Friday, December 30, 2011

An Ugly Procession of Cars for an Ugly Man in an Ugly Country

Ford boasts that its Lincoln luxury division makes cars for presidents. But in North Korea it's the car for dictators. Three mid-1970s Lincolns made up Kim Jong-il's funeral parade.
Nobody knows how the cars made it into the country but it's probable that they were abducted at gunpoint from a dealership in the middle of the night and brought to the Stalinist state (somehow) by submarine.

Also check out a North Korean-built car here:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bringing Back the Dart

Chrysler has released this photo as a teaser to what the new Dodge Dart will look like. Making good on their marriage to Fiat it's based on an Alpha Romeo and will be built in Illinois.

But what's with calling it, 'Dart?' Is bringing back that nameplate such a good idea?

A 1970s Dodge Dart: The car Al Bundy drove in, 'Married With Children.'

Friday, November 25, 2011

J-Lo is in Bed with Ugly Cars

Jennifer Lopez has been drafted in the Fiat invasion of America. So far it's not working. They hoped to sell 50,000 cars a year. Since March they've only found buyers for 16,000. It's because the Fiat 500 is ugly.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Wagon Queen Family Truckster was created for the 1983 movie, 'National Lampoon's Vacation.' Based on a Ford LTD wagon it certainly was ugly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Not Easy!

Getting out of a BMW Isseta bubble car.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Studebakers Weren't That Ugly...

Until the company folded in 1967 Studebakers, built in Hamilton, Ontario, were often advertised as, ‘Canada’s Own Car.’

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rise of the Econo-Mustang!

In 1974 the dream of owning a big, fast muscle car seemed to be over when Ford came out with this. The new Mustang was based on the awful Pinto economy car. Things with Mustang have slowly gotten better since then. 1974 was a sad year for muscle car fans.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Japanese cars weren't all that pretty in the 1970s.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ugly Concept Cars

Concept cars are a way that automotive companies test new technologies and gage public reaction to new models. There have been some pretty weird designs that have never been adopted. Check out some of these funny concept cars...

The Batmobile

The racy Batmobile from the 1960's TV show, 'Batman,' started off life as a concept car. The Lincoln Futura was hand built in Italy for auto shows in 1955. People loved the design when it was shown but the fins and canopy remind us today that 1950's automotive stylists were heavily influenced by a Buck Rogers-like thing for rockets and jets.

Ford Nucleon

A nuclear powered car sounded like a good idea at the time. Thankfully, Ford never built it. In 1958 they showed off a scale model of what a nuclear powered car might look like. They hadn't attained the technology yet to shrink a reactor and put it in the trunk...

It's a bird! It's a plane? It's a...Flying Car?

People stuck in rush hour traffic have always dreamt of the futuristic day when they could press a button and wings would emerge from their auto and they would be airborne. While some flying cars have been built, most have been prototypes...

The Taylor Aerocar
Fender Benders in the Sky...

A 1973 AVE Mizar proved that the Ford Pinto was just as
 dangerous in the air as it was on the ground.

1965 Wagner Aerocar
And the Audi Calamaro proves that designers still want their cars to take to the sky.
2005 Mercedes-Benz Bionic

The Bionic is probably the first car to be inspired by a fish. And not even a particularly sleek fish, mind you: The boxfish...

1999 Honda Fuya-Jo

With a name that means, 'sleepless city,' the Fuya-Jo was a concept to ferry ravers around from one dance club to another. It even had a steering wheel that resembled a turntable. If the Mercedes Bionic was influenced by a fish, I think this car was inspired by a 1980's movie robot...

2005 Peugot Moovie

An electric car, this is one design that you may eventually see more and more of as city cars gain in popularity. It may be ugly but it's easy to park and can turn on a dime AND has zero emissions...

We cannot doubt that the future will bring more and more ugly car prototypes. But these eyesores are a necessary evil as auto makers hammer out the bugs to bring us cars that are more aesthetically appealing...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Where Ford Mustangs Go To Die

A resting place for Ford Mustangs from the 1980s.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tiny Pick Up Truck

Made in the early 80's, it's called a Dodge Rampage.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rust Buckets of the 1980s

Chrysler bought American Motors Corporation, the makers of Jeep, in 1987. Before the takeover, a lot of the cars that Americas fourth automaker was building were really Renaults. But before that they came up with their own cars...

AMC had been very innovative in their designs. I think the reason many American cars of the 1980's were so boxy and utilitarian looking was because unique looks initially sold well but, then when the autos got older, odd design features became a detractor.

The Picture above is of an AMC Pacer. When it first showed up it was so unique looking that everybody wanted one. Then they became rust buckets.

Many likened the Pacer to a rolling greenhouse because sitting inside of one was like being in a glass dome. You did not want to leave a baby or a pet in one on a hot day!

While many of these were made in the darker automotive time called the 1970's, anyone from the 1980's is familiar with them. They may have been ugly but, certainly, were built to last!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

1979-1983 American Motors Corporation Spirit

I saw this car in Kitchener, Ontario:

Many of you are probably more familiar with the AMC Gremlin or the Pacer, rather than the Spirit. Well, this is the car that America's 4th automaker built to replace the Gremlin. And it's a lot sleeker, too.

The Spirit came with a 4, 6, or even an 8-cylinder engine. What was weird was that AMC bought the 4-cylinder power plants from its competitors, GM and Volkswagen. The 8-cylinder AMX version of this model is the most desirable today. There was, however, an 'Eagle' version of this car which had all-wheel-drive. AMC, with Jeep as its most important division, was the leader in 4-wheel-drive.

This car was also unique because the Spirit was built in a total of three different countries: The United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Sadly, as AMC's market share began to dwindle with the popularity of Japanese imports, they began to start selling French-designed Renaults. This car would end up being replaced by the Renault Encore.

Chrysler purchased AMC in 1987 because they wanted the crown jewel: The Jeep division.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

5 Cars You Won't See in America

#1: Lada Niva

A Russian cheap jeep. With only minor aesthetic differences since its debut in 1977, this old Soviet design has remained relatively unchanged. This go anywhere 4-cylinder has a lot of fans around the world (including Canada and South America) but, it has never been sold in the U.S.


#2: The Pyeonghwa Hwiparam

North Korea builds cars!?!

North Korean auto advertising for a population
that can't afford any cars.

The rogue communist state builds a few thousand automobiles a year. The models are knock-offs of old European and Chinese designs. The only country that they export to is Vietnam. So if you live in Hanoi you may find yourself the unlucky owner of one of these autos.

In a past life this North Korean car
was a Fiat

#3 Tata Nano

Tata Motors is India's largest car company and the owners of Jaguar and Land Rover. The Tata Nano, a microcar, is the least expensive production car in the world. They would like to import them to the United States soon, however. The question is will Americans use them as vehicles or as speed bumps for SUV's?

#4: Ford Falcon

Yes, that's right: The Ford Falcon This iconic American nameplate belongs to a car model you will probably never see stateside. That's because it's Australian. When Ford exported the Falcon to Australia things took off. With some minor modifications for the harsher environment, Falcons became the most popular automobile Down Under. And the Falcon name lives on!

#5: Skoda Roomster

The little Czech company that survived communism to become part of the Volkswagen group, still builds its own models today. The Roomster is one of them. It's a multi-purpose vehicle and, despite some bizarre styling due to the large passenger side windows, has become very successful. Released in 2006 and, aside from the fact that Skoda sells cars in almost every market, don't expect to see a Roomster on American roads anytime soon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

1989-1991 Dodge Daytona. (Also sold as the Chrysler Daytona).

I saw this car in Port Credit, Ontario.

In the 1990's it seemed like Chrysler had built these things for forty years because there were so many of them around. And they forced them on consumers with rebate after rebate. Today, though, it is a pretty unique looking car.

An interesting story about these cars is that when Chrysler was building them, they bought Lamborghini. Sports car purists will shudder: There was a plan to put a Lambo engine in a Daytona and sell it to the public! This Lambo-Dodge was to be called the, 'Decepzione.' Luckily the project was abandoned due to the mechanical difficulties incurred when you try to put a Lamborghini engine into a Dodge Daytona.

The last Daytona rolled of the lines in 1993 and they had been built for almost ten years with only minor changes. While a mundane sports car in its era, today it is an icon representing the automotive industry of the 1980's and 90's.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not So Ugly Vintage Chrysler Imperial

I saw this car in Parkdale, Toronto...

And it is one BIG car!

By today's standards it is huge. In the 1960's it was already a top-of-the-line large car. But imagine driving this thing around a metropolitan city.

Although most people will see this as a CHRYSLER Imperial, Imperial was its own brand between 1955 and 1975. This was to compete with the more popular Cadillacs and Lincolns. Before '55 and after '75, the Chrysler name was used infront of Imperial to denote this flagship of all things Mopar.

While a nice looking car, for every 10 Cadillacs sold in the 1960's, only 1 Imperial found a home. The biggest reason why is because these cars were seen as an overpriced, oversized Dodge, while clever marketing on GM's part made Cadillac stand out way ahead of Chevrolet.

Today this is certainly a rare classic!