No amount of Powerade or McMuffins can sooth these nine four-wheeled hangovers. Just ask the companies that made them – and maybe wish they hadn’t.
1. ALFA ROMEO ARNA
A hatchback with sumptuous Italian styling and Japanese reliability? Sounds good. Do it the other way around and you get the Alfa Romeo Arna, a car with the sex appeal of Jabba the Hutt and the reliability of an iPhone that’s been dropped in the toilet. Abject misery on wheels.
2. ASTON MARTIN CYGNET
Cygnet? Should’ve been called the Cynical. Aston made a right goose of itself by slapping a DB9 grille on a Toyota iQ and charging stupid money in return. It was intended to lower the average emissions of Aston’s range; it would’ve been better off selling engine-less Vanquishes.
3. MAZDA ROADPACER AP
When it comes to flawed marriages, installing a 13B wankel rotary engine in a hulking HJ Premier is up there with Britney Spears’ two-year ordeal. The woeful Roadpacer was primarily presented to Japanese government officials. As a form of punishment, presumably.
4. FERRARI MONDIAL
Less Prancing Horse, more Limping Donkey. The Mondial had all the style and elegance of a rugby scrum and the extra weight added by the ‘+2’ arrangement meant it was about as fast in a straight line as an intoxicated shetland pony.
The SLR promised the performance of a McLaren and luxury of a Mercedes – it should’ve been brilliant. In the end it was too heavy, too expensive, too hard to drive and became an unloved orphan, abandoned by both parents.
6. PORSCHE 924
Was originally meant to be a VW and shared its engine with the LT van. Okay, so it handled quite well, but that’s only because it wasn’t fast enough to lose grip in the first place. A Porsche most could afford, but few wanted to own.
7. SAAB 9-2X
The first example of US-Japanese-Swedish collaboration since, well, ever, this duck-faced vision of blandness couldn’t have been a bigger flop if it had been sold at Ikea with DIY instructions. One of the many nails GM hammered into Saab’s coffin.
8. NISSAN MURANO CC
An April Fool’s Joke gone horribly wrong? An acid-fuelled product meeting? Nissan’s CEO kidnapped at gunpoint? We don’t know what series of events led to the creation of a convertible Murano, but the world is worse off for its existence. Gladly it was contained to the US.
9. COMMODORE ‘STARFIRE’
Commodore ‘Misfire’ might’ve been a more appropriate name. Holden’s early attempt at downsizing, in response to the 1979 oil crisis, was a disaster, the 58kW ‘Starfire’ four giving the VC Commodore performance that was as exciting and rapid as continental drift.