It’s been sitting on my book shelf for years, and I don’t remember how I came to have it, but I figured it might be useful for Turkey Week. And it was, in an ironic way. Because this book is a turkey! OK, it’s got plenty of obvious turkeys in it too, and given that it was obviously written by a Brit, the emphasis on the endless BL disasters is fairly thorough. Although not as in thoroughly comprehensive: if you think I was razzed a bit by the P76 apologists for not doing enough research, Mr. Cheetham has obviously never heard of the word. It’s chock full of easy throw-away comments and the kind of stuff you might hear in a bar. But the real zingers are when he takes on American cars.
Like the Maverick. Ok, not a brilliant car. But how about at least getting the pictures right? In fact, what he shows here as the Maverick has me highly intrigued, because it’s some sort of Maverick concept that jostled my memory banks, but I can’t find a match for it on the web. Anybody remember it? I’d love a better picture of it: a genuine Maverick Landau.
Anyway, the author makes generalized throw-away statements like “the Ford Maverick lost its reputation to metal fatigue”.
Not only does he strike out once with the Maverick picture, but twice. Sorry, that’s a Comet. Whatever. But it gets worse.
The 1963 – 1966 Dodge Dart: a royal double screw-up. He puts in a picture of the 1962 Dodge, as the ad makes clear, and does describe the famed plucked chicken’s styling. But he calls it a compact, and its impossible to tell from the text whether it’s supposed to relate to the compact ’63 – ’66 Dart, the Valiant’s stablemate, and one of the stand outs in terms of straight-forward cars and reliability of the era.
Or the actual ’62 Dodge. And this: “the slant six wasn’t renowned for its reliability”. Yes “it certainly wasn’t one of the company’s great successes”.
OK, that was just the warm-up. Here’s “A clumsy mover that wouldn’t go around corners at more than a walking pace”. Funny, considering that the B-Body was universally praised as being the best handling big American sedan of the era, and quite formidable with the F-41 suspension. But no, in reality “these…cars understeered and sent reverberations from every bump or pothole from the suspension to your clenched-in-anticipation buttocks”. Maybe the author took a taxi ride in NYC in a clapped out Chevy once. And to top it off, “It was one of the most boring-looking cars ever designed”.
To each his own Worst Car.