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BangShift Question of the Day: What’s The Ugliest American Car?


BangShift Question of the Day: What’s The Ugliest American Car?

So this one may ruffle a feather or two. We’re interested in hearing your opinion on the ugliest American car of all time. There’s the low hanging fruit of blurting our something like the Pontiac Aztek or the Dodge Nitro, but if you really use your noodle, history has some gnarly examples. Once upon a time in Detroit there were no such things as focus groups or test audiences. Instead there were guys who belted down a couple of Martinis at lunch and sat down at a drafting table to draw the next hit car from a major automaker.

Unfortuntaely, they all weren’t “hits”. Some cars, like the 1955 Chevrolet gained instant icon status and they sold faster than they could be produced. On the other end of the spectrum there were models that made babies cry and women avert their eyes when they rolled past. Often, the design chiefs “creative genius” was “over the heads” of the general public. Some suffered this more than others *cough* Virgil Exner *cough*.

So, fear not the feelings of others! Tell us what the ugliest American car of all time is!

1958 Packardbaker


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37 thoughts on “BangShift Question of the Day: What’s The Ugliest American Car?

  1. Gary Smrtic

    I never have thought the Exner cars were even homely, let alone ugly. I think perhaps some people’s thoughts are just so affected by what is today called “groupthink” that they simply repeat what they hear over and over, until it becomes their thought. Ugly? To me, the 1957 Chevy is about it.
    However I do think it somewhat unfair to say the low hanging fruit is not fair game. I mean, the Pontiac Aztec? Come on! For GM to produce a car so ugly it makes one forget about the Edsel, that is doing something! They even had to force their executives to turn in their choice cars and drive Aztecs with the admonison that they had better “look happy doing it as well”. THAT is world class ugly. What was that hideous GM truck from a few years back, that weird, morphing kinds thing? That redefined truck ugly for the ages…

  2. Tim

    I would still drive one with the right motor combo but a pacer has got to be the ugliest car.

    1. GravyDK

      Maybe the Pacer coupe, but not my black ’77 Pacer Wagon. Fold down that back seat down and it was the best camping car ever! Alright maybe alittle ugly.

  3. brian freiberg

    AMC Hornet, Pacer, Matador, Plymouth Arrow, Chevy Citation. i think the worst of all time, inculding the Aztec, was the Lumina APV, the “dustbuster”

  4. aircooled

    The Award for “Model line that produced the greatest number of Ugly redesigns” should go to the Ford Thunderbird. The ’50 -’60 Squarebird was the ugliest. Then there were 3 generations of ugly from ’72 through ’82. I also think the ’02-’05 retrobird was ugly.

  5. 1970camaroRS

    It’s hard to find a fault on any car made during the era of ‘style’, 1950ish to 1973ish. Love them or hate them, at least they were creations of stylists and artists, not the hamfisted effort of engineers, marketeers and government requirements. You can see the results when the overall asthetics of a car was given over to the engineer in the 1970s. One turd after another. This lasted for decades. Now, most cars end up looking fairly similar thanks to the laws of aerodynamics and crash safety standards, but at least they aren’t the abomination that was the 1970s. Sadly, they won’t be as cool as what came before that.

  6. anthony

    I agree with 1970rs. Cars today are not offensive enough to be ugly. Boring they are. In droves. What about those fwd Skylarks in the eary 90’s? They were ugly. And Dodge Dynastys. Not American but Mitsubishi had some really ugly crap too

  7. Scott Liggett

    90% of the jelly beans being pushed out of the factories today. All with them with the corporate grilles. Bore.

    As for the Aztec. Not sure why everyone hates it’s cockroach with tires shape when there are millions of Prius and Honda Hybrids with the exact same shape.

  8. David Pfost

    I am not sure what car was more hideous, the 1958 Oldsmobile or Buick. It’s as close of a dead heat as I can think of.

  9. CTX-SLPR

    Just about anything (other than the 370Z, G, and M) made by Nissan/Infinity these days for modern vehicles.

    All time… Catfish nosed “Packards”, really Stude’s with a horribly misguided attempt to put a Packard face on them. Short of putting a Stude nose on them I can’t think of a way to salvage them and more importantly, there is nothing from the “Packard” part I’d want to put on something else as a custom.

  10. Michael Craven

    For my money the Edsel — no surprise it was a giant flop. And yes, the ‘square Birds’ were homely too. And hard to believe the company that came up with the AMX and Javelin also spawned the Gremlin and Pacer.

  11. Dave

    Aztec is easy, but use some thought process here! How about a ’58 Ford, Chevy, or Plymouth. Any 50’s Saab. Any Gremlin. Mid 70’s Malibu, Pontiac Grand Am, or Cadillac Seville.

    1. Challenger 6 Pac

      The 60’s F100 ain’t as bad as a lot of trucks today. It seems like they’re having an ugly contest.

  12. dirwood

    i dont see the 62 valiant here? affectionately refered to as the “road toad” the pacer had a face only a mother could love and 2 different sized doors, and the 74 matador- ewww, or how about a 75 road runner?

  13. Chuck Hendrickson

    The GM X body, especially the hatchback, which looked like a turtle. The Jeep Pick-up of the ’60’s and ’70’s looked like two different vehicles glued together.The Hudson-pick-up was especoally disporportioned and ugly. But my vote goes to the AMC/Rambler Marlin. No part on this car fits any other part on the car. This car is a horrible rip-off of the Dodge Charger’s fastback and fold down seat desigh. A miserable looking car.

  14. Don Richardson

    Aw, come on, guys you ain’t even close! You want ugly? How ’bout the late 40s/early 50s Nashs…the ones with no fender wells! YUCK! LOL

  15. William Robinson

    The 79-80 chevette has to be the ugliest car in my eyes. Especially since my parents had a couple of them in the early to mid eighties. Nothing like the smell of burnt flesh on scorching hot vynal to sear a cars nasty face into ones memory.

  16. Joe

    man, you guys have listed many of the cars I love…makes me wonder if there is something wrong with me, or with you lol!

    My least favorite cars are the 62 Rambler and 1960 Plymouth Savoy.

  17. Challenger 6 Pac

    The Pontiac Aztec followed by any Pontiac from 65 up. Followed by the 62 Dodge.

  18. Andy

    I have to say the Aztec is ugly, but so is that Cube and the PT Cruiser. The old 61 Valiant is pretty bad too.

  19. Alan Hynes

    And nowadays we have Scion trying to convince kids the hot thing to have is a USPS mail truck (XB, whatever it’s called). I saw a Cube the other day.. even worse!! How about late Mercurys and some Buicks with grilles that look like they should be straining plankton? (Look up Baleen). http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_aHEO3qDxfoA/S_DEQI9xteI/AAAAAAAAALQ/r6kUiU7gLs4/s1600/whale+baleen.jpg
    And the Honda Element looks like an experiment to see how little of the vehicle they can actually paint.. why not use bedliner on the entire surface?
    Why is it a that in the old days guy with a pencil and a drawing pad could come up with a better looking vehicle than can be created with all the computer programs they have nowadays? It’s a mystery…

  20. michael s

    I think that for the last 20+ yrs the cars look basicly the same with front/rear variations,with the exception of the high end exotics from out of country,and the retro cars,the american designers have lost the ability of imagination,individuality,personality and taste.the japanese are largely to blame for the cookie cutter cars that have taken over the design tables and now we have little or no choice to purchase a “different looking car”…

  21. JZ9C1LT1

    I think most cars after 1988 just went to the crapper. There are a few exceptions but not many.

  22. Al

    I’m sorry.

    The rubber bumper 1973-1981 F-Bodies, though ground-breaking in terms of “new styling” and use of “new materials” (Code for: “We can’t keep up with new regs!”) might be the ugliest “performance” cars ever built.

    Of course, recently the seventies F-Body has soared in value, ’cause fifty-five-year-olds will spend whatever it takes to try to recreate the world of they’re youth.

    Objectively speaking, the rubber bumper Gen Two F-bodies were completely ugly and a sad attempt at adapting a pre-reg muscle car to a changing market.The rubber bumper is to the F-body the same way Donald Trump’s toupee is to a young Donald Trump.

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