18. Ford Pinto
In the ’70s, domestic car manufacturers answered the changing market climate and the rising popularity of compact cars with several homegrown models, all of which drivers considered bad. One of those cars was the Ford Pinto. Ford introduced it in the early ’70s and the Pinto was popular due to its low price. It had a fairly nice design and a long list of options too. They equipped it with economical four and six-cylinder engines and the overall quality of the car was decent.
So, what was the problem? While engineering the car, Ford left out any protection for its rear-mounted fuel tank. The fuel tank was located below the trunk and just behind the rear bumper. In most cars, there is a strong cross-member to protect the fuel tank in case of a crash. However, the Pinto lacked this feature, which became apparent when people started getting killed in fiery crashes caused by leaking fuel tanks. Families of people killed or hurt in such incidents sued Ford. Eventually, the company spent millions of settling court cases. Despite improving the design of the Pinto afterward, they soon discontinued the model. The Pinto went into automotive history books as the “car of death.”