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The 10 Uncoolest Cars of All Time

Posted in General by Kurt Ernst | February 18th, 2010 | 66 Responses |

Suzuki's X90: Uncool at any speed.

We here at RideLust will be the first to tell you: unless you’re counting pay dates, a car is not going to get you laid. No matter how much coin you drop on a ride, if you weigh 400 pounds, live in your mom’s basement and haven’t showered in a month, you’re just not closing the deal. Owning a Bugatti Veyron isn’t going to change that.

On the flip side, there have always been cars that act as estrogen repellent. No matter how matter how ripped you may be, no matter what size hog you’re packing, no matter what kind of coin you’ve got in the bank, these cars are guaranteed to break the deal more effectively than being a buck-toothed hunchback with personal hygiene issues and a sociopathic personality disorder.

These aren’t the ugliest cars of all time and they’re not the worst cars of all time. Some enjoyed a rather long and successful production run. Others, fortunately, died off after a few brief model years. Some, sadly, are still for sale (either new or used) in the US.

Here’s our list of cars guaranteed to repel dates better than cheap-beer-and-Cheetos vomit down the front of your frilly pirate shirt:

Chevrolet Chevette

Built from 1975 through 1987, the Chevette defined the term “econobox”. Everything about the car was cheap, from the materials used to the build quality to the purchase price. Engines options were a 1.4 liter inline 4 or a 1.6 liter inline 4, which Chevy actually had the balls to market in a “high output” version. Compared to what? A lawn tractor? The good news is that your chance of encountering one today lies between “slim” and “none”; like the dinosaurs, they died off for a reason.

Subaru Justy

Sold in the US from 1987 to 1994, most Justy’s have long since rusted into oblivion. Were you unfortunate enough to own one, you know how grossly underpowered the 1.0 or 1.2 liter three cylinder engine was. Ironically, the car could even be ordered with AWD after 1988, making it easier to drive to that remote location before you shot the hell out of it with a 12 gauge.

Suzuki X90

Beyond the shadow of a doubt, the uncoolest car ever sold in the United States. Mercifully, it was available only from 1996 to 1998, and just over 7,000 were imported into the US. If the clown-car styling didn’t repel the opposite sex better than a can of mace, the flashy graphics often splashed down the side would. You’d have a better chance of looking manly walking a teacup poodle, while wearing a miniskirt and stiletto heels, than you would driving this car.

Nash Metropolitan

1961 Nash Metropolitan

Sold in the US from 1954 to 1962, the Nash Metropolitan was one of the first domestic subcompact cars. Built in a time when bigger was better, the vast majority of Americans never understood the Metropolitan, and that’s a good thing. Often painted in two tone color schemes such as coral and white or turquoise and white, the car virtually screamed “I’m not attracted to women”, unless of course it was a woman behind the wheel. Despite their odd appearance, Metropolitans sold rather well and were second only to VW Beetles in their category. Handling was described as “loose” and “full of roll and wallow”, but what do you expect from a short wheelbase car with a very soft suspension? Despite my opinion about the car’s appeal, Elvis owned one and so did Paul Newman; maybe I’m wrong on this, or maybe a man just likes to feel pretty every once in a while.

Renault 5

Known as the “Le Car” in the US, the Renault 5 was sold from 1976 to 1986. Nothing about the car, from its uninspired box-on-box styling, to its cramped interior, to its anemic 55 horsepower engine, was even remotely appealing. Build quality was horrific, even by U.S. automaker standards of the period, so you’re unlikely to encounter one today. As attractive to women as eating a garlic and onion sandwich and dousing yourself with Hai Karate cologne

Ford Pinto

Alright, confession time: I like Pintos. Especially Pinto race cars, because they were light, cheap and handled surprisingly well. That said, they were as cool as a a purple crushed velvet tux with a leopard skin cummerbund and a mullet hairdcut. Built from 1970 to 1980, the Pinto was a major hit with buyers who wanted something inexpensive and practical from FoMoCo. Unfortunately, a design flaw led to their propensity to burst into flames when hit from behind. Sure, a simple production mod would have eliminated the threat, but the cost per car (under $10) was deemed unacceptably high by Ford execs. Whoops. In any case, it’s hard for a date to get her freak on if she’s worried about burning to death in a raging gasoline inferno. Want a cool vintage ride? Look elsewhere.

Geo Metro

Sold in the US from 1989 to 2001, the Geo Metro was the offspring of GM’s ill fated partnership with Suzuki. There was one reason and one reason only to buy a three cylinder Metro as a new car: because you were a cheap bastard who didn’t give a crap about driving and were too lazy to look up a bus schedule. Metros were as boring to look at as they were to drive, and even the convertible or the four cylinder LSi versions act as an effective repellant for the opposite sex. There may be a few granola munching, patchouli wearing ultra-vegans who find the Metro’s 45 mpg a turn on, but do you really want to sleep with a woman that has more body hair than you do?

Chevrolet Aveo

Launched in the US in 2003, the Aveo is still (tragically) available for purchase. Built by Daewoo for GM, build quality is so poor that even rental car agencies avoid this lemon like a piece of three day old sushi on the sidewalk. What do you expect from a company whose CEO ran them into bankruptcy before fleeing the country? Think “Geo Metro, but with even worse build quality” and you get the picture. Like most undesirables, the Aveo also goes by an alias: the Pontiac G3. Avoid ‘em at all costs.

Yugo GV

Available in the US from 1986 to 1992, the Yugo GV was arguably the worst car ever sold in the United States. Loosely based on a Fiat 127, the Yugo was wrapped in an Italian-styled body to make it more attractive; like a sixty year old hooker, it only looked good from a distance. When the lighting was poor. Conceived as a price point vehicle, built as a price point vehicle and sold as a price point vehicle, Yugos were notorious for mechanical failure and poor drivability (partly due to their overly complex but inexpensive emission control system). Mileage that counted as “broken in” on other cars counted as “worn out” on a Yugo, and the chances of coming across a running example today aren’t very high. Zastava, the manufacturer of Yugo, has the distinction of being the only automaker on this list to ever have a factory destroyed by NATO airstrikes. NATO claims they were going for Zastava’s arms production plant and hit the car factory by mistake, but I’m not buying it. Someone in the pilot’s family must have owned a Yugo at some point.

Datsun B210 Honeybee

Datsun B-210s were sold in the US from 1973 to 1978, before we realized things like polyester, disco and ABBA really did suck. As if the Datsun B-210 two-door hatchback weren’t uncool enough on its own, Datsun chose to introduce a limited edition yellow version with black graphics called the “Honey Bee”. Sure it gave reasonable fuel economy, but sooner or later someone you knew was going to see you driving it. Thin sheet metal that seemed to rust in the sun, combined with an interior made from cheap vinyl and cardboard means you aren’t likely to find one today. And that’s a good thing.

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66 Responses

  1. cool hand luke says:

    ..Where’s the Aztec, or the Scion Xb, or the Nissan Cube….
    Surley, all three of these belong on some “uncool list” somewhere.

  2. Kurt says:

    The Aztec almost made my list, but it’s been dragged through the mud enough lately. Besides, the list was “uncoolest” cars, not ugliest.

    If it were the ugliest list, all three would have made it, hands down. What is up with the rear window in the Cube, anyway?

  3. inthebuff says:

    I was glad to see Renault on the list. Where’s the Citroen?

  4. Kurt says:

    Sometimes cars can be SO uncool that they become cool again. Example: the Citroen 2CV.

    Ugly as sin? No doubt, but the only car you can do a Samoan Piledriver in, as long as it’s got the canvas roof.

  5. A team raced a B210 Honeybee at LeMons. They won the Index of Effluency in ’08, which many consider to be the highest honor at LeMons. Unfortunately, the car rolled and got smushed up pretty bad. Luckily, they had another B210 waiting in the wings and they went on to race another day.

    Check it out:

    http://jalopnik.com/5119891/the-24-hours-of-lemons-arse-freeze+a+palooza-index-of-effluency-winner-b210-racing

    And the Team site:

    http://www.freewebs.com/b210racing/apps/photos/album.jsp?albumID=2874642

  6. Kurt says:

    Deb, the Pacer’s come full circle. It’s not quite cool, but it’s no longer uncool.

    Ditto the Gremlin.

  7. Ray Wood, Australia says:

    Unfortunately you did not widen your survey internationally or you would have learned about the Zeta, a sort of car made by the Lightburn company which previously made washing machines and shouldn’t have strayed! The motor was often regarded as inferior to the washing machine’s. To reverse one stopped the engine and fiddled it into reverse. Its only redeeming feature was that it was light enough for two people to haul to the side of the road to await the breakdown truck (or garbage truck!).

  8. Rowdyboy says:

    Where’s the AMC Gremlin?! One of the ugliest cars ever made

  9. Dave Baker says:

    I must be the most uncool man on earth because I owned four of these.

    I also owned a Fiat 131 which I am sure was only not listed because it broke down so much it technically doesn’t count as a car.

  10. Chad Rinko says:

    LOL, I knew the Ford Pinto would be on there LOL. I am surprised the AMC Pacer is not.

    Chad
    http://www.true-privacy.es.tc

  11. Derka says:

    Cant believe the Renault 5 is on this list. Do a bit of research it was a legendary rally car.

  12. Cliff says:

    I guess everyone has forgotten about the Edsel.

  13. beatski says:

    The Renault 5 doesnt belong on this list, for the simple fact that the Renault 5 turbo was badass.

  14. sparky says:

    The Nash Metropolitan is my DREAM car but then I’m female. A man would get pretty far with me if he owned one. When I have stupid money someday I will be plunking down cash for one.

  15. Ed says:

    0 to 60 in 5 minutes. WTF!?

  16. John says:

    My ugly award goes to the mid seventies Honda Civic, usually orange with rust, no power and no style. How about any Volvo? Even when they were popular most people hated the looks.

  17. DavidE says:

    Your list is OK except for the Metropolitan.

  18. Jeff C says:

    Oh, come on. Have you ever even driven a Geo Metro?!? The 3 cyl 5 speed one is AMAZING. That thing is like a go-kart with heat and a roof. I had one and took it off road on many occasions. One time, I got 6 people in it and took it through a field. If I could find one in like new condition, I would buy it in a heart beat. Too bad they are all rusted to oblivion now :/

  19. poppabk says:

    The renault 5 turbo was ranked as one of the top 10 sports cars of the 80’s.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_Car_International_Top_Sports_Cars

  20. winiacz says:

    Renault: there was ever a 41HP version in Europe. On the other hand, I bet you didn’t see the Renault 5 turbo. This was one on the coolest tiniest cars in the history of mankind. With turbocharged 1.4l (85 cu in) that produced 158HP. This coupled with weight of less than 850kg produces sooooo much fun!

  21. heyhay says:

    PT Cruiser not on this list? You are forgetting a car, author..

  22. macmvn says:

    My father had an AMC Sportabout wagon. It was canary yellow with fake wood side panels. I would walk on a date rather than pick her up in this car.

  23. yamaha2000us says:

    I drove a b-210 for a year. Second owner. Able to fill tank for $3. Put 25K on it and drove it into the ground. Good investment of $500.

  24. king_grimloc says:

    You forgot the Volvo 240 series. Good cars all around, but so square and awkward.

  25. Timbo says:

    Nash Metropolitans were and are so cool that some just don’t get it. They were often featured in Robert Crumb’s Zap comics, for example. Perfect cartoon cars. They are popular collectors items today. It was actually a “bugeye” Austin-Healey Sprite with a different body, and possibly softer suspension. Not a very masculine car, I admit. Perfect for guys who suffer no doubt about their own masculinity.

    The Datsun B-210 was very reliable, well-made, lasted forever, and got awesome gas mileage. They were less underpowered than other economy cars of the time. Ideal for people trying to survive the recession of the early 1970s.

  26. David says:

    I just CAN’T believe you forgot the VW thing. And what about the Dodge Valiant? The Corvair is cool now? Wait a minute…the mercury Capri.

  27. Ken Pasco says:

    My first car was a Nash Metro – Same color as in the pic. I’d KILL for one of those now

  28. Iskopeg says:

    I wish I could have Renault 5 then, I think that I would laid much more than did in my Yugo!

  29. Danilo says:

    Yugo is not bad car at all. Cheap, low fuel consumer (about 6 liters per 100 km), cheap spare particles. Small city car, easy to find parking.
    After all, for 3300$ very good car.
    And it’s production didn’t stop in 1999 during NATO rampage over Serbia. It finally stop 2 or 3 years ago. There was even some experiments about developing electric cars.
    Today there is producton of Zastava 10 in deal with Fiat.

  30. Kurt says:

    poppabk, beatski, winiacz and Derka: I’m well aware of the R5 Turbo (and later the R5 Turbo 2), but that’s a whole different animal from the R5. About the only common part between an R5 and an R5 Turbo was the body shell and the Renault logo.

    The R5 was front engine, front drive and made 55 horsepower. The R5 Turbo, which was built to campaign in the WRC, was a hand built race car with a mid mounted engine (behind the driver) and rear drive. The first models produced 158 horsepower, but the factory later boosted this to 207 horsepower for competition.

    R5s were also built for the enthusiast market, and they were universally praised for handling like a slot car.

    In fact, I should do a piece on the R5 Turbo – thanks for the suggestion!

  31. Ted says:

    The Ford Aspire as it aspired to be a car.

  32. peter pan says:

    I’m suprised there is no Fiat Multipla in the list, ugliest car ever imo…

  33. Kurt says:

    peter pan – I absolutely agree that the Fiat Multipla may be the ugliest car of all time, but the list isn’t for ugly cars. A top ten ugly car list would have to include the Multipla, the Pontiac Aztec, the Edsel, etc.

  34. John Keels says:

    I actually owned the R5 once. Yes, it was rather underpowered and the climate controls including the dealer add on Air Conditioner were comical. In fact, the heater and the AC had two separate fans. The AC fan sounded just like a hair dryer when you turned it on. The heater fan had a separate ROCKER switch on the dash that snapped forward toward the windscreen to activate the heater fan (yes both fans could operate at once although you wouldn’t want to).

    Handling was actually pretty good for something that leans like a galleon on the high seas. The seats were very comfortable though. The ignition switch was on the Left side of the steering column and turned toward you to activate the starter. At the same time there was a manual choke on the same side as the ignition switch. heheh. It was a fun car because it was so silly and ridiculous. LOL :) It rode like a little cadillac because the springs and shocks were so soft.

  35. Dodd says:

    Hey now, I OWN a Nash Metropolitan. It may have the turning radius of a cruise ship, but it’s fun to drive and gets GREAT gas mileage. I do get a few more gray haired folks asking about my car than I do ladies, but I DO get ladies asking about “that cute little car”! It’s got all the style of those classic tanks in only half the space.

  36. monobox says:

    The #1 car is a Chevette which I never thought was that bad a car, although not as space efficient as similar size FWD economy cars. As I recall the Chevette was based on an Opel design. In the early 1980’s the Chevette was available in the US with an Isuzu diesel engine which got excellent fuel economy and was probably more durable than any of the GM engines offered.

    The #2 car is the Subaru Justy which I thought was a fairly descent car for its price range. In 1990 I rented a base model 3-cylinder Justy and it drove fine. What other car this small has been available in the US market with all wheel drive?

    I also disagree with putting the Geo Metro on the list. A friend has a 1998 Metro and previously had a 1995 Metro which he only sold to upgrade to the 1998. We have carpooled on 1000 mile trips several times in his Metro and it drives well, gets excellent fuel economy, feels larger inside than you would expect for a car this size and the AC works fine.

    Missing from the list in addition to the Aztec is the AMC Gremlin, AMC Pacer, Chrysler K-car station wagon with fake wood siding, Honda Ridgeline and Cadillac Escalade pickup.

  37. Jim says:

    I guess the likes of the Trabant or Reliant Robin (aka “Plastic Pig” ) never made it to your side of the pond.

    The spawned lots of jokes…such as “How much does a service for a Trabant cost?….depends which Church you take it to”

    http://www.trabant.org.uk/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_German_jokes#The_Trabant_.28an_East_German_Car.29

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliant_Robin

  38. Kurt says:

    Jim, we didn’t have Trabis or Reliants over here. I’m playing with the idea of a “10 Most Significant Cars” piece, and I hate to say it but I’d have to include the Trabi. One of the forces behind the fall of the Berlin Wall was an essay penned by by an East German middle school student. In it, he compared the Trabi (which was utter shit) to a VW Golf (which wasn’t). If I remember correctly he even projected how long an average worker in the East needed to work to buy a Trabi, versus a worker in the West buying a VW. Those in the East worked longer (thus, paid more) for a car that was nowhere near the quality of those available in the West.

    Like the saying goes, how can you keep them down on the farm when they’ve seen the lights of the big city?

  39. A.J.D says:

    Nash Met – leave ‘em alone. Way more people than you think enjoy seeing Metropolitans. When you see enough offensive examples of what BoBo and Jr. can do in their spare time with late 70’s Camaros and granny’s Volare at “Classic” car shows, it’s pretty refreshing to see a shiny Met.

    Chevette – everyone knows someone who shoehorned a V8 in one. They aren’t that useless.

    Le Car – sucky vehicle in it’s basic form, but apparently the author never heard of the Renault 5 Turbo….

  40. Kurt says:

    A.J.D.

    I’m thinking about updating the list and removing the Nash. Between readers feedback and the fact that Paul Newman and Elvis both owned ‘em, I’m just about ready to concede on this one.

    I’m well aware of the R5 Turbo (and later the R5 Turbo 2), but that’s a whole different animal from the R5. About the only common part between an R5 and an R5 Turbo was the body shell and the Renault logo.

    The R5 was front engine, front drive and made 55 horsepower. The R5 Turbo, which was built to campaign in the WRC, was a hand built race car with a mid mounted engine (behind the driver) and rear drive. The first models produced 158 horsepower, but the factory later boosted this to 207 horsepower for competition.

    R5s were also built for the enthusiast market, and they were universally praised for handling like a slot car. I promise I’ll do a feature on them in the near future.

  41. halloranedward says:

    My first car was the amc “spirit” , for those who don’t know, that was the car that just wasn’t cool enough to bear the proud name “gremlin”
    As far as the nash metro at least it wasn’t one of the “big two” monopoly ( can’t we all stop pretending that cheveys aren’t gm?)
    And as suckfull as the last of the amcs were at least they were a last ditch effort to avoid the situation that we have now.
    Every ” American” car on the road looks and drives just like there foriegn competetors . We should all be Very ashamed to call these cra**y little stupid looking tiny little miniture wind-up novelty cars American.

  42. Stella says:

    I LOVE the Nash Metro! Someday I would love to own a yellow and white convertible one! But, then again I am female and if guy had one I would be interested

    • Kurt says:

      Stella, I’ll concede that I may be wrong on the Metro. Leno has one, Paul Newman had one and Elvis had one; it’s kind of hard to call all three of them uncool.

  43. Del Thatcher says:

    I can only wish that I had my 1960 Metropolitan back! I had the same color as pictured above. I loved the continental kit and the ‘clothes hamper’ trunk. What a beauty to own and drive. I paid $300 for it and drove it my entire senior year of college. Better than 50 miles per galloon. Even at 30 cents a gallon that was bargain! Should never have let it get away. Everybody at school laughed but they all wanted to drive it!

  44. vernon marsh says:

    Yeah they’re all pretty bad but you would be really cool if you had a cherry Metropolitan today.

  45. Shahroz says:

    lool the aztec shouldve been number 1 !!!!!

    the chevette looks so sad, that im getting sad looking at it

  46. Scott says:

    OH NO! And I had just mentioned ( on your UGLY list ) how happy I was that the Nash Metro wasn’t on there. Go visit one of the Nash Metropolitan websites. There are some beautiful restoration photos on many of them. The one I remember is the police cruiser w/oversized “cherry” light on top. The one I saw 3 decades ago…..fully restored white/yellow with the baby moon hubcaps…….at a jazz festival. Are you implying jazz is “uncool”?

  47. Kurt says:

    Scott, jazz is cool (but blues is cooler)…

    I’ll admit to being wrong on the Nash Metropolitan. I’ll never have a thing for them myself, but I understand why other people do. Besides, Elvis thought they were hip, and so did Paul Newman. That says a lot.

  48. LazyLemming says:

    Aww come on, the Chevette wasn’t that bad. I had one. How could you not love a car you could fix with duct tape, a flathead screw driver and a mallet? And spare parts were everywhere! Even your lawn mower could provide them.

  49. Kurt says:

    I’ll give you this, LazyLemming – a Chevette beat walking, especially in bad weather.

  50. Al says:

    The R5 (LeCar) was a legendary automobile which, when it appeared in 1972, brought, worldwide, new standards to the subcompact auto market. A car buit and sold in excess of 5.2 million units cannot be uncool. An operating and reasonably maintained LeCar sells for $US 2000 to 3500 on Ebay nowadays. You have very strange standards.

  51. lance says:

    I have to say the Subaru Justy RS I owned years ago was a cool 4X4 car. It was a little bit rally and a little bit ragged.

  52. Kurt says:

    Al, the Citroen 2CV and it’s variants sold about 9,000,000 units during their 42 year production run, but I wouldn’t call that car cool either.

    And thanks, I pride myself on having strange standards. Someone has to lust after Cosworth Vegas…

  53. Buds Auto Importer says:

    what about :
    Pacer, Gremlin, Lada? now those were fugly vehicles?!?

  54. germanshepherd says:

    if you ever would have get the German coupe version of the Chevette you never would have called it uncool. With a few slight suspension modifications the 105/115hp Rally/GTE version gave Porsches a hard time on bended streets

  55. Kurt says:

    Germanshepherd, you’re probably correct. Why do you keep all the good stuff on your side of the pond?

  56. germanshepherd says:

    Kurt, we didn’t if you count Asia and Australia not to be on our side of the pond. For the US blame GM.

    To give a clue how popular this “uncool” car was in other regions of the world follow the posted links. Maybe this will revert the judgement
    (Sorry for x-ing the links, but the post wouldn’t work otherwise)

    hxxp://www.hotgemini.com/cgi-bin/gallery3.cgi
    hxxp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opel_Kadett
    hxxp://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opel_Kadett_C
    hxxp://kadettc.de/wiki/index.php?title=Hauptseite
    hxxp://www.kraus-motorsport.de/

  57. Kurt says:

    Vielen Dank, germanshepherd!

    The Opel Kadett C Fastback was sold in the United States as the Isuzu I-Mark. There were even diesel variants offered, but the car never sold particularly well.

    I’ll meet you halfway – the Opel Kadett is cool, but I still can’t give a thumbs up to the Chevy Chevette.

  58. ASH says:

    How come the Renault 5 is listed here” this car shouldnt be here” the renault 5 gt was one of the coolest car at the time it came out”’
    i believe the guys doing these rating of uncoolest car , never even saw one renault 5gt in real”’

  59. U S M C says:

    I OWNED A PINTO IT WAS GREAT ON GAS RAN LIKE A CHARM I MISS IT!! A FRIEND HAD A METRO IT WAS PRETTY COOL BACK IN THE DAY 1960s

  60. Kurt Ernst says:

    Ash, you’ve got me. I’m not familiar with the R5 GT, but I am familiar with the base R5, or the Renault “Le Car” as it was called here. I’m also familiar with the R5 Turbo and Turbo 2, which definitely DO NOT make any “uncoolest cars” list. In fact, if I ever make a “10 Coolest Cars” list, the R5 Turbo will probably be on it.

  61. frenchguy says:

    renault 5 and 2ch are cool cars, considered as classics here in france.
    you definatly get women in a pimpin 2ch !!

  62. frenchguy says:

    renault 5 and 2ch are cool cars, considered as classics here in france.
    you definatly get women in a pimpin 2ch !! we’re starting to see american cars like compact chevrolets or gasoholique mustangs even those ugly pt cruizers. damn shame american cars have become so cheap. wouldn’t trade my mercedes AMG for any of them !

  63. Todd says:

    I don’t agree with the slam on the Suzuki X90… I boutght a used 4×4 X90 for my wife and it’s great! It gets around really well in the PA winters. We’ve been parked at stores or gas stations and have had many people approach us to find out what the car was. When they find out it is 4wheel drive they are really amazed. Many people thought it was a new model as there aren’t many left on the road. So if you pride yourself on driving a Toyota Camry, Chevy Malibu or some other car that there are millions of on the road, good for you, don’t knock the people that appreciate a rare car.

  64. jim brampton says:

    X90 X90 X90

    I am on my second X90 and have more interest from females than any other boring car.The car gets you noticed,you have to be cool enough to drive the car. If you are boring it is not a great car.

    Jim