With the right design, even the most utilitarian of vehicles can become a masterpiece of lines, curves and performance. A beautiful car in motion is enough to make grown men weep, but for every sensuous Ferrari purring its way down the freeway, there’s another car that can only be described as “cringe-worthy.” These are the cars that won’t be remembered for their pleasant handling or superior acceleration. They are, instead, the ugliest cars ever built.
The Pontiac Aztek appears to have been designed by two separate teams that each built one half, with no collaboration whatsoever. How else can the sheer incongruity of this car’s front and back ends be explained? Combined with its plastic-coated interior, the Aztek was a promising car destroyed by its own poor construction.
Chrysler PT Cruiser
Chrysler’s PT Cruiser has been surprisingly successful for a car that is so blatantly ugly. It was designed with retro styling in mind, but the rounded, modern touches made it bland and uninspiring. The convertible model is an even worse offender, with an inexplicable arch running right through the center of the vehicle.
Although its owners swear by it as a family car, there’s no getting past the bizarre outline of a Fiat Multipla. The compact MPV looks like the result of two different cars being randomly smashed together and resembles a flying saucer more than a traditional vehicle. The bulge that drew so much criticism was eliminated from further generation, to the relief of all.
Aston Martin Lagonda
Aston Martin has manufactured many beautiful cars in its long history. The Lagonda is not one of them. It almost looks like a joke produced by some bad Photoshop skills, so long that one wonders how it could ever make a sharp turn or keep its ends from sagging right into the pavement. Unfortunately, the Lagonda was very real, and old models can still be spotted on the road.
The Nissan Cube was the natural result of a long line of boxy, compact vehicles meant for an urban driver. Although the majority of those cars have been regrettable, the Cube has dismissed aerodynamics entirely and resembles nothing so much as a rolling brick.
The AMC Gremlin marked the beginning of the end for AMC. This ugly little subcompact was a study in the exaggerated proportions of the 1970s gone too far, with the majority of its length devoted to its nose and a stubby cab attached as an afterthought.
This car has the distinction of running on only three wheels, but Reliant should never have tried to put a tricycle on the road. The Regal was underpowered, and consumers found it to be bulky and odd-looking. It never won a dedicated market and is now just another regrettable British blunder.
If the Gremlin marked the beginning of AMC’s woes, it was the Pacer that drove the final nail in this manufacturer’s coffin. Its quirky looks have gained some popularity in the past decade, but there is simply no forgiving those giant, leaky windows and the bulbous body more reminiscent of a fishbowl than a car.
The original automotive disaster, the Ford Edsel debuted in 1958 to widespread derision, a failure that cost Ford millions of dollars. Although painfully boring in many ways, its “lemon-sucking” grille and clashing design elements were what consigned the Edsel to infamy as perhaps the ugliest car ever made.
This article was written by Preston Gass, a humor writer and also a lover of off-road vehicles, whether it be anything from a side by side atv to a motorbike.