Curbside Question: What Was The Most Dubious, Weirdest, Or Just Plain Worst Redesign Ever?

While it hasn’t exactly been Ugly Car Week here at CC, there has been some lively discussion about odd, ugly or just plain crazy designs, thanks to jpcavanaugh’s ’78 Matador article and Paul’s subsequent AMC Deadly Sin post. That got me thinking, what was the worst redesign of an existing car line?

As you frequent readers know, sometimes the Curbside Commentariat Corps can be as entertaining and informative to read as the posts themselves, so we’d love to hear from you. What redesign makes YOU say, “What were they thinking?”

First, some criteria. It has to be a redesign or a substantial facelift, not an all-new car line. So while some of you may be itching to say AMC Pacer or Pontiac Aztek, they are sadly exempt.

There is no model year limitation, so you may nominate anything from Brass Era cars to current offerings. I’ll go first. And second, too, as there are two vehicles that I’d like to share.

First off, the 2005 Dakota. While not really that bad, this truck was a letdown from the 1997-04 Dakotas, which I really liked. My Mom’s best friend got a brand new ’98 regular cab SLT and my brother got a nearly new ’01 Sport Club Cab; both love their trucks and still own them. This redesign took a sharp truck and made it look like a compact GM pickup with a Dodge grille.

Last but not least, the 2004 Durango. Once again, the previous Durango was one of the nicest looking SUVs on the road, and it was totally ruined with this redesign. Yes, I know it was aping the styling of the Power Wagon show car, but I just don’t think it translated well.


My Mom got a brand new 2002 Durango 5.9 R/T in Atlantic Blue Pearl with chrome wheels. It was beautiful, but when it had to be replaced in the summer of 2004 thanks to an accident that totalled it, she most certainly did NOT want a new Durango. She thought they were really ugly, so we located a 9,000 mile Deep Molten Red Pearl 2003 R/T instead.

To be fair, I must admit that I like the current 2011-12 Durango, even though I’m not an SUV guy, but the 2004 – what was the deal with that one?

So, those are my nominations. What are yours?