Vintage Ads For Bad Cars

Even the biggest jalopies on Earth were brand new at one point, and they still had to be advertised. Some were poor designs that never made it to mass production, others boasted an extremely unattractive design, and one even still has a scathing urban myth attached to it after 35 years. The vintage ads were loaded in text - probably to distract readers from how bad the car was - compared with car ads today. Take a look at some of those vintage car ads below to see if you recognize them, or ever had the pleasure of taking a ride in one of them.

1975 Ford Pinto


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The legacy of the Ford Pinto has been mired by the controversy surrounding the safety of its gas tank design and Ford's 1978 recall. The actual number of deaths was 27, recorded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and not the hundreds reported by news resources, making the Pinto no worse than comparable automobiles of its time.

1988 Isuzu Impulse


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Isuzu hooked up the Impulse in Japan, Australia and the UK, but sent the sissy version to the US. The Japanese started off with a 135 hp version, the UK got a 147hp version, Australia got it with turbo, and the US got a measly 90hp model.

1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon


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The Oldsmobile Cutlass was the best selling car in America in 1976, and in 1978 Oldsmobile chose to include the Salon as a model in the Cutlasss family. The Salon was styled like an ugly imported hatchback, and was the least popular version. The hideous burgundy paint job and matching interior didn't help either.

1982 DeLorean DMC-12


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The Delorean DMC-12 became famous for it's appearance in the Back to the Future film trilogy as a time machine, and could have been the coolest car ever made, but it failed on performance and price point - $25,000 ($57, 500 in 2008) , and 0-60 in 10.5 seconds.

1996 Daihatsu Hijet


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By the look of the ad for the 1996 Dihatsu Hijet, this little van could theoretically pick up more chicks than a Lamborghini. The only problem is that you'll be cruising around with five 6.5s, instead of one 10.

1987 Oldsmobile Toronado


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The Oldsmobile Toronado was an awesome looking car during it's second and third generation runs, reminiscent of the iconic cars mobsters drove in movies like Casino, and Goodfellas. The fourth (and last) generation was so ugly no self-respecting mobster would be caught dead driving one.

1982 Datsun 280ZX


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The Datsun 280ZX was a pretty hot car when it hit the market in the late 70s, and the T-top was a sweet addition. Unfortunately, the Datsun 280ZX could never keep up with its competition, boasting a higher price tag and weaker performance.

1994 Mazda Miata


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The Mazda Miata is the bratty younger brother of an actual roadster, like the Porsche. If the poor man's Porsche is what people want, then they had to look no further than the Mazda Miata.

1980 Toyota Tercel


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The 1980 Toyota Tercel was the first Toyota model with a front-wheel drive design. It boasted great gas mileage, and was the lowest priced Toyota available. Too bad it was also one of the ugliest Toyota's ever invented as well.

1990 Volkswagon Corrado


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Volkswagon wasn't known for producing sports cars at the time of the Corrado release. The high sticker price persuaded people away against buying the Volkswagen, in favor of better known sports cars of the time. Even the rear spoiler that automatically raised at 45mph couldn't persuade people to buy it.

1989 Suzuki Sidekick


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The Suzuki Sidekick looks like it was a really popular car for college students in the 90s, and the convertible feature is what sold them on it. The Sidekick only had a 80hp, 4-cyclinder engine, to power its factory equipped 4-wheel drive system; with such weak power, "Sidekick" was the perfect name for this vehicle.

1986 Ford Aerostar


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The design of the Ford Aerostar minimized wind drag to "slide smoothly through the air." The van was intended to resemble a NASA Space Shuttle, but ended up looking more like the ship from the "Star Tours" ride at Disneyland.