There have been low production cars since the beginning of the automotive revolution in the early 1900s. With the invention of assembly lines, the world has been littered with commonplace cars that are produced for the masses. This isn't to say the idea of hand-building and custom coach-worked cars has completely disappeared, they're just not as readily available and often reserved for only the most exclusive people. An example is Ferrari, who requires people to own a certain number of their cars for a certain number of years to even get on the list for cars like their track-melting FXX.
Other times, we'll find that there isn't much demand for a car. Either it's too expensive to justify buying—kind of like the Typhoon and Syclone performance trucks which cost over $46,000 each in today's money (then again, it was faster than a Ferrari at the time). But they were still a pickup truck and their panache has since become desirable. Other cars, like the CrossCabriolet, are just too strange for the general public and were only swiped up by a niche market of people. In these cases, lack of sales caused a model to become a rare car.
Of course, with all the rare, elegant, strange, and exclusive cars that are sold, there's always someone who doesn't quite know what to do with such a car. Or maybe they don't realize that what they have on their hands is more valuable if they leave it be. From destroying valuable cars in the name of art to outrageous modifications and wraps, these are 20 rare cars the wrong person bought and messed up.
20 Buick Centurion Convertible (5,739 Produced)
We have no problem with donks and “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” so who are we to judge. It's when the modding is done on a particularly rare car that it gets a little questionable. The Buick Centurion Convertible is one of these cases where it's not entirely well known how rare these beautiful barges of the road really are and it wouldn't take much to customize one without realizing the mistake. This is what I pictured happened to this particular example when quarterback Darren McFadden upgraded his Buick in such a way that it ruined a classic and ultimately took away from its style and value.
19 BMW i8 (244 Produced)
Originally built with aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) to keep weight down, it makes no sense why Austin Mahone would then choose to wrap his car to make it look rusty. After all, aluminum doesn't rust in the traditional way. Also, the rust look takes away from the futuristic look of the car. To add to the rusty look, all the chrome bits were changed to a copper color, along with a set of copper-colored rims. The rusted look may look good on some cars, but to wrap a whole BMW supercar in a rust wrap makes it look more like a giant rolling garbage heap.
18 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing (1,400 Produced)
This is just sad. Nigo, who is a Japanese fashion designer, received a Camo-printed 300SL whose motor was replaced with a 6.0-liter V8 that was built by AMG. On top of the motor replacement, the car's mechanical bits have been updated, along with what we can assume to be an automatic transmission. What really throws us for a loop, though, is the fact that one of Mercedes-Benz's most prized cars ever produced was ruined by its in-house performance branch for a man who obviously has way too much money on his hands.
17 Porsche 959 Komfort (294 Produced)
While getting towed to be sold at a Mecum Auction, the trailer carrying this extremely rare Porsche 959 came undone from the hitch and veered off of the road, crashing into a tree. When the trailer hit the tree, the car broke free from its straps and hit the tree head-on, lodging itself at an angle inside the trailer. The car was still sold, as-is, for almost a half million dollars. What gets me about this is the fact that the trailer driver didn't use any towing chains, which are supposed to be hooked up just in case such an event were to happen. If that had been the case, he could've carefully pulled off to the side and hitched his trailer back up and then he could have taken it to Mecum to sell the car for more than the $467,500 he got for it.
16 Ferrari Mondial (6,124 Produced)
This form of “Artistic Expression” is much different from, yet somehow the same as, the 50 cars from the 1950 art installation. Simon Birch purposefully crashed his rare Ferrari Mondial as he had just survived brain-cancer and deemed the car too tacky. So, instead of selling it as any other person would, he instead spent $2 million on equipment and staff to have a professional stuntman crash the car. He then used the film of the accident, which was caught at multiple angles, as well as bits and pieces of the car in an art installation in Los Angeles which people pay $15 a pop to see. Maybe I don't understand art as it should be appreciated, but I don't get losing everything just to ruin a car that you no longer enjoy.
15 Ferrari 458 "Purrari" (About 15,000 Produced)
We don't know what would compel someone to wrap their Ferrari 458 with the Nyan Cat and to paint their calipers pink. Deadmau5, already famous for his quirky attire, did just that and it looks awfully strange having an 8-bit character from a gif created back in 2011. If Deadmau5 wanted attention while driving his “Purrari” he definitely gets it, though I'm not sure he gets the type of attention he's looking for as he cruises the streets in his hometown of Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada.
14 Dodge Viper R/T 10 (6,709 Produced)
Red and yellow may fit in with the 90s Viper, as the color combo could be had from the factory, but Hulk Hogan went the extra mile with his Hulkster Viper, adding a black stripe down the middle, yellow lightning bolts down the side, and he even had the centers of the 3-spoke rims painted yellow as well. The car went from an icon to an eyesore realy quick with its over-the-top paint scheme. Hulk Hogan has since displayed in his beach shop in California, surrounded by other Hulk Hogan memorabilia.
13 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (2,157 Produced)
This once beautiful yet aggressive design has been ruined by big body mods and terrible custom bits. The idea for this custom eyesore comes from Ueli Anliker, who calls it the “Red Gold Dream” despite it looking more like a nightmare. I'm not sure about the dream part but this might be hiding in our subconscious, just waiting to haunt us in our dreams. Over 30,000 hours were put into this car to create the custom body panels and you can read all the details of the build on www. Anliker-ueli.ch under the Projekte tab if you feel like a scare.
12 Jaguar XK120 Roadster (7,614 Produced)
An art installment on Michael Frohlich's property is a collection of 50 cars from the year 1950. They were parked when the car enthusiast and artist turned 50. More noteworthy among the collection is an old Tatra, a Porsche 356 racecar, and a few Rolls-Royces. The one that stands out to me the most is a gorgeous Jaguar XK120 Roadster that sits among the collection, rotting. As if to add to the desolate apocalyptic scene, some of the cars were crashed into trees and buried in mud—on purpose! In the name of art! Not many cars from this era survive today and now, one less XK120 is slowly wilting away in the wilderness because it's artistic.
11 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet (5,769 Produced)
The Murano CrossCabriolet is kind of the Aztek of the new generation. Unlike the Aztek, the CrossCabriolet wasn't sold in high numbers, with only a few thousand made and sold in the US. As it may be a collectible not yet realized, the owner turning this one into a donk doesn't help the image whatsoever. Not to mention the sea-green color scheme seen on both the custom soft-top and the inserts for the rims, as well. I can only hope the proper care was put into the build to support those huge rims and the added height, otherwise I can assume this modern-day convertible crossover will only get rarer.
10 1967 Shelby Mustang "Little Red" (1 of 2 Shelby Prototypes)
The story goes that back in the humble beginnings of the Shelby Mustangs, there were two prototypes which remain the only notchback Shelbys ever produced. Both have survived, with the Green Hornet having been in good hands the entirety of its life. “Lil' Red” on the other hand, wasn't so lucky. The notchback Mustang had been sitting in a Texas field for the past 20 years with a good portion of the front end missing. Craig Jackson, the CEO of Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction Co., had located the car after using the car's original VIN number and then it was authenticated by Todd Hollar, who is a Ford Mustang and Shelby specialist. How a car this unique could sit in a field with other cars and not be identified with the other surviving prototype escapes me.
9 Bentley Continental R (1,290 Produced)
Just like the Typhoon mentioned in this list, a Bentley Continental R was also turned in to the Cash for Clunkers initiative. This is just mind-boggling. Why anyone would ruin such a rare car—which can be sold for around $50,000—and instead trade it for a measly $2,000 off on a lesser, newer car is a mystery. The owner of this car must be ignorant because the value of that car is way more, even if it was in the worst conditions which a car could be in and still be accepted for the incentive.
8 LaFerrari (499 Produced)
The owner of this rare LaFerrari has tried to smuggle the car into South Africa. At first, the car was detained for three years in a warehouse because the owner didn't follow import procedures. The owner then had the car released to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo, only to return the next day and have the LaFerrari once again taken away. If the owner doesn't communicate with the government about the car and state his case, the LaFerrari risks being crushed, leaving even fewer of these super exclusive LaFerraris out in the wild due to someone's negligence.
7 Dodge Ram SRT-10 (9,527 Produced)
The video of this crash has made its rounds, but it's still cringeworthy. This guy is showing off his Viper V10-powered pickup to his buddy by doing a massive burnout. The problem starts when the truck starts veering to one side. The guy tries to brake but it's too late and the Ram is rolled over in a ditch. Though it may not seem to be so, the Ram SRT-10 is rare and even rarer is the four-door variant they released later in production. These muscle trucks are cool but definitely not for the inexperienced, as the amount of torque these things put out is insane. That, and mixed with the top-heavy nature you get from trucks and well, this is what happens.
6 Lamborghini Murcielago LP-640 (3,084 Coupes)
Another video that has made the rounds online is a beautiful black Lamborghini Murcielago being torn apart by the Taiwanese government via a mini-excavator with a pair of pinchers attached. The reason for this slaughter of such a nice car is that a guy illegally imported this Lamborghini into Taiwan, where import taxes are high and the penalties are strict. The video of this car's demise serves not only the purpose of making us car people cringe, but to show the world that they mean business when it comes to their import laws. The think it will, hopefully, scare anyone who was thinking of trying to break the rules.
5 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II (2,716 Produced)
Being a successful rapper comes with its perks, one of them is having the kind of money to buy a rare and expensive Rolls-Royce, the hallmark of luxury. Tyga is exactly this and is known for having a taste for nice cars, although when customizing his cars he should've stayed away from this rare beauty. Instead of just letting the car be sophisticated as a Rolls Royce is meant to be, he had all the chrome bits turned into gold, making it look more of a clown's car that'll have the audiences scratching their heads.
4 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia
Perhaps the oldest car on this list, this Bugatti Type 22 belonged to Bugatti Grand Prix driver Rene Dreyfus who had then lost the car in a poker game to professional gambler and playboy Adalbert Bode. When Bode tried bringing the car to Switzerland, customs quickly confiscated the car, as it wasn't registered nor did Bode have the money to retrieve it. It was then destroyed by customs. There is much more to this amazing car, but the fact that the famous driver even bet the Bugatti in a poker game is insane. Nevermind the fact that he then lost it, but then to have Bode try to smuggle it into the country, this is just all sorts of nonsense that could've been avoided to save this beautiful car. Then again if not for these events, we wouldn't have the story of the “Lady of the Lake”.
3 GMC Typhoon (4,697 Produced)
Cash For Clunkers was a government-funded initiative for people to trade in their old cars to get new ones. This worked as well as planned, with certain criteria for cars that are eligible. Sadly, the criteria didn't cover some future collectibles, such as the Typhoon, and as such at least one of these was turned in by an owner who obviously had no idea what he had or what people are willing to pay for the turbo-V6, Ferrari-beating machine. All the cars' motors were filled with waterglass and scrapped, including this rising star in the collector car world.
2 DeLorean DMC-12 (About 9,200 Produced)
It's no secret that Will.i.am likes his cars and he likes them heavily customized, but to customize a Delorean is almost sacrilege, nevermind customizing it to being near unidentifiable. From what I've read on Autowise, the Delorean was stripped down to its bare frame and then custom body panels were added onto it, widening and adding vents to the car. Willi.am has always wanted to have a car company of his own but with designs and work like this, we don't see it happening anytime soon.
1 Audi Quattro (11,452 Produced)
When the original Audi Quattro came out, it was a masterpiece of engineering as never before had AWD been incorporated into such a small and low-slung package. The “ur-Quattros” were all handmade by a team who worked five days a week, 40 hours a day, and turned out three cars every day. Somehow, 14 of these handmade marvels were traded into a UK governments incentive, much like Cash for Clunkers here in the United States. There is no doubt that the cars were destroyed, leaving even fewer for us enthusiast to enjoy seeing. For the people who turned them in, we don't think they had much business owning one in the first place.
Sources: Business Insider, Shelby Prototype Coupes, USA Today, Auto Evolution, and Jalopnik.