10 Worst Cars of the 20th Century

The Trabant had body panels made of Duroplast, and the engine smoked like it was electing a new pope. (Creative Commons/Flickr/Chapuisat)

We live in a time when most cars are pretty good, and lots are pretty great. The days of cars that would rattle apart as you drove, and radio knobs that would come off in your hand, and missing engine pieces seem to be behind us.

But in putting together a list of the worst cars of the 20th century, spanning the hundred years when cars and car companies were still trying to find themselves and Americans were desperate to own whatever had four wheels and an engine, you realize the wondrous wealth of choices there are for truly crappy cars. You kind of have to give the very early years a pass, since every car on the road was an experiment, and every buyer the lab rat. But by the 1950s, the cars should have been pretty good. But take a look at this list -- a third of the cars come from that decade alone. Another third come from the 1980s, which was a terrible decade in many ways, and most of all in American cars.

As we move past the age of the automobile and into the age of the Hyperloop and flying cars, it's worth noting just how rotten some cars really could be.