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  • Tops or Flops cars

    From time to time, on various sites there is a posting of either the top 100 best cars, or the worst cars ever blighting the road. I have never seen one of these sites having both.

    Since our family forum has no lack of opinion of topics(!), I thought it would be fun to get an opinion of both top car and flop. It could be either a car you have owned, or someone you know or ventured an opinion.

    Most of the other sites have large lists of cars that most of us have never, will never or probably won't see. As an example Ferrari 250 GTO. I would like to see opinions on the Tops and Flops that were/are cars obtainable for most of us.

    Have fun with this and please stay within the guidelines of the forum (no politics. religion) with your post. Pictures if you want to enforce your opinion are welcome.

    Bob Miles

  • #2
    How high is up? How far is down?

    In my more than sixty years of owning and driving, it's horses for courses. Cars and trucks which are outstanding used within their design envelope are disasters in the wrong application.

    Take a Champion powered Studebaker 3/4-ton truck as an example. Around the farm, it can get the job done indefinitely. Put it out on a Wyoming interstate and it will scream its guts out within an hour.

    Same deal when European cars first came to the US. The Renault 4CV and Dauphine were nimble, economical, easy-to-park Parisianne natives. Put them on that same intermountain interstate and they're unlikely to survive one trip.

    BTW, the original recipe Ferarri GTO is a cramped, hot, noisy, rough riding, difficult to drive thing only really useful or happy on the race track; horses for courses.

    I'm a third-generation Studebaker truck owner and learned to drive in a '52 R5. My first Studebaker was a '56 Flight Hawk; a love-hate relationship if there ever was one. I loved the styling and hated the fact it was slow, oil burning and unreliable. A car Studebaker should never have built!

    My maternal grandmother loved me enough to help me trade the Flight Hawk for a new 1966 Ford Falcon 2-door sedan, 289" 3-speed synchro. It was a great car; everything the predecessor was not. It was faster, handled better, got better fuel mileage and was dead reliable. Overshadowed by the new Mustang, but the Falcon was a better, more comfortable car than the Mustang.

    One of my all-time best cars was a 1969 BMW 2002 TI. A strong, fast, great handling, roomy, comfortable small sedan with great outward visibility. To this day, BMW has not bettered this one for all-around goodness. I bought it while in the US Army in Germany and since it was a German-only model, I couldn't bring it with me back to the states.

    More thoughts later.

    jack vines
    Last edited by PackardV8; 04-10-2021, 03:29 PM.
    PackardV8

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    • #3
      LOL. Studebaker made a strong showing on Automobile Magazine's Ugliest Cars of the 1950s.
      https://www.automobilemag.com/news/ugliest-cars-1950s/

      Note to self - burn Automobile magazine.
      Andy
      62 GT

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      • #4
        My "top" (does this mean favorite or best ?) are numerous. My worst PIECE OF. ....uh, you know what I mean, ....vehicle was a Dodge Dakota. 2nd worse, a Nissan truck. Pretty much liked or loved all the others we've had (a few over 150). I even loved my old bullet nose that we figured miles to the gallon not only with fuel, but with oil also, ha !

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        • #5
          I think everyone has the right idea. I like Jack Vines "horses for courses" One of the NCO's at Davis Monthan had a BMW 2002 that when he bought it was able to bring it stateside.

          Our family had before I could drive had the best and worst in the driveway. A 1959 Lark six well styled and cute which was a faithful family car for 9 years, and a 1959 Rambler Classic six which in my opinion was the automobile equivalent of a plain bowl of oatmeal.

          Bob Miles

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 6hk71400 View Post
            1959 Rambler Classic six which in my opinion was the automobile equivalent of a plain bowl of oatmeal. Bob Miles
            Some cars are totally forgettable and others unforgettable for a variety of reasons.

            My folks bought a three-tone (light blue, medium blue, white, with gold insert trim) 1956 Hudson Hornet with the Packard V8 (which got me started on those, but that's another story) The Hudson was the ugliest car ever sold in the US and was thirsty of fuel and tires. It was supremely comfortable and had fully reclining leather seats, great ventilation. After two Ultramatic failures, a clean, solid car with a still good engine wound up on the scrap heap. Even with the problems, no one could ever forget the Hudson.

            It was replaced by a 1963 Galaxie 4-door sedan, also with a 352" V8. It was a totally forgettable car; solid in every way, memorable in no way.

            jack vines
            PackardV8

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Andy R. View Post
              LOL. Studebaker made a strong showing on Automobile Magazine's Ugliest Cars of the 1950s.
              https://www.automobilemag.com/news/ugliest-cars-1950s/

              Note to self - burn Automobile magazine.
              OMG, they list the 1956 Studebaker Hawks as one of the ugliest!!! That is ridiculous! And the 1959 Studebaker Lark too? Article written by Aaron Gold (a major idiot in my opinion).
              sigpic
              In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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              • #8
                I liked my 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, supercharged 3800 V6 ran smooooth and had lots of power and good fuel economy, it was a very nice car to drive and it looked nice too.
                It was getting quite rusty and high miles so I sold it.
                Then I bought a lousy salvaged & repaired 2009 Chevy Cobalt coupe for cheap, 2.2 liter with AT that I soon began to dislike. It was reliable, but not very good fuel economy for such a small car, and it was uncomfortable and not nice to drive.
                Replaced the Cobalt with a 2015 Dodge Charger SXT AWD and I really like it. Looks great, lots of power, good fuel economy and it is a joy to drive.
                sigpic
                In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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                • #9
                  One of the best things about getting your dream car early ('62 GT at age 18) is that you have a string of sacrificial machines to preserve that one for less utilitarian occasions. In these cases, beauty is as beauty does.

                  Most Indestructible:
                  1970 Dodge Coronet - 4d, 318 auto - caramel brown inside out - tough vinyl - rubber floor covering - only options were heater, AM radio and curb-sourced under-dash 8-track. This indestructible beast survived and thrived 3 years of brutal college indiscretions and drove itself to retirement. Seeing so many of its twins bounce back in the original "Gone in 60 Seconds" gives me warm fuzzies every time. It looked a tad evil, ugly and washable inside and out with a hose. This thing was like "Christine" without any cosmetics (or casualties).

                  Unexpected Fun Utility:
                  1994 Saturn SW2 - DOHC - 5-speed. Swerving on backroads or packed to the dome light with Ikea, this little sleeper never missed a beat. Dancing on 3 pedals was an unexpected joy and deterrent for an actual attempted theft. Changing the clutch or an axle was easier than some Lego. 8 years of Ohio road salt underneath meant the state offer of $1000 accelerated its retirement by only a few months. Plus, it's the first car I drove as a daddy.
                  Andy
                  62 GT

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Milaca View Post
                    I liked my 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, supercharged 3800 V6 ran smooooth and had lots of power and good fuel economy, it was a very nice car to drive and it looked nice too...
                    IMO, one of the best engines GM ever produced - and easy to work on.
                    Andy
                    62 GT

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                    • #11
                      Bob,

                      I don't generally pan a car that I've never owned, driven or in some other way been associated with. It's much easier to name a few cars throughout history which pointed the industry in a particular direction, albeit sometimes leading to a dead end.
                      1)curved dash Oldsmobile
                      2) Ford Model T
                      3) 1923 Packard straight eight-Led to three decades of straight eight dominance. Eventually it became an inglorious dead end.
                      4) 1932 Graham Blue Streak-A styling triumph, leading to changes throughout the industry, but a sales failure.
                      5) 1932 Ford V8
                      6) 1938-41 Cadillac 60 Special
                      7) 1949 Cadillac/Oldsmobile OHV-V8
                      8) 1949 Jaguar XK120
                      6) VW
                      10) 1955 Chevrolet-1956 Corvette V8
                      11) 1955 Citroen
                      12) 1958 Rambler-set the tone for the surge in American compact car production.
                      13)1964 Pontiac GTO
                      14) 1970 Toyota Corolla
                      15) 1972 Honda CVCC
                      16) 1971 Datsun 240Z
                      17) Chrysler's minivan
                      18) 2012 Tesla Model S
                      This is just my objective list based on industry advances and direction. Choices have little or no relationship to my preferences.

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                      • #12
                        I never pay any attention to those 'best' or 'worst' lists anymore; ever since 1971 when Motor Trend gave the Vega the "Car of the Year" award.

                        And other publications, automotive and mainstream are based either on the author/blogger's own opinion, or by one set of statistics, such as how 'good' or 'bad' it sold in the marketplace, or dollar value as a collector vehicle.

                        Craig

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                        • #13
                          I might be an oddball, cue Laughter, but quite a few marketplace failures were Ok in my book. In my lifetime I've owned MGs and Austin Healy's that i though were great fun in spite of their need to take a full tool box when going to the corner store. My worst modern car was a Toyota which needed head gaskets at each oil change and a transmission that was never right. I now drive GM mid-size SUVs that are reliable as rain at your picnic but Oh so boring. While i never owned them I admired the Gremlin and Pacer as a try for "different" which now seems to be a dead issue. I do wonder at the success of the Lexus with a grille designed / inspired by the Remington Razor people yet the Edsel failed?
                          Go Figure
                          Murray
                          Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain !

                          http://sites.google.com/site/intrigu...tivehistories/

                          (/url) https://goo.gl/photos/ABBDQLgZk9DyJGgr5

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                          • #14
                            The Automobile magazine list of ugliest cars of the '50s seems to be just a case of scatter-shooting. Why would the author single out the very competently styled '59 Lark and ignore the "less attractive" '58s? Overall, I think he got it right less than 50% of the time. And that is a failing grade. Just another "coffee-table" article.
                            -Dwight

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Milaca View Post
                              OMG, they list the 1956 Studebaker Hawks as one of the ugliest!!!
                              The photo shown with the 1956 blurb is NOT a 1956!
                              Now I'll probably get some flack for this for this but I kinda agree 'bout the 1956 Hawks. The GH looked great with the small fins, but to me the lesser Hawks just didn't look quite right. The plain rear fenders don't seem to really go with the newly styled front end. However, in 1957 that was remedied. Adding fins was a big improvement.

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