Don’t Embarrass Me: Worst “Car of the Year” Awards
These car magazines originally chose cars that were affordable and stood apart from the crowd. It took a few years of choosing flops to force the car makers to set standards for their award winning cars, so now they look at technology, innovation, reliability, and performance. These are a few of the regretful “Car of the Year” award winners:
Probably the worst car ever chosen as car of the year was the Chevy Vega in 1971. While the Vega was designed to be a competitor with the fuel efficient Pinto (and we all know what happened with that car), it ended up being an expensive nightmare of repairs and tow trucks.
Another car that makes the car magazines look back and shudder is the 1990 Lincoln Town Car. This car may not have spent as much time in the repair shop, but the Lincoln Town Car was anything but innovative. The Lincoln Town Car in 1990 was better known for being elegant, but tired and there were many other more exciting cars that were released in the same year, like the Ford Explorer and Mitsubishi Eclipse.
Two other shockers include the Merkur XR4TI in 1985, which was a bit strange looking, and the unfortunate looking Chevy Citation from 1980. These two cars were supposedly revolutionary, but they really showed what was wrong with Detroit in the 1980s. Now the two cars are forever remembered as cars of the year that should not have been.
This last car is a close second to the Chevy Vega: the 1983 Renault Alliance. This car was also designed to be a fine European entry into the American market. The European carmaker tried to Americanize the French car, but it ended up being roadside decorations filled with rusty body panels and dead motors. If you Alliance did run, it only had 60 horsepower on a good day, so you did not get anywhere fast.
Fortunately, car magazines have amped up their requirements before naming just any old car as the car of the year. This means we will continue to read about Corvettes, Teslas, as well as other cars that continue to be monuments in automotive design and performance.