Question of the Week: What car disappointed you the most?


1971 Mercury Capri, I married into this car it was my wife’s car before we were married and we have survived 45 years of marriage in spite of this car at the beginning. On honeymoon, lost shifter linkage , front fan pulley disinegrated, Clutch wear took out flywheel, It was advertised as A Sexy European", who would put an English Ford Cortina driveline in a German body and expect it to work?. We had to take it to Canada to find a mechanic who actually knew this drivetrain.


We actually re-arranged the letters on the hood to spell “CRAPI” , sold it during the oil embargo and had people bidding against each other for it , due to “great fuel economy”


I Had a 1975 Volks Scirroco 1st year it came out Sold my 1968 Shelby to commute to college in a more economical way Great looking little car that got 35 MPG (when it ran) but…Had clutch and speedometer issues from the get go … never could tell how fast I was going (2 speed tickets later) I pulled into a Volkswagon dealer in Englewood NJ one afternoon w my then girlfriend who lived near there and acted like I was going to purchase a new 1977 VW - dealer then offered me mucho trade in value /so I sold car right then and there and walked to girlfriends… Two weeks later i saw it broken down on the GW Bridge sad but LOL what a piece of s…t


BMW 3.0 CS. Not "the most ", but definitely and surprisingly disappointed.

I owned a 2800CS for more than 10 years and loved every minute of owning it (and more so, looking at it) before body cancer took her out of commission. Years later, I see a pretty and clean Malaga colored 3.0CS for sale, set up time to drive it, and was totally disappointed with the experience. Felt sloppy, rattled, noisey, and I mostly didn’t like the big wheel and driving position! I’m guessing it is probably due to unreal expectations after driving modern Beemers. I did remember the right-hand blinker stalk though!


I bought a numbers matching untampered '69 427/390hp (L36) Corvette coupe from an old buddy. The car was equipped with an M21 4 speed and 3.36 gears and had just under 70K original miles on it when I bought it in 2003. An independent mechanic’s inspection showed the car to be super healthy. What a performance disappointment. I simultaneously owned a 2000 Camaro Z28 with an LS1, 4 speed automatic and 2.73 gears. The Camaro would have ripped the doors off the Vette in a heads up drag race. Years before I bought a brand new '70 Fiat 124 Sport coupe. The car was a ball to drive but the material quality was horrible. Within 18K miles the paint went flat, the interior sun rotted, the steering box lost a tooth, and I went through three starters. I dumped it for a '72 240Z and never looked back.


Without a doubt a 1976 AMC Hornet with a 304 V8 and an automatic. I was in the military stationed in Korea and bought it new through the PX before my return to the states. I lived in New Mexico but had to pick up the car at a dealership in Phoenix Arizona. I asked my step father if he wanted to go with me to get the car so he took off from work and we flew out to Phoenix to get it. On arrival at the dealer I gave them a check for the car and asked where it was. It was a long drive back and we wanted to get started since my step father had to go to work the next day. The person I talked to said the people in charge were in a meeting and we would have to wait. After asking repeatedly about the car and cooling our heels for hours I demanded the keys since they already had my money. I got the keys and we found the car parked out by the side of the building on the lot. We got in and left, stopping to fill it up since the tank was empty. After the fillup the guage still read empty. Ok, a glitch I thought, I’ll get it fixed at the local dealer when we get home. We started out and 5 miles outside of Phoenix smoke started coming out of the dash and the radio quit working. Now I am wondering whether or not we are going to make it or if we are going to have to leave it beside the road and get a rental to get home in but there were no further incidents although we didn’t get home till around 2 A.M. Later that morning I went out and looked and noticed that the dash had gotten so hot that the heat had warped it. I called the local dealer and took the car in to be fixed. They told me that they could fix the radio and the gas guage but that I would have to call the regional rep about the dash. I had just washed and waxed the car before taking it in and when the dealer called me to come get it I found it had mud splashed all down both sides. When I asked what happened the service manager told me that they had to test drive it. For a radio and gas guage repair I questioned? During my leave I did a zero to sixty test, 13 sec with a V8. A real pig after the sixties cars I had owned previously. I did some work on it and got it down to a 10 second to sixty time while home on leave but still certainly no rocket ship. Well, maybe a rocket ship with a tractor pull sled being towed behind it. Shortly thereafter I had to report to my new duty station in Tennessee. After getting to my duty station I called the regional rep about the dash. After hearing my story the regional rep asked me, “What do you want me to do about it?” I told him I had bought the car new, it was under warranty and I wanted it fixed. Bottom line AMC never fixed the dash. After numerous other problems I was finally able to trade it in a year later, for a not AMC and I have never bought another AMC product.


1980 Chevy Citation. I was taken in by Car and Driver’s cover, “GM Blows Everyone Into The Weeds”. Damn you Car and Driver, I had to drive the heap for 8 years.


1969 Dodge Charger RT, 440, 4 speed,. Sounds great right? Pure junk. Owned it 9 days. Cancelled the check and told the seller to come get it out of my driveway.


I found a really clean Pontiac Fiero several years ago and thought it was the coolest little car until the engine problems starting happening. Eventually the motor caught on fire while I was driving down I-94 and I had to abandon the car after the fire department came to put it out!


1963 VW “Bug” Fun little car but the engine went out and I took it to a VW garage for a repair estimate. The kept it for a month and the only thing they did was roll down the windows so it filled with snow. Everyone said “VW great car.” My reply was “How many engines have you put in yours?” Usual answer was one or two. I put in an engine I couldn’t afford at the time and sold it.


@cindilouwhoville - Was that more recent times? Curious about the rest of that story.


@beatit AWESOME comment! “I got it for free and it was still not worth it!” :slight_smile:

My biggest disappointment was the Plymouth Prowler.

My neighbor bought one for himself (and paid WAAAaaay too much for it - remember the “Dealer Markup” of about $60K over the $39K sticker price?)

My neighbor was also expecting their first grandchild, so his wife took over the garage with baby furniture, strollers, etc. and he was forced to keep his shiny new Prowler outside. I only had my 71 Road Runner in my 2 car garage, so I offered to rent him one spot in my garage with the condition that he leave me a set of keys in case I had to move it out of the way for some reason, and of course if we wanted to take the car to a cruise night or car show (with his permission). He agreed and we’d take the car to a couple of local events, but quickly got tired of the complete lack of storage space for a change of clothes or an overnight bag, the cowl shaking any time that you crossed anything rougher than a pencil on the road, and the complete lack of any real power when you pressed on the gas (it used the anemic V-6 from the Chrysler 300 with a horrible rear axle ratio and HUGE 20" rear tires that absolutely Would. NOT. Spin. Ever.).

I asked my neighbor’s permission to take his car over to a car-guy friend’s house who was talking quite a lot about getting a Prowler. When I pulled into his driveway with this one, he begged to drive it and of course I let him. When he got back, he stepped out of the car and said "Well… I gotta thank you!" I said “No problem! Hope you liked it?” and he replied “No, I gotta thank you for saving me a hundred thousand dollars!!! That thing is a piece of crap! I DO NOT want one now!!!”. (He ended up buying a low-mileage 90’s Corvette a short time later that I was also equally underwhelmed with when I borrowed it, but that’s a whole other story!)

The last straw was when we took the car to Chryslers at Carlisle from Newport News, VA and made the mistake of hitting the interstate with the top down. By the time that we got to Richmond, VA we HAD TO stop and buy some cheap trucker hats from a gas station because both my wife and I were complaining about our scalp tingling from the constant wind buffeting our scalps and whipping our hair around. We tried to drive it with the top UP and were even more disappointed because the side windows were only about 6" high and the back window was a tiny little oval thing, and it was almost dangerous to drive because you couldn’t see a damned thing beside you or behind you. (The windshield was also only about 8" high as well!) Felt like we had taken ski caps and pulled them down over our ears and eyes!

We found out much later that only the body and frame were specifically designed for the Prowler and that the car was assembled from the existing Mopar / Jeep parts bins as much as possible. BAH!!!


I love small European cars. My first ever new car was a 1957 Renault 4-CV. I loved it. So, I pined for a Citroen 2-CV for many years. Finally restored one. My least favorite car of the many I have owned, And, that is many. Too slow, funk suspension, funky gear shift. Jim.


1959 Corvette. I lusted after one of these since was 12 yrs old, built models (multiple) of them, and dreamed about the day I’d own one. Finally in the early 90’s I had the funds and opportunity to buy a well-preserved example. It was beautiful! However, the first 5-minute drive ruined it. Like any other original '59, it handled like a truck, seats terribly uncomfortable, average acceleration, and stopped like a '59 Chevy – not well. I was back at the classic dealer so fast they thought it broke down. Explained my experience and my expectations. He only nodded, disaapeared, came back with keys to a 327/350hp '66 corvette and with a smile said “This is what you want”… I’ve owned 3 mid-years since and never looked back.


@robert- I’m with you a bit on that one. I had the opportunity to put a decent number of miles on a dual-quad 327 '59 Corvette.
Did I enjoy it? oh yeah!
Was I disappointed when I had to give it back? Not that much.


This was many years ago.


Your spot about the Prowler, all looks and no go!


Quite honestly, none. I researched everything I bought - through the enthusiast publications in my early days, and latterly with forums on the net, and I can’t say I’ve had any real shocks or disappointments. Any mistakes I’ve made have been self-inflicted, post purchase, like the '89 Jeep Grand Wagoneer I bought six years ago, and sold at a mid-five figure loss at Barrett-Jackson in April.


Enjoy the stories and have to admit I have loved every auto I owned, new or classic. My issue has always been finding qualified people to maintain, service my autos (I am only qualified to pump up the tires). 1967, age 16, parents gave me the family 1963 T-Bird & it was pristine. Shortly later I was rear ended…repaired with trunk and rear fenders repainted. Shortly later took the Bird to a Ford dealership for a tune-up. Dealership left keys in the car overnight in a fenced in area, hoodlums climbed the fence and played “bumper-cars” with about 16 autos…front fender replaced, fender and hood repainted. Why was the car at the dealership 5 days for a tune-up, they said tune-up guy out sick. When I picked up the car, smelled like new paint & of course fender & hood paint did not match the rest of the auto color…repaint everything again. Shortly later went to my drive-in hangout (it was the 1960s), Air Force Colonel Dad did not like me hanging out with older 18-21 GI’s (military town) as I was only about 17 at this time. A young, drunk GI, drove his car into my passenger side door. Civilian police came, saw the officers military tags on my Bird, called my dad. Midnight or later dad arrived at the drive-in, talked to civilian police, talked to the young GI that hit my Bird, young GI not charged, dad paid for the damage to my Bird…no insurance claims filed. Military dad could be a hard ass but he did not want the young GI charged. 1969, out of high school and off to college in Miami with my 1963 Bird…no issues. December 1969 home from college, dad borrowed my 63 Bird because his 66 Bird was in the shop. Dad wrecked my 1963 when he hit an oncoming car, his fault, no injuries, and the Bird was totaled. At that point my beloved 1963 Bird had been hit multiple times over six years, almost every body panel had been repainted at least once, and not one body panel paint matched the adjacent body panel paint. Dec. 1969, Dad gave me his pristine 1966 T-Bird so I could return to collage in Miami. Summer 1970, when I was back at home dad borrowed my 1966, totaled the 66 a week before I had to drive back to Miami (dad was not hurt). Three days before I had to hit the road back to Miami, dad gave me a blank check with instructions to see his friend at a Chevy dealership with instructions not to go crazy (meaning do not buy a Camaro). I went to the dealership, bought a new Nova 396 SS mostly because I liked the color and partly for payback for Dad wreaking my beloved T-Birds. The fully tricked out Nova was more expensive then any Camaro on the dealers lot at the time. At the time of purchase dad thought I made a good buy with the Nova (vs Camaro). I already had the 1970 Nova in Miami before dad got the insurance payment. Decades later dad and I joked how I got payback for him wreaking my T-Birds.

I could go on and on about poor repairs I have experienced with every auto owned. Loved each auto, spent far too much money repairing issues more than once because of sloppy workmanship. Currently have a 1966 Bird conv. Bought from a respected classic car dealership in the states. What I received was a 1966 auto, with false advertising on the classic car dealership website and that dealership has had advertisements on cable auto channels. Delivered not as advertised.

OK, that happens. What I have learned is not to buy a period auto without support from a local network of restoration garages that can maintain you old car. My Bird was advertised as in mechanically good shape, perhaps a rating of 3+ to 2-… Not true, I have sent my Bird to 3 local so called “Restoration Garages”, and got screwed 2 out of 3 times because I paid them to fix minor issues . Had to pay 2 or 3 times, go to 2 to 3 shops, to fix individual issues at. Bottom line I have spent in the last four years an additional $20,000 above purchase price and wasted close to $15,000 at so-called restoration shops that had no clue what they were doing.

Getting my 1966 convertible, driving in the open air, and attending shows was what I wanted to do in my old age. It has not worked out the way I hoped. You buy an old car either know how to work on the auto yourself or you live in an area with reliable shops that can work on old cars.


that’s in super good shape