Every year we see some spectacular cars being produced; cars which push at the boundaries of the automotive industry and lead the way forward, inspiring new generations of designers.
But alongside the successes of the automotive industry, there lies a darker history which has given birth to a collection of cars so terrible we’re at pains to remember them.
At SellYourProblemCar we’ve put together a top five list of the very worst cars ever made – but with so many to choose from, it seems a shame that four of our five picks are British made…
Nicknamed the ‘Austin All-aggro’, the British Leyland manufactured Allegro suffered from inexcusable design faults right from the very start when it was introduced, underdeveloped, to an unsuspecting British market in the early 70s.
Said to have been more aerodynamic when travelling in reverse, the Allegro was plagued by unreliable production and bungled management, and despite being the 5th best-selling car in the UK in 1979, its inefficiency and poor build saw sales figures dwindle.
Originally released in 1973, the Reliant Robin, with its super-light fibreglass body, its three-wheeled frame and a tendency to roll over at the very hint of a corner, attempted – but ultimately failed – to fill an early gap in the market.
It was designed to be driven inexpensively with just a B1 motorbike license, but its low weight and no-frills manufacturing meant poor performance, back-breaking comfort and outrageous instability.
But despite its many failings, the Robin was a decidedly unpretentious car. It delivered exactly what it set out to achieve: full-efficiency and ‘all round economy’. It’s now become something of an icon of British culture, recognised for its eccentricity and applauded for its honesty.
Another British Leyland production, this time from the mid-80s, the Rover 200 was renowned for its ability to fall apart.
The car gained more fame as the model of choice for Richard and Hyacinth Bucket in the popular BBC comedy series ‘Keeping up Appearance’ than it did through its own success.
The car Jeremy Clarkson lambasted as ‘simply the worst car in the world’, the Russian-manufactured Lada was an all-round disaster.
Its poor tank-like handing, negligible engine performance and boxy design meant the Lada was already a thing of the past when it rolled off production in the 80s.
In Russia during the Soviet era the Lada was an immensely popular model, with people queuing up to get their hands on one. Over the years, however, the Lada has found itself a symbol of the decline of the Russian automobile industry.
The Morris Ital has found itself at the top of ‘Worst British Cars Ever’ lists ever since it was first released.
Designed quickly, the Ital was manufactured from as many standard, off-the-shelf parts as possible in an attempt to keep costs down and speed up production.
Unfortunately, the Ital couldn’t compete with rival models. Looking out-dated even on its release, it was also beleaguered by terrible rust issues – which makes finding a running Morris Ital today a rare thing indeed.
Mercedes in trouble?
Louis Hamilton’s hopes for winning this year’s F1 Championship could have been dashed – not by careless driving, but by his team, Mercedes, after allegations of an illegal tyre test emerged last week.
Ferrari and Red Bull F1 racing teams protested after it came to light that tyre manufacturer Pirelli had used the current Mercedes car to conduct a three-day tyre development test.
The rival teams say that the testing is in violation of Section 22.4 of the F1 sporting regulations, which states that testing during the racing season is forbidden.
Most teams regularly test tyres in the same way, but older model cars will be used to prevent any team gaining an unfair advantage.
Mercedes have said they’ve gained no insight from the testing, and Pirelli have also given a statement.
“The tyres used were not from the current championship, but belonged to a range of products still being developed in view of an eventual renewal of the supply contract.”
If Mercedes are found to have flaunted regulation, then the tyre test could end up costing them £6.6 million in fines, and a deduction of 50 points.
With no precedent, it’s not entirely sure how things will develop. But one thing is for sure: if Mercedes do go on to win, there’ll be more than just a few raised eyebrows in the pit lanes…
Land Rover test new Disco for 2014
Land Rover are busy again making changes to their Discovery range, with September 2014 looking set to see the release of their Discover 5 – a slightly trimmer version of 2010’s Discovery 4.
The new Disco largely steals its new front end design from the latest Range Rover, ditching its dotted LED lights in favour of slim and sleek LED strips. The grille also sports a slightly altered look, with circular moulding around the headlights.
But the changes to Land Rover’s latest Disco aren’t entirely superficial; there should also be some improvement in performance. The 5.0 litre V8 from the Disco 4 will be lost, and replaced with a lighter, more efficient supercharged V6, which will see the CO2 output levels fall from around 335g/km to less than 300g/km.
Higher fines for texting while driving
The transport secretary has recently announced plans to increase the cost of fines for driving while using a mobile phone.
The change will see the fine increase by £30, from £60 to £90, and is part of a wider crack down on a variety of motoring offences.
Careless drivers will now be subject to harsher penalties and new fines, and a number of new road offences are also being put in place, include eating or lighting a cigarette behind the wheel.
Taking the time to maintain your car is a good sign. It shows a dedication to getting the best possible performance form you car and to keep it running safely and smoothly.
But sometimes – whether it’s through a simple oversight or complete motoring ignorance – a DIY car maintenance check can do more harm than good…
Find out more about the simple maintenance mistakes that could end up costing you a lot of money down the line.
1. Attempting a ‘tune-up’
Modern cars aren’t like old cars. They really aren’t designed to be ‘tuned’ or altered. In fact, ‘tune-ups’ as we know them don’t really exist anymore.
A lot of what’s inside the engine is now controlled my computerised technology, which means no more playing around with the ignition timing or adjusting the valves.
Tune-ups have been replaced by routine car maintenance, and modern engines only require major services every 100,000 miles or so.
2. Not checking the oil
Checking oil levels in your car is extremely important. Thankfully, it also happens to be very simple.
Low oil could cause engine corrosion, and the friction of moving parts can cause the engine to overheat, so you should check levels regularly.
Don’t inspect the oil only when the warning light comes one – by this point it could be too late to prevent any damage.
It also bears mentioning that your warranty won’t cover any damage caused by low engine levels.
3. Using the wrong type of oil
Failing to use the recommended type of oil can cause an engine to fail much sooner than you anticipate.
Avoid unnecessary engine wear and tear by choosing an oil with the correct viscosity. It’ll provide the optimal level of engine lubrication, and will prevent the engine from overheating.
Just remember that the temperature will affect your choice of oil viscosity, and if you’re in any doubt over which to use, you should consult your owner’s manual.
4. Only checking the oil…
Remember that engine performance doesn’t depend solely on the oil. A functioning engine also requires coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid.
It might seem like a lot of work, but failing to pay attention to the fluids which are vital to your engine’s operation could be a costly mistake.
You won’t need to check these fluids quite as often as you should the oil, but it’s important that you don’t neglect them.
5. Not changing or cleaning the air filters
Clogged air filters are directly related to the performance of your car. So failing to replace them will have noticeable effects on drivability and fuel economy.
A new, well-functioning filter will look close to white, so take a look and see how your filters compare.
Checking the colour will give you some indication of the level of neglect, but it shouldn’t be seen as an accurate test. A filter can become clogged with fine particles that aren’t easily seen, like pollen, so regardless of colour, you should replace them regularly, every 15,000 miles or so.
Lamborghini’s ‘Grand Tour’, and an outrageous new concept unveiled
Lamborghini wouldn’t be Lamborghini if it didn’t celebrate its 50th anniversary in flamboyant Italian style.
On May 8th, 350 Lamborghinis fired their engines and rolled out of Milan, marking the start of Lamborghini’s ‘Grant Tour’ of Italy.
Passing through some of the country’s most beautiful cities – including Rome, San Giustino Valdarno and Arezzo – the tour stretched over an impressive 1,200km of spectacular Italian countryside, before coming to an end, three days later, at the Lamborghini headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese.
Vintage and modern-day Lamborghinis from over 29 countries took part in the event, including the 350 GT (their first-ever production vehicle from 1964), a 1969 Miura S once owned by Frank Sinatra, and the very latest Aventador and Gallardo models.
And if that wasn’t enough, Lamborghini surprised tour participants and spectators alike by unveiling something a little bit special at the close of the tour.
The Egoista (Italian for ‘selfish’), is Lamborghini’s new razor-sharp, single-seater concept, which really captures the essence of Lamborghini’s iconoclastic sense of style and design.
Design chief Walter De Silva, who oversaw work on the Egoista, wrote ‘I wanted to pay homage to and think up a vehicle to underline the fact that Lamborghinis have always been made with passion, and with the heart more than the head.’
If there was a more fitting way to end a weekend of celebrations, we certainly can’t think of it.
Lamborghini will continue celebrating their half-century of car making throughout the year. So keep your eyes out for a few more surprises.
Chrysler to recall vehicles
American car manufacturer Chrysler are set to recall over 450,000 vehicles worldwide after problems with the gear change have been found in the 2006-2010 model Jeep Commanders and the 2005-2010 Jeep Grand Cherokees.
The problem is with the vehicles’ circuit boards, which are transmitting signals that cause the transmission to come out of gear and shift to neutral. So far, the faulty circuit boards have been responsible for a reported 26 accidents and 2 injuries.
This recall is Chrysler’s biggest since 900,000 Grand Cherokee’s were recalled last November after a fault with the airbags caused them to deploy inadvertently.
Ferrari takes a hard line on electric cars
The future looks very certain for Ferrari: no SUVs and absolutely no electric cars.
Chairman Luca di Montezemolo has declared in no uncertain terms that Ferrari will never stray from its sports and GT car market.
But some have started to speculate that Ferrari’s quest for brand exclusivity might hurt the 84-year-old car manufacturer, leaving them behind in an industry now focussed on the road ahead, and the search for more sustainable methods of fuel technology.
Those expecting exciting inroads being made into electric technology by Ferrari after the launch of their first-ever hybrid model, the ‘LaFerrari’, at this year’s Geneva Motor Show will be disappointed by Montezemolo’s hard-line stance.
So is there any chance of an all-electric Ferrari spin-off in the not-too-distant future?
‘No, no, no’ says Montezemolo.
The gearbox is one of the most complicated pieces of machinery inside your car. It also happens to be one of the most expensive to repair and replace. Gearbox issues can be fatal, so knowing what to look out for is vital for keeping those repair bills down and keeping your car on the road.
If you’re experiencing engine troubles and looking to get to the root of the problem, or looking for ways to spot transmission problems in a used car you’re thinking of buying, here at SellYourProblemCar we’ve put together a list of the 4 most common signs of gearbox failure to help you identify major gearbox malfunctions before it’s too late.
1. Is the engine light lit up?
The engine light is situated directly in front of you on the dashboard for a reason. Don’t ignore it.
When a transmission fails, you may notice various shudders or vibrations while driving. In the early stages of transmission failure these vibrations may be imperceptible to you, but your car’s inbuilt sensors will pick them up and cause the engine light to come on.
The engine light could have been triggered for a number of reasons, so it might not be a transmission fault at all, but it’s an important indicator that something’s wrong with the engine.
Book your car into a garage and have it checked out. They’ll be able to get to the root of the problem and tell you what’s wrong.
2. Smell burning? Check your transmission fluid
Transmission fluid leaks and low levels of transmission fluid are perhaps the most obvious signs that a gearbox isn’t doing so well. They also happen to be the most common cause of gearbox failure.
Without adequate or clean transmission fluid an engine may overheat, seize up or stop working entirely, so it’s important to check the fluid. The whiteness of a paper towel will help you notice colour changes more easily.
Fluid now comes in a variety of colours, but if it’s clear, free from contaminants and smells clean, it should be fine. If the fluid is old or dirty you’ll need to replace it, since this can destroy a transmission entirely. Be warned, however, that if the fluid is dark and smells as though it might be burnt, it may be too late to save your transmission.
3. Strange noises and sensations
Pay attention to the sounds of the engine. It’s your car’s way of letting you know there’s a problem, and if you pick up on these signals early enough, you might just save yourself a whole lot of time and a whole load money.
If you hear banging or clanking noises when you’re in neutral, there could be issues with loose gears and loose parts in the clutch. The looser these pieces become, the greater the chance of additional (and costly) damage being done to your transmission.
If you have an automatic transmission and you feel the engine vibrating, or if you notice humming or whining sounds, it’s possible that there is a problem with the transmission’s torque converter.
4. Difficulty selecting gear and issues with the clutch
Stiff and stubborn gears that refuse to select are another common sign of transmission failure.
Depress the clutch and try to change gears. If the clutch performs fine, the clutch linkage may be disconnected or in need of adjustment. If the gears only change when the engine is turned off, then the clutch plate may have become worn and will need replacing.
If you’re driving an automatic and you notice that the RPM has jumped straight into the red, this could be a sign that the gearbox is slipping. When a gearbox slips it fails to connect with the crankshaft, which causes the gear to ‘pop out’ while you’re driving.
Remember that a lot of engine issues can be avoided entirely with proper care and maintenance. If you notice any of the above problems, be sure to book your car in for a service to prevent costly repairs.
With darker and shorter days, and all that ice and snow on the roads, you’d be forgiven for thinking that winter was the most hazardous driving season. But as it turns out, it isn’t the case.
When the weather it at its worst – over January and February – there are actually fewer road fatalities. Oddly, the colder the weather is, the safer it is on the roads – and over the summer months, when the temperatures are at their highest, there are many more fatalities.
With this in mind, and with summer (almost) round the corner, we thought we’d put together a list of things to help reduce your chances of being caught up in an accident; a list six things to think about when you’re out and about this summer.
1. Keep your speed down
In the colder months, when it’s wet and rainy, motorists are more cautious on the roads. They drive slower to compensate for the hazards, and they also make fewer journeys.
The opposite is true in the summer. When the roads are dry and the sun is out, people tend to speed, and they do so much more often because they make more journeys. This greatly increases the chance of a road fatality.
What’s more, most aren’t aware that they’re exceeding the speed limit. So keep a close watch on your speed, since even being a little above the limit can make a big difference.
2. Stay cool
If you’re driving home after a long day at the office, gripping a burning hot steering wheel as you perspire, immobile in a traffic jam, it’s easy to get a little irritated. But don’t let the heat get to you.
Stay hydrated and stay sane behind the wheel. If you know there’s a chance you could get caught up in traffic, keep a bottle of water in the fridge at work and take it with you when you leave. There’s nothing worse than being dehydrated in a hot car with nothing to drink but a warm bottle of water.
And don’t underestimate the power of air conditioning either. If you’ve got it, use it. You won’t get the best MPG on your journey, but at least you’ll be a cool, even tempered driver, and a more agreeable person generally.
3. and keep your car cool too…
[Image credit, Fir0002/flagstaffotos.com.aui ]
It’s not only you who has the potential to overheat on the homeward journey, hot weather conditions also take their toll on your car as well.
If your car does overheat, it’s an idea to turn off the air conditioning and open your windows. This will give the engine a chance to cool down.
If worse does come to worst, and you find yourself at the side of the road with your bonnet open waiting for the engine’s temperature to drop, don’t refill the radiator with straight away. Opening the radiator cap before the engine has had a chance to cool down could cause steam to spurt out, which could cause you a nasty injury.
4. Plan your route
Going away on holiday? So is everyone else.
June is by far the most popular month for loading up the car and setting off to that sunny holiday destination. It should be a time of high spirits and relaxation, but on the roads it’s anything but.
The roads will be busy with cars filled with near-bursting suitcases, screaming kids and hot tempered drivers. So be extra vigilant during this month. And if you happen to be one of these irritable drivers, make sure that you know where you’re going.
Don’t rely on road signs, map-reading passengers or irritating Sat Nav voices to tell you which way to go. Use them as guides only, and look your route up online or in the map book well before you set off.
Also remember that nicer weather conditions bring with them more road construction projects. Stay one step ahead. Check your Local Government website for details of current and planned road works, and make a note of them in your calendar so you know when to change your driving routes.
5. Take a break
Driving fatigue caused by long journeys in high temperatures can be particularly dangerous, so play it safe and take a break.
If you’re driving for a more than 2 hours, it’s a good idea to pull over safely and take a break for 20 minutes. And if you’re driving for a long stretch, take frequent breaks. They’re much better than long breaks at keeping you alert and focussed on the roads, and give you an nice opportunity to stretch your legs and stay hydrated.
6. Watch where you’re driving
Since the school children will be out enjoying their summer holidays, there are more children playing on the streets, and more people who will be out running, cycling and walking.
Summer cyclists are a real cause for concern, so make a point of checking your mirrors more often. If you’re driving behind one, always be sure of their intentions. If you’re not, then it’s best to hold back and wait.
If you’re driving round built up areas, or an area close to a park, keep your speed low. You never know when a stray football (and the child whose job it is to retrieve it) will come bouncing into the middle of your path.
Be extra cautious of children crossing between parked cars, and if you see an ice cream truck, rather than navigate the queue of children, it’s probably safer to get out of the car and enjoy an ice cream yourself – it’ll at least keep you cool…
Very few people get good at selling cars. Unless you’re a car salesperson, chances are you’ll only sell a handful of cars over the course of your driving lifetime – but that’s no excuse for not going about things the right way.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few mistakes which private car sellers tend to make. These mistakes can mean that they don’t get the price they want, that they fail to sell quickly and waste money on advertising expenses or, the worst case scenario, they never sell their car at all.
Thinking about selling your car? We’ve put together five of the most common selling mistakes to help make your selling experience as quick and as painless as possible.
1. Not including good quality photos
Failing to include good quality photos should occur so infrequently that it shouldn’t even warrant mention – but you’d be surprised at how common a mistake it is.
While photos allow you to show your car’s condition and highlight any blemishes or issues that require mention, it’s not their only purpose – they provide you an excellent opportunity for you to communicate your honesty as a seller.
Think about presentation. Showing your car sat parked inside a dark and gloomy garage is no way to go about securing a sale. Nor is having your car parked next to another, more desirable car.
You don’t need an expensive camera. Just choose a clean, tidy location with a nice amount of light. Try to include as many pictures as you can in your ad and show you car from all angles, with both interior and exterior shots.
2. Confusing or vague listings
When creating an advert for your car, there should be one rule of thumb: include as much information as possible, be honest and try to be as descriptive as you can.
You should mention in detail any additional extras or modifications the car has had. So if you’ve had a new CD player fitted, include it in your listing. The same goes for new paint jobs, new wheels and any changes to the upholstery.
List the price, remember to mention whether or not the figure is open to negotiation, and make sure that you’re easy to get hold by stating your contact details clearly at the bottom.
3. Pricing too high
If you’re trying to sell, it’s important to compare your car against those already on the market. You should get as much information as you can before you set a price. Blogs are extremely useful for picking up additional information, and online listings and car magazines are a good place to start for reliable price comparisons.
Of course, once you’ve determined the right price, you should always push it up a little to accommodate negotiation – but don’t scare away potential buyers with a ridiculous high asking price.
4. Trying to sell a Cat C or Cat D write off
While it’s tempting to try and sell a Cat C or Cat D write off, you’ll soon realise is that there’s really no market for damaged or broken cars.
Write off categories are confusing for potential buyers to understand, and this is enough to put most of them off. What’s worse, those who do decide to find out more often come across strong advice which leans in both directions, which only further adds to their confusion. Remember: the more research a potential buyer has to do to understand your listing descriptions, the less likely you’ll be to make a sale.
If you find yourself stuck with a broken or damaged car, you can get money instantly by scrapping it. You can avoid the hassle and expense of advertising your car entirely and the whole process will be completed within a few days, leaving you free to start looking at the car listings yourself.
5. Listing ineffectively, or in the wrong places
You should feel confident that the right buyer is out there somewhere. But you won’t get anywhere waiting for them to come to you, it’s you who has to make an effort to reach them.
Don’t waste your money paying for advertising space in local papers. Widen your field. It’s usually worth paying a little more to secure a listing in a trusted and reputable national car magazine.
If you’re running an add online it might be worth uploading photos of your car to an image hosting site like imgur.com. Simply including the link to your photo gallery in the advert will allow you to provide more pictures than most advertising space allows for, and you’ll gain an edge over your competition.
BMW goes electric
This year is set to be a big one for BMW as they look to crack the electric car market with the new i3, their first electric car.
Showcasing their electric ‘supermini’ with a world tour last year, BMW have already managed to generate a huge amount of interest – and it looks as though people are expecting some pretty big things from the German car giant.
The i3 will be offered in two versions – a fully electric model with a range of 80 miles, and one with a 650cc two-cylinder BMW motorbike engine, capable of extending the car’s range to around 250 miles.
The BMW i3 will get its launch later this year in November, with initial sources putting the sales figure at a surprisingly pricey £35,000.
Schumacher as Mercedes brand ambassador
It hasn’t taken Michael Schumacher long to find new work after leaving the Mercedes F1 team last season. With his near-unrivalled racing experience, the seven-times F1 champion is set to help Mercedes develop their road cars, working on the calibration and implementation of their latest technology.
Mercedes have described Schumacher’s new ambassadorial role as ‘extending far beyond motorsport and Formula One’ into the development of their safety and comfort systems.
The announcement comes just a two weeks after the F1 driver Sebastian Vettel, who races for Red Bull Racing, was announced as ‘Director of Performance’ for Infiniti.
Vettel, who Infiniti say has been vital in the development of their Q5 (the manufacturer’s luxury new sports sedan) is set to take on a bigger role, assisting in the development of future Infiniti vehicles though feedback on performance and handling.
A change in advertising standards
So how does one unhappy Audi A3 driver manage to change motoring advertising standards? It’s simple. He complains.
Feeling misled, the disgruntled A3 owner contacted the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) earlier this month after his new A3 failed to match the average fuel consumption of 68.9mpg – a figure claimed in Audi’s latest A3 TDI advert.
The result? The ASA has ruled that car manufacturers must now add a disclaimer to all new adverts that explain how they arrive at the fuel economy figures.
When manufacturers are testing their cars for MPG figures, they don’t use real-world conditions. Their stated fuel economy figures aren’t actually representative of what you might expect to achieve on the roads. Instead they’re derived from laboratory-controlled testing equipment.
While Volkswagen (Audi’s biggest shareholder) claimed that all manufacturers arrived at their figures this way, the ASA upheld the A3 owner’s claim that the numbers were misleading, and added that it was unlikely to be clear to the average consumer that the derived MPG figure was not representative of real-world car performance.
The ASA’s ruling should be seen as a step in the right direction for advertising honesty – especially in an age where fuel economy reigns supreme over almost all other car buying considerations.
This year’s Shanghai Motor Show takes place later in April. With not long to go before the international exhibition opens its doors, we’ve seen a number of big name, high-profile debuts and some interesting teasers images being released. So let’s have a closer look…
New Citroën DS Wild Rubis concept
They’ve not given much away, but Citroën have released a few hints as to what they’ve got in store for us with their new concept, the DS Wild Rubis.