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?
A Pacer is hardly exempt. The front grille treatment it got toward the end of its production was utterly appalling. But OK, you set the rules, so…
The jellybean Taurus is the big winner here. Ford took a car that was (at one time, though maybe not then) the best-selling car in America and turned it into a rolling joke, something it never recovered from. Not many companies have been able to so thoroughly sabotage their bread and butter, but Ford has historically been good at it (witness the Mustang).
Well yes, the Pacer got a new hood and grille, but the rest of the car was the same. There was no new side trim, taillights, etc. But I will accept it as an honorable mention.
The 78 Pacer’s raised hood was so AMC could shoehorn a 304 V8 into it.
Actually, the ’74 Matador sedan with that bizarre grille and coffin nose looked worse than the subsequent models. ’62 Dodge is a little bizzarre, but certainly not the ugliest, nor is a ’61 Plymouth (the Dragon-fly look) – both early 60’s Mopar designs DID age quickly as I remember Little League ball in 1969 – one kid’s parents ferried him to the games in a red ’61 Belvedere coupe and amongst all the Country Squires and Caprices, it looked like a car from not just another decade, but another planet.
’79 and ’80 Pacer perhaps? That ‘rise’ in the grille and hood?
I know you said “not all new”, but the current Lincoln MKS is a mild restyle of the current Taurus. Taurus is a tall, chunky car, but it’s forward-thrusting look actually is somewhat attractive to where the MKS is not. The MKS has a curious upsweep of the (already high) beltline that moves up towards the B-pillar. The ass-end of the Lincoln is a fat ass end and not in a glamourous way – it makes a tall chunky car even chunkier, if not fugly. I told a L-M rep this at a recent car show. That, no pun intended, this Lincoln (and all CURRENT Lincolns) are way off the “mark.” Dead brand walking.
I didn’t care for the ’69 Chevies (full size) with those strange wheel openings. Rest of the car was handsome. Most ’74 through late 80’s BMW U.S. Spec cars looked hideous with the Federally Mandated “battering rams.”
I will annoy many people and say the ’68-’74 Chevrolet Nova. The first-generation Nova is not a bad-looking car, albeit perhaps a little too cutesy. (It seems to be designed to look smaller than it actually is.) The second generation looks uniformly cheap and awkward, particularly the two-door, which has terrible proportions and worse detailing. It’s like a 7/8th-scale knockoff of the ’68-’69 Chevelle/Malibu (which I don’t like either — see, I said I was going to annoy everyone) that suffered a series of bad falls and sharp blows to the head prior to delivery.
The late-seventies iterations with rectangular headlights eventually managed to approach the level of inoffensive, but the ’68-’74 cars really bug me. I’m well aware that people love them as Camaros in disguise, but the second-generation Nova is one of those rare automotive designs for which I can’t summon up even backhanded affection.
The ’68 Nova wasn’t so bad, but the ’73 version certainly qualifies.
A good case could be made for the 1990 Imperial except there was such a long period between the last, previous equivalent Imperial (4-door sedan) having been built in 1975.
I’d also submit the ’57 ‘Packardbaker’, as well as the already mentioned 1996 Taurus.
And for a current candidate, the Joker-grin ‘smiley-face’ grille Mazda slapped on their whole model line, with the worst being on the otherwise highly competent 2009 Mazda3.
But the overall winner may be the abbreviated ’80 Thunderbird/Cougar, with the Panther-platform ’80 Lincoln Mk VI a close second.
I second the nomination of the smiley Mazda product line. What were they thinking, didn’t anyone at Mazda USA have any authority to reject that?
Having had a ’74, I tend to dissagree. I actually liked the 73-74 models best of the 68-74 iteration myself, though in the 2 door or 3 door hatchback that came out in I think 73 or 74.
Mine was a base 4 door with the inline 6 and NO options as it was originally a GSA fleet vehicle when my dad bought it in ’79 for my oldest sister and her first hubby. I bought it from them in ’83.
I liked the grill treatment and the taillights, which were very similar to the 71 Biscayne taillights (and the Impala too) best as it was the cleanest of that iteration IMO.
I thought the ’73 Nova would have looked awesome if GM carried over the ’72 rear bumper…with the ’73-4 taillights…mmmm, sharp. Oh well. My favorite Novas are the ’68-’74 models.
It’s hard not to find a virgin one anymore though.
You have a couple of my favorites listed, including the 2005 Dakota and some of the early ’60s Mopars. The ’79-’80 Pacer hood/grill redesign was functional in order to add the 304 V8 as an option, so that one could be excused. My current favorite is the ’98-’04 Chrysler LH sedans, including the Intrepid, Concorde and the LHS; the 300M is an exception. The ’93-’97 LH cars were lean, clean and muscular looking IMO, while the subequent cars were bloated and just plain ugly.
I actually like the ’61 Plymouths, but there’s no denying that they are bizarre!
Chrysler is a contender as a car company as a whole, with three-in-a-row of the worst model redesigns in automotive history:
It’s one thing for a car compnay to pull an occasional boner, but to have three of the worst, one right after the other? That has to be a record.
StudeDude, 100% with you on the LH cars…what a wasted opportunity.
The Wayne Kady redesign of the Riviera rear for 74. They took the boattail Riviera– a odd, but striking design, and made it both bland and awkward.
I was sorry to see the Boattail go. However it didn’t sell. I believe the deboattailed ’74 sold almost twice as well as the ’73.
Actually, it was almost the opposite (I realize all ’74 model year big car sales tanked due to the oil embargo)
’71 – 33,810 Rivieras
’72 – 33,728 Rivieras (my favorite year!)
’73 – 34,080 Rivieras
’74 – 20,129 Rivieras
’75 – 17,306 Rivieras
’76 – 20,082 Rivieras
Numbers are from my Consumer Guide ‘cylopedia.
The 3rd Gen 96-99 Taurus. It fell off the oval ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. It took the Taurus from being competitive with the Camcord to fleet queen status.
Of course by the late 90s Ford was chasing the crack rock high of easy SUV profits on the Explorer, Expedition and Excursion and empire building with the PAG acquisitions.
It shouldn’t have been another Taurus. It should have been called the Ford Ovals or the Ford Lilo and Stitch. It makes me think Ford’s design team were on something hallucinogenic.
It’s pretty easy to find candidates among the unfortunate vehicles that had 5 mph bumpers grafted onto designs for which these had never been intended, but if I’ve got to settle on one, I’ll nominate the ’79-’80 Ford Pinto. Never a thing of beauty in its sedan variant (though I quite liked the wagon and had a ’72), it became downright hideous when mated with a huge rectangular grille that seemed to have been designed for a much larger car. The Mercury Bobcat clone tried to do a waterfall grille, with equally disastrous results *shudder*.
I nominate two vehicles: One, the 1996-99 Ford Taurus which Ford stylists turned into a
horrid looking vehicle; the design was nothing but a collection of ovals. It took the Taurus from being a very competitive vehicle with the Accord and Camry and turned it into a joke. The second, the 1971 Buick Rivera, in my opinion, one of the ugliest vehicles EVER, especially when you compare it against the 1963-65 Riv. It always reminded me of a Corvette Stingray that had been restyled by Salvador Dali.
Hah, Stingray restyled by Dali, I like that. I think that’s a compliment.
There are so many.
The 1986 Riviera, Toronado, and ElDorado
1960 Buick was so Frumpy where as 59 had been Shockingly Wicked looking.
1977 T Bird, 1980 T Bird….2002 T Bird Was a Bland Remake That Looks Good Now at $10, 000
I’m going to throw a recent one out there, the 2009-current Acura TL. That redesign from the 08s was as bad as the worst classics I can think of.
As for the classics
1971 Mercury Cougar
1942 Lincoln Continental
1975 Charger (both versions)
Every collonade in 1973
What they did to the Volvo 140 Series. The original design was clean and one of my favorites of the late 60’s. Then in ’73 came the plastic grille and plastic horizontal tailights that no longer fit their spaces, then the big ass bumpers of ’74, then the grafting of a new nose for the 240 series. By the late 80’s the 240 was starting to look better, with the smaller plastic bumpers, and by the end it looked good again. But I wish I could forget those middle years.
I know. The ’73 144 had this goggle-eyed appearance and horrid grille. The bumpers, though bigger for a reason, were completely out of harmony with the car and the massive rubber overriders made the effect worse. It was like Volvo were saying “yeah ve know it does not vork so vell, but deal vith it”.
Agree +++! I owned a ’72 142S that I loved, loved, loved. It was totaled (not a scratch on me) and replaced with a ’73 144. Same basic shape, but the changes were not organic. Interior turned dark, boxy and “modern”, where before it was airy and retro-modern. I never felt the love for that car, and have missed by sky-blue 142S ever since. One the 142 the bumpers, grill and body were harmonious and iconic. in ’73 the malaise started to creep in.
1960 Ford with its timid version of the Chevy batwings, half-oval taillights, and poor quality construction (doors popped open in track testing). Didn’t look like a Ford was supposed to look, clearly a bad imitation of the bold (but not beautiful?) 59 Chevy. Coming off the conventionally styled but highly popular 59, the public was not buying this car. Back to Ford basics in a much more handsome and popular design for 61.
Among big Ford fans, I’m probably in the minority here, but I always thought the 60 Ford was good looking, certainly better looking from any angle than the 59 Chevy, which was just plain ugly. Compare the 60 Ford against the 60 Chevy and Plymouth, and the Ford just has a cleaner more contemporary look.
OK I’m gonna get crucified by the people who love these cars but I nominate the 1981 redesign of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Buick Regal, and Pontiac Grand Prix.
I LIKED the compound curves and more formal grilles of the original 1978 downsizing of the A-body (later G-body) cars. It made them look like cars a man should be driving and they carried a certain presence and gravitas. I am completely biased in this by my Dad’s 1978 Monte Carlo, but I stand by my nomination. The 1981 restyle made the cars actually look MORE similar in my eyes to each other and made the badge engineering MORE evident.
Wow, I never saw that coming. The post ’77 A-body specials remind me of humans. They were really cool & unique kids in ’78 & ’79 but they hit puberty in 1980: nothing really “went together” IMO… The GP didn’t look that much worse but the quad lites on the others looked goofy to me.
The A-bodies emerged from puberty as G-bodies in ’81 & cleaned up pretty well but I agree the different marques did lose some of their identity, especially in the drivetrain department.
I can’t help but love the ’81-’83 Regal coupe though…gorgeous car. In ’84 the instrument panel went generic & I have no love for those.
1970 Lincoln Continental
Every 1971 GM B- & C-body
Every 1973 GM A-body
1980 Cadillac Seville
You bet me to it: most definitely the 2nd generation Seville. What a dumb move…
I’ll second you on the ’70 Continental. It was like the oscillation of a sine wave; the extent to which every Lincoln and Merc were handsome in the ’60s, they became the same degree of ugly in the ’70s.
I’ll third and fourth the motion on the gen.2 Dodge Durango and the gen.3 Dodge Dakota and raise you the gen.2 Jeep Liberty. Under the the Daimler regime, they took these 3 great looking vehicles and transformed them into utter road toads. The current Jeep Wrangler is okay-however, I’m not a fan of the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man fender flares (unpainted versions) that they were saddled with.
The 2nd Gen (KK) Liberty and its Dodge Nitro alter ego were bad. It also didn’t help that aside from the sheet metal they changed nothing in terms of the drivetrain.
The early run of the current JK Wrangler looked ok, but the torque challanged minivan motor and ancient 4 speed made it an underpowered turd, more so as a 4door. It had significantly less low end grunt than the AMC 232 I6 that it replaced.
They finally fixed this last year with the 3.6 Pentastar and the
The bumper end caps are no big whoop, I could pile all the catalogs peddling aftermarket goodies for the Wrangler. Only Harley owners have more options when it comes to customization.
That’s the problem, IMHO, is that you had Daimler-Benz involved. It seems like everything under Daimler-Benz suffers. Look at the current Smart car under them. It suffers as the poor sister to Mercedes.
I nominate the “mark 3” 1970s Fiat 124 Sport Coupe. They took a lovely crisp design and tacked on this misfit square grille that looks like it came from another car entirely.
Oh, that is indeed hideous. I’d forgotten about that particular Fiat. That’s probably because they only sold two or three of them here in the states. It looks like somebody who just removed his dentures.
Nice; almost forgot about that!
As I was scrolling down your article Tom, I was going to say 2004 Durango with its bizarre cross-eyed face. But then you mentioned it. Not the worst redesign ever, but certainly one that popped into my head.
Few cars could top the pictured ’62 Dodge. I am always reminded of the plain-Jane black one Spencer Tracy drove in the movie, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”
How about the ’70 Riviera and Toronado? Both were on their way downhill after their gorgeous ’66-’67 iterations, but the Riv in ’70 got fender skirts and that strange side molding. If I remember correctly, it was the ’70 Toro that got the elongated, flat trunk lid, completely throwing off the proportions of what had been a masterful Bill Mitchell design.
I always think of the “Jimmy Durante” Matadors also as botched redesign, but I must confess that I actually liked the redesigned ’96 Taurus at the time. Now, I find the “fish mouth” front end ungainly, along with the sloping trunk lid and taillight treatment.
A couple of Pontiacs make my list: the ’70 and ’71 B-bodies. The 1969 model was a continuation in my mind of the beautiful mid-60s styling themes, but the ’70 was a letdown with the squared-up front end and those exposed horns. The ’71 was a complete disaster, with the high-mounted headlights coupled with the bloated body — easily the ugliest of GM’s redesigned B-bodies that year.
@ CA Guy: How could I forget the ’60 Ford? My uncle had one. Besides the styling issues you mentioned, I never liked the oddly shaped grille with its quad headlights mounted too far inboard.
1974 Vega (front grill, rear taillights). The cheap-looking louvers simply looked cheap, and along with the combined (cost-reduced, I’m sure) taillights, on top of the battering ram bumpers took away a big part of what made the ’71-73 cars look so good.
I’d also nominate the minor restyle of the New Beetle a few years ago. The first-gen design was based on sweeping arcs, and the poorly done attempt to give it “muscular” lines killed the effect.
The 74 Vega is on my list too, it got everything I hate from the 74 Camaro. The federal battering rams, shovel scoop headlights, and cheap looking taillights instantly ruined two of my favorite LOOKING Chevrolets ever.
The ’04 Durango was a weird looking SUV.
But, I know someone that had a 1st-gen 5.9 Durango and then later traded it in on a 5.7 Aspen, and the newer rig makes up for its aesthetic shortcomings with some added competency.
And my personal pick is the Zeta Camaro.
I’m not a huge fan of the current XJ either, but lots of people seem to like it.
Amen on the Camaro abomination. The ’74 is no longer at the bottom of my Camaro list.
I agree with the 1970 B Body Pontiac. When they came out I thought they took the 69 and ran it into a wall. The 71 redesign looked better but not as good as the 65 through 69 models. Next up would be the 86 Eldorado, Seville, Toronado, and Riveria. All just hideous after the prior generation. Finally the 74 Buick Riveria.
Other notable mentions: Even year B Body Chevy’s from 1962-74. I think the odd years were always better looking and Chevy ended up botching it up in the even years. All 1973 Ford products. Everything Ford offered had a chrome plated a Steel beam tacket on to what ever the design was to meet the bumper standards. At least GM, Chrysler and AM tried to style it to the car. The Mark 4 being the most disappointing with 72 being so beautiful and 73 being so botched up.
1988 Cutlass Supreme did Not go over Well…Looked nice But Drivetrain was BAD news.
1990 Sedan Looked like a Crappy compact , not a near luxury GM Midsize Sales champion…
Yeah the Regal did look That Much Better. Amazing now that I think about it.
What Ford Did To The Mustang and Cougar in 71,and again in 74, yet They did not kill the brand Cougar.
The 1974 Cadillac Was A head scratcher for me… I Thought It as Well as The ElDorado Looked a lot cheaper than the previous year’s models.
I was going to mention the 1986 GM E-Bodies – talk about hubris at GM in that era – but someone already did, so I’ll nominate the 2002 BMW 7-Series. Ugly, unreliable, and gimmicky.
Also, the “mushy” 2008 Subaru WRX (though they fixed it quickly).
I don’t know if this counts, but the Saturn ION, as an S-Series replacement. From day one, hopelessly outclassed.
I’m going for the less obvious. The 1999 Pontiac Sunfire.
I thought the 1995 J bodies looked great – especially the Sunfire, in spite what was under the hood or used in the interior. GM instinctively made a mess of this handsome little car by plastering it with all manner of ugly spats, spoilers and scoops. They added visual mass to the lower part of the car, ruining its svelte shape. This mess was far worse to me than any amount of strakes slapped on a Grand Am. I guess Pontiac was just warming up for the Aztek!
Totally agree with XR7Matt on the current-gen TL. I have several friends who are late 20s yuppie types who had the beautiful last-gen TL and recently replaced them. Two of them got Audis, one got a CTS and one got an Infiniti. None considered another TL.
I’ll add the TL’s platform-mate, the current-gen Honda Accord. Just a hideous, fussy, bloated design. I find the coupes grotesque with their fat asses and bulging tailights. Worst of all, the current Accords don’t look like Hondas. They could be a Saturn, a Toyota, a Kia — anything. And the MCE they did that tacked on two reflector strips on the trunk of the sedan and called it a day is straight out of the Old GM playbook. I was literally floored when they announced that “refresh.” I don’t even need to get into the CrossTour.
Some others to add:
2012 Honda Civic – uglier and cheaper looking/feeling
2009 Toyota Matrix – took a cool-looking, functional vehicle and made it so ugly and cheap that it will probably be discontinued even though it’s a great package
2009 Corolla – took bland design, bloated it out, cheapened the interior. The recent MCE was truly lipstick on a pig. The huge chrome mustache across the trunk lid is ridiculous.
2002 Lexus ES – bug eyed, droopy assed, non-premium-looking update. I actually had a letter published in Motor Trend comparing this car to a frog and accusing the writer of fellating Lexus for giving it a ridiculously glowing review that neglected to say anything about the car’s horrible new looks. I do admit the ES has improved somewhat in subsequent gens. But still not a beauty.
See a common theme here? Tokyo, we have a problem.
Nice. I’m with you on all of these. I believe that as Pontiac went down the tubes, the Japanese firms were forced to hire GM’s unemployed molded-lump and glued-on-doodad designers, who proceeded to do what they do best.
Ironically, the very last Pontiacs were cleaned up quite a bit, looking almost Japanese in their understatement. Coincidence? Or…?
Lutz ordered them “de-cladded” and that’s how the plastic ribbing went in the rubbish bin.
I parked next to a G8 recently, and was struck by what a sharp and attractive car it finally was. Fine details, clean lines, all top notch, as good as any German or Asian car. Love the body-color door handle insert, for one of many nice details.
Thats because holden of austrailia was doing the styling and were great cars, and they were fast. you can still get a g6-g8 in the holden commodorejust dont know if you can get one imported to the us but next year they will be here as the chev ss
Totally agree that list. Honda products keep getting bigger and uglier. The TL is horrific and apparently even the next gen model is going to be pretty sad.
I’d also like to nominate the third gen Miata and the second gen Scion xB. I owned Miatas from the first two generations, but when the restyle for this one came out, I took a pass. That giant gaping grin just made me irrationally angry.
The xB got bloated and lost its goofy charm.
The sixth generation Malibu gets a nod. It went from automotive white noise to pig ugly.
And what about the entire Subaru line-up. Every blessed current model.
Acura is attempting to “clean up” their “can opener/parrot’s beak” styling. Acura sales tanked, although there is a slight improvement, these Honda products are part of a corporate line up of cars that used to look sharp as well as being class-leading in engineering, packaging and build quality. Nowadays, Acura/Honda (Fit excluded) are “also rans.” 2009-10 Acura TL is the sedan equivalent to the Pontiac Aztek. A Pokemon character!
the 61 plymouth isnt realy a 61 plymouth becouse you see its realy from outta space,its not a car at all its a science fiction space ship that travels through the universe at the speed of light from galaxy to galaxy ..that virgil exiner has a lot to answer for,lol
Hey stop giving away the secrets!
Wow, no mention of the bathtub 1991 Caprice yet?
The 06-present Impala, for a decent enough car, is just boring compared to the 00-05.
But I’ll go outside the box here and say the 1997 Buick Park Avenue. I just hated the looks of it. At least the 91-96 had that stately, Buick look the old folks (my grandparents included) just loved.
I like the 06 and up Impala, its not exciting in the least bit, but its better than the really awkward 2000-20005 version with the giant black rear panel with the wanna be Corvette tail lights and the rest of the car was not much better.
The 97 Park Ave was a nice continuation of the same curvy good looks of the 1991-1996 version without those awkward do nothing fake vent windows that the big FWD GM sedans had at the time.
So I disagree on both.
2008 Scion xB
In fact, Toyota, in general, seems to be doing an outstanding job of running just about all of their previously existing models into the ground, either in styling or engineering (or both)..
Beat me to it.
I really love the 2nd gen xB, it has real attitude.The 1st gen was just a sensible square box, and when you buy a car sensible is just boring.
I think it’s a matter of different audiences. The Mk1 xB appealed to some people (like my mother, who thinks that most cars are basically indistinguishable) mainly because they were so unapologetically utilitarian. It was a car largely free of typical automotive styling contrivances. Was it a stylish car? I suppose not, but that was exactly the point.
The 1958 Ford. This was a “refresh” of the ’57. For some reason every manufacturer in ’58 decided they had to have quad headlights, which are a styling faux paus in and of themselves. The grill for ’58 was ugly, and the fake hood scoop was poorly executed. The less said about “Googie” anodized side trim the better. Ford even managed to f-up the tail lights. A car that was supposed to have two big round afterburner tail lamps got 4 blobs that looked like they were taken from the Mercury parts bin.
Agree on all counts. Your call on the 58 Ford reminds me also of the 51 Ford which was way less attractive than its 1949 and 50 counterparts.
I disagree; I think the ’51 Ford was the best looking of the ’49-’51 series. The twin spinner grille, the little vortex generators on the tailights, the “F” on the wheel covers and the steering wheel/instrument panel update on the ’51 Ford made it more “modern” – in step with the emerging jet-age of the ’50’s. These styling cues offset the old fashioned two-piece flat glass windshield and was a nice segue for the ’52 all-new (save flathead V-8) Ford.
I like the quad headlights better than the light pods of the ’57, which have always looked weird to me. As for the rest of the ’58 Ford, Joe Oros, who oversaw their design, said the problem, in retrospect, was trying to borrow too much from the new four-seat Thunderbird, which didn’t work on taller, more upright four-door sedans.
Couldn’t agree more on the 2008 Scion xB, and add to this the 2009 Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe. It’s almost as though Toyota lost it’s way in those years.
This one may prove controversial, but I’ve always felt the first generation MX-5 Miata (the NA of 1989 – 1997) was far superior to the second generation (the NB of 1998 – 2005).
The current ‘smiley-face’ Miata makes it a whole lot worse than the 2nd gen.
In fact, the only real quibble I have with the 2G Miata is the goofy trunk bump. It’s almost as if the Miata’s designers were trying to emulate the fake spare tire bump from the Lincoln Mark series.
Agree! Just about any smiley face Mazda with the bad plastic surgery is a great leap backwards.
Me too. Always wanted a first-gen Miata, finally got one! But as Tom points out, after hitting a home run, what do you do for an encore? I wish they’d stuck with the gen-1.
Can I nominate every Delta 88 from 1971 to 1975? The double waterfall grille is OK, but not when you mount the headlights in whopping great chisel-shaped norks right beside it. The tail of the car (especially the ’73 appears to be pulling a sad face and/or has been sat on by an elephant. ’74s were an improvement, but then in ’75 the hacked the grille into 4 sections and gave the rear end the box treatment. ’76 with rectangular headlights and sensible grille treatments made up for it and gave the car some grace.
Different strokes for different folks. I find the ’71-’73 Deltas very attractive… The ’73 front & ’71 rear are my favorites. I’m disappointed at the level of ’71-’76 B/C/E-body hate on this site but I’ll have to suck it up I guess.
I’m smart enough to know their faults but evidently dumb enough to enjoy the hell out of collecting, owning, & tinkering with them.
Enjoy the pic of what lives in my basement!
No mention of the 58-59 Oldsmobiles yet?
The ’58 Olds looked like a overgrown jukebox. The ’59 design was much cleaner.
The 57 Olds Was The Best until 65… To Have The 58 replace that beauty was criminal.
I can’t believe nobody has nominated the Studebaker Hawk. They had a car which they knew was the prettiest car of the 1950’s, and basically turned it into a Valiant with a stupid grille. It wasn’t just a redesign, it was a bad omen.
1980 Seville and 1991 Caprice deserve to share the trophy.
How about the 1957 Hudsons? V line styling is way over the top.
I’d say the 1956 Nash gives the 1956-57 Hudson a run for its money. The Nash, particularly in the stubby Statesman version, deserves a lifetime achievement award. The 1955 had already proven why inboard headlights were an evolutionary dead end. However, the 1956 topped that with gaudy two-toning and overwrought puka shell taillights.
The Nash’s grille may not have scared children like a 1950 Studebaker’s, but it was iconic in its ugliness — a Subaru Tribeca for the 1950s. Nash’s final mistake.
In the Cadillac corner, we have:
86 Seville, along with the Toro, Riv
We’re on the same page here. 1986 Seville/Eldo/Riv/Toro and 1985 FWD DeVille/Electra/98. I realize these cars were much more “techy” than their predecessors, but style-wise…eeek! If you take a look at the 1985 Eldorado Biarritz (one of my ultimate desires) and compare it to the ’86, it’s enough to make you cry! And I really liked the 1980-84 RWD DeVille/Fleet/Electra/98. These cars were large, grand, and elegant.
1988 Cadillac Eldorado coupe:
The 79-85 Eldo, style wise, has held up really well. Well proportioned and crisp clean styling. Same for the 76 Seville IMO. Those 2 models were the best representations of Mitchell’s sheer look.
The front half of the 80 Seville, which shares basic styling with the Eldo also looks ok. But I remember how aghast people were at that rear when it came out.
Same page again, “SS”. What I wouldn’t give for 2 of my all-time top ten desired cars:
1. 1976-79 Seville. We were in Detroit in 1976 and we toured the Cadillac factory. There they were, everywhere, 1976 Sevilles. They were all silver when they first came out. I asked the tour lady why, and she said when they introduce a new car, that’s what they usually do, make them all one color for awhile. (?) Okay. So, I need a ’76, very low miles, and a ’79 Elegante, very low miles.
2. 1985 Eldorado Biarritz. All black, Touring Suspension, astroroof, aluminum road wheels, Delco/Bose cassette stereo, very low miles. My friend’s boss had a burgundy one like this. I loved it.
The disaster known as the “Cadillac of Tomorrow”, per the 1985 brochure:
I was shocked the day in 1984 that I stopped to take a closer look at the 1985 Cadillacs… Even the Front seats looked Cheap and low…uhh… Not good at all… The Salesman asked Whattaya think of This new Baby?…………………i just looked at him to gage his true love of it… and then i told him i thought it was pretty sad looking for a Cadillac. I Was not even impressed…..
The Fleetwood had what a thicker Body Colored B pillar? Some more Pillowed seats ,
I have to go with the 1960 Desoto and 1961 Dodge. Chrysler seems to really lose their way in the early 1960s.
And this may be blasphemy, but I think the ’71-’73 Mustangs were way too big and too bulky looking. But then Ford followed those cars up with the Mustang II, so…… :-/
Yes I Agree the 61 Dodge Was Hideous in The Front… and In The Back BOTH Models … The Fishlike ones and the lower end model. The 62 Was Cool in a European like way to me as a kid, but I rarely saw Them in my GM/Ford NJ town.
A couple of nominations:
1) The seventh-generation 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix. The previous car had GM’s long, low and wide look down pat, and had its curves in the right places to look muscular – perhaps a bit affected, but cohesive. (The second-generations W-bodies generally looked better than their predecessors or successors, IMHO.) But the 2004 car just looked lumpy, and the wedge shape created by the rising beltline and the way-too-high trunk lid didn’t play well with the car’s curves at all. It went from looking distinctive to looking like a fat Grand Am.
2) The second-generation Toyota Matrix. The first-generation car had some odd bodyside shaping and odd headlights, but was otherwise not a bad-looking car. The rising beltline and falling roofline gave the car a linear style that the rest of the body mostly managed to hold on to. But the second generation car was all weird lumps and odd lines. Whose idea was it to replace the cargo area side glass with those stupid, useless windows flanking the hatch? In addition to impairing visibility and looking ridiculous, it also made the rear-window glass end so horribly abruptly at the C-pillar without resolution. And adding insult to injury, the second-generation car had less useful cargo space.
I was so tired of the Cladding Look… I agree, amd the final Bonneville was rather Unusual as well, though i would like a loaded one.
I’m with you 100% on #1. I was appalled when I saw the 2004 Grand Prix.
Oh, I forgot one. I can’t say that it looked horrible, but it was not particularly well-received and is still spoken of derisively: the restyling of the entire BMW line by Chris Bangle. The term “Bangle Butt” will probably live on in infamy, even though BMW sold just as many cars as they ever had before.
Ooh, yeah, I forgot about the 7-series abomination. The E38 was such a clean, purposeful design that it was truly heartbreaking when the Bangle-ized version came out in 2002.
Some tended to regard BMW as the object of scorn and derision with their traditional ‘same sausage, different length’ design philosophy, but others (like me) thought it worked just fine.
Of course, BMW’s sales have been on a steady upward trajectory with the Bangle cars, so what do I know.
They were extremely elegant, well-proportioned sausages. Bangle replaced that with shocking shut-lines and weird creases.
The Bangle 7 series was sad, but I feel the newest 3 is just as awful. It doesn’t have a nice line on it. The front end droops and the back looks truncated. The roofline swoops to the rear deck in a curve that doesn’t match the transition from hood to roof at all. The whole car is just bloated and misshapen.
Yes…. but the lemming still run out and die to buy it :/
Yes, pretty much everything by Bangle the prince of weird. Not just BMWs, look at the trademark random slashes, lumpy proportions and nasty detailing of his Fiat Coupe.
Drifiting dangerously OT here as that’s not a redesign but I have to assume from your comment that you’ve never seen a FIAT Coupe in the metal: There’s not a bad angle on it, the proportions are beautiful and the wheel arch slashes are far from random… Bangle certainly designed some bad bodies but the Coupe isn’t one of them.
Of course – as my avatar suggests – I might be biased. 😉
I know there aren’t too many J body fans here, but..
I always thought the 2003 refresh of the Cavalier was a bit awkward.
I agree with you on these Cavaliers, but I think what they did to the Sunfire was absolute mutilation. The Js were nice looking when new.
The Mustang II. Eck!
There have been a lot of good nominations, and I will try not to be duplicative. Here are mine, in completely random order:
1. 1959 Dodge. This was the worst mangling of the beautiful 57-8 Forward Look cars.
2. 1973 Ford LTD. The 71 was stunningly beautiful, particularly the 2 door. the 72 was not bad, although the rear end was fouled up. But the 73 was fat and bloated and just looked bad. Then came the 75, which took a bad design and made it just generic.
3. 1975 Caprice. the 73 had been a beautiful car. The 74 was worse, and the 75 was just plain unattractive.
4. 1955 Studebakers. These are my least favorite of every car ever made from that body.
5. 1957 Lincoln. the 56 was beautiful. The 57, particularly the front end, was hideous.
6. Which was worse – the 72 Plymouth Fury or the 73? I can’t decide, but both of them were maybe the low point of the Mopar fuselage.
7. 2009 Honda Fit. Why would they try to make a Fit look more like a Caliber?
Forgot about the downward spiral of the ’55 (and later) Studebakers. That one was a real heartbreaker, mainly because the ’53-’54 Loewy coupes were so stunningly beautiful and timeless works of automotive art.
The 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk deserves an honorable mention. How do you take one of the most beautiful coupes of all time and turn it into one of the most hackneyed designs of the decadent 1950s? It’s all there — the ungainly nose, the swaths of awkward chrome, the tacked on tailfins. It’s downright farcical.
Did Loewy cry when he first saw this design proposal?
I still think that the Hawk was an improvement on the awful ’55.
Those 86 Cadillac Eldos and Sevilles had to be among the worst designs in history. To tout them at the top of the model line up took real chutspah. I test drove a new 86 Eldo, my 84 strip down Camaro seemed roomier and more substantial.
The 75-77 Gran Fury gets honorable mention. The single headlight design really detracts from the elegance of the other big Mopars, with either duals or hidden headlights.
SAAB 9-5 – 2006 facelift (hideous looks, cheap GM replacements inside)
Mercedes ML – increasingly ugly with each new generation
Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ (99-04) – bulbous tub instead of original elegant ZJ
Jeep Liberty replacing the last “brick” Cherokee in 2002. Made it back to square, but even uglier a few years back.
Anything from post-Soviet Russia. Especially the Chevy-Niva as a replacement to the original Lada-Niva.
All BMWs after 1995, except E46 3-Series.
I nominate the 1980 Cougar. Not that the year B4 was a great beauty, but… these were hideous. With their fussy details led by those canted tailights, awful proportions, & a body that made their track look too narrow.
cougar deserves mention, every restyle crapped it up a little more from 67 thru 1980. Though I’d Love a loaded rare 82 right about now.
From a European perspective the worst must be Ford Scorpio second generation. From a fine looking first gen car to what Clarkson described (in this case very accurately) as a wide mouthed frog.
Also Fiat Grande Punto redesign into Punto Evo which ruined the best looking super mini on the road – the irony is they just redesigned it again and made it look almost the same as before the evo debacle.
What about the second generation Renault Twingo? The first one was cute and quirky. Then it became drab.
What Ford did to the Taurus has gotten well-deserved notice here, but what they did to the Sable was even worse. From sleek cruiser to mutant fish in just a decade. As proud owner of an ’87, I was shocked in disbelief when I saw the new ones. Deadly Sin, Mercury never recovered.
New ’96 Sable! See it at the Sign of the Cat…fish.
Totally agree. Took a car that would have looked good in Germany and turned it into a cartoon of itself.
Agreed: I had a 1990 Taurus wagon, burgundy/maroon, the fancy model with the Insta-Clear windshield (which was great, but the insurance company refused to replace with anything but plain glass, as the Insta-Clear was an insanely expensive part). Great car. Again, like with the ’72 Volvo 140 series, you have an iconic design that is harmonious and still looks “modern” and good today, like the best of the German cars from that era. With the Taurus/Sable, Ford went out on a crazy limb and got what I call “designey”, styling for the sake of styling or being “new”, and throwing away your investment in a design language that works and that your customers like. Imagine a rejected redesign of the Taurus/Sable that would have been an organic evolution of the original design language, instead of what we got, which was “Ovals R Us”.
I have to include the 1975 MGB. The one-piece rubber bumpers were awful, even worst then the ’74 buffers, and raising the ride height to meet the federal requirements made it even worse.
My dis-honorable mention would be for the 69 Mustang. It looked like Ford took the ’68 and injected air to give it a true bloat.
I was going to nominate that one as well, although they can look nice when painted.
My other nomination is another terrible nose-job, the 1974 Vega.
I have to say that ’62 Dodge photo at the top is the most striking picture of the most ugly car I have ever seen. In your face.
The second photo of the ’58 Packardbaker shows the single lamest styling feature ever: an obviously stuck-on cap to cram dual headlights onto single headlighted fenders. Bad enough on this ’58 Stude, but on the last Packard….
Does anyone have any more detailed, ‘inside’ information on how that hideous nose came to be on the ’62 Dodge? The only information I can find is that it’s not the doing of Exner’s team, but was at the insistance of then Dodge Division president M.C. Patterson.
How does something that bizarre happen? It’s truly one of those “What were they thinking?” scenarios. Did the Chrysler stylists just give up or was it pure desperation, and they figured, “What the hell. If we’re going to have an ugly wart of a car, might as well give it the ugliest damn nose we can possibily come up with” and let Patterson put whatever kind of weird grille he wanted on the car?
The ’62 Dodge nose is a real enigma. It appears to have come from a studio design process in 1959-60.
MrJynx has photos showing the progression from two clays they did in 1959 to a final prototype in 1960. See how the final version combines elements of each. (He doesn’t say where these photos are from. Was there an article somewhere, like Collectible Automobile?)
Elsewhere on that site you can see Plymouth’s experiments with asymmetry. Quite bizarre!
If ever there were a design that just begged for big single headlights on each side, this would be it. This was Dodge, for crying out loud, the company that would put big single headlights on their trucks with big aluminum rings around them to make them look even bigger. It may not have looked a lot better than this (there is only so much you can do with that raised floating grille idea) but I’ll bet it would have been better.
I wonder how the ’62 Dodge would have looked with hidden headlights. After all, the ’42 DeSoto had hiddens.
Holy crap, you’re not kidding about some bizarre design studies, especially those cyclops headlights molded into the driver’s side of the top of the Plymouth’s hood! All I can figure is that quad headlights were all the rage at the time and mandatory for all car lines. It was unthinkable that the low-line Plymouth would get quads while the up-market Dodge would have ‘lesser’ dual headlights (even though they would have looked a whole lot better), so in an effort to come up with something different for Dodge, the ‘warthog’ nose was devised.
Pressured for time to refine the styling to something acceptable, the Dodge execs approved whatever goofy crap the stylists came up with in their first effort, rushed it into production, and hoped for the best, sort of like Ed Wood’s movie making style where he never shot more than one take.
The infamous cocktail party that triggered the crash program to downsize these cars happened in 1960. (CC History here.) They must have frozen the designs they had to have any hope of getting these cars into showrooms by fall 1961.
MrJynx shows a full-length ’62 studio clay from ’59.
Judging from the date of that studio clay photo, it looks like the ’62 Dodge was going to get the warthog nose with inset lights, come hell or high water. The crash downsizing just exacerbated the problem.
But a full-size 1962 Plymouth with a normal grille certainly would have fared better and kept the division from nose-diving from third to ninth place in sales that year.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if Patterson’s mindset at the time was, “You can do whatever you want to the rest of the car, but that grille stays!”.
Headlight adapters- it appears that the quad headlights were an option. I’ve seen cars with the quad headlight adapters with single 7″ headlight, another adapter?
I suppose it’s possible but I’ve never seen a ’62 Dodge with 7″ dual headlights and/or grille devoid of headlights (nor a ’63 or ’64, either).
Of course, the grille on the ’65 A990 race-only Coronet had inserts that eliminated the inboard high-beams. Unlike the earlier cars, it was a much easier mod because of the plainer, simpler grille work. Racers could even perform the modification without the oem inserts (they just cut up another grille) to maintain a stock look while saving weight for the super-stock class. Maybe that’s the car being thought of.
another nomination: Jaguar E type V12. Not entirely their fault with the rising tide of regulations etc. but they turned the lovely ’61 cat into a toad
Apologies all around, but I think this rather fetching. Alistair, if want, i’ll take it off your hands! 🙂
The 1994 Cadillac Was Kind Of Plain , Fat and just plain “Chevy-like” for my tastes.
They needed an update, But THIS Fat Cow Look?
Make the More $$$ Concours Model Look Premium To The DEvilles
My family had a ’95 Deville. Agree they were a bit fat looking, but I don’t think they were too ugly. Not like the bathtub Caprice. The MCE for the Deville in ’97 that finally got rid of the fender skirts and modernized the front end went a long way to improve the looks.
It came out 3 model years after the bathtub Caprice Right? Well I did not think that look had been well received, so it puzzled me why they went for a similar look, of a lessor model.
Some really good ones have been mentioned, and a few that I COMPLETELY disagree with as well!!
I’m mostly drawing a blank here, and this is hardly the most egregious example – but the one that keeps coming to mind is the 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse…
Not an awful looking car, but after the cutting-edge cool and contemporary 1990’s DSM Eclipses, I thought this was a huge letdown. In general, I think Mitsubishis are bad, flimsy vehicles – but in the 80’s and 90’s, they were at least unique and quirky bad, flimsy vehicles that occasionally offered stellar performance. The ’00 Eclipse was just the Japanese equivalent of a Pontiac Grand Am…
Also, the 2004 Nissan Maxima – the one where the non-sunroof models came with a weird, longitudinal glass cutout in the roof that didn’t open. This was when they moved the Maxima upmarket and had the Altima fill it’s old slot. IMO, Nissan had a string of massive hits with the sedately styled Maxima from ’87-’03, that was really a “4-Door Sports Car” under it’s stealth, midsize sedan skin. While I appreciated the oddness of the ’04 model, it was a total dud stylistically that somehow seems to have worked for Nissan – the Altima does (at least) the volume that the old Maxima did, while the new Maxima still manages to sell respectably enough and at a much higher price.
Actually, come to think of it – this car introduced a lot of styling themes that infiltrated the rest of the Nissan lineup in short order and largely influenced the rest of the industry in the middle of the ’00s. Personally, I think they’re ridiculous looking, but they were a hit with car shoppers. Go figure…
I’m curious how other people feel about this car in retrospect. I vaguely remember the automotive press was not enthralled with it at the time, but looking back – I think this and the Altima were probably a lot more influential than we realize (yet). High beltline, large bumpers, wide “chrome-ish” grille separating trapezoidal hedlamps, sedan body with coupe roofline and strange angles at C-pillar… within a few years, almost every car looked somewhat like this…
That sunroof! I all but forgot about that goofy slit briefly carved through the roofs of those things(seemed brief anyway, I haven’t seen one like that since, well 2004/5)
The styling of the 04 Maxima always looked like a 4 door 350z to me, of which, I think is equally unattractive. I can definitely see some current car influence there. Between it and the 300 it could be considered a 1-2 punch
I always wanted to make a big, silver Mylar coin and glue it to the longitudinal-slot sunroof of a Maxima from that era.
Swear to God, I always thought that strange sunroof made those Maximas look like a large, rolling piggy bank…
Thank you thank you. There is no vehicle design that makes me blow chunks worse than these disgusting Nissan things. In NC, this has to be literally THE most common vehicle on the road today — the “new” Nissan. I can barely turn my head without seeing either a Sentra, Altima, or Maxima.
All these cars look morbidly obese to me. Add insect-like bloblike headlights that flicker/blind the shit out of me at night separated by the grille stripe with that oversized round emblem.
Yet there’s little if any semblance of decklid but wait…these things aren’t even hatchbacks? Of course don’t forget the Altezza style clear taillights with the bubble lenses in them…slowly creeping into the side quarter panels. And wazzap with the fake “dual exhaust” on the 4-cylinder Altimas?
Excepting the poor ‘lil Cube, I find no vehicle anywhere near as visually excremental as the entire newer Nissan lineup, trux included. What disgusts me is that North Carolinians can’t snap these heaps up quickly enough. Buy a Hyundai folks!
Fugly fugly fugly.
1. 1962 Plymouth
2. 1971 Mustang (sorry, but the II is much more liveable for me)
3. 1980 T-Bird/Cougar
4. 1986 Cadillac
5. 1987 Jeep CJ/YJ
6. 1988 Passat
7. 1991 Caprice
8. 1992 Skylark
9. 1993 Camaro
10. 1996 Taurus/Sable
I liked the 93 Camaro. It was hideous when it got that refresh in 98 or 99 though.
I was going to add this but you beat me to it.
In late 1997 I walked into Serra Chevrolet in Birmingham, finally able to afford ordering my first new car a Quasar Blue 6-speed Camaro. I hadn’t even gotten to the showroom when I saw the front end of a new ’98 as it was getting prepped. The sales guy in the parking lot spotted me right away & asked if I needed help. I asked him if all the new Camaros had that front end & he said yep. I was so frustrated because I then knew that I’d never ever own a new car.
I tried for a few years to accept the new face but nope, no aftermarket grille could de-uglify the car. They look even worse now that the cheap plastic headlight assemblies are all yellowed/ruined. I think this redesign helped sell Mustangs.
Put my vote in for the 78 GM mid-size cars, especially the fastback Olds Cutlass and Buick Century.
1963 Buick Special!
Really minor I guess, compared to the above, but the lightbar tail lights they put on the ’81 VW Rabbit just looked terrible to me.
That is a pet peeve of mine, when the cheapen or make a taillight more generic…it looks like crap, sales plunge, yet They Leave IT. Do They not see The Blob of an unattractive cheap taillight that does not work as well to complete the look?
I had a 2010 Crosstour EX-L. Put over 46k miles on it in 24 months. Wife loved it, I loved it, and we fought over the replacement. I paid $10G more to get a 2012 GLK350 with Nav and a few more toys. We have 3 Mercedes and love them, but Honda makes a damn fine car!
Re: Dave M.’s list:
Forgot about the ’92 Skylark. I nearly recoiled physically, the first time I saw one in a mall parking lot.
What a homely green lil’ wart that thing was! *urkk*
Come to think of it, the early to mid 90’s were very not kind to domestic car styling in general.
Oh, I forgot about the Datsun/Nissan Zs? How ’bout a blanket submission for the whole line. Every iteration made you miss the 240Z more. The current one especially.
1998 Altima, was the nice 93-97 porked up, but not roomier. It’s shelf life was cut short by Carlos Ghon, to get the 2002 out quick.
And the Saturn Ion to replace the S series was GM’s worst redesign, ever. It literally killed Saturn division. The ’86 Eldo at least got a stretch and didn’t kill Caddy.
Nice comments from everyone. I like being reminded of some of what I thought were the big styling/face-lift flops of the past.
74 and onward Camaros
One I didn’t see mentioned was the 75 Charger. Boy, talk about knocking the wind out of a teen-aged boy’s dream…I always liked the aggressive take-no-prisoners look of the Charger (even if the 74 was beginning to look a little bloated). One look at the 75 had me thinking “What in the world were they thinking?” Took a fine car and totally emasculated it.
They didn’t emasculate the Charger for 1975; they took a Cordoba clone and slapped a “Charger” name on it “bastardizing” the Charger name. In retrospect, Dodge should’ve called it “SE”. Perhaps in ’75-’77 the Dodge Cordoba clone might’ve sold better as buyers wouldn’t have been confused with what this personal-luxo brougham coupe’s mission really was. . .
When my friend bought his 75 Charger new I could NOT Believe he Chose THAT for a New Car- Not A Firebird, or something cooler… It Looked like a Fury more than a Cordoba IMO.
A lot of the “worst” redesigns listed here, were some of the biggest hits.
The 71-76 GM tanks and 73-77 Colonnades made GM $$ in spades.
Also, the 74-81 Camaros sold so well, the sporty cars were saved from extinction.
A poor redesign is one that flops on the market and hurts the company’s bottom line. ‘Beauty is in eye of beholder, but ugly is to the bone’
I’ll second the 03 J body refresh. The 95’s were great, and the 2000 refresh of the Cavalier made it look a little more modern. My mom has an 03 Sunfire though and it looks very cartoonish. I thought the 09 VIbe was nice though, much more wagon like than the 09 Matrix. That said, what is so bad with rear turn signal indicators being amber? The last car I can think of that had them was the outgoing Altima. I’m tired of bland looking clear and red lenses.
Oh, and I’ll also nominate the 07 Camry. It just looked fat and bloated, and the wheel covers on the popular LE’s were awful.
I nominate the jellybean post ’96 Z cars. As a previous poster mentioned, the 240Z was cool but the bumpers grew, then the Z became the ZX.. but Nissan blew me away with the Z32 in 1990. Holy crap, it looked like a Fiero which was a good thing to me. I even liked the clever GI Joe TV ads…really cool.
And in 1996 they took the car & turned it into a freakin’ jellybean. Much like the Crossfilre, it reminds me of a giant Frog…. the rear end is like a huge pulsating zit or a giant bulging ass…as if I squeezed the car a giant terd would just shoot out of the license plate opening.
And of course we have those goofy spear taillights which almost reached their goal of touching the side door handles. I just can’t picture how someone could look at one of these things & call it beautiful.
Personally it has to be the 2004 “facelift” FIAT did to their Multipla (before and after pic below)
The bottle-nosed 1998 original was controversial, but for me it has integrity and a really appealing originality. Bottling out and slapping a more conventional front end on it just ruins that for me.