We’ve all been there. A night that went just a bit too long, a bit too much to drink, that person making eyes at you across the bar. And the next morning, as your head pounds and your stomach churns, you notice that the hot body you were making it with is a little more “mutant seamonster” than you remember he/she to be. These cars are the automotive equivalent of that “uh-oh” moment. Cars so ugly their makers must have surely hung their heads in shame. If you have a strong stomach, read on.
15. VW Thing
Based on the reliable, efficient Type 1 (Beetle) platform, the Thing was by any account an incredibly practical little car. It should be; it was loosely based on the capable WWII-era Kübelwagen, which served as the Wehrmacht’s jeep and bounced all over Europe. Capable doesn’t mean beautiful, and the Thing was so ugly it might as well have been a corrugated tin shed on wheels. At least it had a top so you could hide yourself somewhat if you drove by someone you knew.
14. Citroën 2CV
The Citroën 2CV was constructed to a rigorous performance criteria: get a farmer across a bumpy field without breaking a basket of eggs. To be honest, that’s about as far as the “performance” end of things went. In addition to looking like a metal snail, it was possibly as slow as one, starting out with a 9-HP two-cylinder. Minimalist: oui. Beautiful: non.
13. Mercedes Benz G-class
You can’t argue with its capabilities, but the Geländewagen won’t win any beauty contests. Like a lot of Teutonic heavy metal, it was designed to do a job and do it well. Little attention was paid to the aesthetics, and so the G-wagen is a stout, dour fraulein. Just because it’s become a fashion statement of late doesn’t mean it’s pretty … it’s just a very large, boxy display of wealth.
12. Chevrolet Chevette
The Chevette has no redeeming qualities, except for maybe that so few of these atrocious little cars are still around. The build quality was terrible. In the middle of the night, if you listened closely, you could hear them rust. And worst of all, it looked more like some kind of corrective shoe than a car. Ugly with a capital “U.”
11. Ford Mustang II
This was the car that almost killed the very notion of fun-to-drive cars by disemboweling the storied Mustang name and draping its carcass on a Ford Pinto platform. In addition to that heinous offense, it is possibly the ugliest car to come out of the terrible decade known as the ’70s. With dumpy proportions and fussy details, it made a mockery of everything the Mustang name stood for. Thankfully Ford came to their senses and greenlighted the much cleaner looking Fox-body, introduced in 1979.
10. Pontiac Aztek
What can we say that hasn’t already been said? The Aztek looked like a Fisher Price Cozy Coupe from hell, with enough plastic cladding that with people inside it qualified as a full-blown Tupperware party. It was supposed to remind buyers of an SUV while retaining the utilitarian qualities of a minivan, but mostly it just bummed people out. As one of the most hated vehicles of all time, it clearly belongs on this list.
9. AMC Pacer
Despite a turn as a geeky-cool retro ride in Wayne’s World, which garnered some affection for the misshapen coupe, for most people the Pacer is simply a very ugly car. From the asymmetrical doors to the big-forehead (think Neanderthal) profile of the greenhouse, it’s simply not a looker. Is it any wonder that AMC went under after crafting such a turd?
8. Chevrolet Vega
On paper, the Vega should have been a knockout. And probably even the promotional photos before it was released made it seem like an attractive little car. Here’s the problem: in the flesh it looked like someone left a Camaro in the dryer too long, and then ironed it with ugly. But if the strange looks didn’t turn you off, how about the incredibly poor reliability? Like the Chevette, perhaps its greatest asset is that it was such a crappy car that they’ve almost all gone to the crusher, sparing your eyes the pain of seeing one.
7. Ford Pinto
If you thought the Mustang II above was bad, buddy, have we got a message for you: the Pinto it was based on was even worse. It didn’t even try to look sporty. Instead, it was a squashed, insect-like little thing. Its spindly tires and beady little headlights enhanced the cockroach theme. Unlike the famously hardy cockroach, however, minor accidents could cause a major conflagration, which is probably why there are still cockroaches but the Pinto is now extinct.
6. Reliant Regal
Just like the similar and more familiar Reliant Robin, the Regal is notable for having just 3 wheels. And that’s about it. It’s slow, unsafe, and didn’t sell very well. One of the reasons, I gather, was that it was so heinously ugly that buying one was like signing your libido’s death warrant. It’s like the official vehicle of social and sexual ostracization. Until we get evidence of the existence of Reliant Regal owner groupies, then we’ll go with our gut and tell ya that it’s one of the ugliest British cars ever.
5. PT Cruiser
The PT Cruiser both created and killed the retro-car movement at the same time, because despite it’s blinding popularity, people must have been blind to buy one. Insipid and annoying, it also proved that Chrysler’s emphasis on its stupid styling distracted them from making decent cars. Thus, we have the Sebring, and the PT Cruiser still stalks the earth, ugly to the last.
4. Fiat Multipla
Sigh. The Italians, makers of the most beautiful cars in the world, must occasionally have bad days too. And one of the worst days in the history of that land was when the styling for the Multipla was approved. Like the VW Thing, we can’t deny it was a useful vehicle. It just came wrapped in sheetmetal that resembled nothing less than a tumor growing on the face of some poor unwitting car. The only chemotherapy we know of is rust, and so hopefully one day they’ll all crumble away to red dust.
3. AMC Gremlin
You probably saw this one coming after we took on the Pacer. That car had the round version of “ugly” down pat, so we’ll let the Gremlin corner the market on “angular ugliness.” That’s because in reality, the Gremlin was simply an AMC Hornet rudely and awkwardly hacked in two, creating a mutant hatchback. Famously, it was also introduced on April Fool’s Day, which didn’t help things any. Unsurprisingly, creating a Levi’s edition slathered with denim upholstery wasn’t effective, because honestly, nothing could cover up the ugly on this little monster.
Ah, the Yugo. The butt of so many jokes. The real joke is that it was as bad as everyone claimed. Are you surprised that the quality control of communist Yugoslavia wasn’t up to par? Actually, if you couldn’t tell that from the way it looked (which was like a 6 year-old drew it with crayon on the wall), you deserved the epic unreliability.
1. Aston Martin Lagonda
From the world of making origami cars while high on PCP comes the Aston Martin Lagonda. Intended to be a world-beating supersedan, the Lagonda fell flat on its face. In fact, it proved attractive only to Arab royalty with lots of oil money burning a hole in their pockets, and we almost think it was only because it was so ugly they couldn’t believe it was real and had to see for themselves. For everyone else, the Lagonda was simply a very bad mistake. There have been a lot of ugly cars built, but very few come close the the Lagonda in terms of being so off the mark.