Happy Halloween! If you’re like me, you’re pretty much over getting scared by any gory or suspenseful films. I was in a showing of “Cabin in the Woods,” and laughed through half of it. I’m not a child, so that crap doesn’t scare me anymore. No, I have to get my thrills in other ways, and since knocking over banks is frowned upon, I’ll have to make due with driving cars a little faster than I should be every now and again.
That said, there are some cars that I would not touch with my friend’s neighbor’s ten-foot pole, for their inherent danger, OR for their just awful visual appearance. These cars, through either personal experience or via horror stories from those who have survived, have all gained a reputation as vehicles that will give you nightmares. (In best Crypt Keeper voice): “Drive these cars…if you dare!”
On the British Show Top Gear, the esteemed test driver, the Stig, nearly wiped out in this car trying to set a track record. Upon conclusion of the test, the Stig confided that the car would need a proper spoiler if he were to ever drive it again. They brought in the CCX, with a spoiler, and he set a track record. Imagine that though– the symbol of vehicular intimidation, not wanting to pilot a car until it was modified. If it scares the Stig, it should make you wet your pants.
This is more of the scared-by-its-appearance flavor. The Aztek is THE definitive ugly car. I mean, just look at the thing. Not to mention it was an SUV built on a minivan platform. The thought of owning this vehicular eyesore should keep you up at night.
It was said of the Shelby Cobra that it ran out of engine before it ran out of car…and it had a lot of engine. The Viper arguably has more engine, and it goes several hundred yards beyond the car in terms of handling. You WILL loose control of this car if you don’t respect it. To drive scared of the consequences of mishandling this beast is to live to drive another day.
Seriously, if thing just happens to be in your rear-view…run.
No one is mistaking the Grand Vitara for a vehicle with a modicum of off-road capability. So, to affix off-road style armor, chop the roof, and throw on a snorkel and winch is to lure some unwitting SEMA-goer into thinking that this thing can actually hold its own off road. The epic level of failure that you will experience-potentially in the middle of the wilderness- is a frightening thought.
Really? Do I need to explain this one? The 917 is one of the baddest beasts to ever grace a racetrack. It made Ferrari look like a pack of chumps (after Ford did the same thing!), but drivers hated the idea of driving this car. It was fast, unruly, and crammed. To manage space, the drivers seat was moved so far forward that the pedals were actually in front of the front suspension.
Drivers had to wiggle their feet through the front steering linkage and suspension to get to the pedals. One front end collision and you won’t be tall enough to ride roller coasters any more! Oh don’t forget that it has this evil bastard had a propeinsity to lose control when you lay off the throttle in a turn. If you are ever at the envelope in a hard tun, just lay into that throttle, and the flat-12-cylinder engine will squeeze you out the other side safely. (917/30 Can-Am shown)
Merely by virtue of familiarity, we may have gotten too comfortable with this mid-size luxury sedan. People quickly forget- when this first came out, it was a disaster. The oversized buck-toothed ‘shield’ grille forced you to shield your eyes. I mean, just remember how good the previous TL looked! It should be noted that in 2012, Acura attempted to right the wrong, with a slightly smaller grille, but to borrow a horror movie title, “I know what you did last
You can’t do it. You just can’t. There is no possible way that you can get me behind the wheel in one of these things. I love the notion. It is the greatest driver’s car ever with one of the best engines of all time (GM LS-V8). The ingenuity is outstanding, but it is also batshit crazy. The Miata MX-5 GT Concept seen above is about the only proposition I would sign on to. Though the Miata is a sublime car with the 4-cylinder, and I’m sure a turbo or a V6 underhood would be a terrific combination, this just seems like too much for even this seasoned driver.
Shelby Cobra Replicas
While the orginal Cobra (pictured above) was a feat of engineering, both in terms of acceleration and handling, a league of pretenders stepped up after the arrival of the AC ACE-based performance machine. Most of thse were made to look like the original, and feature the same big V8 power, but in typcial American fashion, no attention was paid to the handling. You couldn’t pay me enough to drive one of these gussied-up frauds. This problem came to an end with the advent of the Factory Five cars, which have suspensions developed via computer and handle arguably better than the O.G. Cobra.
PT Cruiser/Chevrolet HHR/Retro-Turd
Ugh. Can you imagine getting up every day for work, and realizing that you have to spending 45 minutes each way, driving this unlovable shitbox? To drive a PT Cruiser defines giving up at life. That notion of just not caring anymore is perhaps more frightening than any car on this list. (If you’re wondering why there are only twelve cars on this list, it is because the PT Cruiser and HHR are so bad- so frighteningly awful- that we had no choice but to count these epic failures twice.)
Toyota Tacoma Pikes Peak
Ok, mind you, this prototype was being driven rally/off-road/hill-climb maestro Rod Millen, who has driven this IN the damn Pike’s Peak Hill Climb, and he can barely keep the damn thing on the road! I mean, he stalled his own racear, and buzzed-down Goodwood turf than a disgruntled landscaping crew. Let this video alone stand as record for the inability for 99.999% of drivers on this planet to pilot such a machine. I have dreams of driving this particular vehicle in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, and I wake up in a cold sweat right before I jettison from my earthly bounds off the side of a 500 foot cliff.
Most SEMA Cars
Finding a well thought out and refined custom job as SEMA is like finding a horror movie that isn’t entirely predictable. Most of these cars are ugly-as-hell manifestation of the designer’s own insecurities, projected onto a Chevy Sonic. Freud would have a field day down at SEMA, and with all the (likely) meth addicts at the show, walking the halls of that show would be an experience akin to “Night of the Living Dead.”