Automotive engineering continues to push the boundaries of the industry to new heights. Like everything else, though, progress comes with plenty of setbacks. These mistakes take that fact to new heights. Here are the top 7 automotive engineering mistakes of all time.
1. Renault LeCar
Back in the 1970s, economy-style vehicles were incredibly popular. This prompted some companies to import mass numbers of their models to the United States. Renault was one such company who thought their LeCar supermini could compete with VW’s Golf and various Japanese imports.
Be looks alone, it could have. However, the LeCar’s bumper and grill didn’t meet U.S. safety standards. It was also insanely slow by modern standards in the industry, and enough of a lemon that Conn Law in California would have had field day under the state’s later-created lemon laws. People considered its engineering an absolute failure.
2. Ford Pinto
Meanwhile, Ford was working on a compact to compete with the foreign market. Their Pinto was popular due it’s low price point and options, but Ford somehow forgot to protect the rear-mounted fuel tank. As you can imagine, this led to plenty of fiery crashes.
3. Pontiac Aztek
There was only one main problem with the Pontiac Aztek: It was considered one of the ugliest cars in existence. The mid-size crossover had plenty of cabin space, offered decent performance, and featured some excellent equipment. The design was just so unappealing that its sales were near non-existent.
4. Yugo GV
When Crvena Zastava attempted to enter the American market in the 1980s, the result was a three-door hatchback called the Yugo GV. While it was an affordable option, its driving quality was poor due to its dynamics. The manual gearbox was terrible and performance was slow at best. Even worse, spare parts had to come all the way from Yugoslavia.
5. Cadillac Cimarron
Cadillac was under pressure in the 1980s to create a smaller, more affordable car. They borrowed Chevrolet’s Cavalier chassis as well as its slow four-cylinder engine. Even with new trim and color options, brand loyalists couldn’t stand the creation. Plus, its performance was underwhelming.
6. Cadillac 8-6-4 Engine
Another botch by Cadillac was an engine experiment. The 8-6-4 would use four cylinders, adding on two electronically when the car needed more power. Another two could kick in when going full throttle, making this an interestingly fuel-efficient V8 for the 80s.
While the engine sounded great in theory, the electronic system tasked with turning the additional cylinders on and off was terrible. More often than not, the engine would get stuck in 8-cylinder mode. Cadillac discontinued the 8-6-4 in just a few years.
7. Oldsmobile Cutlass Diesel
The latter part of the 1970s was spent looking toward fuel efficiency, which Oldsmobile met with a diesel engine in a passenger car. Unfortunately, the engine was prone to shattering and explosions under the most normal of circumstances. To this day, the 4.3-liter in the Cutlass is considered the worst diesel engine ever made.