In 1976, Lancia presented the Scorpion, a U.S.-spec version of its Beta Montecarlo model. But for the American market, they couldn’t use the Montecarlo name since Chevrolet already had Monte Carlo. So Lancia decided to go with the aggressive Scorpion nameplate.
However, despite the car’s modern looks and technical layout, the Scorpion wasn’t exactly a great performer. And that was since its four-cylinder engine delivered only 81 HP in U.S. spec. The Scorpion was on sale for two years, between 1976 and 1977. Unfortunately, they only sold around 1,800 of them in America.
The Pontiac Fiero was the most advanced American production model according to the standards of the day. The customers were hyped by the appearance of the Fiero with its cool and modern design. And thanks to the advanced technology, the initial response was more than good.
It was a bold move for Pontiac to introduce such a compact, rear-wheel-drive car with the engine behind the driver. But then they paired it up with a five-speed manual transaxle gearbox. However, one of the Fiero’s main problems was that it was underpowered. With just 93 HP and a 0 to 60 mph time of over 10 seconds, it was painfully slow.
Fiat 128 3P
Based on the economy family sedan called the Fiat 128, the Coupe and 3P for Tre Porte or three door models, presented a sporty alternative. Debuting in 1971, the 128 Coupe and 3P featured a front-wheel-drive and four-cylinder engines.
Sadly, despite the cool, almost muscle car looks, the 128 Coupe and 3P weren’t exactly fast. The reason was the engine choices. Buyers could choose between 1.1 or 1.3-liter units that delivered just 60 and 67 HP. And that is why most owners installed more powerful engines.
Melkus RS 1000
As you probably know, the sports car market in communist countries was extremely limited. Apart from the Skoda 110 R, there were no sports cars available. However, in East Germany, automotive engineer Heinz Melkus designed a capable and interesting sports coupe. And soon, he convinced the Wartburg factory to produce a limited number of cars.
Using the Wartburg 353 as a basis, Melkus designed and fabricated an independent front and rear suspension. He added roll-bars and a close ratio five-speed gearbox, too. Then they tuned the 992 ccm engine to produce 68 HP. They mounted it behind the driver, sending its power to the rear wheels, instead of the front like the standard Wartburg 353. It looked cool but with only 68 HP, it was disappointing.
Toyota Sports 800
This was the first Toyota sports car they presented to the public back in 1962. In those days Toyota was a small, unknown company. So it is not strange that they limited their sales to the Asian markets only. It had a diminutive 800 ccm engine producing just 45 HP.
However, despite the extremely modest displacement and power, the Sports 800 had some performance credentials because it was extremely light and agile. However, by today’s standards, the 800’s dynamics were ridiculous. They ceased production in 1969 after building just over 3,100 of them.
Fiat X 1/9
Behind this strange name lies one of the most interesting, affordable sports cars of the ’70s. Fiat presented the X 1/9 in 1972 as a small two-seater with a T-Top. Also, it came with a mid-mounted engine and two trunks, one in the front and one in the back. Just think of it as a Porsche Boxster, just 20 years older.
Despite its fantastic looks and technical layout, the X 1/9 was underpowered. In fact, it got just around 60 HP from its small 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine. And because the performance was not impressive, most owners decided to add bigger engines.
These are 20 of the slowest and most disappointing sports cars in history. Hopefully, you have never had to deal with any of these duds. For those who did, it must have been a frustrating experience.