10. Cadillac 8-6-4 Engine
Back in the early ’80s when fuel efficiency and cost savings were imperatives in the car game, manufacturers experimented with various engines and drivetrains. So, Oldsmobile went the diesel route by introducing the notoriously bad 4.3-liter V8 and then the slightly better 5.7-liter V8. However, Cadillac decided to install fancy electronic cylinder deactivation systems on their gasoline V8s.
The idea was like today’s modern systems in many models with big engines. When cruising around town, the car used only four cylinders and the rest deactivated electronically. This stopped the fuel delivery and shut down the spark plugs. When the driver needed more power, two more cylinders activated, making the engine a V6. And when the throttle was pushed to the end, all eight would fire up to deliver full power.
Everything worked great on paper, at least, so their customers were interested. However, as soon as they delivered the first cars, the problems started. Simply, the electronic system was terribly unreliable, so the engine tended to get stuck in one mode, often as a four-cylinder. After a few years on the market, Cadillac discontinued this option. It took them a long time to recover from their lost reputation.