11. Pontiac Aztek
In 2000, the Pontiac Aztek seemed a viable idea on paper, at least. This mid-size crossover model with sharp new styling, a decent engine lineup and plenty of interior space was a modern concept at the time. Pontiac was eager to present it to the public because their overall sales were slumping. They thought the new model would boost the popularity of the brand, bringing new customers to their dealerships.
The plan was sound, except for one thing – the design. The Pontiac designers managed to draw and push to production one of the ugliest cars in automotive history. Even 17 years after the first Aztek saw the light of day, it is still a car with a design that makes no sense whatsoever. Consumers found the car extremely ugly and the interior was also questionable.
The Aztek designers later created the great-looking Corvette C7, so it is strange how they managed to do such a bad job for Pontiac. The pure ugliness of the car, as well as the bad fit and finish quality, sealed the fate of the Aztek, despite some positive aspects of this model. The Aztek had plenty of space inside and delivered a decent performance. It also had a higher-than-average equipment level and a big trunk. In fact, it would have been a good family crossover if it wasn’t for that hideous design.
In recent years and over a decade after they stopped producing them, Azteks are popular. This is mostly due to its appearance in the cult TV show, Breaking Bad. It has also placed first in many ugliest car lists. Unfortunately, the failure of Aztek affected Pontiac as a brand. A couple of years later, Pontiac closed its doors for good.
12. Amphicar Model 770
Marketed in the U.S. from 1961 to 1967, the Amphicar was one of the strangest mass-produced cars ever because it was a small roadster that could go on land as well as on water. Produced by a German company, the Amphicar borrowed some technical solutions from a Nazi amphibious vehicle called the Schwimmwagen from Second World War.
The concept was advanced, but the problem with the Amphicar was that it wasn`t a good land or water vehicle. It was slow, handled poorly and the diminutive 1.1-liter engine only produced 38 HP. On the other side, it could go up to seven knots on water, but it couldn’t fight the big waves.
When they introduced the car, it caused a lot of interest for its unusual capabilities. However, buyers eventually realized that the Amphicar wasn’t a good car or a boat. It was notoriously rust-prone and the sealing on the body sometimes let the water inside. This caused failures and sinking straight to the bottom of the water. The Amphicars had a bilge pump that pumped out the water from the inside of the car, but it was also known to fail.
Interestingly, after a long period of obscurity, Amphicars are sought after by collectors. However, that doesn’t change the fact that in their day, they were one of worst cars they ever sold to American buyers.
13. AMC Gremlin
AMC introduced the Gremlin on April 1, 1970, so people considered it to be an April Fool’s joke. It was the first American sub-compact car and the idea behind it was a good one. AMC tried to introduce small, urban cars to fight the rising competition from the VW Beetle and Japanese companies. However, the execution was a total failure.
The AMC Gremlin had a small body with solid comfort and interior space. The rear end was strange because it looked like somebody chopped off the trunk. In fact, it was just the case since the company didn’t have the time or money for proper design job. They just cut off the rear end, making the Gremlin a hatchback.
Under the hood, there was a large, heavy six-cylinder engine with poor performance. The lumpy engine in the front threw the weight distribution off, so the Gremlin didn’t handle well. In contrast to other compact cars of the era, the Gremlin was somewhat faster, but its poor quality and rust kept it from being durable.
14. Chevrolet SSR
In the early 2000’s, the retro design was the king. Introducing new cars with classic shapes seemed to be the ticket to success. So, Chevrolet thought it would be a great idea to present a retro-styled truck with a sporty feel and retractable hard top. It was a crazy idea, but they thought it might work as a lifestyle vehicle for people who wanted a sports car, but with retro charm and space for all their needs. Whoever oversaw the Chevrolet product development department had a wild imagination.
However, Chevrolet introduced such a vehicle in 2003 and called it the Super Sports Roadster or SSR. They built it on an SUV platform but with a Corvette V8 engine. It had a fold-down hardtop and tight cabin for only two passengers. The SSR was something like a modern hot rod. The performance wasn’t impressive and the sprint to 60 mph took around six seconds, but it wasn’t slow either. However, the market`s response was mild, and for good reasons.
The price was north of $45,000, which meant it wasn`t affordable, and very soon, older people started buying SSRs as midlife crisis cars. This wasn’t the Corvette people expected by looking at the numbers. It wasn’t a practical pickup by looking at the truck bed, as well. And it wasn’t a fun roadster by looking at the retractable hardtop. Especially, it wasn’t the hot rod model which Chevrolet’s marketing department tried so hard to present.
These cars may be the worst sold in America, yet each one offered some good things, too. It seems as if the car company or the designers overlooked one or two crucial things, often with heartbreaking results. If you plan to own any of these classic baddies, be sure to get it checked over for safety.