Fiat X1/9

20 Most Atrocious Sports Cars in Automotive History

Sports cars, with their sleek designs and high-performance engines, have always held a special place in the hearts of automotive enthusiasts. However, not all sports cars are created equal. These are the cars that promised speed, agility, and excitement but delivered disappointment, frustration, and a hefty dose of regret. From lackluster performance and questionable handling to design blunders that left us shaking our heads, these sports cars have left their mark in infamy.

Ford Mustang II

1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra II
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Ford Mustang II, despite carrying the prestigious Mustang name, faced criticism for its underpowered engine options, lackluster performance, and deviation from the muscle car heritage that made the Mustang famous. It struggled to deliver the thrilling driving experience expected from a Mustang.

To improve the Ford Mustang II, focusing on more powerful engine options, better handling, and a return to the classic Mustang design would have been essential. Reconnecting with its performance roots could have made it a more compelling sports car.

Yugo GVX

Yugo GVX
Image Credit: Chamelfo Ropatras/WikiCommons.

The Yugo GVX faced criticism for its poor build quality, unreliable mechanics, and subpar performance, making it a far cry from the image of a sporty European car. It struggled to deliver on its promise of being an affordable sports car.

To enhance the Yugo GVX, significant improvements in build quality, engine performance, and handling were necessary. A focus on reliability and safety features could have made it a more competitive and trustworthy sports car.

Fiat X1/9

Fiat X1/9
Image Credit: r Charles01/WikiCommons.

The Fiat X1/9, while praised for its handling, faced criticism for its lack of power, rust-prone body, and questionable build quality. It struggled to compete with other sports cars in terms of overall performance and durability.

To elevate the Fiat X1/9, addressing rust issues, upgrading engine performance, and improving build quality would have been crucial. Enhancing its overall reliability and aesthetics could have made it a more attractive and enduring sports car.

DeLorean DMC-12

DeLorean DMC-12
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The DeLorean DMC-12, famous for its appearance in the “Back to the Future” film series, faced criticism for its underwhelming performance, lack of power, and questionable reliability. It struggled to deliver the sports car performance and handling expected from its iconic design.

To improve the DeLorean DMC-12, enhancing engine performance, addressing reliability concerns, and refining handling would have been necessary. A focus on delivering on the promise of its futuristic design could have made it a more competitive sports car.

Mazda RX-8

Mazda RX-8
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Mazda RX-8 faced criticism for its unconventional rotary engine, relatively low power output, and high fuel consumption. While known for its balanced handling, it struggled to match the performance expectations of traditional sports cars.

To enhance the Mazda RX-8, improving engine power and fuel efficiency while retaining its excellent handling would have been crucial. Addressing the challenges associated with the rotary engine could have made it a more competitive and efficient sports car.

Toyota MR2 Spyder

Toyota MR2 Spyder
Image Credit: r MercurySable99/WikiCommons.

The Toyota MR2 Spyder, although praised for its nimble handling, faced criticism for its lack of power and a convertible top that was prone to leaks and poor insulation. It struggled to deliver the performance and comfort expected from a sports car.

To improve the Toyota MR2 Spyder, enhancing engine power, addressing convertible top issues, and improving interior comfort would have been crucial. Achieving a better balance between performance and convenience could have made it a more competitive sports car.

Nissan 350Z (First Generation)

Nissan 350Z (First Generation)
Image Credit: Christian Flores/WikiCommons.

The first-generation Nissan 350Z, although known for its powerful V6 engine and sharp handling, faced criticism for a lack of refinement, excessive cabin noise, and an interior that fell short of expectations. It struggled to provide the overall sports car experience buyers desired.

To elevate the first-generation Nissan 350Z, addressing cabin noise issues, improving interior quality, and enhancing overall refinement would have been essential. Maintaining its powerful engine and handling while refining the driving experience could have made it a more competitive sports car.

Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4

Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4
Image Credit: order_242/WikiCommons.

The Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4, despite its all-wheel-drive and twin-turbocharged engine, faced criticism for its complexity, high maintenance costs, and reliability concerns. It struggled to deliver the long-term performance and affordability expected from a sports car.

To improve the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4, simplifying its design for easier maintenance, reducing costs, and enhancing reliability would have been crucial. Maintaining its performance while making it more accessible to enthusiasts could have made it a more competitive sports car.

Pontiac Fiero

1984 Pontiac Fiero 
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Pontiac Fiero, despite its unique mid-engine layout, faced criticism for engine fires, lack of power, and a subpar suspension that hindered its handling. It struggled to deliver the safety, performance, and overall sports car experience buyers expected.

To enhance the Pontiac Fiero, addressing safety concerns, upgrading engine performance, and improving suspension and handling would have been essential. Achieving a more balanced and reliable sports car could have made it a more competitive option.

Ford EXP

Ford EXP
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Ford EXP, marketed as a sporty coupe, faced criticism for its lack of power, uninspiring handling, and overall underwhelming performance. It struggled to deliver the sporty and exciting driving experience expected from a sports car.

To improve the Ford EXP, enhancing engine power, refining handling, and offering more performance-oriented features would have been necessary. Achieving a more engaging and dynamic driving experience could have made it a more appealing sports car.

Ford Probe

Ford Probe
Image Credit: Kieran White/WikiCommons.

The Ford Probe, marketed as a sporty coupe, faced criticism for its underwhelming performance, lack of a true sports car feel, and generic styling that failed to capture enthusiasts’ attention. It struggled to deliver on the promise of an exciting driving experience.

To enhance the Ford Probe, focusing on more powerful engine options, sportier handling, and a more distinctive design would have been crucial. Achieving a more exciting and unique sports car identity could have made it a more competitive choice.

Chevrolet Vega GT

Chevrolet Vega GT
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Chevrolet Vega GT, despite its sporty name, faced criticism for engine reliability issues, subpar performance, and handling that fell short of true sports car standards. It struggled to provide the spirited driving experience expected from a sports car.

To improve the Chevrolet Vega GT, addressing engine reliability concerns, enhancing performance, and refining handling characteristics would have been necessary. Delivering on the promise of a reliable and exciting sports car could have made it a more competitive option.

Pontiac Sunfire

Pontiac Sunfire GT
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Pontiac Sunfire, marketed as a sporty compact car, faced criticism for its lackluster performance, uninspiring handling, and a design that failed to convey a true sports car persona. It struggled to offer the excitement and driving dynamics expected from a sports car.

To elevate the Pontiac Sunfire, focusing on more powerful engine options, sportier handling, and a more aggressive design would have been essential. Achieving a more engaging and distinctive sports car identity could have made it a more appealing choice.

Chrysler LeBaron GTC

Chrysler LeBaron GTC
Image Credit: Guillaume Vachey/WikiCommons.

The Chrysler LeBaron GTC, marketed as a sportier version of the LeBaron, faced criticism for its lack of true sports car performance and handling. It struggled to deliver on the promise of an exhilarating driving experience.

To improve the Chrysler LeBaron GTC, enhancing engine performance, refining handling characteristics, and offering a more distinctive sports car identity would have been crucial. Delivering on the promise of a true sports car experience could have made it a more competitive option.

Dodge Daytona

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Dodge Daytona, despite its sporty appearance, faced criticism for handling and performance issues in some of its iterations. It struggled to provide the performance and driving dynamics expected from a sports car.

To enhance the Dodge Daytona, improving handling and engine performance, as well as refining design aesthetics, would have been necessary. Achieving a more engaging and well-rounded sports car could have made it a more appealing choice for enthusiasts.

Chevrolet Cavalier Z24

Chevrolet Cavalier Z24
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Chevrolet Cavalier Z24, marketed as a sportier variant of the Cavalier, faced criticism for its lack of true sports car performance, handling limitations, and overall uninspiring driving experience. It struggled to provide the excitement and dynamics expected from a sports car.

To improve the Chevrolet Cavalier Z24, focusing on more powerful engine options, enhancing handling characteristics, and offering a more distinctive design would have been crucial. Achieving a genuinely engaging and performance-oriented sports car identity could have made it a more competitive choice.

Subaru SVX

Subaru SVX
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Subaru SVX, while unique in design, faced criticism for its high price tag, lack of sports car performance, and limited success in capturing the enthusiasm of sports car enthusiasts. It struggled to deliver the desired level of excitement and driving dynamics.

To elevate the Subaru SVX, addressing pricing concerns, enhancing engine performance, and refining handling would have been necessary. Achieving a better balance between uniqueness and sports car capabilities could have made it a more appealing option.

Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe

Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, despite its sportier version, faced criticism for not meeting the performance and handling standards expected from a sports car. It struggled to deliver the exhilaration and dynamics enthusiasts sought.

To improve the Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, focusing on more powerful engine options, enhancing handling characteristics, and offering a more aggressive design would have been essential. Achieving a truly spirited and athletic sports car identity could have made it a more competitive choice.

Mercury Capri

Mercury Capri
Image Credit: WIkiCommons.

The Mercury Capri, marketed as a sporty compact car, faced criticism for its lack of sports car performance, uninspiring handling, and an overall underwhelming driving experience. It struggled to provide the excitement and dynamism associated with true sports cars.

To elevate the Mercury Capri, focusing on more powerful engine options, sportier handling, and a more aggressive design would have been crucial. Achieving a more engaging and distinctive sports car identity could have made it a more appealing choice.

Oldsmobile Firenza

Oldsmobile Firenza
Image Credit: IFCAR/WikiCommons.

The Oldsmobile Firenza SX, marketed as a sporty compact car, faced criticism for its lack of sports car performance, uninspiring handling, and an overall lack of enthusiasm among sports car enthusiasts. It struggled to deliver the excitement and driving dynamics expected from a sports car.

To improve the Oldsmobile Firenza, focusing on more powerful engine options, sportier handling, and a more aggressive design would have been necessary. Achieving a more engaging and distinctive sports car identity could have made it a more competitive option.

Author: Madison Cates

Title: Managing Editor

Bio:

Research journalist, Freelance writer, Managing editor

  • Expertise: automotive content, trending topics.
  • Education: LeTourneau University, Bachelors of Science in Business Administration.
  • Over 400 articles and short news pieces published across the web.

Experience: Madison Cates is a journalist located in the great state of Texas. She began writing over eight years ago. Her first major research piece was published by the Journal of Business and Economics in 2018. After growing up in a household of eight brothers and a dad who was always restoring old Camaros, she naturally pivoted her freelance career into the automotive industry. There, she found her passion. Her experience paved the way for her to work with multiple large corporations in automotive news and trending topics. Now, she now finds her home at Wealth of Geeks where she proudly serves as Managing Editor of Autos. Madison is always down to geek out over the latest beautiful cars on the market, and she enjoys providing her readers with tips to make car ownership easier and more enjoyable.

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