Normally Brian and I come up with the Top 11 lists here at BangShift.com although on occasion we’ll ask for a few “regular” BangShifters to put their thinking caps on if we need to round out a list. This week, we got a list from BangShifter Matt Cramer, who works over at DIYAutotune, and figured we would throw it up just the way he sent it in. Keep in mind this is Matt’s list, not DIYAutotune’s, so if you don’t like it comment here, don’t start calling them. LOL Do you have your own Top 11 List you would like to see here on BangShift.com? Then send it in via the Submit Content tab at the top right of the site and we’ll take a look at it. We love that kind of stuff around here.
We have to say that we agree with some of Matt’s list for sure. Although some of the cars we hadn’t even heard of. We’re okay with that. How about you? What did Matt miss, and what would you have added.
What is the least performing “Performance” package ever offered?
Here is Matt’s write-up:
We’ve covered questionable limited editions before, but frequently a limited edition doesn’t promise anything more than different upholstery and colors. A more annoying factory creation here is the bogus performance package, where the factory promises extra speed and fails to deliver. Sometimes, a project just got crippled by bean counters, but other ones were pure, straight up poseur cars where the factory just put some decals and maybe a body kit on a car so as to make buyers think it was sportier (or at least set it up so the buyers could pretend they had a hotter car). A couple of these came up with their own, special ways of being bad. Here are 11 of the worst “performance” packages ever foisted on the public. Some of these have nothing wrong with them that a competent BangShifter couldn’t fix – which, in some ways, is all the more of a shame that the factory didn’t.
BMW 3-series M-Technic Appearance Package (off and on throughout the 1990s)
BMW has used the name M-Technic for a number of different things, but usually these had suspension or other performance parts from the M3 (or sometimes being developed for a future M3) transplanted onto a normal 3-series. Many of them had a few M3 body panels too, but the Appearance Package popped up a couple years and just had the M3′s styling parts on a garden variety 325i. Normally, it seems that making a “performance” package without adding performance seems to be against the German national character, but this is a rare exception.
Pontiac Turbo Trans Am (1979-1980)
This one seems to have had all the right parts – a proven chassis, V8 power, a turbo – but saddled with a lot of safety and smog equipment, it couldn’t run better than 17 second quarter miles. GM actually had some workable EFI systems that could have ran this engine adequately, but chose instead to go with a carburetor that had a hard time meeting smog requirements and getting good drivability on a naturally aspirated engine. The result was nowhere near as impressive as what they’d do ten years later with the Buick V6.
Ford Escort EXP (1982-1988)
Ford’s effort to make a sports car out of the Escort was really nothing more than a two seater body with really over the top ’80s styling, and no real effort to make it faster than the parent car.
Chrysler TC by Maserrati (1989-1991)
This one is a bit of a stretch to call it a performance package, but it was basically a K-car in an Italian suit. And with Italian parts grafted onto its 2.2 Turbo motor. The result had a little more horsepower than the LeBaron Turbo, but typical Italian reliability. We’d take the LeBaron and a boost controller.
Ford Maverick Grabber (1970-1975)
With its graphics, spoiler, and a hood with blisters that copied the look of V8 valve covers, this car had all the ingredients of a good pony car – except a V8 and any performance upgrades over the base car. Ok, so some of them did come with V8s – but this was an afterthought, after a year of building these with nothing more than the 170 or 250 straight sixes.
Plymouth Duster Twister (1971-1976)
This one had the Duster 340′s hood scoops and similar stripes, but like the Maverick Grabber, no performance upgrades. You could get one with a 198 slant six and four wheel drums if you wanted, and many buyers did. The result was another pony car that took 20 seconds to run the quarter. Unlike the Maverick Grabber, the Duster Twister came out after Plymouth had a serious performance version of the Duster. We’re not sure if that is better or worse.
Toyota Corolla S (2001-2005)
Toyota realized they had a problem around 2000: Young people weren’t buying their cars. They hoped to catch a few younger buyers buy giving the Corolla a dose of sportiness. Unfortunately, their idea of a dose of sportiness was a tachometer and body kit. Nobody was fooled.
Nissan Sentra SE-R (2003-2006)
The original Nissan Sentra SE-R may not have been typical BangShift fare, but at least they could hustle around a road course thanks to a good suspension and revvy engine. The SE-R badge seems to have gone downhill since then, with the 2003-2006 ones only being available with a four speed automatic, a sure way to ruin the fun of any four cylinder engine. We can only speculate that the man responsible for that decision must have been missing a key piece of his anatomy – a left foot. What did you think we were going to say?
Ford Pinto Stallion (1976)
A tape and decal package on the Pinto. While this might not make a bad circle track car, admit it: You can’t say the car’s name with a straight face. Try it in the mirror – you’ll need a lot of practice.
Yugo GVX (1989-1990)
This one is a rare example where the problem wasn’t that the bean counters gave the engineering department too much budget instead of too little. They didn’t just put a body kit on the regular Yugo; they added a larger engine and major suspension upgrades. The trouble was that it was still a Yugo – at nearly double the price. The engine and suspension upgrades weren’t enough; it was still slower than many other cars its price range.
Toyota Tercel Blackhawk (1997)
Ok, so the Yugo GVX may have been laughable for trying to make a penalty box into a fun car – but at least they were trying. The Tercel Blackhawk was what happens when manufacturers don’t even try: It was a pure decal, wheel, and spoiler package, on one of the most boring econoboxes of the decade.