Monday, August 20, 2012

Worst cars...ever!

The LA Times has a photo gallery featuring the 10 worst US cars.  Among them: the 1974 Ford Mustang and the 1971 Ford Pinto. (pictured at the left)
By coincidence, those two cars were driven by Sabrina (Kate Jackson) and Kelly (Jaclyn Smith) in the former ABC primetime detective series "Charlie's Angels."    (As Jill Monroe, Farrah Fawcett drove the white Ford Mustang Cobra (sportier Mustang.)

I'd like to add the 1979 Dodge Aspen to the list.
This was my parent's second new-car purchase in the United States after emigrating from Cuba in 1968. My dad was so proud of having bought this car spic-and-span new. With its dark green hue and white-toned top, the car at it's time was a stunner. But it was also a lemon. I was in first grade when we bought it and yet, I remember all the break-downs vividly. The engine belt snapping off at an intersection in Miami's Little Havana. The car's chronic stalls. (Will I make it to school?) The catalyic converter malfunction. The spark plugs had to regularly be replaced. (Which is probably why the car wouldn't start at times.) The muffler blow-out. The slipperty transmission. Battery died every other year.

While the car was comfortable and spacious (the backseat was large enough to easily fit my dirt bike) and the car offered a smooth nice ride, it wasn't reliable.  We never knew whether my dad would arrive atwork each day or whether I would make it back home in Miami Beach after my driving lessons.
And finally, in 1988 after nine long-years, the car finally croaked. We tried to resuscitate it (I don't why) and it crossed-over to car heaven. R.I.P Dodge Aspen.

It's replacement: a new 1989 light-blue Honda Civic sedan LX which was one of the best cars my father ever bought. We still reminisce about that car (which we owned for 10 years and 100,000 miles but that's another future blog post.) And since that Honda purchase, my father has never bought American-made cars again. Ironically, I've been loyal to the Jeep brand (whose parent company owns Dodge.)


  1. Sorry to hear what happened to your father’s first car. It’s a good thing there are a lot more cars in the market today, cars that are more reliable and durable, just like your Jeep. And I think regular maintenance would certainly help cars to perform better even after many years of use. On a side note, I think it’s a bit sad that Dodge discontinued the production of the Aspen in the 1980s. I think it would have been a great car if they continued improving it, considering the advancement of technology and mechanical skills today.

    @Ivo Beutler

  2. I think whatever problems the Dodge caused you were offset by the Honda Civic. By the way, did you know that there are studies showing more and more car buyers, including Americans, are opting for Asian cars? The main reasons cited for this trend is that Asian cars are more affordable, yet they aren’t far in terms of quality and performance when compared with American cars. Some Asian cars even surpass the quality, the design, and the overall performance of American cars.

    Maria Wegner

  3. Although that orange hatchback is a classic, it can’t cut it when it comes to exterior finish, especially that compartment area. I think your items aren’t that safe when exposed to direct sunlight. And when the heavy rain strikes, that area might fetch a lot of rainwater.

    Patrick Gauer

  4. I agree with you, Patrick. The glass infused compartment is like suicide for car owners. Compartment areas should be the safest container in a car. Though I’m a lover of vintage cars, I think this one would be a hatchback hit if the exterior part is plain and simple.

    Carry Bacot