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Ugliest Cars Ever Built By: ref; gearheads.org

TOP TEN

Since you are going to see many beautiful shinny new cars at this years auto show, we'd thought we'd search for some of the duds. Like writers, designers are an odd lot who are always looking for a way to stand out from the crowd. Automotive designers are no different. Sometimes they think outside the box and design a masterpiece, like the Plymouth Prowler or the Chevy Corvette Stingray. Other times, however, they think a little too far outside the box and create something that attracts a lot of stares, but not in a good way.

1. Pontiac Aztek

The Pontiac Aztek will forever remain as one of the most polarizing vehicles ever built. Its enthusiasts think it’s the best crossover ever built, while onlookers do a double take trying to figure out what it is. A lot of its, um, “charm” comes from its acres of plastic body cladding, funky shape, and pig0like snout. At least it had an optional tent… Fortunately, the Aztek was short-lived, as it only lasted from 2001 through 2005, but even that was enough for me.

2. Isuzu VehiCROSS

Speaking of acres of plastic body cladding, the VehiCROSS topped them all with its sea o matte-black plastic on its lover third. Even without the massive amounts of plastic, the VehiCROSS was downright ugly. I am talking about the sort of ugly that even a mother can’t help but stare. This is likely one of the biggest reasons Isuzu eliminated this street0legal concept car after only three model years (1999 through 2000).

3. AMC Gremlin

Photo by: Gerry Dincher While there were a few awesome Gremlins in its history, like the Randal 401-XR models that carried a massive 401-cubic-inch V-8 and ran 13.9 seconds in the quarter mile, this hatchback was mostly just an eyesore. Its proportions were way off, thanks to its long hood, short greenhouse and angled hatch, and its looks were something even a mother would have a rough time loving. Luckily, the Gremlin was relatively short lived, as AMC only produced it from 1970 through 1978.

4. Yugo GV

The Yugo GV deserves to b on many “worst of” lists, as not only was it ugly as all hell but it was also one of the most unreliable cars ever built. It was so bad, that people nicknamed it the Yugo Pushing because of how often it left its owners stranded. In terms of looks, it basically picked up where the AMC Gremlin left off, then took a few cracks from the ugly stick for good measure. Despite its cheap entry fee of $3,990, folks quickly became wise to its shoddy quality and its ugliness was just the icing on the just-buy-a-used-car cake. (continued on a following page)

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5. Volkswagen Thing

The Volkswagen 181, also known as the VW Thing in the U.S., still has a pretty faithful cult following to this day. However, that does not exempt it from being one of the ugliest cars ever built. The “unique” look of the Thing made it clear that it was a function-first vehicle originally built for military and government use. The body parts look like they were only roughly measured, cut, and stamped, while the super-skinny tires under the bulky body made it look very disproportionate.

6. Nissan Cube

In Japan, odd, cube-shaped cars seem to work. Here in the U.S., however, we just never understood their (ahem) “cuteness.” The Nissan Cube was one of a few of these rolling blocks that made their way to the States. While I will admit that the Cube broke all boundaries of design in the U.S., it also went a bit too far with it. Buyers never really saw the point of driving a block on wheels, which is why there are so few on the road today. Not surprisingly, the Nissan Cube only lasted six years in the U.S. thanks to awful sales that never crested 1,000 units from late-2011 through 2014.

7. Mitsuoka Orochi

While the Mitsuoka Orochi does have a touch of uniqueness to it, it is overall one of the ugliest rigs ever built. It’s tiny grille looks like a miniature whale’s mouth and its headlights look like they were inspired by Sloth from Goonies. The silhouette of the Orochi isn’t bad at all. Actually, it is kinda supercar-like. Once you get to the back end, however, the obscene curves return to ruin it. Making matters worse is the fact that even though the Orochi may look like an over-the-top supercar, its 3.3-liter Toyota-sourced V-6 with 290 horsepower says differently.

8. Lamborghini LM002

The Lambo LM002, AKA the Rambo Lambo, was the first true performance SUV. However, it was also one of the ugliest vehicles ever built. Its body panels looked as if a sledgehammer shaped them, its multiple hood scoops seemed forced onto the hood, and its headlights and taillights seemed like they were an afterthought. Where the LM002 excelled in was performance, as its 7.2-liter V-12 engine cranked out 444 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque. This allowed this massive SUV to hit 60 mph in 7.7 seconds – a fast time for its era.

9. Tatra T603

Admittedly, I don’t know too much about Tatra, but I do know one thing… The T603 that it built between 1956 and 1975 was downright ugly. The entire shape of the body just looks like someone mashed together all of the popular features of that era without concern for the overall look of the car. Up front, the headlights are way too close together, and an equally awkward chrome grille that only makes them stand out even more highlights them. Though we may find it ugly these days, there was clearly something that people liked about the Tatra 603, as it hung on for quite some time.

10. Nissan S Cargo (Photo by: Tennen-Gas)

The Nissan S Cargo looked like it belonged in a cartoon, but it actually survived in Japan from 1989 through 1992 as a commercial van or sorts. What exactly Nissan was thinking when it created this strange automobile is beyond me. My only thought is that its design team got a little too into the 1988 movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit and decided to make a car that would look right at home in Toon Town.

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Concept Cars 2018-19

The Cadillac Escala concept made its first public appearance at the Pebble beach Concours d’Elegance. According to Cadillac, the Escala showcases the future design and technical systems that are currently in development at Cadillac. “Escala is a concept with two clear objectives,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Global Cadillac. “First, Escala is a statement of intent for the next iteration of the Cadillac design language, and also technical concepts in development for future Cadillac models. Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.” Escala - Spanish for “scale”- is designed to be both a driver’s car and an indulgent flagship sedan. The large 4-door sedan features an expansive liftback design emphasizing the car’s considerable scale and versatility. At 210.5 inches in overall length, Escala is roughly 6 inches longer than today’s CT6.

Three curved OLED screens are a prominent feature in the front of the cabin. The very thin, curved displays are layered in front of the driver, with the back sides wrapped in hand-stitched leather embossed with the Cadillac script. The array of screens consolidate the traditional “cluster” of driving gauges with the “center stack” into one integrated unit. The Escala Concept utilizes Cadillac’s new RWD large luxury car architecture, featuring one of the world’s most advanced body structures, which debuted on the new CT6. The mixed-material construction enables unprecedented agility and efficiency. Powering Escala is a 4.2-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, a prototype of a new system in development for future Cadillac models. The advanced engine utilizes Active Fuel Management technology, enabling fuel-saving 4-cylinder operation.

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The Infiniti Q Concept is a prototype vehicle commissioned with showcasing the brand’s newest autonomous drive technologies, as well as Infiniti’s new form language and advanced powertrains. According to Infiniti, the concept features classical sedan forms with coupe-like proportions and an elongated silhouette, demonstrating a blend of athleticism and class. The cabin follows a minimalist approach, enveloping the driver and passengers in a serene and comfortable environment. Despite the advanced technology featured throughout, the Q does not feature a hybrid powertrain, but Infiniti’s VC-Turbo engine. The VC-Turbo is the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine, which continually transforms, adjusting its compression ratio to optimize power and fuel efficiency, resulting in the smart application of power for greater driver control.

The Lexus LF-1 Concept is a prototype that brings to life Lexus’ new design language for future generations. The luxury crossover is said to be a futuristic idea of what the brand’s flagship could look like in a near future. According to Lexus, the LF-1 concept could be powered by fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, gasoline, or even all-electric. By around 2025, every Lexus model around the world will be available either as a dedicated electrified model, or have an electrified option. Despite being a mere concept, there are several cues that tie it to the brand’s current reality. The spindle grille, the hard-edged design, and the floating roof lead us to believe that this won’t be the last time we see a similar design from Lexus, especially within the RX and NX line of crossover SUVs.

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Concept Cars 2018-19

The Toyota FT-AC is a concept vehicle designed for outdoor enthusiasts who want to dial up the adventure on their weekend getaways. The FT-AC, which stands for Future Toyota Adventure Concept, could boast a gasoline-powered engine as well as a hybrid drivetrain if built in the near future. The commanding concept uses an advanced torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, which routes the power to the 20-inch wheels wrapped in aggressive all-terrain rubber. Up top, the safari-style cargo roof rack system can haul all types of adventure gear. In order to traverse safely, LED marker lights at its front corners can offer ambient lighting to brighten the trail ahead or, if desired, act as a flash for the side mirrors’ embedded cameras.

Another far-out feature of the FT-AC is its ability to utilize the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot to automatically upload off-road footage to cloud-based storage, where real-time editing and posting can be accessed via mobile device. The Wi-Fi connectivity even gives adventure-goers the ability to livestream the fun to fans and followers. Toyota plans on releasing a new subcompact crossover in the next two years, but so far the FT-AC is just a concept.

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boiMAGazine "Chicago Auto Show 2018"  

Chicago's #1 Life+Style Publication In Print and Online, since year 2000. www.boiMAG.com www.LifeStyle.lgbt To advertise, contact: boiAds@ao...

boiMAGazine "Chicago Auto Show 2018"  

Chicago's #1 Life+Style Publication In Print and Online, since year 2000. www.boiMAG.com www.LifeStyle.lgbt To advertise, contact: boiAds@ao...

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