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40 Sports Cars Drivers Avoid At All Costs

Cameron EittreimJanuary 2, 2020

2008-pontiac-grand-prix-photo-199089-s-original
via: GM

31: Pontiac Grand Prix GXP

Also utilizing the Northstar V8 engine in its final year of production, a lot of enthusiasts don’t realize that this generation of the Grand Prix had a V8 engine. The problem with the Northstar V8 is the lack of reliability. These engines notoriously have head gasket failures, and the engine is not like the average engine to fix. While the performance was adequate for the period, the GXP was only released with a 4-speed automatic transmission This created a lot of confusion as well because the car was being marketed as a performance vehicle. A stick shift would have been a nice touch for this V8-powered sedan.

Grand Prix GT
via: GM

Nevertheless, as time goes on and these sedans get older with age the reliability is going to be less and less. This is a sport sedan that you should probably avoid and with good reason unless you can seek out one that has very low mileage. Pontiac was at an impasse during this period and this model of the Grand Prix was on its way out. The car was not at the pinnacle of design by any means and is probably best left avoided.

via: Top Speed
via: Top Speed

30. 1969 Porsche 914

You might have seen one of these at a car show, but other than that this was not a popular model. What made the 914 so bad? For starters, the engine was severely underpowered, which the company had hoped the car would make up forgiven its lightweight design. You can also tell that there was a good deal of outside design help that went into the 914.

via: a777
via: a777

Aside from that, the 914 came with either a choice of a flat-four or flat-six engine. Horsepower totaled around 110BHP, which was nothing amazing. A well-maintained 914 will set you back a pretty penny. Parts for this car are scarce, and only certain mechanics can work on them.

via: ConceptCarz
via: ConceptCarz

29. 2012 Toyota GT86

The poor Toyota 86 is pretty much panned wherever it goes. The car was originally the replacement for the Scion TC, and a lot of enthusiasts thought that this was the next-gen Supra. In retrospect, the GT86 doesn’t offer anything unique. There is nothing about the car that you can’t just find in a comparable model. The GT86 is going to have its diehard fans, who are ready to shell out cash on the car. Sharing its sheet metal with a Subaru variant didn’t help things out either.

via: Honest John
via: Honest John

Toyota hasn’t put all that much effort into the 86 and for good reason. The company was working to launch the Supra, and the 86 has a built-in fanbase. No matter how bad this car is, it will sell because of the Toyota badging. But when you think of a sports car and spending your hard-earned dollars, the 86 might best be avoided.

via: Car Scoops
via: Car Scoops

28. Subaru BRZ

The Subaru BRZ is the corporate clone of the Toyota 86. Sharing sheet metal with a Toyota sports car was a dream come true for some enthusiasts. But the sports car is missing some features that make it a viable choice. In terms of being updated, the BRZ had fallen behind on the times already. The AWD setup is a nice feature and it lines the BRZ up with the rest of the Subaru lineup. Performance is derived from the Toyota engine and for the most part, the BRZ is zipping around turns. Off the line, the car is not blisteringly fast, but it does perform.

via: Car Scoops
via: Car Scoops

Still, its high time that Toyota updates these two sports cars. Whether Subaru will continue the partnership with Toyota is up in the air. But there is no denying that the BRZ is a little past its prime and ready for an update.

via: Wikipedia
via: Wikipedia

27. 1979 MG Midget

When it comes to one of the more unique little sports cars, the MG Midget was about as one-off as you could get. The car looked the part of a sports car, but in reality, it was painfully slow. 0-60 times for the MG Midget would be 15 seconds, which is slow by any standards. The basic design of the car was very lightweight. The point of the car was to be able to handle twists and turns with ease. MG has made quite a few lightweight convertibles overtime so there were high hopes for the Midget. Overall reliability with lackluster at best and parts for the car can be scarce to find.

via: Bring a Trailer
via: Bring a Trailer

There has been a resurgence of the MG Midget in recent years. But the owner’s circles for this car are small because it has such a limited appeal. Still, if you want a tiny convertible roadster, the Midget was a rather unique offering.

via: Cruisin Classics Inc.
via: Cruisin Classics Inc.

26. 1994 Ford Mustang

The turn of the century was a big period for the Mustang line. The fox body had grown long in the tooth and Ford set out to redesign the car. Stiff competition from across the pond at GM meant that the Mustang had to come out swinging. The new modern design was lightweight and more comfortable to live with. The overall dimensions of the car were much larger than the 5.0 fox body. But the overall car was smaller than the flat Camaro of the time. The GT still had the 5.0 V8 under the hood.

via: Neo-Drive
via: Neo-Drive

Collectors have seemed to move on from the 1994 model though. The car was popular initially but the Cobra is the highly sought-after model. This does mean that you can find a pretty decent 1994 GT for a good price while still getting the powerful 5.0 V8 under the hood.

via: Top Speed
via: Top Speed

25. 1976 Porsche 924

There were high expectations for the 924 when it hit the market. The car was supposed to be a revolutionary Porsche model that deviated from the tried and true design. The problem was that the design was almost too revolutionary and there were still a lot of kinks to be worked out. The 924 was notoriously unreliable to say the least, and this caused a lot of headaches for owners. The car would routinely have issues such as overheating and electrical failures. When you are spending this kind of money on an exotic car, the last thing that you want is to be broken down on the side of the road.

via: Top Speed
via: Top Speed

Porsche tried to rectify these design flaws early on, but it was too late. The 924 is a car that should be avoided at all costs. Later Porsche models were much more reliable and fun to drive, whereas the 924 just remains a money pit.

via; Beverly Hills Car Club
via; Beverly Hills Car Club

24. 1982 Ferrari Mondial

What looks more like a baby Testarossa was supposed to revitalize the Ferrari lineup. But in the scheme of things, the Mondial was a massive flop. It was very unreliable. Ferrari threw everything that it had at the Mondial to make a modern sports car that people liked. But in the process of trying to incorporate a rear seating arrangement a lot of changes had to happen to the engine. This Ferrari was unlike anything that had been made, and to the outside world, the reliability issues were a lot.

via: Beverly Hills Car Club
via: Beverly Hills Car Club

Drivers routinely complained about things like the car overheating, breaking down, and just lacking power. When you are paying Ferrari pricing you want a sports car that is going to act as it should. The Mondial will go down as a tragic failure for the Ferrari brand.

via: GM
via: GM

23. Saturn Sky

The Saturn Sky was part of a trio of roadsters that GM launched to invigorate life into the Pontiac and Saturn lineups. Here was the problem, it was only based on an Opel roadster from overseas. There was nothing new or unique about these cars. In a world where the Mazda Miata is the go-to roadster, it’s easy to see why the Sky was lacking. From a design standpoint, it didn’t look back, curved lines and beautiful paint made it appealing. There was also a good deal of engine noise in the cabin, and the buzzing engine didn’t help things out.

via: GM
via: GM

The Sky didn’t manage to save the Saturn brand and consumers were generally uninterested in the roadster. GM gave a valiant attempt at creating fun to drive roadster, but in the general scheme of things, the Sky is a sports car that you’d probably want to avoid.

via: GM
via: GM

22. Pontiac Solstice

In addition to the Sky, GM also released the Solstice. It had a generally sportier demeanor than the Saturn Sky. But the car was also being market to a different type of crowd. The problem was that the Solstice still didn’t have any type of performance enhancements to it. When you look at the features the Solstice offered, it wasn’t a unique roadster in any sense of the word. The Mazda Miata, on the other hand, offered a Mazda Speed version. The GXP version of the Solstice offered nothing more than a mesh grille and larger alloys.

via: GM
via: GM

Overall, the Solstice is worth avoiding. The roadster wasn’t much fun to drive and for the features and pricing there were better offerings. Even on the used car market, the Solstice is better left avoided.

via: Hemmings
via: Hemmings

21. 1974 Jaguar E-Type

Jaguar the brand has a long history of manufacturing stately sports cars that need no introduction. The sports car market was continuing to evolve and push the boundaries of speed. Consumers wanted something that could perform with authority. The E-Type was just plain slow, and when it wasn’t slow, it was unreliable. The car looked very dated compared to its competition. New, advanced sports cars were beginning to hit the market and the E-Type was just lacking.

via: Hemmings
via: Hemmings

While the Jaguar E-Type is a piece of history, the overall design of the car was dated the moment that it hit the road. If you are looking for a classic roadster, the E-Type is generally worth avoiding at all costs.

via: Barrett Jackson
via: Barrett Jackson

20. Pontiac Fiero

Where do we start with the Fiero? The lightweight Pontiac was meant to be a revolution for the company. It boasted the first mid-engined design to come out of GM. The looks were futuristic and the car had a lot going for it. But there was a problem, and it centered around the design of the engine compartment. The vehicle was so cramped in-terms of design that the car would end up catching on fire. This caused a lot of issues for consumers were had purchased these cars new and there was even a recall issued by GM. For the remainder of the car’s lifecycle, it was tarred with the engine fire debacle.

via: Bring a Trailer
via: Bring a Trailer

Later models tried to clean things up a bit, but the consensus for the Fiero is that you should avoid it. There were a lot of unique mid-engined cars over the years, but the Fiero is one that hasn’t stood the test of time.

via: CC Marketplace
via: CC Marketplace

19. 1992 Chevy Camaro

The third-generation F-Body was one of the longest-running nameplates for GM. In perspective, the car had a lot of design flaws that made it avoidable. Overheating was a major issue on these cars and it caused owners a lot of headaches. The overheating problem came from a faulty skirt that was at the bottom of the car. This skirt would get damaged and it would cause the car to run constantly hot. Another problem was with the electric fan setup, which would also malfunction from time to time. The 305CI V8 was painfully slow, which lead many owners to upgrade to the 5.7L TPI model.

via: Car Gurus
via: Car Gurus

Overall, the third generation was groundbreaking for GM in a lot of ways. But if you’re going to consider a used car for your collection, the third-generation Camaro should be avoided. The sheer mechanical issues alone will end up costing you.

via: DMC
via: DMC

18. 1981 Delorean DMC-12

You’ve probably seen the DMC-12 in a certain famous movie series. The DMC-12 was a production sports car as well. The unique look of the car made it the perfect vehicle for a movie like “Back To The Future.” In reality, however, the car suffered from many reliability issues that plagued the brand. The car was a very ambitious endeavor and there was no denying that the radical design was going to have some issues. What made the DMC-12 rather unique from the jump was the interior electrical.

via: DMC
via: DMC

Performance in the DMC-12 was lackluster and reliability was even worse. Delorean ended up going out of business only to be revived by a collector decades later. The original model DMC-12 should be avoided if you are planning to do anything except store it.

via: Top Speed
via: Top Speed

17. Nissan 350Z

When the updated 350Z hit the market, the automotive community was impressed. The two-door roadster provided seemingly worthwhile performance and sexy looking exterior. But as time went on, the 350Z grew long in the tooth, and the car had a lack of updates to it. The problem with the 350Z centers around reliability as well as interior durability. The interiors of these cars are known to break down and crack. Then you have the fact that the V6 engine wasn’t updated throughout the car’s lifecycle. There was a Nismo version of the car that might be worth looking into, but it was a limited edition.

via: Nissan
via: Nissan

If you are a fan of Nissan products, the 350Z is probably not going to impress you. Even as a used model, the 350Z is worth avoiding. The sheer lack of reliability will make the car end up costing you more in the long run.

via: Automart
via: Automart

16. Infiniti G35 Coupe

The corporate cousin of the 350Z is also an avoidable sports car. The G35 had the basic underpinnings of the 350Z but Nissan incorporated a backseat into it. Long-term, the G35 would end up having a good deal of reliability issues. The intake manifold on these cars was known to fail and there were also issues with the automatic transmission. Another common problem is traction control acting up. The car has a lot of benefits to it, but the G35 just isn’t worth holding onto. The later years for the car involved subtle upgrades to the interior and exterior.

via: Top Speed
via: Top Speed

If you are planning on keeping the G35, in a car collection that might be a good choice. But if you are planning on driving it, the G35 is going to be a costly investment. The maintenance on this car can be expensive.

via: Top Speed
via: Top Speed

15. 1968 Ferrari Dino 206

There were quite a few models that Ferrari has introduced over its questionable years. The Dino 206 was one of these models.The air-cooled engine was too weak in terms of performance. There was much more competition coming onto the market around this period. When you think of how a performance car should feel and drive, the Dino 206 was painfully slow. The slant nose styling was also a far cry from the traditional Ferrari models.

via: Wallpaperup
via: Wallpaperup

If you have been looking for a classic Ferrari model, the Dino 206 is probably not a good choice. Some later models handle and perform a lot better, especially when compared to the lethargic 206.

via: GM
via: GM

14. Chevy Cobalt SS

The Cobalt SS was an attempt at GM to jump on the cheap and fast bandwagon. When the Cobalt was introduced, it was marketed as a sporty replacement for the Cavalier. The compact car that GM had sold for decades was nothing short of boring. Thus, the Cobalt SS was a sportier option in a compact car. From a performance standpoint, the Cobalt SS wasn’t anything special. The sporty-looking exterior was skin deep, and the car was lacking in terms of any real performance elements.

via: Top Speed
via: Top Speed

Still, GM attempted to market the car as a sports car. The competition at the time ranged from the Honda Civic SI to the Scion TC. Cars around this period were becoming more affordable. But the Cobalt SS lacked in quite a few departments. In terms of resale value, the Cobalt SS has been creeping up in recent years. There seems to be an increased interest in mid-2000s sports cars as of late.

via: Mopar
via: Mopar

13. 1976 Dodge Charger

The ’70s were an odd-time for the sports car market. The fuel crisis was among us and the automakers were scrambling to get fuel-efficient cars onto the road. The next-generation Charger was lighter and introduced new modern features over the previous model. The problem here was the same as it was with most muscle cars at the time. A lack of innovation and too much smog control caused the engine to lack power. In fact, the car was lethargic at best, which left a bad taste in the mouths of Mopar fans.

via: Forbodies Only
via: Forbodies Only

Reliability issues were rampant for this generation of the Charger. This vehicle was released right on the cusp of the K-Car. When you look back through Chrysler’s storied history, the Charger from this generation is worth avoiding. The car didn’t bring anything new or unique to the table worth mentioning.

via: Cargurus
via: Cargurus

12. 1953 Chevy Corvette

When you think of legendary sports cars, the 1953 Corvette model is one of the first that comes to mind. But what the car had in terms of originality, it lost in the mechanic department. Like most GM cars and trucks, the first year is always the most tumultuous. Reliability was where the 1953 model fell short. The carbureted engine is known for having all kinds of failures at a time when reliability was a must. With the Corvette, these issues ended up costing owners a good deal of money.

via: Corvspot
via: Corvspot

Still, the original Corvette is a piece of history. But if you can avoid this model as a daily driver, you should. There were later Corvette models that were more pleasant to drive and offered a good deal more performance. At the end of the day, driving a sports car should be fun, not a stress-induced experience that ends up costing you.

via: Thunderbird
via: Thunderbird

11. 2002 Ford Thunderbird

The original Thunderbird was an iconic car. Flowing lines and a functional engine made the car an absolute experience to drive. Fast forward into the new millennium and the car got a retro-themed redesign. The problem here was the Jaguar-derived V8 engine that was unreliable and expensive to fix. To make matters worse, this generation of the Thunderbird had a tightly squeezed interior and no rear seating. The Thunderbird models that came before it had functional backseats.

via: Thunderbird
via: Thunderbird

There were high expectations for the Thunderbird because of the unique, retro-themed design. But when the final product hit the market, it was a disappointing mix of unimaginative design and price. The new generation of Thunderbirds was extremely expensive. For the features that you get with this car, it’s best left avoided.

via: Automobile Mag
via: Automobile Mag

10. 1990 Mazda Miata

A lot has changed since the original Miata hit the road. Cars are much more advanced and most convertibles have some sort of an electronic retractable top. The Miata used the formula of a lightweight sports car mated to a lively suspension. The problem here in modern terms is how underpowered the car is, in addition to the fact that repairs can be costly. Miata parts are easy to come across for the most part. Fixing the car, however, is another story. If you want a lightweight roadster, the second-generation Miata is a much better choice.

via: Mazda
via: Mazda

The later versions of the car were much-improved in-terms of driving characteristics. Original Miatas are still a cool car to look at. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty aspects of ownership, there are better choices out there. You can get away with a much more modern and fun-to-drive the car for less.

via: Dragtimes
via: Dragtimes

9. Saturn ION Redline

GM was experimenting with a few affordable sports cars during the early part of the decade. Saturn was the guinea pig brand for experimental models. The redline brand was attached to the ION and the Vue as a performance-oriented option. Then there was the Greenline, which was the hybrid-oriented product line. When you look at the options, the ION Redline looked the part of a performance car. The ground effects kit was aggressive and the spoiler gave the car a mean look. But performance-wise, the car didn’t deliver for the price. Reliability on the ION was spotty.

via: Cloud Front
via: Cloud Front

Sales never really approached the numbers that GM had hoped. The ION Redline should be at the bottom of your list when you are looking for a sports car. Nothing about the car has held up well over the lapse of time. Saturn ended up being disbanded after the 2008 recession, and the Redline brand vanished as well.

via: Corvette California
via: Corvette California

8. California Corvette

The ’80s were not a pleasant time for any automaker, much less the domestic brands. When you took a look at GM’s product portfolio, most of the sports cars were weighed down by smog regulations. To put this in perspective, the California Corvette stands as one of the slowest models to hit the road. The smog-choked 5.0L V8 is one of the worst in GM history. This was the same engine that you’d find under the hood of the Camaro Z28. The engine was notorious for running hot and having vacuum line issues.

via: GM
via: GM

Needless to say, the California Corvette was not a standing achievement for the brand. Cars around this period were being pinched for EPA regulations. This is why the Corvette and many other V8-powered sports cars from this era are lackluster at best.

via: Car Throttle
via: Car Throttle

7. 1981 Maserati Biturbo

Although Maserati has recently been a strong presence in the media world, the brand has been around much longer. Maserati is not the first brand that comes to mind when you think about buying a car. With that being said the Biturbo was a highly hyped up model. The car was released at a time when exotics were becoming more of the norm. The main selling point for the Biturbo was the fact that it had a functional backseat and interior. While the car performed admirably for the time, consumers couldn’t get over the hideous looks. The car had questionable reliability for a car in this price range.

via: Car in Picture
via: Car in Picture

The Biturbo is often a forgotten part of the eighties sports car world and with good reason. There was nothing increasingly special about the Biturbo to make us remember it. This car is in the same ranks as the Ferrari Mondial.

via: Classic Car
via: Classic Car

6. Pinto Ford Mustang

General Motors wasn’t the only automotive brand that was in the dumps during the ’70s and ’80s. Heavy smog regulations were crushing all of the automakers. The days of the fuel-gulping V8 was becoming a distant memory. Ford decided to base the Mustang off of the lightweight Pinto platform. The car was a good effort. But the performance was mediocre at best and the car suffered from a lack of quality. Dials would fall off and interior parts were cheaply made, as with most domestic cars around this time frame.

via: Classic Car
via: Classic Car

The Pinto based Mustang model will go down as a blip in the history of Ford. The Fox-body hit the market not long after to try and repair some of the damage that was done. Interestingly enough, Ford is attempting a drastic change again with the release of the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV.

via: Car Gurus
via: Car Gurus

5. 1999 Mercury Cougar

At some point, during the 2000s renaissance of the Ford brand, there was an idea to give Mercury another sports car. The Cougar was a lightweight, V6-powered sports car that brought with it a rather edgy design for the time. This vehicle was part of Ford’s “New Edge” design philosophy which emphasized lots of edges and ovals. Performance-wise, the Cougar was nothing amazing by any means. The car was downright slow and the unimpressive exterior styling made the car an forgettable part of history. People would often mistake the Cougar for the cheaper Escort ZX2.

via: Carphotos
via: Carphotos

Sadly, the Mercury brand didn’t survive the new millennium. The Cougar was just one of many lackluster cars that made their way onto dealership lots. Perhaps if Ford had based the Cougar off of the Mustang, things would have been a little better for the car.

via: Geo Storm
via: Geo Storm

4. Geo Storm

You’ve probably seen these cars in grocery store parking lots. The paint peeling off and hubcaps missing from years of abuse. But at one point in time, GM had high hopes that the Geo Storm would attract a younger buyer into the showrooms. The Storm did have some redeeming qualities such as a reasonably sized backseat. There was also the hatchback which made loading the little sports car a breeze. Color combinations were quite wild for the Storm, ranging from purple to yellow. In a lot of ways, the Storm was a revolutionary, but as far as a sports car, the Storm just didn’t add up.

via: Motor 1
via: Motor 1

In a sea that was flooded with cheap sports cars during this period, the Storm is a blip. If you want a ’90s sports car that’s good on gas there are many options. The Geo Storm was a car that was just intended as a budget-minded addition to Chevy dealerships.

via: Honest John
via: Honest John

3. Toyota Celica (Final Generation)

The final incarnation of the Celica was a curvaceous little car. Designed to entice younger buyers into the Toyota showroom, the new Celica had a lot going for it. But the model never really had a performance-minded version. This was a drawback for Toyota since the competition for the Celica was cars like the turbo-powered Tiburon and the 350Z. Sadly Toyota never offered this generation of the Celica in a convertible version.

via: Motor Trend
via: Motor Trend

With good reason, as far as a commuter car, the Celica was golden. But when you wanted to take the car out to see what it could do, the lack of performance showed. Toyota didn’t go all out designing this car. The Celica line disappeared from the Toyota brand soon after the car hit the market.

via: Wikipedia
via: Wikipedia

2. Mitsubishi Eclipse (Final Generation)

The Eclipse that hit the market in 2006 was a bold new statement for Mitsubishi. The new design was much more radical than previous versions. What made the Eclipse unique was the fact that it was always an affordable sports car. This generation of the Eclipse was lacking in the power department. Shoppers also complained about the cramped interior, which made living with the car hard. If you wanted to drive something fast this generation was basically on its way out. The engine was average in terms of performance.

via: Motor Trend
via: Motor Trend

Buyers were quick to dismiss this Eclipse model. You can tell by how the resale values have dropped in recent years. Still, if you can find one for really cheap this might be a fun first car for a new driver. The exterior styling is still beautiful to this day.

via: Wikipedia
via: Wikipedia

1. Ford Escort ZX2

Finally, we have a sports car that really shouldn’t even be called a sports car. During the’90s, Ford introduced us to the ZX2. Which was essentially a bite-sized version of the Escort sedan and wagon. While the car had some pretty cute looks at the time, performance was lackluster at best. Then you got into the shoddy build quality which resulted in many reliability issues. The ZX2 lasted for quite some time, even as the rest of the escort lineup was replaced by the modern Focus. But if you wanted a lightweight sports car, the ZX2 should be avoided.

via: Wheelsage
via: Wheelsage

There was actually nothing that was or is remotely sporty about the ZX except for the name. When it comes to forgotten relics of the early 2000s, the ZX2 is the pinnacle. The forgettable styling and ho-hum reliability make the ZX2 avoidable

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