my brothers “inherited” our dad’s 73 Dodge Dart with that 6. I’m not sure a sledge hammer would have killed it. But the body was a rust magnet. Had close to 200k on it when dad got rid of it, to a guy with an earlier model with close to 350k miles. He said he wanted a “low mileage” example to replace his with…
 

Banjo

Yoda
Offline
87 Chevy Celebrity. It belonged to the elderly father of the owner of the shop I worked at. The idea was to go to his house, bring it back to the shop and come up with a list of issues so big he couldn't fix it as a ploy to get him to stop driving. The primary reason it needed to come to the shop was that a brake line had rusted through. I got a ride across town with a bottle of brake fluid and a jump pack, spent several minutes clearing the hood and windshield of pine needles from the tree it had been parked under for months, and with the jump pack got it fired up. the thought was with a full reservoir I could nurse the brakes enough to get it to the shop. As it turned out what was left of one of the brake lines in the opposite circuit blew as I was coming to the red light over the end of the arched bridge in the middle of town. Pedal straight to the floor! Absolutely no brakes! with both feet on the e-brake pedal, and trying to pull the steering wheel off the end of the column, there was no movement in that pedal! I threw the automatic transmission in park and let it grind at the parking prawl and shut off the ignition to try and get a little engine braking action. It finally came to a stop half way out into an intersection where thankfully people seemed to have been paying attention. I spent the rest of the trip, thankfully only a few blocks, going in and out of neutral and rubbing it off the curb to slow down. At the shop I did the ol' grind it off the parking prawl trick again and it lurched to a stop on the edge of the lot. You gain a fast respect for the weight of an automobile when there is no way to stop it.
 

sparkydave

Jedi Knight
Offline
2010 Chevrolet Traverse. The electrical system on that made Lucas seem pretty reliable.

-Power mirror switch failed.
-Odometer display partially failed, was only readable at night or if you covered up the daylight sensor.
-Window switches randomly failed
-Keyless entry fobs failed (new batteries wouldn't fix them).
-Random error messages about "Service Stabilitrak" when it got cold. Turns out this is a "feature"; dealers weren't able to fix it.
-Driver's door speaker failed twice; first was rusted connector, then the speaker itself failed. Guess which speaker plays the warning chimes for the headlights?
-MAF sensor harness fell off and started throwing check engine lights
-Rubber bushing on the rear shock tore out, making wonderful clunking noises over the slightest bump
-Rear brake pad separated from the backing plate, which started grinding up the rotor. Got lots of stares from pedestrians from the grinding noise it made.
-Air conditioning system frequently leaked down.
-Check engine light for an evap system leak, which I narrowed down to the purge valve on top of the gas tank. Well, that's going to involve dropping the gas tank to be able to pass e-check in a few months.

Finally, a week after the evap leak code, it set another check engine light for cam position errors. The engine was notorious for wearing out timing chains, and the cam position errors are the dreaded calling card for that problem. Decided I wasn't going to spend $3000+ to fix the timing chains and got $1500 trade in for that heap instead.
 

pdplot

Yoda
Bronze
Offline
Banjo's Celebrity doesn't qualify. One incident that could have happened to any car if neglected. You gotta have at least 2 things going wrong, something that a normal car would not do. Now Sparky's Traverse! That's more like it. A real POS. That's what we're looking for. Unless you can top that, he gets the award.
 

Boink

Yoda
Silver
Online
Worst owned? Hands-down an Aries K-car "gifted" to Mitsy by her mum. Trade-in value for a Chevy was disappointing so it got passed on to us. The thing hated me. If I drove it, some system would fail or something would break. First time I drove it after it arrived, the cam belt snapped in traffic and I rolled into a bank parking lot where I installed the new belt. Three brake master cylinders failed (last time is a story unto itself). Overheated repeatedly, one radiator R&R, heater valve once spewed coolant out on a short trip locally, again I did that R&R in a parking lot. The TBI went stupid rich and got replaced here at th' hovel... funny thing was, Herself could drive it on her daily commute with never an issue. Found Diesela for Mitsy's daily and the K-car was given to a local veterans' outfit in its final non-running, no start last straw. Left the premises on a Jer-Dan. The nightmares subsided.

Combo blinker/lights/etc. column switch engineered to break (early and expensive), and the automatic choke mechanism was a dreadful design (and expensive). Prone to overheat too.
Some marveled at the "Hemi" engine... but all that was strongly off-set by other ugliness from stem to stern. I added a "self-destruct" switch on the dash that the kids loved.
 

DrEntropy

Great Pumpkin
Gold
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Combo blinker/lights/etc. column switch engineered to break (early and expensive), and the automatic choke mechanism was a dreadful design (and expensive). Prone to overheat too.
Some marveled at the "Hemi" engine... but all that was strongly off-set by other ugliness from stem to stern. I added a "self-destruct" switch on the dash that the kids loved.

Thought of a couple other failed units; Failed power steering rack R&R (nightmare job. It is located on and below the firewall), that turn signal/lights switch, other various annoying ignition problems. All manifest themselves as I drove it.
 

pdplot

Yoda
Bronze
Offline
A POS I forgot. Flew down to Dulles and rented a car to drive to my brother's in VA for Thanksgiving. It was a Chevette. Either door handle or window crank came off in my hand. Hard riding and tinny. I also drove a Buick Reatta. Disappointing. Heavy and unresponsive - like a big American sedan. Had a bad incident in an XK120 on a test ride. Hit a bump about 60 mph and the steering wheel almost came off in my hands. Starting oscillating back and forth violently. I guess something was set up wrong in the front end. I always wanted one of those but was always glad when I never got one. They were not as good as they looked. The XK140's were an improvement.
 
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