Author Topic: The worst car you ever owned  (Read 2705 times)

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Offline Chris_

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The worst car you ever owned
« on: September 11, 2012, 01:57:13 PM »
The guys at Car Talk are taking up a collection of stories on the worst car ownership experience.  Tom Bodett (the Motel 6 guy) shared this story about his 1974 Fiat. :lmao:

Quote
The front-end shimmy that started at 45 mph went away at 55. Forty-five was too slow for the cars on our tail.  Fifty-five was too fast for the cornering capabilities of the circa 1974-probably-model-124-Fiat. Rack and pinion would better describe the sounds it made on sharp curves than the actual front-end design. The feel of it on the road was not unlike the handling of a warehouse pallet being dragged behind a cannery forklift, but not as safe.

For the most part the heater kept frost from forming on the inside of the windshield, but nowhere else. After hitting a pavement break in Cooper Landing the shimmy went away, and the gas gauge stopped working. Still, we made it all the way on one tank. Great mileage potential, but it never ran long enough in any given stretch after that to really know.

The first in a long litany of failed components was the starter motor. I still did all of my own machinating in those days and changing a starter was as routine as swapping out snow tires -- two or three bolts, a couple wires, presto chango, off we go.

I ordered the part, which arrived six weeks later after being flown in from Torino by carrier goose, I suppose. I wiggled underneath the front of the car -- tight but was able to remove the old starter without too much drama. Then the show began. I had the starter off, but I could not get it out of the engine compartment where, I discovered while juggling the thing with frozen fingers from one possibility to the next, there was no starter-sized hole to push it through. 

This was a Sunday repair job and I was by-god going to get it done on Sunday, so I removed the right-front wheel and the fender and finished the job. I was told later by a mechanic who seemed to know that Fiat assembles their engines complete and then puts them into the car, and that to remove the starter you have to loosen the engine mounts and the exhaust manifold, and rock it over on its side. That might have been easier than the way I did it, but not much.
Fiat is a four-letter word

My worst vehicle was a 1981 Chevrolet pickup.  It wouldn't go in a straight line no matter what you did with the steering wheel and every single panel had a dent on it.
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Offline zeitgeist

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 03:37:50 PM »
The guys at Car Talk are taking up a collection of stories on the worst car ownership experience.  Tom Bodett (the Motel 6 guy) shared this story about his 1974 Fiat. :lmao:
Fiat is a four-letter word

My worst vehicle was a 1981 Chevrolet pickup.  It wouldn't go in a straight line no matter what you did with the steering wheel and every single panel had a dent on it.

I had a 1976 Volare.  The slant six had been dumbed down and smogged up to such a degree that it was difficult to pass a lawnmower when going up hill.  The color was Parisian Blue (this probably should have been my first clue of things to come). It was a stripper with vinyl bench seats and rubber floor mat, heater, defroster and four fifty five air conditioning.  My first ever brand new car.  It was a 'dealer special' they were selling (unloading) a truck load of them at dealer cost.  Yeah right, although it was cheap around three grand with the super duper dealer sale pricing.  It was also the first car I ever financed. 

One day shortly after I bought it a long package showed up with a new dip stick. I guess that was recall one.  Next up was a battery tray liner to prevent battery acid from erroding the brake line.  After that it was a recall to replace the front fenders. The car spent more time at the garage than on the road. 

It is number 28 on the all time worst car list. 

Quote
28. 1976 Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare: At Chrysler's nadir, it built these strictly conventional compact cars that are nonetheless terribly built and rust-prone. Subject to a long series of recalls.  http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/features/100-worst-cars-of-all-time.html

I traded it for a Buick.  And I don't even want to begin to relive that nightmare.  :hammer:

 
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Offline CG6468

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2012, 03:57:13 PM »
1978 Chevy Impala station wagon. It wins this contest hands down. My wife even took it to the dealer and threatened to drive into Lake Michigan if they didn't fix it.

It had the 307 V-8 in it. If the temp was 80 or above it would not start. If the temp was below 40 it would not start. The headliner fell off. I could go on and on....
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Offline JohnnyReb

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2012, 03:58:48 PM »
As a teenager, I worked with a large truck mechanic that occasionally, when work was slack, would take on a car repair. One Saturday a man came in driving a 1958 FORD Thunderbird. He wanted a new starter put on it. The old truck mechanic said no to the job. Some other teenagers hanging around there thought they wanted to tackle the job and make a few extra dollars. I let them talk me into being part of that mistake. One on the floor jack, one with the jack stands, me getting the tools together and we had the starter off in just a few minutes. No where you slid the starter nor however you twisted it, it would not come by the frame rails. We had to take the motor part way out to replace the starter(like the Fiat). We finally finished the job and got paid but it was worth a whole lot more than we had agreed to do it for.

The old truck mechanic laughed his ass off at us. He had dealt with this before and tried to warn us that we didn't want to do this. :lmao: He just didn't bother to tell us in detail why we didn't want to tackle it...the cantankerous old bastard... :lmao:
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Offline Undies

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 03:59:42 PM »
1n 1977 I bought a silver 1968 Lincoln Continental Coupe.  I loved that car.  It was like sitting in your leather living room.  But it had problems.  It had more problems than I had money.

In 1983 I bought a navy blue 1983 Lincoln Town Car.  I loved that car too.  The interior wasn't as plush as the '68, but it had many more bells and chimes.  Unfortunately, it had problems too.  The A/C burned out at 49,000 miles.  Ford covered the A/C but wanted to charge me $700.00 to replace the frozen-up burned-out clutch.  I balked.  I called Detroit.  Ford fixed it.  Then....THEN....I had to replace the engine before 100,000 miles.  No warranty.  

Thank the Lord I had more money by 1983.   :loser:

Offline Eupher

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2012, 04:12:08 PM »
Mine was a 1978 Chevy Nova with a 305 and a 4-speed. The engine was okay, but all that smog bullshit on the engine made it suck gas like a 455 Olds mill.

Or maybe it was the tranny that kept the small V-8 running at 3,000 RPM at 70 mph.

The absolute worst part was the body. The paint looked like it had been put on with a paint brush and started flaking off in huge chunks about 3 months after I bought the damned thing new.

When I sold it after it had been totaled (a friend of mine was driving and a truck ran over the right rear quarter panel), some guy bought it from me and rebuilt it. He said he could have taken a feather duster and broken the damned car apart as the rust had just about obliterated the internal body parts.  :lmao:
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Offline Chris_

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2012, 04:15:24 PM »
I had a friend that used to drive nothing but Novas.  In the late 1980's, they were dirt cheap and easy to work on. 
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Offline Wineslob

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2012, 04:23:00 PM »
1977 Ford station wagon. I can't remember the model (LTD?). My name for it was the "Green Turtle". This thing had a 351 V8 in it, yet was so smogged out a Volkswagen would stomp it. I would turn the air cleaner cover upside down so you could hear the carb "moan" under full throttle. At the same time I'd yell (with friends in the car) "The sound of power!!!!!!!!!" 


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Offline JohnnyReb

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2012, 04:33:02 PM »
1968 VW....drive it 40 miles to work scraping frost off the inside of the windshield. By the time I got to work, the steel caps in my work shoes (left foot only) was so hot I had to walk funny to keep from burning my toes....but my ass was still cold.
It had a 24,000 mile warranty...only car I ever took care of and I let the dealer do all the servicing... I was coming home from work and the motor blew up at 24,300.
I rebuilt the motor and sold it.

The VW got 32 mpg to work and back....in 1984, I bought a used '82 Oldsmobile 98 diesel with everything you can imagine on it and it got 32 mpg. That was 4 mpg better than the diesel '78 Olds Cutlass I bought new that had less room and fewer options.
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Offline IassaFTots

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2012, 08:54:51 PM »
1982 Chevette.  Do I need to say anything else????
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Offline Chris_

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2012, 08:55:24 PM »
1982 Chevette.  Do I need to say anything else????
You actually owned one of those?  You're the first person I know who's admitted it.
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Offline Eupher

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2012, 09:23:02 PM »
1982 Chevette.  Do I need to say anything else????

Where's your "damn, I'm sheepishly embarrassed" smiley?
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Offline IassaFTots

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2012, 09:28:57 PM »
Where's your "damn, I'm sheepishly embarrassed" smiley?

 :sad1:

Well, does it make it worse or better if I say that I really wanted the Fiero, but my Grandad made me get the Chevette?
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Offline Chris_

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2012, 09:31:13 PM »
You might count yourself lucky... those early Fieros had a bad habit of catching fire.
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Offline franksolich

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2012, 09:31:49 PM »
You actually owned one of those?  You're the first person I know who's admitted it.

Yep, me too, 1982.  White.  Four doors.

A very long time ago now, and I can't remember how I eventually disposed of it.

I don't remember any particular problems with it, and I had it a long time.  Bought used, about five years old at the time, nearly 100,000 miles on it by then.  

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Offline J P Sousa

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2012, 09:39:45 PM »
Had a 1971 Fiat that would never start in even the slightest fog. It had many other problems too numerous to mention.

Also had a used Buick. One cold fall morning after starting the car went back inside to finish breakfast. I looked out the window to see a bright red light coming from under the car. Back in the early seventies it cost over $500 to replace a catalytic converter. When I saw leaves all around the car I counted myself lucky that the car and house did not catch fire.  



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Offline Chris_

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2012, 09:42:07 PM »
Oh my.

My MG B is the opposite...when it's damp outside, stuff that usually lies dormant starts to work.  I did get the tachometer to work today by unplugging and re-connecting the electrical cable.  It was awfully dusty and dirty under there.  I'll have to take a closer look this weekend because I'd like a tach that actually works.

My horn hasn't worked since I replaced the ignition switch.  I would REALLY like to have a horn that works when I need it to.
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Offline J P Sousa

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2012, 09:54:45 PM »
A high school friend restored a 1966 Marlin, 1968 AMX, 1972 Javelin AMX and I think is trying to sell them on ebay last I heard.


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Offline obumazombie

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2012, 11:15:23 PM »
Renault Station wagon. 1992 vintage.
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Offline Eupher

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2012, 09:03:39 AM »
Had a 1971 Fiat that would never start in even the slightest fog. It had many other problems too numerous to mention.

Also had a used Buick. One cold fall morning after starting the car went back inside to finish breakfast. I looked out the window to see a bright red light coming from under the car. Back in the early seventies it cost over $500 to replace a catalytic converter. When I saw leaves all around the car I counted myself lucky that the car and house did not catch fire.  


Hmmmm. If I remember right, U.S. cars with cat convertors started to be manufactured in 1975.
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Offline CG6468

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2012, 09:31:03 AM »
1982 Chevette.  Do I need to say anything else????

1976 Chevette.
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Offline Wineslob

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2012, 09:42:06 AM »
“The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2012, 12:50:15 PM »
Hmmmm. If I remember right, U.S. cars with cat convertors started to be manufactured in 1975.
You are correct it was the mid eighties. That damn fish oil doesn't help at all......... :argh:

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Offline BigTex

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2012, 01:06:44 PM »
1994 GMC Sonoma

It was heavily used when I got it and I drove that thing into the ground.
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Offline Zeus

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Re: The worst car you ever owned
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2012, 01:39:18 PM »
1988 Hyundai.
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