Who doesn’t love the idea of a classic car? Owning a classic car is like owning a piece of history, and the heart of every gearhead often beats hard for cars from the ’60s, ’70s, or ’80s. If the classic car in question turns out to be a muscle car or a convertible, the heart beats even faster, no doubt. However, not every classic car from eras bygone is a good deal. Sure, some cars were built like tanks and are great investments and collector’s items even today, but some are simply bad deals.
There are plenty of classic cars today that look good, but will make you feel bad. There are many classics which didn’t sell well in their time, but later became cult icons. Well, there’s a reason they didn’t sell well at the time, and some of these classic cars bank on the chances of younger gearheads forgetting their failures and drawbacks. One should never bring home a classic car just based on its looks or age, which is why here are 10 classic cars that might look like good deals, but should be stayed away from.
10/10 Ford Pinto
The Ford Motor Company named the Pinto after a horse breed, much like the Mustang. The car itself, however, is everything that Mustang isn’t. The Ford Pinto became popular for all the wrong reasons. For starters, Ford built it quite cheap, which meant they cut corners wherever possible.
Not only did it weight less than 2,000lbs, it also cost less than $2,000. The engine at the rear came without any safety plates, which meant the Pinto was a fiery accident waiting to happen in case of a rear-end collision, and sadly, that happened plenty of times. There are plenty of classic Fords one can go for, but the Pinto shouldn’t be one of them.
9/10 DeLorean DMC-12
The DeLorean DMC-12 of Back to the Future fame remains one of the saddest letdowns in automotive history. While the car broke necks wherever it went by way of its looks, that was pretty much all there is to it.
The stainless steel body of the DMC-12 was too heavy for the weak 2.9-liter Peugeot V6 to support, making the car underpowered and slow. This shone through in the car’s lethargic 10.5-second 0 to 60 time. The car also led to the company running into the ground. Things are looking up for the DeLorean name, however, with the Alpha 5 electric car.
8/10 Ferrari Mondial 8
Ask anyone what the worst Ferrari ever made is, and chances are they would name the Mondial. Built only for two years (two years too many), the Mondial ran on a meager 180 horsepower, which is a figure no Ferrari should ever have had on its spec sheet.
A classic car, and a Ferrari at that, sounds like a great thing to be in, but the Mondial went against everything Ferrari stands for. The Mondial’s 9.4-second 0 to 60 mph time feels like a lifetime, and it can’t even seat four people comfortable, which could have, at the very least, been a saving grace.
7/10 Chrysler LeBaron
The Chrysler Imperial was an extremely well-respected car, which everyone sought. Sadly, the car was a disaster in the ’60s, and the ’70s only made things worse with the Imperial LeBaron. Nothing but mediocre, the Chrysler LeBaron housed a meek V8 into an absurdly heavy and long shell.
Even the interior of the LeBaron looked and felt cheap, to the point where the car became known as ‘trashy’. A fine example of American engineering gone wrong, a classic LeBaron might be a car our grandparents wished for, but all through the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, it was simply disappointing.
6/10 Cadillac Fleetwood V-8-6-4
Undeniably one of the worst executed engineering ideas in American automotive history, the Cadillac Fleetwood V-8-6-4 featured variable displacement. The engine was supposed to deactivate two or four cylinders if the load was less, thus being more efficient.
While Honda later perfected this idea in the 2000s, it was too early for the Fleetwood to have done so, as everything went wrong with the car and its engine. The on-board computers could never figure out how many cylinders were needed, and displacement kept shifting even on the road, leading to a car that stuttered, stalled, and broke down every possible minute. Avoid bringing home this ‘classic’, and while you’re at it, try forgetting all about it. Cadillac sure would love to.
5/10 Chevrolet Camaro Iron Duke
The idea of owning a classic Chevy Camaro is only good as long as it isn’t an Iron Duke. While the Malaise era had killed many cars and choked even more, the Iron Duke Camaro from the ’80s was still a slap in customers’ faces. A Camaro with just 90 horsepower, the Iron Duke was all-name, no-go.
It took ages for this ’82 Camaro to reach the 60 mph mark, and all 20 of those god-awful seconds felt like a lifetime. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder setup should simply never have been in a car with the Camaro nameplate, and the car itself shouldn’t be in your driveway.
4/10 Pontiac Fiero
General Motors built the Fiero from 1983 to 1988. The industry was coming out of the disastrous ’70s, and people wanted fun, sporty cars. Enter the Fiero, which was the marque’s first mid-engined car since the 1920s. Sadly, it could have been great, but was just another dud.
The Fiero took its name quite literally, with multiple cases of the car bursting into flames. Numerous recalls also tarnished the car’s name, and the terrible build quality of the Pontiac Fiero didn’t help, either.
3/10 Porsche 914
We wish Porsche never built the 914, but they did. A Porsche with a VW engine, the 914 made all of 79 horsepower, and its 0 to 60 mph time was a disastrous 11.3 seconds.
Everything a Porsche should never be, the 914 was lethargic, and no fun to drive. What makes this classic even sadder is that it looked amazing, but everything underneath that beautiful exterior should never have been approved in the first place.
2/10 Maserati BiTurbo
Maserati built the BiTurbo in the 1980s to take the company away from the brink of bankruptcy, but the car only made matters worse. An affordable Maserati, the BiTurbo had cheap parts and even cheaper build quality, leading to quick infamy for its unreliability.
One of the most unreliable machines you could get with a Maserati badge, the BiTurbo was a letdown for both customers and the Italian brand itself.
1/10 Cadillac Allante
Cadillac marketed the Allante as a two-seater luxury roadster, and the car was even designed all the way in Italy. Sadly, it was a sales flop, as it should have been. An FWD car that weighed a whopping 3600lbs and only ran on 170 horses, the Allante suffered with reliability concerns.
One of the biggest and most infamous problems with the car was its leaking convertible top, and its faulty brakes which cost an arm and a leg in repairs. Even the engines were problematic, and the Allante could never justify its price, leading to Cadillac discontinuing it within 6 years.
Sources: Porsche, DeLorean