If you check out what makes a car a really bad car, you’ll realize it could be as little as one thing to as major as several things, and in the latter case, you’d just call the entire car a bad car. Sometimes it’s the little things. It could be that the car had been doing fine, and then all of a sudden, the manufacturer decided to modify or change one part of the exterior. While most of the time such changes go smoothly, sometimes they don’t, much like in the mid-2000s Subaru Impreza.
Other times, a manufacturer comes up with an entirely new lineup, with the hopes of being able to bring something different, something innovative. But it just doesn’t digest well with the public, much like the Nissan Cube. If it was an individual, you could tell that person to work harder and try better next time; with corporate, it’s hard to pinpoint any one major person. This is not limited to average cars. Check out how the Lamborghini Veneno was criticized for being way too flashy (theglobeandmail.com).
So we thought, why not check out cars that are not only weird looking but also powerful? We looked at a variety of cars. While we didn’t bring any concept cars into this, this whole article wasn’t limited to just mass-produced cars made in the US, despite those constituting the majority of the entries. There are some British and some non-company made cars too.
Here we go!
19 GDT SPEEDSTER
While the car looks a little cartoonish with the smiling grille and an almost square design, the backstory is neat. It was designed by a team of automotive professionals who were endeavoring to do something more than the daily activities of life.
So they took a 1994 Corvette drivetrain and built this car. They had to make more than 2,000 components and a total of 13K man hours (over the span of seven years) went into the project.
Only one unit was produced. The estimated top speed is 170 mph, while the power output is 300 horses. It’s in the garage of collector John O’Quinn (autoweek.com).
18 PANOZ GTR-1
It seems as if the front was an add-on. Only two of these were ever made. The engine is in the front, by the way. However, various online reviews have chastised the car for having the loudest cabin.
There’s no way your auditory cells can decipher anything intelligent inside the car. The car had good performance; the interior looks decent. You can have this car if you have about a million dollars in spare. I guess exclusivity pays off.
17 MITSUOKA OROCHI
Some might call this car “cute,” but others would disagree. If it wasn’t for the little childishness up at the front, this car would have looked pretty cool. The rest of the car does look good. The sides are stylish, the roof has a nice curve, and the rear also looks pretty good.
It should be duly noted that Jalopnik jumped at the chance to bash the living engine out of this car. Besides that, it’s a typical supercar, although with a Toyota V6!
16 1966-1975 LOTUS EUROPA
The mid-engined GT coupe was built from 1966-1975. Being a Lotus car, it had decent performance numbers. The engine, sourced from Renault, was merely an I4, meaning 78 horses were produced.
However, the fiberglass body cut the weight of the car by so much that it was only 1,350 pounds.
And that’s what made it decent by that era’s standards. Plus, the car actually drove like a Mazda Miata. However, when it came to the looks department, I’m not even sure how to describe it. There’s a rear decklid, with a few stylish holes. Maybe they were trying to do something new?
15 THE GUMPERT APOLLO
Here’s another powerful car. It’s powered by a 4.2L V8, and has been driven by various racing drivers to test out its handling and sportiness. While the engine may be powerful, the look of the car isn’t exactly what we are used to seeing every day. It’s a little bulky for a supercar.
Plus, the designer of the car states he made this car so it could drive “on the roof of a tunnel at high speeds,” (gumpert.de). I’m not sure how that would be possible, folks. Anyway, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2013, but will be producing the Apollo Intensa Emozione.
14 2005 DODGE NEON SRT-4
Ah, the classic Neon. Granted, it’s in the compact category, so it’s not like Dodge could have churned out the Challenger in this category. However, the front fascia of this car looks confused. The circular headlamps and the vent in the middle give it that clumsy look.
However, when it came to performance, this was one beast of a compact sports car. It was turbocharged and developed by the in-house tuner group.
The “4” denotes the number of cylinders this car had. So what did those turbocharged cylinders give? The engine churned out 230 horses and 250 lb-ft of torque.
13 2014 LINCOLN MKT
The interior of these cars is just beautiful. It’s really smooth and laid out nicely. But if we are being honest about the exterior, the car could have done a little better up front and even in the back. The front is obvious with the grille, but the rear looked a little weird with one long taillight essentially. Lincoln realized the grille concern, so the more recent models have a completely new grille.
The performance was not lacking in this car, with horsepower ranging from 303-365. The 300 horses came from the 3.7L V6, while the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 produced 365 horses.
12 CONSULIER GTP
This car has just way too many squares and rectangles. The structure of the car itself is shaped like a box too. But besides the issues with the looks, it was a phenomenal race car. It was so good that it was actually banned from races. It had a big Chrysler engine and had dominated the track. The perfect weight ratio made it unbeatable. That is until one day the governing body decided it was a little overweight and was penalized for that.
By 1991, it was entirely banned from racing. And that was it for this car. Oh well, GTP.
11 JETSTREAM SC250
The seats are comfy and soft, the engine is potent, and the handling was designed by a retired F1 engineer. Those are some basic facts.
The ride quality is really good. Although when the roof is not up there, you’re bound to have some turbulence.
As far as the looks go, well that’s where it becomes iffy. Some people like the way it looks, but the majority seems to not like how the car’s exterior is made. As far as the performance is concerned, it’s off the charts. Better luck next time.
10 LISTER STORM
The front of this car looks relatively normal, although it’s not exactly enticing. The problem is on the sides. For some reason, this car has the sharpest lines on the sides, which make it look a little odd. And while the hood may have been good on its own, when looked at with the designs of the sides, it looks nonsensical too. On top, the car had tinted windows. I’m not sure what the reason was, but I guess they tried to throw everything and see what stuck?
Anyway, the engine was sourced from a Jaguar, the 7L V12.
9 ENZO FERRARI
The car was significant because of what it meant—the name says it all. With only 400 units ever made, it was a rather special car. The 6L V12 was mated to a six-speed semi-automatic which gave a blasting performance.
You know, generally I’m a big fan of Ferrari and what have you, but the exterior styling of this car was a little too much for some. When you try to integrate the F1 look into just the nose of a supercar, the result is not the most charming.
8 PLYMOUTH PROWLER
Ah, the Plymouth Prowler, aka Chrysler Prowler. It looks pretty rough. I got to give Chrysler a big round of applause for trying to become innovative, though. Not a lot of car manufacturers would have dared to produce this extreme of a design.
The designers were told they could design whatever they wanted as long as it looked something like a hot rod.
The beast was powered by 3.5L V6, which produced a good 214 horses. These numbers might not be the biggest nowadays, but they were back when this was produced in 2000.
7 BLAST AUTOMOTIVE BLAST
When I stumbled upon the name, I thought it was another writer who was trying to express his sentiments in the his headline, but it turns out that’s just the name of the car. The car was designed in 2006 by some enthusiast, which I think deserves some credit. After all, not many people can do something like this.
The car is powered by a 2.2L turbocharged Subaru engine, which is bound to produce decent power.
The transmission is a five-speed manual; all the power goes to the rear wheels. Things are a bit shaky in the looks department, although the performance is good due to a low weight.
6 MOSLER RAPTOR
Here’s the doing of an American manufacturer that had been producing supercars here and there, but never became mainstream, Mosler Automotive. That name is a spin-off of Consulier Industries, which produced the Consulier GTP listed elsewhere in this article.
Well, the Raptor is just a rebranded and updated GTP, as it was thrown out of races because of dominating performance. And when Mosler released the Raptor, it went on to win and dominate the racing arena, until the governing body changed the rules again to make the Raptor ineligible for competing. Besides the poor looks, it was an awesome car.
5 2001 SUBARU WRX
People were ecstatic at having the Impreza WRX when it came out in the ‘90s. Rally races had made this car a popular beast—or I guess I should say this car did well in rally races and increased the visibility of rally races—and we were like the biggest fans of this car.
Everything was going well until Subaru decided to change up one thing on the outside of this car in the early years of the second generation by bringing on circular headlamps instead of going with the usual headlamps of that era. And those headlamps made this car look just weird. It’s a WRX, so we can skip the specs.
4 2004-2006 PONTIAC GTO
The first-gen GTOs started the muscle-car world was the definition of an awesome muscle car. Thanks to that lineup, we have so many good cars that we can buy for a fairly reasonable price. And then GM had decided it should revisit this lineup in early 2000s. The result? A rather powerful car that didn’t look the part.
The ones from 2004 got a 5.7L that produced 350 horses, while the later years got the 6L engine that produced 400 horses.
But when you check out the cars, they look puffy. The character lines were way too high, and that didn’t exactly fly with the public.
3 BMW M-COUPE
The shooting-brake styled car was a high-performance vehicle offered by BMW from 1998-2002. Some other monikers of this car were “M Coupe” and “Z3M Coupe.” The front view of the car looks good, but as soon as you go look at any of the other angles, the car doesn’t quite make sense. The bends and curves were not neatly planned out.
But as far as performance was concerned, it had that. The 3.2L I6 gave 330 horses, which was more than enough in 2007, the year the car was last produced. Not a lot of cars with the shooting-brake style look modern, if you will.
2 CADILLAC CTS-V
I wasn’t too sure I wanted to put this car on here. I mean, it’s a performance-version Cadillac. There are not many cars out there like this, whether the comparison be of performance or price.
Take the former, for instance. As good as the 0-60 time is, far more important is the fact that the car can attain a top speed of 200 mph.
Yet, the price is only $87K. That’s a commendable feat. The overall exterior styling of the car is fine from all but the rear angle. It looks a little off and doesn’t match with the rest of the excellent styling.
1 CHRYSLER PT CRUISER GT
And finally, here we are with the beloved Chrysler PT Cruiser GT. While there was a hint of sarcasm there, I do think the interior of this car is pretty neat, and some people think the entire car is not as bad as everyone makes it seem.
In fact, when the car was released, everyone was hyped about it.
But that hype wore off in a few years. Times changed, and so did the consumers. While the non-GT produces some lowly 150 horses, the GT produces a respectable 230 horses and 245 lb-ft of torque.
Sources: therichest.com, R&T.com, reddit.com