Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Reasons For the Auto Meltdown

Time.com has a list of the 50 worst cars of all time. Many from companies who have already failed or, at this point, been bought by other companies that are about to fail. What is best is the snappy prose, however, delivering such lines as:

This is the car that gave Communism a bad name. Powered by a two-stroke pollution generator that maxed out at an ear-splitting 18 hp, the Trabant was a hollow lie of a car constructed of recycled worthlessness

Interestingly, in a car where "carpet" was listed as a standard feature, the Yugo had a rear-window defroster — reportedly to keep your hands warm while you pushed it.

The most ineffective bit of French engineering since the Maginot Line, the Renault Dauphine was originally to be named the Corvette, tres ironie. It was, in fact, a rickety, paper-thin scandal of a car that, if you stood beside it, you could actually hear rusting. Its most salient feature was its slowness, a rate of acceleration you could measure with a calendar. It took the drivers at Road and Track 32 seconds to reach 60 mph, which would put the Dauphine at a severe disadvantage in any drag race involving farm equipment.

A 3,200-lb. motorcycle with training wheels, a V8 engine and enough copper tubing to provide every hillbilly in the Ozarks with a still

A vehicle that promised to revolutionize drowning, the Amphicar was the peacetime descendant of the Nazi Schwimmwagen (say it out loud — it's fun!). … Its flotation was entirely dependent on whether the bilge pump could keep up with the leakage. If not, the Amphicar became the world's most aerodynamic anchor
I couldn't stop laughing. A spectacular examination of very bad ideas.

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