Can You Identify These Ugly Cars From the ’70s and ’80s?


By: Tasha Moore

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Charles01

About This Quiz

Snuggle up to these hideous car creations that we've curated just for you! It's time to I.D. the ugly autos of the 1970s and 1980s. What was the auto industry thinking when they released some of the most unsightly contraptions on wheels ever designed? We explore a few reasons while testing your auto knowledge. 

Innovation clearly meant outrageous back then. The '70s and '80s were gaudy times in general. Everything from the clothes to the hairstyles during these decades were over the top, and consumers would not have had it any other way. And the practicality that most of us brag about these days was virtually unheard of back then. How practical was equipping a long limousine with an entire set of stairs? One British car maker had that bright idea. Needless to say, in the age of ultra-practicality, that wholly impractical manufacturer absolutely wouldn't exist in these times. 

Then there were the embellishments, which certain carmakers refused to scale back on their ugliest auto editions. More does not always look so merry. And it's bad enough when one mega auto company takes a plunge in the ugly pond. It's twice as bad when two companies join forces to create one hideous car thing.

 You'll see the exact names of these offenders after just a few scrolls!

Guess who decided to compete with Ford and Chevy from 1974 to 1978?

After the '60s, American Motors Corp. was a small company struggling to compete with the heavyweights of the car industry. The Matador was AMC's mid-sized answer to the Ford Torino and Chevrolet Monte Carlo.


Can you see why this visual treasure was donated to a museum? Try to guess the make and model.

The name "Pacer" was meant to signify the car's pace-setting craftsmanship. In 1982, American Motors donated the first Pacer to the Detroit Historical Museum. A 36-foot Pacer limousine was featured in the film "Wayne's World 2."


There was actually a method to building this madness. Whose contraption was this?

The Chevrolet Gremlin was manufactured from 1970 to 1983. Chevrolet's head of design at the time, Dick Teague, decided to develop the Gremlin by revamping the Hornet model, eliminating 12 inches from the car's wheelbase and discarding the sheet metal at the back wheels.


The first of its kind was delivered to America in the '50s. Perhaps America sent back this edition. Can you I.D. this beauty?

The first Aston Martin Lagonda that sold to a U.S. customer was delivered in February 1950. The highly-anticipated 21st-century DBX model is Aston Martin's first SUV. Aston Martin has set plans in motion to be the first completely electric luxury car brand.


One car maker practically had to sneak this beauty past U.S. borders. Are you confident that you know the answer?

The 1986 Subaru BRAT GL came fully equipped with similar amenities to high-end cars. Subaru passed the car off as a passenger vehicle instead of a pickup truck classification to avoid the 25 percent U.S. "chicken tax" on imported pickup trucks.


There were a few things wrong with this build. Do you know the classic?

Great Britain's Bond Company produced the Bond Bug at the start of the 1970s. The car was released on the market as a "micro-car." In addition to its looks, the car has been maligned for being mechanically unstable.


This car had major exterior as well as interior issues. See if you can select the right choice?

Through the years, the 1972 Ford Pinto has developed a reputation for being the worst American car ever made. The Pinto was quick to rust, and the model embroiled Ford Motor Company in legal battles because the gas tank would explode if the car was ever rear-ended.


It got its start in the '60s before terrifying subsequent decades with the "uglies." What is this car?

Introduced in 1960, the Dart was Dodge's shot at the compact car market. The first model was a smaller full-sized car. Dodge managed to tweak the '60 model and eventually produced a true compact car in 1963.


It's hard to believe that this car is a modern must-have for a certain segment of society. Do you know the right option?

In spite of being one of the ugliest car creations ever, the 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass is renowned in California as being the most stolen car. Other model years of the classic rank among the top ten of the criminal list. Allegedly, the car is a favorite among gang members.


The gold on this auto dream signified gaudy. What's the name of it?

The 4,580-pound Chrysler Cordoba was 215 inches long, yet it was 12 inches shorter than Chrysler's other models. The car's ridiculed gold-embellishments were intended to conjure images of Spanish antiquity.


Try not to blame Australia for this heavenly hybrid concept. Can you see the answer?

Chevrolet produced the last El Camino in 1987. The company borrowed the half-car/half-utility truck design concept from Ford Australia's 1930s ute models. The first El Camino was manufactured in Arlington, Texas in 1958.


Which of these choices is a perfect name for this auto?

The 1971 Volkswagon Thing evolved from the concept of the Kübelwagen, which was a German military car. Between 1969 and 1981, the Kübelwagen was constructed for German forces.


Say what you will about its appearance, the ________ got a lot of folks through some pretty rough times.

General Motors moved large quantities of the rear-wheel drive, low-priced Chevrolet Chevette during the oil crisis that ensued after the Iranian Revolution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ranked the Chevette as one of the only U.S. best-mileage car models.


The manufacturer that made this classic was very busy the year it was released. Can you identify it?

Oldsmobile released 34 models in 1976, including the 98 Regency coupe and the Starfire model. The Cutlass was the best-selling model of '76 in America. The base price of the rear-wheel-drive Oldsmobile '98 Regency was $13,962.


How many ways could you improve the ________ in the '70s and '80s?

In 1979, the base price of a standard Pinto Wagon was $3,500. The Pinto Cruising Wagon, fully equipped with power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning, was priced at $6,000 that same year.


In spite of a few alterations, it was not cute. Whose creation was this?

Weighing in at a whopping 4,757 pounds, the 1978 Ford Country Squire was a massive presence on the road; Ford then shaved 10 inches in length off the 1979 edition. The '78 model could achieve a speed of just over 101 miles per hour.


Believe it or not, this car maker had an amazing 1987 sales year. Can you label the lucky model?

The four-door, four-wheel-drive Subaru GL Wagon was one of the best-selling wagons of 1987. Of the 596,788 station wagons that shared America's roads in July 1987, 339,684 were Subaru four-wheel-drive models.


You probably could stuff an entire sports team into this one. What was it?

The Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser wagon had a sturdy transmission and 350-cubic inch V-8s. The 455 cubic engine was a possible upgrade for the base model, and the Vista Cruiser could seat up to seven passengers.


The company that dared to conjure this up went bankrupt. Name the right design?

Before going bankrupt in 1975, Bricklin Vehicle Canada manufactured the Bricklin SV-1. Bricklin unveiled the vehicle on June 25, 1974 in Manhattan. The SV-1 featured a roll cage, wing doors and urethane bumpers.


Trust that the interior looked way better than the exterior. Can you name the correct auto?

Volvo debuted the 262C to the United States in 1978. The car was priced at $15,000 and was ranked in the upscale division of vehicles. The Volvo 262C's attractive interior included black hand-sewn Italian leather.


Is it an abysmal failure or successful art? Who made it?

In 1991, Yugo America filed for bankruptcy. In honor of the failed fleet, art students in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles transformed "ugly" Yugos into works of art in a 1995 exhibit titled "Yugo Art."


Does this ________ look at all "foxy" to you?

The Ford Mustang muscle-car legacy dimmed with the unsightly 1983 model; the car's "Foxy Body" was anything but foxy. Ford revved up the power and speed of subsequent models. Customers grew more and more attracted to the 5.0-liter V-8 engine the car sported in the mid-80s.


Can you identify this ugly car?

American automotive designer Carroll Shelby teamed up with Chrysler to produce the 1982 Dodge Charger. Dodge paused production of the high-powered Charger after the 1987 model year.


The auto that you see won at least one major award. Will you pick the correct car name?

The front-wheel-drive Chevrolet Citation was introduced in 1980 and manufactured until 1985. In spite of its eye-souring design, the 1980 model won the "Motor Trend Car of the Year" award.


Is the ________ retro cool or oh-so bad?

After Ford introduced the decidedly "ugly" Mercury Cougar, the company raised prices on all the company's 1982 models by 4.8 percent in the name of "product improvements." The increase for the Cougar L8 was one percent higher than that; the price went from $8,113 in '81 to $8,587.


Don't be surprised that some customers complained about this model. Who is responsible?

Chrysler fielded numerous customer complaints regarding the 1985 Chrysler LeBaron, as some of the high-powered models would stall repeatedly. The car was initially priced at $15,400.


Is it a shocker that sales dipped when this auto emerged? Which model made it happen?

American Motors only sold 7,239 units of the AMC Eagle in 1986. The car debuted in 1979. Perhaps already-plummeting sales took a massive nosedive after the ugly '83 edition reared its front end onto the car scene.


It was crafted to compete. How easy is it for you to choose correctly?

The Cavalier emerged from the '70s J-car platform as General Motors's response to foreign models that were proving to be formidable U.S. car market competitors. The company introduced the Cavalier in 1982. Apparently, an attractive exterior was not a priority for the '85 edition.


Try to I.D. the ugly car that you see.

This 1983 auto "beauty" came straight out of England from the Glenfrome company, which was founded in the 1970s. The company also manufactured limousines that were equipped with stairs.


It took an international collaboration to come up with this creation. What did the alliance name it?

The 1984 Rover 200 was based on the Honda Ballade. For the Ballade, Honda forged a manufacturing relationship with British Leyland car company. Honda inserted its transmission and engine parts into the Leyland frame.


Is it safe to say that the ________ is over-designed?

With a frame that only a die-hard car collector could love, the Rolls-Royce Sbarro's look was likely an acquired taste even for fans of automotive designer Franco Sbarro, who re-crafted the Camargue to produce the car for a Moroccan king. Paolo Martin designed the original Camargue.


Customers were not satisfied with this design, but not for one obvious reason. Try to guess the make and model?

Cadillac enthusiasts were less enthused about the 1975 Seville because it was smaller than the brand's contemporary models. Nevertheless, Cadillac won many new converts with the now-classic design.


Full-scale wars have started for smaller offenses than this. What do you call this misfire?

Chrysler Corp. made the Plymouth Caravelle for the Canadian car market. The ugly frame of the 1983 model may have put a strain on U.S.-Canadian relations from the looks of things. The company opened a new plant specifically for the Caravelle and two other models.


This looks like it was the beginning of the end for one car manufacturer. Try to get the label right?

Oldsmobile based the 1984 Omega on its Citation model. The high-end Omega replicas were Brougham sedans equipped with crypto-velour upholstery. The Omega Brougham priced at $8,104.


It's sobering to know that this model had a few imitators. Who set an ugly trend?

The first Volkswagen Rabbit GTI that sold in the U.S. was the 1983 model, but the car was introduced in 1975. The Plymouth Horizon and the Chevy Chevette imitated the GTI after it proved to be a success.


Some weren't made well, nor was it cute. What was it?

General Motors had high hopes for the Allante, which the company introduced in '86 as a 1987 model. But in addition to its challenged appearance, the first units were not assembled well.


This model carried its maker to cash-money glory. How well can you guess the name?

Buick premiered the Skylark as a 1953 model and rebranded the name a few times before unveiling the 1980 front-wheel-drive version in 1979. The car was a hit; Buick sold 202,933 units in 1981.


Don't blame this visible nonsuccess on politics or a wall. What failed?

The low-powered Trabant was an East German car creation that was neither environmentally friendly nor physically appealing. Production of the vehicle stalled when sales slumped and economic issues stemming from Germany's reunification proved impossible.


1981 was a year of major model replacements for one company. What design unseated another?

Ford introduced the 1981 Mercury Lynx to replace the Mercury Bobcat. That same year, the infamous Ford Pinto was laid to rest and replaced by the Ford Escort, which dominated the North American subcompact car market for many years thereafter.


Ugly got pricey in the '80s. Choose whose price increased?

Did Ford tack on an "ugly" tax for purchasing the 1986 Ford Tempo? That year, the company increased the price of the Ford Tempo GL model by 2.4 percent. The '86 price tag was $7,687.


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