Developed as a partnership between Chrysler and Mercedes, the Crossfire was unique, to say the least. From a technological standpoint, the car was cutting edge. You got Mercedes engineering for a considerably more affordable price. The entire car was based on the SLK-320, which was an excellent car (via The Car Investor).
But the styling and reliability of the Crossfire were best. There are few cars that have held up to the test of time from this era. The Crossfire is not one of these vehicles as the lack of style and reliability made it questionable.
A two-door coupe was a seemingly dated proposition by the 1990s. The SUV boom was in full swing, and sports cars were being phased out. Never to be deterred though Chrysler launched two coupes, the Sebring and the Avenger. The Dodge Avenger wasn’t a particularly fast sports car, but it offered a unique exterior (via Car Gurus).
The R/T version was all Dodge when you first looked at it. The performance of the V6 engine wasn’t weak but the reliability was questionable. The build quality of the Avenger also wasn’t that decided, which caused many of these to hit the junkyard. You’ll seldom find an original Avenger on the road.
Why not try and make the Ford Escort a sports car, Ford asked at one time? Ford’s Ford Escort EXP was a questionable experiment by Ford, to say the least. The Escort had many exciting options, including the GT model, but the EXP was unparalleled. The styling of the car was almost like a baby Fox Body Mustang (via Auto Trader).
Drivers almost never see a Ford Escort EXP still around, and that’s because the build quality was awful. Rusting caused many of these Fords to hit the junkyard early on. The reliability was also not the best, even when the cars were new. From a conceptual point of view, the Ford Escort EXP had potential, but that’s about it.
What happens when you dress a Ford Pinto with a V8 engine? You get the Ford Mustang II King Cobra. No, this car wasn’t meant to be a joke or meme, it was an actual car. Finding a Ford Mustang II King Cobra is almost impossible. The reliability of the car was awful and the build quality was even worse (via CJ Pony Parts).
Most enthusiasts like to avoid the Mustang II body style altogether, and there is a reason for that. The platform was by far a dark spot in the history of the Mustang. There were much better options later down the road. When you think about the Mustang, these Pinto-based models don’t come to mind first.
Ford would continue to build competition for their own Mustang models. The Ford Thunderbird S/C was another version of a pony car. The supercharged V6 engine provided modest power for the price. But the styling of the car was something that most consumers couldn’t get over (via Hagerty).
The build quality of this generation of the Thunderbird was also questionable at best. Reliability was something you hoped for, to say the least. The interior was cheap, and many parts were shared with other Ford models.
Kia is not shy when it comes to testing the waters with a new model. The company launched the Borego SUV in the middle of a recession. The Kia Forte Koup was the same concept, releasing a sports car when no one wants them. The naming of the car was bad enough, but the reliability of the car was even worse (via Cheers and Gears).
There were numerous transmission failures that affected this car when it was brand new. The warranty Kia offers was a big help, but not enough. Buyers were not convinced to get the Forte Koup and Kia quietly discontinued the model. Kia still sells a two-door model, but it isn’t called the Koup anymore.
The final Mercury two-door was a failed endeavor for the brand. With the Ford executives seeking to appeal to female buyers, the Mercury Cougar was radically different. The car had all the lines you’d expect a Cougar to have. But there was no longer a V8 engine choice, and the car was no longer a luxury coupe (via ARFC).
Instead, Ford had hoped the redesigned Cougar would entice young professional women to go with the Mercury brand. Needless to say, the Cougar didn’t sell well. The final years for the car had some of the lowest production numbers to date. The Mercury brand was ultimately phased out a decade after this car was released.