Turkey Day Question: What’s Your Most Favorite Turkey? What’s Your Least Favorite Turkey?

1971 Chevrolet Vega-01

There are so many great cars in the past, and plenty of efficient, if unremarkable ones too. But then there are the turkeys. Cars that had perhaps not the worst constitution, but for one thing that adversely affected them: Appearance, or engineering, or assembly quality. Cars with redeeming features in one area or another, but at the same time, having some huge flaw that made them unattractive, unreliable, or–perhaps worst of all–a laughingstock.

1978 Ford Mustang II-05

They may have sold well new, and made a lot of money for their parent company, like the Mustang II, but became nigh-on universally derided–then and now.

1977 Lincoln Versailles-03

They may have been a shallow attempt at making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear Granada, but at the same time been a well-assembled, comfortable and luxurious car, like the Lincoln Granada Monarch Versailles. And that’s Ver-SY, not Ver-SAYLES!

1980 Oldsmobile-20

Or they might have been attractive, useful, and spacious–but with totally terrible execution and baked-in shortcuts, like the FWD General Motors X-cars. Great on paper, but not quite the same in practice.

1986 Cadillac Ad-04

I think my favorite turkey is the 1985-86 Sedan de Ville and Coupe de Ville. While they looked like “biggie” cars that shrunk in the wash, I found them attractive in their early form, especially if they happened to be that classic light yellow with matching leather! But they had that 4.1L time bomb under the hood, when cheaper and less prestigious Electras and Ninety-Eights offered a much more robust powertrain–and for less money. A turkey? You bet.

1985 Cadillac Ad-05

The later 1988-93s (1991 CC here) were solid cars with their 4.5 and 4.9 V8s, but they weren’t quite as clean as these 1985s and 1986s, aesthetically.

1971 Chevrolet Vega-04a

My least favorite turkey is probably the Vega. Simply because it was such a great-looking car. Stunning, really. A little Italian flair here, a little dollop of Camaro there… It stole your heart with its looks, then broke it in short order when it dissolved into iron oxide before the note was paid off–unless the engine blew up first. And it could have been so good. True, later ones were much improved, but the damage done in 1971-72 resulted in the better, later Vegas being less successful than they could have been. And it all could have been avoided; it’s not like GM didn’t have the cash to make them right the first time. The Vega was like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown at the last instant: Not cool.

1982 Imperial-03-04

And there you have it: My favorite turkey is a car that was let down by its engine, and my least favorite is ANOTHER car let down by its engine. And both are GMs. What can I say, this is highly subjective to one’s taste!

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So now I turn the microphone over to you, as it were. What is your favorite turkey, and what is your most derided four-wheeled contraption?

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