Friday, September 14, 2007

What, no Ford Ranchero?

In case you missed it, Hagerty Insurance Agency (a Michigan vintage automotive insurance company) released the results of a survey highlighting the top 10 most “questionable” car designs.

Its customers were apparently none too fond of the now-defunct AMC stable of vehicles, which had three vehicles on the list.

Chevys were well represented as well, with the unsafe-at-any-speed Corvair scoring a little better than its car-that-rusted-in-the-showroom brother, the Vega.

Other notables were the quintessential car bomb, the Ford Edsel, along with the literal car bomb, the Ford Pinto.

Unscathed in the survey is the Chrysler family of vehicles. Somewhere, the Diplomats, Cordobas and K Cars are chuckling to themselves. Also, surprisingly, the respondents failed to highlight the car/truck/station wagon combos so popular after Starsky & Hutch were in primetime — I mean, of course, the Chevrolet El Camino and its brethren the Dodge Rampage and Ford Ranchero (pictured above).

Outside of the lone Eastern European entry, the Yugo, the Old World car companies also were not on the list.

The first three of the dubious Top 10:

1. AMC Pacer – The Pacer’s interesting styling prompted one respondent to wonder “I’d like to know what planet the designers were from.”

2. Yugo – Mechanical flaws and poor quality put the Yugo near the top. “My Yugo improved my mechanic skills greatly,” said one respondent. “Somedays I miss that car, but then I remember the bad ride, poor brakes, no guts and bad interior.”

3. Ford Pinto – The majority of respondents cited a notorious design flaw that caused explosions in rear-end collisions. “Underpowered, cheap plastic, bodies prone to rust and, oh yeah, they blow up too,” said one.

BusinessWeek also featured a slide show of the cars, in case you need a refresher in their enduring ugliness.

How do they stack up against your vote?

—BEN MOOK, Assistant Business Editor

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